January 2012 Cover Page

  January 2012
The Rifleman's Journal
A Collection of Articles Dealing with Rifle Accuracy Topics

John Cantius Garand - 1943

This Month:
Hap Rocketto - Hap's Corner
Hap Rocketto - John C. Garand
Germán Salazar - Rifles and Reloading

15 Cents 

Equipment: .30 Caliber Barrel Specs

Equipment: .30 Caliber Barrel Specs
by Germán A. Salazar

Good Afternoon Germán,

I have wondered for sometime now when you order your barrel/barrels from the barrel maker do you have a pet Bore/Groove Diameter and rifling style, in the past what has worked best for you?


Hi Phil,

For .308 and .30-06 barrels, I get Krieger, 4 groove, 1:11" twist 0.300" x 0.308" as is shown in this picture.
I prefer a fairly heavy barrel, so for .308 I usually get a heavy Palma and for .30-06 I get the MTU profile. However, I also have one .30-06 in heavy Palma and it's about the same in terms of recoil.
For F-TR I use a medium Palma contour because I really need to watch every ounce in order to make the 8.25 kg (18 lb. 3 oz.) weight limit.
If I were getting a barrel strictly for 155 gr. .30 cal bullets (very unlikely for me) it would be a 1:12" twist with the same  0.300" x 0.308" bore and groove dimensions. With today's longer, high BC 155 gr. bullets, I think the 1:12" twist offers a better safety margin for stability than does the old standard of a 1:13" twist.

I don't really care for tight barrels. There is a simple philosophy I use in all my equipment selection and it is "Don't solve a problem you don't have." I can't identify a problem that a tight barrel would solve; therefore, I get standard dimensions and they work great.

Hope that helps!


Back in the Sling - Progress in Small Measures

This article departs from our usual focus on technical and historical features in order to examine an element of human performance. Recovery from injury is a common topic in most sports, although less so in ours. Returning to sling shooting has not been an easy decision for me, and here I will describe the process to date. - GAS -

Back in the Sling - Progress in Small Measures
by Germán A. Salazar

Ben Avery Shooting Facility 1000 Yard Match December 31, 2011

In the nine months since my shoulder (rotator cuff) surgery, I've had plenty of time to consider whether or not to