Equipment: Adjusting the Tubegun Stock


Adjusting the Tubegun Stock
by Germán A. Salazar


The Tubegun stock presents the new owner with a very wide range of adjustment opportunities - or misadjustment opportunities!  This article focuses on adjusting the Tubegun stock from Gary Eliseo's Competition Shooting Stuff.  We'll try to define a few terms and show you how to adjust the tubegun stock properly for prone Highpower shooting.  First let's consider our objective in adjusting a stock properly.  What we're attempting to do is to adjust the stock in such a manner that it allows the shooter to maintain the three essential elements of a good position: stability, durability and comfort.

1. Stability: Prone is an inherently stable position because of the large amount of body contact with the ground as well as the low center of gravity. However, with a bit of attention to detail, a shooter can build a “more stable” prone position. A useful test of stability is to remove the trigger hand from the rifle while on aim - the rifle should not move at all. I do this as a natural point of aim check on each shot.

2. Durability: Once a string of fire starts, I will not remove the rifle from my shoulder barring unforseen or unusual circumstances (e.g. rifle malfunction). The simple reason is that I want to fire my 22 shots from one position, not from 22 positions. Therefore, the position has to be durable. Proper butt-plate and sling adjustments will keep the rifle firmly in the shoulder (without pain or discomfort) and proper cheekpiece height adjustments will keep your neck from straining. Ideally, your cheek should never leave the cheekpiece during the string (proper spotting scope adjustment is another topic, but obviously affects this point).  Keeping the rifle in the shoulder for the whole string is a skill that takes some effort to develop; if you feel the need to remove the rifle for serious comfort or position deterioration reasons at some point in the string, do it.  Minimizing change is the objective and two or three shoulder mounts are still better than 22.

3. Comfort: This element is often misunderstood; comfort does not mean you have the sensation of being in a recliner watching TV; it means you can get through 22 (or more) shots without pain. Your arm shouldn’t fall asleep, your fingers shouldn’t tingle, and your neck shouldn’t hurt. If you don’t have that degree of comfort you won’t have the durability we described earlier. Finding this comfort level is largely a function of rifle and sling adjustments and will take some time and effort.

Now that we have our objectives in mind, let's get to work on achieving them.

Terminology
The first term we'll define is Length of Pull (LOP).  Almost every piece of writing about stocks for over 100 years has defined LOP as the distance from the buttplate to the trigger - forget that definition.  For our purposes, LOP is the straight-line distance from the buttplate to the pistol grip where your middle finger lies.  Why are we changing a well established definition?  Not to create confusion, but to define a dimension that actually means something in terms of the position.  Suppose you have a trigger with an adjustable shoe, like an Anschütz or the CG X-Treme, if you move the shoe back and forth, have you changed your position?  No - but under the old definition of LOP, the LOP has changed.  We prefer to use LOP to refer to a dimension that will affect your position when changed.  Look at the picture below, you will see that the LOP as we define it, on this rifle is right at 12 inches (draw an imaginary vertical line up the front of the pistol grip to the yardstick).  All the pictures in this article can be clicked to enlarge a bit more.


Let's define a second term: Legth to Handstop (LTH).  This dimension is the straight-line length from the buttplate to the front of the handstop right where the web of your hand makes contact.  In the picture below, you will see that the LTH is 26 inches.


A third term that we'll define is Length to Sight (LTS).  This is the straight-line length from the buttplate to the rear-most element of the rear sight.  In the picture below you will see that the LTS is 14 inches.


In addition to those basic dimesions and terms, we'll work our way into some buttplate adjustments including cant, offset, buttplate height and cheekpiece height as well as handstop angle and handguard rotation. 

Adjusting the stock is a process that you must work at and it builds on itself; as you get one adjustment right, the others begin to fall into place.  Our hope is that you take from this article a system for adjusting the stock, not an exact set of dimensions; and that you understand that it will take continuous work over a period of time to really refine the adjustments.  Your goal is not to obtain a "perfect set of dimensions" but rather a perfect feel that accomplishes the three objectives of stability, durability and comfort and the knowledge of how to change the adjustments to achieve those objectives under varying conditions such as sloped firing lines or other terrain features.

Adjusting Length of Pull - LOP
We begin our adjustments with LOP as it is a fundamental dimension. 
  1. Adjust the buttplate so that there is no cant, no offset and the top of the buttplate is even with the cheekpiece. 
  2. Remove the handstop and the rear sight.  Make the initial adjustments holding the rifle in prone, with your coat on but no sling.
  3. Put a basic LOP on the stock.  I'm 6 feet tall, the 12 inch length works well for me, add or subtract a little depending on your height (arm length, really, but they are related).
  4. The object of adjusting the LOP is to set the rifle up so that you are in the right place on the cheekpiece when in position.  My definition of "the right place" is well forward on the cheekpiece.  This means the loading port is closer to you and there is less of a reach to load while keeping the rifle in the shoulder.  Additionally, a forward position keeps more of the rifle's weight between your hands, minimizing the dangle factor that causes fatigue during a long string of fire.  A well balanced position is a real asset in prone shooting.
  5. The picture below shows where I have my face on the cheekpiece.  With a Tubegun, the bolt slides underneath your face, so the old position constraint caused by the bolt running into the cheekpiece is no longer a factor.  Get forward, you'll have a better balanced position.

I realize that not everyone is left-handed (only a few of us are so gifted), so here's a picture of John Lowther in position with his Tubegun.  Looking at this picture I can see that John should probably shorten his LOP by about one to two inches.  John has been shooting his Tubegun for about three months and is still working out all the adjustments but he's almost there.  Compare the distance from the front of my cheek to the bolt handle versus John's.  You can see he will have a longer reach to operate the bolt and to load the cartridge; that's not good.  In fact, you can see the different angle on John's arm, that's the real problem, he's already stretched out and that's before reaching for the loading port.


At this point, you should have an LOP that places your cheek well forward on the cheekpiece, without going ahead of it - the cheekpiece must provide solid support for the head.  If you have an older tubegun stock with the short cheekpiece and want to change, contact Gary for the new longer model.  This first, rough adjustment should be done without a sling, handstop or rear sight.  The reason we don't want the rear sight in place at this time is that its presence will cause you to move your head to create what you perceive as a correct distance from the sight.  This will have an effect on your cheek placement that is artificial and will likely cause a poor position.  The sight will be introduced into the system later in the process when the other elements are closer to finalized.

Adjusting Length to Handstop - LTH
Next let's move on to the LTH.  Get the handstop out and slide it into the rail.  Measure your LOP and make the LTH = (LOP x 2) + 1".  You thought math class was out, didn't you?  Well, that's not too tough, twice the LOP and one inch more.  Again, this isn't a final adjustment, just a first pass at getting things set up.  Try the position without a sling at first, it should allow a reasonably comfortable position with a 30 degree support arm angle.

The photo below shows Oliver Milanovic in position; Oliver is also fairly new to the Tubegun.  Like John, Oliver is a bit too far back on the cheekpiece (needs a shorter LOP) but he has the older cheekpiece and is right at the end of it so he's doing all he can.  Oliver's support arm is at a good angle to the ground, not too flat, not too high, and that indicates a good LTH.  The reason we're looking for that roughly 30 degree angle is that it allows the sling to work properly, creating a triangular support structure with your forearm and upper arm that is very solid (like a roof truss) and will be the key element in maintaining a solid position through the string of fire.


Now that you have a rough LOP and LTH, attach the sling to the rifle and adjust the tension so that the rifle fits firmly into the shoulder.  I won't get into a huge amount of detail about this because I suspect most Tubegun users have some experience in sling shooting, even if only with a service rifle.  One point worth making, however, is that your main point of support is the area behind the elbow of the support arm.  The picture below shows how to always place your arm down properly for support on the flat behind the elbow.  If your weight is on the ball of the elbow, or to the side or front of the elbow, the position will never be as good as it could be.  Get the elbow down first, then build the position around it - this is vital.

The butt of the rifle should always be placed in the shoulder guided by your thumb at the top of the buttplate as shown below; this is the best way to ensure that it always goes to the very same place.  Lifting it into the shoulder by using the pistol grip will never produce a consistent position, and if you are able to lift it in by the pistol grip, then the sling is very likely too loose.  It should require a bit of effort to pop the buttplate into the shoulder (guided by the thumb) when the sling is properly adjusted.  You should feel firm pressure on the shoulder and firm pressure on the web of the support hand.


Fine Tuning
The next step is fine-tuning the sling tension, LOP and LTH.  This is a subjective process which is not easily described in writing.  Essentially you are looking for firm pressure in the shoulder and on the web of the support hand against the handstop as well as a reasonably easy reach to the bolt handle and loading port.  If the rifle is too loose in the shoulder, add to LOP slightly.  If there is too little pressure on the web of the support hand, shorten LTH slightly.  Do the opposite to decrease pressure.  If you are using a sling keeper on the coat (and you should) push the sling down at the tricep to put some tension in the keeper strap before mounting the rifle into the shoulder; this will keep it from slipping and affecting the position during the string of fire.
Buttstock Adjustments. 
In addition to LOP, the Tubegun has a very adjustable buttstock and proper adjustment will yield a more comfortable and durable position.  Let's look at them individually.

Offset Adjustment
The first and most misunderstood adjustment is the offset.  Putting a bit of offset in the buttstock brings the centerline of the rifle and thus the rear sight more in line with your aiming eye.  This allows you to maintain a more natural position on the cheekpiece, reducing neck strain and increasing the comfort and durability of the position.  By introducing some offset into the buttstock, you are bringing the centerline of the rifle closer to the centerline of your body as it faces the target.  Right handed shooters should offset the buttplate to the right (as viewed from the rear) and left-handed shooters should offset it to the left.  The picture below shows a useful offset for a left-handed shooter (blue rifle) and a right-handed shooter (red rifle).  Note that the offset is about half the width of the buttplate from the centerline of the rifle.  Too much offset can cause position stability problems, so use some restraint here.





At this point, you should have a reasonable LOP and LTH as well as a bit of offset and a reasonably well adjusted sling.  If this is all done, you should be able to operate the bolt comfortably while keeping the rifle in your shoulder and you should also be able to reach the loading port to chamber a round without excessive movement.  Loading from the shoulder will require some practice if you haven't done it before; there's a bit of ligament stretching involved initially, but it's worth the effort.  Do your best to keep the rifle level while loading, remember that the objective is to minimize your movement and thus ensure that the buttplate remains in the same place throughout the string of fire.  Your efforts to learn this procedure will pay off, don't give up on it.

Rear Sight Installation
You'll need a helper for this step.  Get in position and close your eyes.  Lift and lower your head onto the cheekpiece a few times while your helper watches.  Ideally, your face is making contact in the same place each time and you aren't pulling your neck back or stretching forward too much; just a nice, natural, comfortable position.  Once you have that established, close your eyes and have your helper put the rear sight and base onto the rifle so that the eyepiece is no more than 1.25" from your glasses.  If your position and sling are well adjusted, that's enough to keep even a .30-06 from hitting you during recoil.  If you look at the side view picture of me above you can see that there's only about 0.5" from the eyepiece to my glasses and that rifle is a .30-06 - good sling tension is the key to not getting hit.  The closer the sight is to your eyeball, the smaller an aperture you can use in the rear sight which will sharpen the sight picture (this has nothing to do with the front aperture size, only the rear).  Measure and record the LTS.

Record the LOP, LTH and LTS at this point, they will be useful references as the position and adjustments evolve.

Cheekpiece Height
Once the sight is in place, you can begin to adjust the cheekpiece height.  Most people do this backwards and never get the full benefit of an adjustable cheekpiece; hopefully you won't be among them.  Raise the cheekpiece until it is so high that you can't see through the sight.  Now, while maintaining firm pressure on the cheekpiece with your cheek, slowly lower the cheekpiece until you just get to the point where you can see through the sight while maintaining that firm pressure.  Later, as you begin to shoot the rifle and get the sights zeroed, you will repeat this exercise a few times, but remember to always start too high, not too low.  The reason for starting high is to avoid the possibility that you are slightly raising your head to see through the sight as that would lead to inconsistent cheek pressure and thus a shifting point of impact.  Consistency is the key to good scores, that's the same reason we go to the trouble to build a position that allows you to get through a string without removing the rifle from your shoulder - you want to fire 22 shots from one position, not from 22 positions. 

Buttplate Height
After the cheekpiece adjustment, readjust the buttplate height to match the height of the cheekpiece.  While you don't have to move it for every little cheekpiece adjustment, if you are making large changes in cheekpiece height, the buttplate should also be adjusted.  Putting the top of the buttplate even with the top of the cheekpiece is a good place for prone; you may find greater comfort slightly higher or lower, but hopefully not too far from even.

Adjusting Cant
Cant - the rotation of the buttplate on its axis - is often misadjusted or ignored.  Cant and offset ar related but separate adjustments.  In the past, when stocks were less adjustable, it was not uncommon to see shooters cant the rifle inboard in prone (tipping the top of the cheekpiece toward the centerline of the body).  This was done in an effort to bring the sight more in line with the eye.  However, there is a significant detriment to canting - the rear sight is no longer on a pure vertical axis, so when you make a sight adjustment it will have an effect on both windage and elevation - the point of impact will follow the exact axis of the sight.  For that reason, we prefer to have the rifle in a pure vertical position and accomplish any needed rifle centering through the offset adjustment described above.

So, is the need for a cant adjustment dead?  No, the cant adjustment is needed to eliminate cant!  Once you are in your position and have developed it to the point of good stability, you may notice that the rifle has a tendency to cant; it may be an inboard or outboard cant.  This is usually caused by the shoulder pocket being at an angle and the buttplate moving to settle into that angle.  If you are fighting this tendency with the pistol grip hand, you are creating tension that will almost always result in increased horizontal dispersion of the shots.  The correct solution is to slightly rotate the buttplate to eliminate the rifle's tendency to cant.  On my rifle, for instance, I had a slight tendency towards outboard cant.  I rotated the top of the buttplate slightly outboard, this allowed the rifle to remain vertical once the buttplate was placed in the shoulder, and that cured the cant.  I will try to get a picture of this adjustment.

Adjusting the HandstopThis section is not about finding the correct LTH which was covered above.  It is about getting the adjustments on the handstop itself set properly.  Every new shooter complains about pain in the hand, it's as regular as the sunrise.  However, while some of that discomfort is part of the adaptation process that only time in the sling will cure, a greater part of it has to do with improper handstop adjustment.  I use and highly recommend the Anschütz 4751 handstop as shown in the picture at the right (blue stock).  Gary Eliseo will make his stock with the proper rail cut for the 4751 on request as it is not interchangeable with the standard handstop on the CSS stock. 

The 4751 allows the shooter to adjust the direction of the handstop on two separate axes and really allows for a perfect fit to the hand.  Place your support hand out, palm up as if it were holding the rifle.  Notice that the angle on the web of your hand is not facing straight to the rear, yet that's how most shooters have their handstop (mis)adjusted.  Now look at the one in the picture (bear in mind it's for a left-handed shooter) and notice that the handstop angle is aligned to fit the hand.  You can accomplish much the same effect with the Eliseo handstop shown in the lower picture (red rifle)  by rotating the handguard tube.  As a side note, I find it best to avoid handstops with a very small contact area; these are suitable for Smallbore shooting, but the recoil generated by a Highpower rifle is best spread over a larger area for comfort.

Handguard Rotation
The CSS Tubegun stocks (except the RT10) allow you to rotate the handguard.  This adjustment is used to increase your comfort level with the handstop.  Try rotating the handguard so that the handstop is moved in the direction of your support hand (rotate clockwise when viewed from the rear for a right-handed shooter, counter-clockwise for a left-handed shooter).  Don't overdo this adjustment or you may actually make the position less comfortable and less stable, but moving about 1/4 to 1/2 of the range provided on the handguard screws will, in many cases, reduce the pressure on the wrist and make the setup more comfortable.

Some General Thoughts
Hopefully, after reading this article you have an understanding of the possibilities of the Tubegun stock.  The most frequent misadjustment I see is having the LOP too long, a throwback to the days of stocks with the bolt running into your face instead of below it.  Consider for a minute, the effect of shortening the LOP, then adjusting the handstop and rear sight positions to maintain the same LTH and LTS.  The position of the support arm remains the same, but the reach to the loading port is reduced and the balance of the rifle is improved as the weight becomes more centered between the hands.  The only real detriment is a slight reduction in sight radius, but that's really not a big concern with the barrel lengths typical of match rifles; and nothing a bloop tube can't cure anyway.  What we're describing is really sliding the rifle backward, into the buttplate, while holding the handstop and rear sight stationary.  This would make a great computer animation if I had that kind of skill, but use your imagination and I think you'll grasp it easily.

The prone position should be one of solid control of the rifle.  Your head should be over the cheekpiece, not on the side of the cheekpiece.  The grip should be firm and the support arm at a 30 degree angle to create that roof truss support with the arm and sling.  A position that's too low will do nothing for your stability; it will cause pain in the shoulder and forearm and will have referees and fellow competitors concerned over the rules compliance of the position.  A position that's too high, with a very short LTH, will move the weight forward of the support hand, negatively impacting balance and stability.  Like Goldilocks trying out everything in the Three Bears' house, we're looking for that "just right" balance of settings in our search for stability, durability and comfort.

I suggest that you keep a small notebook with notes and dimensions on your adjustments so that you can return to known good settings if your experimentation takes you too far from the objectives.  Above all, never settle for an imperfect fit - use the stock's capabilities to build the perfect fit for your perfect position.  You now have the tools in hand (literally) to reach a higher level of performance - use them well and take the next step up!
More Tubegun Articles:




Reloading: Alliant Reloder 17

This article is now two years old, but it's still topical because Reloder 17 remains a very interesting powder and we are likely to see more powders with its characteristics.  I have done very little work with Reloder 17 since the article was written so I don't have anything more to add, but am posting it here as a convenient way to find it.  The article was first published in http://www.accurateshooter.com/ at http://www.6mmbr.com/reloder17.html

Alliant Reloder 17
State-of-the-Art Powder Delivers Amazing Velocities
Introduction by the Editor http://www.accurateshooter.com/

Speed Beyond All Expectations...


Here at Accurateshooter.com, we've done a lot of load testing, with a wide selection of cartridges and powders. Generally when a newly-introduced powder offers even a slight edge in velocity or accuracy, that's newsworthy. In the case of Alliant's new Reloder 17 (RL17), we were truly amazed by the enhanced velocities this powder offers compared to other propellants.

With the popular 6XC case, shooting 115gr bullets, most guys are topping out at about 2980-3000 fps with a max load of H4350 or H4831. In just-completed tests with RL17, German Salazar and Bob Jensen were able to achieve 3211 fps with the 115s at safe pressures. And with 107gr Sierra Match-Kings, German was able to increase his 6XC's max velocity from 3038 fps to a mind-blowing 3311 fps. That's a gain of 273 fps over his max load with H4831sc. Now, the max velocity with H4350 and 107s might be closer to 3100 fps, but that still means that RL17 can boost your max velocity by over 200 fps.

That's a huge increase, a monumental gain in velocity. We've never seen anything like this--where one powder offers such a dramatic increase in max velocity over other "preferred" powders used by precision shooters.

Engineered for Enhanced Energy, More Velocity


How does RL17 produce so much added speed? There are two main reasons--unique burn properties and high load density. In its chemical properties, RL17 is like no other powder available in the U.S. market. Made in Switzerland by Nitrochemie, RL17 has a unique burn-rate controlling chemical that penetrates all the way through the kernels. Other common extruded powders have only a surface coating. Reloader 17's unique penetrating burn-rate regulator smooths out the pressure curve, allowing RL17 to maintain high energy for a longer period of time.

German Salazar, using Bob Jensen's Oehler 43 equipped for pressure-testing, confirmed that the pressure curve for Reloder 17 is much "gentler" than that of other powders in the same burn range. After RL17 hits peak pressure, the energy level doesn't drop as rapidly as with other powders. So there is more energy pushing your bullet for a longer time. Since pressure drops off more slowly, you can achieve more velocity for a given peak pressure.

The second reason RL17 offers so much added velocity is load density. This powder packs very tightly compared to other "slow" extruded powders such as H4350 and H4831sc. For chamberings limited by case capacity, RL17 lets you put more powder (by weight) into the case. That means you're less likely to run out of "boiler room" before you reach max pressure.

Reloder 17 -- Paradigm Shift In Powder Performance
by Germán A. Salazar
Bob Jensen and I conducted pressure and velocity testing this morning with a sample of Alliant’s new Reloder 17 (RL17) canister powder. The powder is a very fine extruded powder, very similar in appearance and size to Reloder 15. However, unlike RL15 which is manufactured in Sweden, the new RL17 is a Swiss product and is reported to have a flatter pressure curve than conventional powders. Like other powders in the Reloder series, RL17 is a double-base powder with nitroglycerine content.


A few notes about the test procedures: All powder charges were thrown at the range; the standard deviation and extreme spread of the loads would be lower with weighed charges. Each load was limited to 3 or 4 shots as we were working on developing pressure/velocity curves for the powder, not trying to get the most accurate possible data for each charge weight. No shots were fired on target so at this point, accuracy remains an unknown quantity, but we plan to conduct accuracy tests very soon (see first match report below). The 6XC rifle has a 31" Krieger 1:7.5" twist barrel with 1500 rounds fired at the start of testing, the .308 rifle has a 30" Krieger 1:12" twist barrel with approximately 3000 rounds fired. NOTE: Ambient air temperature during all our tests was about 100° F. Keep that in mind when looking at the load tables.

RL17 is a slow powder, very roughly speaking, somewhere between H4350 and H4831 (which is a broad range). However, unlike those powders, or others in that range, RL17 is a very fine-grained powder, allowing a greater weight of powder to fit into a given case. For instance, in the 6XC, I’ve been shooting 42.0 H4831sc with the Berger 115 for some time; that load yields 2950 fps at 50,400 psi and fitting more powder into the case is almost impossible, therefore we could not approach maximum allowable pressure. With RL17, we reached 60,800 psi at 40.9 grains and a velocity of 3211 fps.



While the higher pressure obviously contributes to the higher velocity, the point is that with RL17 we were able to reach that pressure/velocity range, whereas H4831sc limited us due to its low density. Similarly, the 3313 fps we reached with the Sierra 107 at a pressure of 59,700 is a new high water mark for the 6XC in our experience. Our previous high velocity was 3038 fps with 39.0 H4350 at 48,200 psi. RL17’s high density, high energy combination will allow those cartridges suited to its burning rate to achieve higher velocities than previously possible. We also observed that the pressure curves of the RL17 loads were different than most powders, with a sharper ramp up (lower rise time) and a more gradual down slope thus generating more energy for a given pressure level.





Testing Reloder 17 in the .308 Winchester

Our testing continued with the .308 Winchester. As you can see in the table, RL17 is really too slow for the 155gr bullets, with a 48.0 grain charge yielding 2880 fps at 50,900 psi. By contrast, 45.5 grains of H4895 gave 3050 fps at 59,900 psi and 46.0 Varget gave 3036 fps at 59,400 psi. Both of those reference loads were clearly a better combination for the 155. However, when we switched to the world famous, industrial grade, Lapua 185gr D46 FMJ match bullet (you might notice that I have a soft spot for this bullet) RL17 once again showed a real advantage. At a maximum load of 47.0 grains of RL17, we saw 2701 fps at 54,400 psi. This was a fairly full charge with a bit of powder compression so we didn’t go further although the pressure was still well below max.


When more of the powder becomes available, we plan to continue testing with heavy bullet loads in both the .308 Win and 30-06. I believe that this may be just the powder to take the 30-06 with the 210gr Berger to a new performance level.


Official Alliant Load Data Available


Reloder 17 is so new to North American shooters that there is very limited load data available. German Salazar and Bob Jensen began with low, conservative starting points. Alliant Powder does have Reloder 17 data now available for many popular cartridges. You'll find this data incorporated in the Alliant Reloaders' Guide. Once you go to the guide, select "Rifle Load Data", then choose the Cartridge and bullet combination you prefer.

CAUTION: Reloder® 17 was created with new technology to provide velocity greater than the competition in popular standard rifle calibers and the new short magnums. For the recipes developed in Alliant’s Ballistics Laboratory, all loads used Speer bullets and list the correct Overall Length — DO NOT SEAT THE BULLETS TO A LESS OVERALL LENGTH. These recipes are maximum loads and shall not be exceeded. Always start at least 5% low and work up.

Reloder 17 Shoots 600-39X in First Match at 500 Yards
by the Editor http://www.accurateshooter.com/


On July 20, 2007 shooting at the Phoenix Rod & Gun Club, German confirmed that RL17 can deliver real-world, match-winning accuracy. Shooting a 500-yard prone High Power match on the NRA MR65 target, using iron sights, German posted a very impressive 600-39X score. The three relays were shot with three different loads of RL17 in progressively "hotter" increments: 40.6 grains (3215 fps), 41.2 grains (3290 fps), and 41.8 grains (3311 fps). He shot 200-14X with the low load, 200-15X with the middle load, and 200-10X with the hottest load. German felt the middle load was the most consistent. (NOTE: these loads are all with moly-coated bullets--you should reduce the load by at least one full grain for "naked" bullets".)
German explains: "Ask any high power shooter and he'll tell you 600-39X is quite an achievement with iron sights on the new (smaller) MR65 target at 500 yards. I can say with assurance now that this powder will shoot accurately in the 6XC. Last week, using H4831sc, shooting the same 6XC rifle, at the same range, with the same course of fire, I shot a 598-29x. I do think Reloder 17 helped me shoot a higher score this week, with 10 more Xs. The extra velocity afforded by RL17 reduces wind drift considerably, and the elevation held very consistently, particularly with the first two loads."

Even at the hottest load, 41.8 grains (3311 fps) of RL17, German did not observe sticky bolt lift or other notable signs of pressure. So far, then, what we've learned about Reloder 17 is "all good" -- in the appropriate cartridge, it will boost velocities dramatically, and it can deliver competitive accuracy in High Power competition.





Robert Whitley's Reloder 17 Tests in .284 Win, 6.5-284, and 6XC


Robert Whitley recently received some of the new Alliant Reloder 17 powder. He was able to test it in his 6XC, 6.5-284 and his .284 Winchester. Robert's results with the .284 and 6XC were remarkable. First, he confirmed German Salazar's findings that RL17 offers big velocity gains in the 6XC. Second, very importantly, Whitley found that RL17 allowed him to drive 180gr Bergers at 3000 fps in his .284 Win. That represents a gain of about 150 fps over his "max load" with other powders. Robert reports: "I just got back from the range and chrono-tested two rifles with RL17 using 5-shot chrono sequences. My results are presented below."

Rifle #1: .284 Winchester with Berger 180s

.284 Winchester Prone Rifle built up by Warner Tool Co. with Masterclass Stock, Barnard Action, Broughton 1:9" twist 5C barrel (31.5" long).

All loads used neck-turned, Winchester-headstamp .284 brass, CCI BR-2 primers, and naked (non-moly) Berger 180gr VLD bullets seated .010" in the lands:


51 gr RL 17 - Mean Velocity 2881 fps, ES 17, SD 7 - No pressure issues at all

52 gr RL 17 - Mean Velocity 2953 fps, ES 19, SD 7 - No pressure issues at all

53 gr RL 17 - Mean Velocity 3003 fps, ES 25, SD 10 (Slight sticky bolt lift on 3 rounds - this is about top end for my liking but I would not hesitate to shoot it however if it turns out to deliver good accuracy).

Big Speed Gain with Reloder 17 in .284 Win

RL 17 clearly enables me to run the Berger 180s easily 125-150 fps faster that I normally was able to shoot them with H4350 and H4831SC in this rifle. My previous load ran around 2825 - 2850 fps with the Berger 180s and that was about all I could get out of it.

Rifle #2: 6.5-284 with 140gr Berger BTs

6.5 x 284 Prone Rifle built up by Warner Tool Co with Masterclass Laminate Stock by Carl Bernosky, Barnard Action, Bartlein 1:8.5" twist 5R rifled barrel (31" long).

All loads used neck-turned Lapua 6.5 x 284 brass, Fed 210M primers, and naked (no moly) Berger 140gr BT Thick Jacket bullets jumped .010":

48 gr RL 17 - Mean Velocity 3035 fps, ES 17, SD 7 - No pressure issues at all

49 gr RL 17 - Mean Velocity 3078 fps, ES 25, SD 11 - No pressure issues at all

50 gr RL 17 - Mean Velocity 3130 fps, ES 35, SD 12 - No pressure issues at all

51 gr RL 17 - Mean Velocity 3185 fps, ES 17, SD 6 (Sticky bolt lift on 4 rounds - this is about top end for my liking but I would not hesitate to shoot it however if it turns out to deliver good accuracy).

Bear in mind my typical loading with this rifle is 48 grains of H4350 with a Fed 210M primer and the Berger 140gr BT Thick Jacket bullets (no moly) jumping .010". This H4350 load runs 2987 fps and has sticky bolt lift on just about every round.

Nearly 200 fps More Velocity Using RL17 with 140s in 6.5-284

In this rifle, Reloder 17 clearly enables me to run the Berger 140s almost 200 fps faster than I normally was able to shoot them with H4350 in this rifle. My previous H4350 load ran around 2987 fps with the Berger 140s and that was about all I could get out of it.

Caution -- The 6.5-284 already has a reputation as a barrel burner. We can't predict the long-term effects of using RL17 and shooting 150-200 fps faster, but the higher velocities might cause barrels to wear even more quickly.


Rifle #3: 6XC with 107 SMKs and 115 DTACs

6XC Prone Rifle, MAK Tube Gun kit with Remington 700 short action glued in, Pac-Nor 30" 1:8" twist barrel (conventional 4-groove) chambered with an earlier design 6XC reamer (i.e. .275 neck, .090" free bore and one and a half degree throat angle).

All loads were with Winchester 22-250 brass prepped via the Medler method and pre-fireformed to 6XC, BR-2 primed and loaded with either naked Sierra 107s jumped .020" or DTAC 115s jumped .020".
38 gr RL 17 (Sierra 107s) - Mean Velocity 2995, ES 34, SD 14

39 gr RL 17 (Sierra 107s) - Mean Velocity 3114, ES 19, SD 7

40 gr RL 17 (Sierra 107s) - Mean Velocity 3204, ES 32, SD 11

38.5 gr RL 17 (DTAC 115s) - Mean Velocity 3031, ES 45, SD 19

Comment: There were no pressure signs with any of the 6XC loads. With RL 17 I was shooting naked Sierra 107s at 3200 fps with no sticky bolt lift. My prior loading with this rifle was with 40 gr of N160 shooting Moly Berger 105 VLDs and above about 2950 fps I used to get sticky bolt lift, so I stayed around 2950 fps. The primers with the 40 gr loading with Sierra 107s were flattening out a bit but there was never any sticky bolt lift with any of the loads. I suspect if I used the Russian primers that I typically use with my other 6mms, the ES and SD numbers might tighten up a bit.

Big Velocity Gain with DTAC 115s in the 6XC

Previously with this barrel and the DTAC 115s I could never get them over about 2875 fps without very excessive pressure, but with RL17 there were no pressure issues at 3031 fps. That's a gain of +156 FPS and there may be more room above that.

Superior Velocities with Reloder 17 Confirmed

Generally speaking, my results confirm that German Salazar's results with this powder were not an anomaly and that this RL17 powder is really quite different than the propellants we have previously been using in the shooting community. RL17 really takes both the .284 Win and 6XC to whole new performance levels, previously unattainable. Is RL17 a "miracle powder"? I don't know, but it sure seems to be pointing in that direction.

Previous Max Vel & wind drift @ 1000 (10 mph)     RL17  Max Vel RL17 wind drift @ 1000 (10 mph)

.284 Win       180 Berger VLD 2840 fps, H4350 55.25"                 3003 fps, RL17 50.42"

6.5-284        140 Berger BT Thick 2987 fps, H4350 61.55"           3185 fps, RL17 55.56"

6XC              107 SMK moly 2950 fps, N160 73.14"                     3204 fps, RL17 64.77"

Equipment: BAT .50 BMG Action

BAT .50 BMG - Now That's an Action!
by Germán A. Salazar

I stopped into Bruno's this week for a jug of powder and casually looked into the display case where the new actions are kept. Amid the usual array of BAT, Stolle and other actions, there was something unlike any other action I'd seen before - all I can call it is the BIG BAT. I wasn't too surprised at the weight when I lifted it, it weighs 13.7 lb., but until you lift it it's hard to appreciate how solid, chunky, hefty, massive - pick your favorite adjective - this thing really is. The action is a 2.5" diameter, 12" long BAT for the .50 BMG cartridge. It is simply the biggest, slickest custom action on the planet. In order to give you some sense of scale, I photographed the action alongside a conventional BAT action for short-range Benchrest shooting and I put a .220 Russian case and a .30-06 case into the picture I've handled and fired other .50 BMG actions/rifles before, but this BAT puts them all to shame in as far as fit and finish go.


The action is actually quite conventional in design and execution. The bolt is fluted and has two front lugs with a conventional, although super-sized, firing pin assembly. Any Remington style trigger will mount by way of a normal trigger hanger, allowing for simplified maintenance or replacement in the field. The loading port is 5.5" long and the barrel threads are 1.5" x 16 tpi - nothing about this beast is small! There is a conventional rocker-type bolt release on the left side of the receiver body and a recoil lug is built into the bottom of the receiver. In reality, the action is very similar to any other BAT except for the size and it adheres to all of BAT's high standards for quality of design, manufacture, fit, finish and just plain good looks. Slide that bolt back and it feels as tight as a small Benchrest action!



Not many of us will ever have the opportunity to own or shoot one of these beauties (I certainly won't) but it sure is good to know they exist and can be bought and enjoyed in many places.
 


 

History: Free Rifle Shooting In the Cold War Years

This is a very long article and I haven't finished it.  It's been a labor of love for some time, but the research is difficult and tedious and other priorities get in the way.  The article attempts to track equipment development and shooting events simultaneously and maybe that was a bad decision, too much information, I don't know.  Worse of all, the pictures I want to use are all in old magazines which I have no ability to scan (though I have the magazines).  I'll work on that someday but it won't be soon.  I'm posting the article in its current, raw, unfinished state because I think I might actually make some progress on it if it's easier to access like this.  Please don't post links to this anywhere, it's here for me to work on and for you faithful readers to enjoy, but let's keep it here for now.  It's not finished, it's rough in places, but here it is - don't think you'll finish it in one sitting!  -GAS-

Free Rifle Shooting in the Cold War Years:
Sputnik, the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Sierra 168
by Germán A. Salazar


Measure and counter-measure, the endless East-West struggle of the Cold War was not just a game played in space and on the battlefield. Every international contest, most assuredly including international shooting, was a Cold War battleground. In the mid 1950’s the Soviet Union entered the world of international shooting and almost immediately became a dominant force in International Shooting Union or Union Internationale de Tir (UIT) 300 Meter Free Rifle competition. The countries which had traditionally won the medals in 300 Meter shooting, Switzerland, Finland and Sweden, remained contenders, but the United States lagged well behind. The U.S. team’s triumphs of the 1920’s and 1930’s were but a distant memory. While UIT matches included many events, the 300 Meter Free Rifle was without question the premier discipline and victory at 300 meters trumped all. As Sputnik whizzed overhead in 1957, everyone in the U.S. became keenly aware of the Soviet threat and the blow to national prestige. International shooting was one of many venues in which the East-West drama played out, accelerating the urgency and pace of development in training methods and equipment during that time period.

During the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, every aspect of competitive shooters’ performance was scrutinized as never before. Training methods and facilities improved dramatically; the selection of shooters for international teams became a more rigorous process and rifles and ammunition development became a top priority. A significant example of this continuing search for enhanced performance was the evolution of match bullets in the U.S. The world of match bullets was quite literally turned upside down in 1959 when match bullets went through a sudden evolution from the classic full metal jacket (open base) to the now ubiquitous hollow point (open tip). The benefits of the hollow point were not clear to all bullet makers and even when Sierra made the change, the source of the 168's superior performance was not immediately obvious to other bullet makers or even to shooters. Now, as we reach a half century with hollow point match bullets, beginning with the Sierra .30 caliber, 168 grain International and its progeny, we should pause to examine the events surrounding this quiet revolution in match bullets.

The early evolution of match bullets, from round nose to boat tail was covered by Dr. Ken Erickson in his article The Evolution of the Match Bullet (Precision Shooting Special 3 Vol. 1, 1995, P. 44) and it is not our intent to cover that same ground. Our period of interest begins in 1954 and continues to 1972, examining the competition and equipment at the elite levels of international Free Rifle shooting.

In the mid 1950’s, all .30 caliber match bullets were of the FMJ design. In the US, the pre-eminent match bullet was the Frankford Arsenal produced 173 grain bullet as loaded in the .30-06 match cartridge over the years and standardized as the M72 match cartridge in 1958. This bullet was essentially a non-cannelured version of the bullet standardized in the .30-06 M1 service cartridge in 1925. The FA 173 was used by Frankford Arsenal in match ammunition before the war as well as when match ammunition production resumed with a special run of .308 and .30-06 for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. See: Hatcher’s Notebook, MG Julian S. Hatcher, 3rd Ed., The Stackpole Company, 1962, p. 25; Frankford Arsenal and Match Ammunition, unattributed, The American Rifleman April 1957, p. 40; Ammunition For the 1958 National Matches, Col. B.R. Lewis, The American Rifleman, September 1958, p. 29; Match Ammunition Manufacture, Walter J. Howe and E.H. Harrison, The American Rifleman, December 1959, p. 15.

The FA 173 grain bullet was a FMJ design, because all bullets produced for military use were required to conform to the agreements contained in the Hague Convention of 1899. The Hague Convention’s Declaration III, bound the signatories, which included the United States, to the following as a rule of international law: “The Contracting Parties agree to abstain from the use of bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope which does not entirely cover the core, or is pierced with incisions.” (The Avalon Project at Yale Law School, The Laws of War, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/lawwar.asp ).

The FA 173 proved to be quite accurate, a fact which should come as no surprise given that it was the product of several years of experimentation using the National Match ammunition as the test vehicle. While match bullets were not covered by the Hague convention and thus not required to be of the FMJ design, there was no compelling reason to change from the norm.  Accordingly, the FA match ammunition was loaded with selected lots of the 173 gr. military bullets from 1925 to 1941 when production of match ammunition ceased. With the resumption of match ammunition production in 1956, the 173 was brought back on a smaller production line devoted specifically to match bullets. These bullets were sufficiently accurate in U.S. competition where distances were longer than in UIT matches, but the central 5 ring was of very generous proportions: 12" at 200 and 300 yards and 20" at 600 yards in comparison to the UIT 300 meter target’s 10 cm. 10 ring (3.94" at 328 yards). Whether they would be suitable for post-war international competition remained to be seen.

Photo: Art Jackson at Camp Perry in 1955 with the Winchester Trophy for the US 300 Meter Championship.

At the 1954 UIT World Championships were held in Caracas, Venezuela, Soviet shooters gave notice of what was to come by taking the gold and silver individual medals as well as the gold medal in the team match. Gold medalist Anatoliy Bogdanov won four matches and set three new world records including the 300 meter aggregate of 1133, well over the old record of 1124. Bogdanov and his teammate, silver medalist Vasiliy Borisov (1132), would become very familiar names in the world of UIT shooting. Vilho Ylönen (1126), Finland’s top shooter took the bronze medal while U.S. shooters finished from 16th to 34th with Art Jackson’s 1092 being their high score. Round 1 of the East-West 300 Meter battle was a decisive win for the USSR.

The dearth of suitable U.S. made rifles and ammunition was reflected in the team’s kit: Jackson shot a Winchester Model 70 with pre-war FA match ammunition, a home-made free rifle stock and a Douglas barrel; Bob Sandager and Earl Franzen used custom Finnish actions, Schultz & Larsen barrels in 6.5 x 55 and home-made stocks; Augie Westergaard, Verle Wright and Jim Smith used Schultz & Larsen M54 rifles in 6.5 x 55 and Allan Luke shot a 6.5 x 55 Hämmerli National which was based on the straight-pull Schmidt-Rubin action. While using European equipment wasn’t new to U.S. shooters – the teams of the 1930’s used Swiss Hämmerli Martini rifles – there was an element of national pride that steered them toward seeking U.S. made equipment. Jackson’s relative success showed at least that this was possible. Roy Dunlap, who would go on to make free rifle actions (centerfire and smallbore) and complete rifles in Tucson, Arizona was in attendance at the World Championships no doubt picking up a great deal of information for future use. See: 36th World Shooting Championships, Arthur C. Jackson and Philip C. Roettinger, The American Rifleman, January 1955, p. 26; Toughest Shooting Sport of All, Larry F. Moore, Guns Magazine, January 1957, p. 36; The International Match Rifle, Roy F. Dunlap, The Ultimate in Rifle Precision, The Stackpole Company, 1958).

Photo: Art Jackson on the cover of the American Rifleman, May, 1954.

There was no lack of appreciation for the challenge that lay ahead. Jackson and Roettinger noted that the Soviet team was a fully government funded professional operation emphasizing continuous training. Soviet equipment was selected by team staff after rigorous testing. By contrast, U.S. shooters were individual enthusiasts with little opportunity to train together and share techniques and their equipment was based on individual preference more than on a systematic process of evaluation. Roy Dunlap wrote the blueprint for future U.S. team efforts in his seminal article: What We Need To Win, Roy F. Dunlap, The American Rifleman, February 1955, p. 41. Succinctly capturing the importance of international competition, Dunlap pointed out that to observers the world over “[UIT shooting] is not a competition between representative teams of sportsmen, but simply nation versus nation; i.e. Sweden defeats Switzerland; the U.S.S.R. defeats the U.S.A.” Dunlap emphasized the need for increased UIT type competition in the U.S. as well as the liberalization of NRA rules to permit Free Rifles in most competitions. Dunlap noted that the Soviets used a specially made, heavy, single-shot action and stocks were individually fitted to the shooter; a harbinger of the future for U.S. shooters. Finally, Dunlap opined that the low recoil 6.5 mm cartridges provided a good transition to 300 meter shooting from smallbore, but acknowledged that the .30 caliber cartridges, with which the U.S. had vast experience, would remain a staple of U.S. shooters’ equipment. Better training, more competition and international level equipment were Dunlap’s prophetic prescription for the U.S.

In 1955 the Soviet Union and its satellite nations formed the Warsaw Pact as a counter to NATO; the Cold War was becoming more organized. The 1955 Pan American Games in Mexico City provided U.S. shooters with more experience, but little else. In the 300 Meter Free Rifle event, the best U.S. placement was Dr. Emmet Swanson (1095) in 3rd place, followed by Art Jackson (1093) in 4th with Verle Wright, Augie Westergaard and Bob Sandager in 6th through 8th places. Argentine competitors took the gold and silver medals. This lackluster performance against undistinguished competition did not bode well for the coming year’s Olympic Games (The 1955 Pan American Matches, William T. Toney, Jr., The American Rifleman, May 1955, p. 47).

Meanwhile, the Soviet shooters absolutely dominated the Free Rifle matches at the 1955 European Championships with the Soviet duo of Anatoliy Bogdanov and Vasiliy Borisov paramount. Bogdanov (1139) took the gold while setting a new world record; Borisov took the silver and the Finland’s Vilho Ylönen the bronze. Swiss shooter August Hollenstein raised the world record for standing to 371 a solid 6 points over Borisov’s year old record; fellow Swiss shooter E. Rohr raised the kneeling record to 385, while Bogdanov, V. Golowin (USSR) and the Ylönen (Finland) all tied the prone record at 393. See: Russia Sweeps European Championships, Col. Perry D. Swindler, The American Rifleman, December 1955, p. 4.

The 1956 Olympic Games at Melbourne, Australia opened 12 days after Soviet troops crushed the Hungarian Revolution, leaving 2,500 dead and 200,000 homeless in their wake. In Melbourne, far removed from the violence, the USSR’s Vasiliy Borisov (1138) and Allan Erdman (1137) captured the gold and silver medals, Finland’s Vilho Ylönen (1128) took the bronze. Erdman has what appeared to be an insurmountable lead when Borissov, who had 20 shots to fire when Erdman finished, scored 19 consecutive 10’s to pass Erdman for the gold by one point. The U.S. shooters in the 300 Meter Free Rifle event, Jim Smith (1082) and Herb Voelcker (1075) placed 8th and 10th respectively. Soviet shooters took home 8 of the 18 available shooting medals, Czechoslovakia and Romania added to the East Block count with one each, Finland and Sweden at two apiece held the neutral ground while Canada’s two medals (Gerry Oulette’s gold and Gil Boa’s bronze in 50 meter Smallbore prone) and the U.S.’s lone medal (Offut Pinion’s bronze in Free Pistol) made for a weak overall Western performance. Round 2 was another big Soviet win and the urgency of the U.S. team’s need to improve was palpable.


In those Cold War years, that was not a result to be shrugged off. As Bob Hayden, of Sierra Bullets commented recently: “At that time, having the best rifle team in international competition was symbolic of having the best military”. In a more contemporaneous comment, Col. Charles Askins wrote: “Our loss, with its implications of [Soviet] world athletic supremacy, and to the tune of propagandistic drum-beatings in the Communist press, resoundingly points up that winning the Olympic accolade is no longer a simple little horseshoe-pitching but another propaganda facet in the war for men's minds” Echoing Roy Dunlap’s comments from a few years earlier, Askins decried the NRA’s lack of leadership in developing programs which would prepare U.S. shooters for international competition (Why American Shooters Lost the Olympics, Col. Charles Askins, Guns Magazine, April 1957, p. 12).

National prestige was damaged and the consequences were far-reaching, including the formation of the US Army Advanced Marksmanship Training Unit (USAAMU) at Fort Benning, Georgia to systematically train and equip shooters capable of beating the Soviets in international competition. The 1956 U.S. Olympic Team’s ammunition, both 30-06 and .308, was loaded at Frankford Arsenal using the FA 173 bullet and it was very accurate by U.S. standards of the time, but in the red hot crucible of UIT 300 Meter competition, it was found wanting. It was time for every aspect of competitive shooting performance to come under greater scrutiny than ever before, and this included the tip of the spear: the .30 caliber match bullet.

While today, nearing the end of the first decade of the 21st Century we tend to think of all match ammunition as being handloaded, this was not the case 50 years ago, especially at the highest levels of the sport where arsenal-loaded ammunition was the norm. Handloading, however, was not completely absent from UIT shooting, with Norma, Lapua and Sierra providing useful components.

Sierra Bullets began bullet production in 1947; their first match bullet a 53 grain .22 cal. bullet of a hollow point flat base design came a few years later. By early 1959 the product line consisted of 44 different bullets including two .30 caliber match bullets: the 180 grain Matchking and the 200 grain International, both of which were FMJ designs and quite similar in form to the FA 173 (7 caliber ogive and 9 degree boat tail). These bullets performed successfully in U.S. competition; in 1953 William Turpie won the premier U.S. 1000 yard competition, the Wimbledon Cup, shooting a 30-06 with the 180 grain Sierra Matchking. In 1955 and 1956, Francis Conway won the Wimbledon shooting a .300 H&H Magnum with Sierra Matchking bullets (The Ultimate in Rifle Precision, Townsend Whelen, Third Ed., The Stackpole Company, 1954, p. 210; Sierra Bullets advertisements, The American Rifleman, July 1957, p. 10, February 1959, p. 5).

Sierra’s 53 grain HP was well established in the Benchrest community by then, but the .30 caliber match bullet line remained firmly in the FMJ camp. Other makers of match ammunition were no more advanced at the time. Olin Mathieson, maker of Winchester and Western ammunition was still using a FMJ match bullet in the premier lines: Western Super Match and Winchester 30-06 Springfield Wimbledon Cup, as well as in the ammunition manufactured under contract to the military marksmanship units. See: Sierra Bullets advertisement, Guns Magazine, June 1958, p. 4; Winchester advertisement, The American Rifleman, July 1959, back cover.

While Sierra’s was winning in U. S. competition, Lapua and Norma were the dominant bullet makers in UIT shooting at that time. The Lapua .30 caliber, 185 gr. FMJ D46 bullet, was the acknowledged front-runner in .30 caliber handloading component bullets for UIT shooting and Finnish shooters made the best of it by bringing home a disproportionate share of medals from the Olympics and World Championships. Finnish shooters used the same cartridge as the Soviets, the 7.62 x 53R in their Free Rifles. The Swedes favored the 6.5 x 55 and Norma’s 139 gr. 6.5 mm FMJ boat tail match bullet was the gold standard for that cartridge, both in Europe and in the U.S. Norma also made a .30 caliber 180 gr. FMJ match bullet (Finnish Shooting Activity, Olavi Haikkila, The American Rifleman, November 1955, p. 41; Norma advertisements, The American Rifleman, March 1955, p. 15, November 1955, p. 73).

The 185 gr. D46, which remains in Lapua’s product line today, is a FMJ, rebated boat tail design. Very careful attention is paid to the jacket rollover at the base and the D46 exhibits a very high degree of uniformity in this regard. I have examined D46 bullets from the late 1950’s through the present and can detect no deterioration whatsoever in the uniformity of their manufacture. Lapua also offers this bullet in a 170 gr. weight and at times has offered a 195 grain version.

U.S. riflemen met the Russian bear on his home ground at the 1958 World Championships held at the Domino Range in Moscow. However, it was Finland who led the way with perennial top shooter Vilho Ylönen (1136) taking the gold medal and the title of World Champion. The U.S.’s Dan Puckel (1132) won the silver medal and the bronze medallist was another Finn, Esa Kervinen (1129). U.S. shooter Verle Wright won the prone match with a 389 and won the kneeling match tying the World Record of 385. The Soviet shooters were conspicuously absent from the Free Rifle medal stand except in the team match where they won the gold medal. Soviet shooters won 5 of six individual medals as well as the team gold medals in the 300 Meter Standard Rifle and Army Rifle matches, but that was cold comfort after being shut out in Free Rifle. Round 3 of the East-West Free Rifle battle thus went to the neutral Finns though the U.S. shooters were gratified to see their efforts bear fruit on Russian soil with Puckel’s silver and Wright’s kneeling record.

The U.S. Free Rifle shooters in 1958 used both 30-06 and .308 ammunition, but Frankford Arsenal ammunition was gone from the U.S. team’s supplies. In its place were found Western’s .308 match ammo (WCC 58) with the 200 grain Western FMJ bullet and 30-06 handloads made with all Remington components, including the Remington 180 grain FMJ bullet. During this period, the shop personnel at the USAAMU began to make 6mm and .30 caliber bullets in their own dies as the commercial offerings were not satisfactory. The 197 grain .30 caliber bullet developed there became the model for the subsequent Winchester, Western and Remington match bullets. Eventually, those companies would load complete ammunition to USAAMU specifications.

Rifles were improving as both Remington and Winchester produced special single-shot free rifle actions fitted with Hart barrels and thumbhole stocks for the team. Some rifles, however, including Puckel’s had commercial FN Mauser single-shot benchrest action. The Hart barrels were button-rifled, a then new process for commercial barrel makers that promised to deliver better accuracy. Training methods were certainly improving, with the nascent USAAMU providing a home and training venue for some members of the U.S. team. See: 37th World Championships, unattributed, The American Rifleman, October 1958, p. 35; Arms in 37th World Championship, unattributed, The American Rifleman, April 1959, p. 33; United States Army Marksmanship Unit 1956-2006, Military Marksmanship Association, Turner Publishing Company, Nashville TN, 2007.

Rifles in other countries kept pace with developments in the U.S. Allan Erdman, who won the Silver medal in Melbourne, used a Tula Mark 13 rifle in 7.62 x 54, Bogdanov also used this model, which was one of four types generally available to Soviet shooters all of which had rigid receivers and fully adjustable stocks. Jorma Taitto, one of Finland’s best wrote: “I use a custom rifle built for me by Manterri, who designed the Manterri trigger on the "Lion" commercial smallbore free rifle. My own gun is built around a 6.5 mm Jap Arisaka bolt, which allows the gunsmith the chance to do some careful regulation of firing pin fall for crispness and fast action. The custom receiver is flat sided, very heavy, for stiffness and consequently accuracy. The barrel, made by the large factory of Sako in Riihimaki, is in 7.62 caliber, the same as the old Russian rimmed service cartridge. I use a 185 grain step boattail bullet [Lapua D46] for 300 meter shooting, and with this gun fired fourth in the Olympic matches.” Swiss shooters relied on Hämmerli which provided two models, the Hämmerli Tanner turnbolt action and the Hämmerli National straight-pull; both had modern thumbhole Free Rifle stocks. The Swedish Free Rifle made by Vapenspecialisten AB, was available in .308, 30-06 or 6.5 x 55 and was advertised as having produced prone scores of 397 in .308 with a 12 gram (185 grain) bullet. The Book of Rifles, W.H.B. Smith, NRA 1948, p. 392; Competitive Shooting, A.A. Yur’yev, 1957, translation NRA 1985, p. 377; My Favorite Gun, Guns Magazine, January 1958, p. 4; March 1958, p. 4; Vapenspecialisten AB advertisement, UIT Journal, August 1962, p. 106.

The Soviets came back strongly at the 1959 European Championships in Winterthur, Switzerland; it was Anatoliy Bogdonov (1145) and Mosey Itkizh taking gold and silver for the USSR followed by Esa Kervinen (Finland) for the bronze. Bogdanov’s score was a new World Record for the aggregate, raising his own previous record by six points. Bogdanov and Finland’s Vilho Ylönen tied the prone world record held by Finn Jorma Taitto at 394.

The 1959 Pan American Games were held in Waukegan, Illinois, near Chicago. In the Free Rifle match US shooters Dan Puckel (1147), shooting the new Remington Free Rifle and Tommy Pool (1120), both of the USAAMU, stood on the top step of the podium for the gold and silver medals with Argentina’s Jorge Di Giandomenico (1096) taking the bronze. Puckel’s score set a world record, eclipsing Bogdanov’s just fired 1145. Puckel thus became the first U.S. shooter to set the World Record since 1923 when the great Marine shooter Morris Fisher set it at 1090. The U.S. program had clearly taken a leap forward; The American Rifleman reported: “The average 300 meter free-rifle score of the U.S. 1959 Pan American Team was a full 22 points higher than the average score of the U.S. 1958 World Championship Team which competed in Moscow.” Despite the lack of European competition, these scores were a tour de force that could not be ignored in Helsinki, Stockholm, Oslo or Moscow (Pan American Matches, John A. Harper, Jr., The American Rifleman, October 1959, p. 32).

While not the sole reason for the sudden surge in scores, most relevant to this account is the fact that Puckel and Pool shot .308 ammunition loaded with Sierra’s revolutionary, new .30 caliber 168 grain International bullet, a hollow point, boat tail design – the times they were a-changin’. The Sierra 168 was selected for the team’s ammunition because it outperformed the 197 grain bullets in both accuracy and wind deflection. The 197 was a rather stubby bullet with a long bearing surface and a relatively high drag, so despite its weight, it was easily outperformed by the sleeker Sierra design. With the 1960 Olympics in Rome less than a year away, U.S. shooters believed they were poised for success. The sudden improvement in scores was a welcome sight given the European and Soviet advances and the Sierra 168 International was a significant contributor to that step forward.

Of course, the Sierra 168 didn’t magically appear in Puckel’s and Pool’s shooting kits and its evolution is a great part of our story. While Winchester and Remington were duplicating the USAAMU’s 197 grain bullet, Sierra marched to the beat of a different drummer. Despite the success of the Sierra .30 caliber FMJ match bullets in NRA shooting, Frank Snow, one of Sierra’s founders and the resident bullet designer, was certain he could do better. Snow’s design for a better bullet incorporated a series of features that were a dramatic departure from the existing design. One of the flaws of the FMJ design, as then produced, was that the jacket was highly stressed in the process of being formed over the core. This led to some bullet failures in flight, an unacceptable condition to any bullet maker. By reversing the jacket and leaving a hollow point, these stresses were significantly reduced, resulting in a more reliable bullet. Additionally, keeping the core shorter than the jacket and incorporating a relatively short 13 degree boat tail improved the bullet’s balance and accuracy. Finally, the hollow point design gave Snow’s 168 a clean, even base which made the bullets more reliably accurate. In the FMJ design, the jacket must be rolled over at the base with perfect circumferential consistency from bullet to bullet or accuracy will suffer; the HPBT design, of course, makes all of the bases perfectly uniform. (Author’s Interview with Robert Hayden, President, Sierra Bullets, Inc., June 16, 2008).

Apart from other design elements, a key feature of accurate bullets is very uniform jacket wall thickness. The Frankford Arsenal practice was to use a two draw process to reshape the basic copper cup into the cylindrical bullet jacket. Sierra moved to a four draw process to maintain better control over wall thickness uniformity, a process that paid off in enhanced accuracy. See: Match Ammunition Manufacture, Walter J. Howe, E.H. Harrison, The American Rifleman, December 1959, p. 15; Bullet Jackets Affect Accuracy, L.E. Wilson, The American Rifleman, April 1962, p. 30; Hayden Interview.

Notwithstanding the success of the Sierra 168 International at the Pan Am Games, no notice of it appeared in print until November 1960 when it was included in a catalog type advertisement and then in February 1961 when an ad featuring veteran rifleman L.E. (Sam) Wilson endorsing the 168 for Benchrest shooting appeared in The American Rifleman. Other makers did not immediately follow suit, as can be seen in their advertisements of the time, which include no HPBT match bullets. Norma, for instance, introduced a new 187 gr. FMJ .30 caliber bullet in 1960 and Lapua continued to make its famous D46 FMJ match bullets. Similarly, Remington didn’t advertise the 40X Free Rifle until February 1961, when it offered the Remington International Match Rifle in .308 or 30-06 with a 40X action, 2 oz. or ½ oz. trigger, an unfinished laminated thumbhole stock, hook buttplate and palm rest. Winchester never produced a commercial version of their single-shot Free Rifle action. Advertising budgets were certainly smaller then, but it is puzzling from today’s perspective that the companies involved did not promote their successful new products in a timelier manner. See: Guns Magazine: Win, Lose or Draw, It's Still a Game, September 1960, p. 24;  The American Rifleman: New Products, November 1960, p. 66; Sierra Bullets advertisements, November 1960, p. 55 and February 1961, p. 10; Remington advertisement, February 1961, P. 57.

On August 20th, 1960, just days before the opening ceremonies of the Rome Olympics, Francis Gary Powers, who was shot down over the Soviet Union earlier that year while piloting a U2 reconnaissance aircraft, was sentenced to 10 years in a Soviet prison. International tensions ran high and both Soviet and U.S. shooters were eager to triumph in Rome. Dan Puckel and Jack Foster were the U.S. entrants in the Olympic Free Rifle match; the USSR was represented by Vasiliy Borisov and Moysey Itkis.  Bogdanov was strangely missing from the Soviet squad. The Americans benefited from their improved training and equipment and the powerful Soviet team was almost a force of nature, but they were not the only contestants.

Photo: 1960 Olympic Games, Rome, Italy, Free Rifle (3 Positions), Austrian Gold Medalist Hubert Hammerer stands with USSR's Bronze Medal winner Vasiliy Borisov (left) and Switzerland's Silver Medalist Hans Spillmann (right) (Photo by Bob Thomas/Getty Images)

The 300 meter range at the Italian infantry school at Cesano, 20 miles from the other shooting venues in Rome, proved to be much windier than most European ranges. Shooting took place from the second floor of a two-level shooting house due to the slope of the range. Wind and dust storms during the match eventually caused the officials to extend the firing time by one hour. Despite the extra time, scores were well below record levels and the results surprised many observers as Austria’s Hubert Hammerer (1129) who was better known as a Smallbore and Crossbow shooter took the gold medal, followed by Hans Rudolph Spillman (1127) of Switzerland for the silver while the USSR’s Borisov (1127) claimed the bronze. Spillman shot a 397 in the prone stage which was quite notable, although ineligible for a World Record as only the aggregate record could be set at the Olympics. Rounding out the top 10, Vilho Ylönen (1126) of Finland was 4th, the Soviet Itkis (1124) 5th, V. Stiborik (1123) of Czechoslovakia 6th, Foster (1121) of the US in 7th, S. Krebs ( (1118) of Hungary in 8th, Esa Kervinen (1117) of Finland in 9th and world record holder Puckel (1114) of the US took 10th place. See: The Olympic Games confirm the great interest in the Shooting Sport, UIT Journal, January 1961, p. 14; Olympic Shooting, Colonel Jim Crossman, 1960 Rome, Ch. 28, p. 95, NRA 1978; 1960 Olympic Shooting Events, Robert W. Lowe, The American Rifleman, November 1960, p. 17.

Gold medalist Hammerer of Austria was not part of the East-West struggle, having fought both as a member of the Waffen-SS during the war.  While the 1960 games were his first Olympic appearance, he qualified for the 1948 and 1952 games but opted not to participate as only Soviet rifles were available to him in Austria at that time; a situation certainly not to his liking.  For the 1960 games, Hammerer obtained a new rifle from the noted Swiss gunsmith André Tanner and used it to good effect.  Hammerer also competed in the 50 meter events and was a member of the 1964 Austrian Olympic squad in both disciplines as well, but the 300 Meter Free Rifle gold in 1960 would be his only Olympic medal.

The medal count was minimal, but the Soviets finished ahead of the U.S. shooters in Free Rifle. Not all results were as dim for the U.S., as Jim Hill earned a silver medal in smallbore prone and Bill McMillan won the gold in rapid-fire pistol. Principally, this was a transitional time for the two nations’ Free Rifle squads; Bogdanov was gone from the Soviet team, Foster was new to the U.S. team and Gary Anderson, the future Free Rifle star was present as an alternate for the U.S. team but did not compete. Free Rifle matches are won by the best trained athletes. Equipment plays a role, technical advances are important, but in the end, the man holding the rifle makes hundreds of decisions during the match which will outweigh small technical differences. In the difficult conditions at Cesano, those decisions were far more important than the technical advances made by the U.S. team. Round 4 thus went to the veteran shooters of Neutral countries who capably demonstrated their well honed skills.

Gary Anderson (photo at left with the gold medal from the 1964 Olympic Games) gave us an insider’s view of the state of Free Rifle development in the 1960 time period. On rifles, Anderson said: “Puckel got the first Remington Free Rifle in 1959; Tommy Pool used the Winchester experimental rifle. The lock time on the Winchester was too slow and no one else used it. From 1960 forward, the Winchester disappeared.” Surprisingly, Anderson told us: “Some of the Hämmerli straight-pull rifles (based on the Schmidt Rubin) were still in use in the late 1950’s.” Most observers would have thought those rifles were relics by then. As to the Remington, Anderson recalled: “The Remington Free Rifle was different from the commercial 40X in that the receiver wasn’t cut away over the top; it had a small loading port.” Remington didn’t make a left-hand version, though and Anderson, who is left-handed had to remove the rifle from his shoulder to reload, a distinct disadvantage. Anderson liked the Remington’s trigger, stating: “The Remington set-trigger was not half bad, it could be set down to ½ oz. but that was too light; I never set it below 2 oz.” Anderson stayed with Remington actions throughout his career, always with Hart or Walker barrels. It is interesting to note that when Remington offered the 40X Free Rifle for sale in 1961, they offered a choice of the 2 oz. benchrest trigger or the ½ oz. set-trigger. Author’s Interview with Gary Anderson, June 21, 2008.

Photo below: Gary L. Anderson being presented United States Distinguished International Shooter Badge #1 by President John F. Kennedy in early 1963. Also present was Frank Orth, Executive Vice President of the NRA. He later became the President of the U.S. Olympic Committee. President Kennedy is forming the size of the 300m target 10-ring with his hands.


With respect to ammunition, Anderson commented: “During my international shooting career, I shot the 168 Sierra in all major international competitions, always in .308 handloads made by the AMU.” The load was typically 39.0 grains of IMR 4895 with the 168, which was accurate, but tended to “get blown all over the place in windy conditions.” Anderson recounted that during the 1962 World Championships in Cairo, he felt that his load was simply not performing well. With 20 shots remaining in the kneeling match, he switched ammunition. “I got some 41.0 grain loads from Jim Hill (who was entered in the Army Rifle competition). I shot a 99 and a 100 for the last 20 shots kneeling, which saved the match.” Anderson commented that Hill’s hotter ammunition provided as much of a psychological advantage as a technical one, but with a World Championship at stake, that was a very important factor. That load, 41.0 grains of IMR 4895 and the 168, became Anderson’s standard load shortly thereafter for international shooting. Author’s Interview with Gary Anderson, June 21, 2008.

Searching for a possible technical advantage, the Soviet team began to experiment with a 6.5mm version of their standard 7.62 x 54 cartridge in the 1962 to 1966 time frame. Itkis, who placed 5th in the Rome Olympics, as well as some four or five other elite level Soviet shooters, were using that wildcat cartridge. There was some experimentation on the U.S. side, mostly with smaller cartridges such as the 6mm International developed first by Harvey Donaldson, then slightly changed by Mike Walker of Remington. However, those efforts foundered for lack of suitable match bullets in the appropriate weight range. Clint Dahlstrom of Canada shot the 6mm International at the 1962 World Championships using Sierra’s 100 grain open point, flat base hunting bullets, but U.S. shooters stuck to the reliable, if unspectacular, .30 caliber cartridges. “In all the years I shot internationally, I never had a rifle that grouped better than 8 cm. at 300 meters, while today’s 6BR and 6XC rifles will often group in the 2 cm. to 3 cm. range at 300 meters” said Anderson. That 8 cm. figure is a real eye opener when one considers that the 10 ring is only 10 cm. thus leaving almost no margin for error on the part of the shooter. The best Soviet ammunition of the late 1950’s was reported to group in the 9 cm. range, so Anderson’s level of accuracy was not atypical for the period. Anderson’s 1962 prone world record score of 395 is all the more impressive when viewed in that context. Competitive Shooting, A.A. Yur’yev, NRA 1985, p. 391; Author’s Interview with Gary Anderson, June 21, 2008; Author’s Interview with Clint Dahlstrom, December 2007.

John F. Kennedy became the 35th President of the United States in January of 1961. In May, Kennedy committed the U.S. to landing a man on the moon before the decade was out but by August, the tone was decidedly darker as the Soviets erected the Berlin Wall, seemingly overnight, and the Cold War heated up again. Then, in October, the Soviets detonated a 50 megaton thermonuclear bomb – the most powerful bomb ever made. The shooting world was quieter in 1961 as there were no major international championships. The various national teams devoted their efforts to preparations for the coming World Championships in Cairo. The top scores of the year from various National and Regional events, as reported to the UIT were: Puckel USA (1149), Anderson USA (1146), Kweliaschwili USSR (1144), Janhonen Finland (1141), Tschujan USSR (1140), Vogt Switzerland (1140), Ylönen Finland (1140), Kervinen Finland (1138), Muller Switzerland (1138) and Spillmann Switzerland (1138). Puckel had the high prone score for 1961 at 398, while Kervinen had the top kneeling score of 390 and Rissanen, another Finn had the highest standing score with a 377 (The Best of the 1961 Season, UIT Journal, February 1962, p. 10).

The nostalgic coming of age movie American Graffiti asked the question: “Where were you in ’62?” Free Rifle shooters the world over had no trouble answering that, they would be in Cairo for the 38th UIT World Championships. Egypt, under President Gamal Abdel Nasser was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement, a group of nations ostensibly distanced from the East-West struggle. In reality, many of these nations, including Egypt, had close ties to the Soviet Union.

As always, the World Championship was the biggest event in the sport. With many more competitors from more countries vying for the medals in more events than the Olympic Games, the title of World Champion was not one that could be earned with anything less than the utmost in physical, mental and technical preparation. The ranges at Cairo were so dramatic that no one could fail to be impressed. The Great Sphinx and the Great Pyramid of Giza the world’s tallest structure for nearly 4,000 years rose skyward behind the three-level shooting house which provided 56 firing points for 300 meter shooting on its 160 meter wide third level. Shooter would fire from two-man booths with a parquet floor. The second level contained catering facilities, spectator galleries, conference rooms and offices and the ground level had 80 firing points for 50 meter shooting with the Smallbore Rifle and Free Pistol. See: UIT Journal, February 1962, p. 5; April 1962, p. 33; June 1962, p. 65.

On Wednesday, October 17th, the day after President Kennedy learned that the Soviet Union had installed nuclear missile in Cuba, 90 miles from the U.S. mainland, the Free Rifle shooters began their competition with all eyes on shooters from the USSR, USA, Switzerland and Finland. From the beginning it was clear that 22 year old Gary Anderson was the man to watch. Having already won the Smallbore 3 x 40 World Championship the previous week, Anderson won the Free Rifle World Championship with a solid 1138 in a tie breaking decision over the Soviet shooter Vladimir Yevdokimov. Tommy Pool (1136) was the bronze medallist. Swiss, Soviet and U.S. shooters completed the top ten positions, the Finns falling below their usual standard. Anderson’s set three World Records in Cairo: 395 in the 300 meter prone match, 1157 in the Smallbore 3x40 match and 376 in the Smallbore Standing match. While our focus is on the 300 meter events, Anderson’s overall performance heralded the arrival of a new star in the world of UIT shooting. See: 700 Competitors From 45 Countries, K.H. Lanz, UIT Journal, December 1962, p. 165.

Anderson’s performance in Cairo surprised many people, but it wasn’t surprising to those who followed the U.S. shooting scene closely. A product of the renewed interest in UIT type shooting in the U.S., Anderson began shooting competitively in 1957 and joined the USAAMU in 1959. As a competitor in the 1959 Pan American games and an alternate in the 1960 Olympics, Anderson gained valuable exposure to the techniques of the world’s top shooters. He put that to good use, becoming the U.S. National Champion in both 50 meter and 300 meter Free Rifle matches in 1961. Anderson won many military matches with the Free Rifle, both in the U.S. and internationally during 1961 and was as prepared for victory in Cairo as anyone could be. Anderson managed to stay healthy in Cairo, avoiding the mysterious illness that seemed to strike many U.S. shooters on the day of their important matches. Soviet shooters were strangely unaffected by this selective malady. See: The American Rifleman, December 1962, Shooting Champions, John J. Grubar, p. 12; 38th World Championships, Franklin L. Orth, p. 17.

Our Canadian friend Clint Dahlstrom finished well down the list at with a 1060 firing the 6mm International in his first big international Free Rifle match; however we would soon see more interesting results for Dahlstrom. In the, 300 meter Free Rifle team match, the Soviets, with Yevdokimov, Jakoniuk, Itkis and Jarosh on the firing line, won the over the U.S. quartet of Anderson, Pool, Dan Puckel and Verle Wright, the Swiss riflemen finished in third place. With Anderson’s championships and record setting performances leading the way, Round 5 of the Free Rifle wars was a solid victory for the U.S. team with many strong performances and a promising future.









Tokyo, 16 October 1964. Small calibre rifle, prone position. Laszlo Hammerl (HUN), 1st. Credit: IOC Olympic Museum Collections



Lones Wigger with the Argentine Trophy (World 300m Free Rifle Team Championship) and teammates Gary Anderson, Margaret Thompson and John Foster at the 1966 World Shooting Championships.




Gary Anderson, Gold Medalist, 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City



UNION INTERNATIONALE DE TIR
* 699 shooters from 50 nations took part in the 40th World Shooting Championships in Phoenix, Arizona.




Lones W. Wigger, Jr., 1972 Olympic Champion - 300m Free Rifle



Miscellaneous Notes & Additional References – internal.

Europe: The Modern 6.5 x 55 mm. Cartridge, Nils Kvale, The American Rifleman, June 1959, p. 41.

Bogdanov: The Training of the Target Shot, Anatoli Bogdanov, The American Rifleman, April 1955, p. 35.

Free Rifle Shooting, The American Rifleman, Puckel, Hill, Cook, Taras, December 1961, p. 34

Sanctioned Tournament Program Expanded, NRA staff, The American Rifleman, February 1961, p. 29. Announces NRA sanction of International type matches at Approved and Registered level and intent to create National Championship. Purpose is to expand opportunities in International shooting.

Loads for the 6.5 x 55 MM, NRA Technical Staff, The American Rifleman, January 1961, p. 29. References Free Rifle loads.

Remington ad with International Free Rifle in .22LR, .308 and 30-06 March 1962 American Rifleman.

Bullet Jackets Affect Accuracy, L.E. Wilson, The American Rifleman, April 1962, p. 30

Sierra 6mm bullets, 100 gr. spitzer announced in Nov. 1955 advert.

Smallbore Rifle and Free Rifle, Vilho Ylönen , UIT Journal, October 1961, p. 140. Ylönen recommends reloading to save money, says Smallbore is the foundation of 300M.

America’s Fussiest Shooters, Guns Magazine, January 1956, p. 27. A look at Benchrest 1955 including accuracy topics, barrels, bullets, etc.

By ALLAN ERDMAN

YOUTHFUL Allan Erdman, of Russia, favors this Tula Mark 13 rifle in 7.62 mm because it brought him world fame at last year's Olympic shooting matches in Melbourne, Australia. Nicknamed "the shooting machine," because of his coolness and accuracy, Erdman appeared to have the bigbore event won when teammate Borissov, with 20 shots still to fire when Erdman finished, scored 19 bulls consecutively, most of them in the X-ring, to beat Erdman for the title. January 1958 Guns Magazine, p. 4 (picture included).

By JORMA TAITTO Finland Olympic Champ

I USE A CUSTOM RIFLE built for me by Manterri, who designed the Manterri trigger on the "Lion" commercial smallbore free rifle. My own gun is built around a 6.5 mm Jap Arisaka bolt, which allows the gunsmith the chance to do some careful regulation of firing pin fall for crispness and fast action. The custom receiver is flat sided, very heavy, for stiffness and consequently accuracy. The barrel, made by the large factory of Sako in Riihimaki, is in 7.62 caliber, the same as the old Russian rimmed service cartridge. I use a 185 grain step boattail bullet for 300 meter shooting, and with this gun fired fourth in the Olympic matches. Guns Magazine March 1958, p. 4 (picture included).
Finnish Lion 300M rifle, 3/62 UIT Journal, Valmet advertisement.

Telephone interview with Bob Hayden, President Sierra Bullets,  6/30/08 – Hayden said that the 180, 190 and 200 Matchking bullets went from FMJ to HPBT when Sierra moved from Whittier to Santa Fe Springs in 1962. The 168 was always a HPBT.

Scores at Major UIT Championships 1956 - 1963

1954

World Ch. 1956 Olympics 1958 World Ch. 1960 Olympics 1962 World Ch. 1964 Olympics 1966

World Ch. 1968

Olympics
 

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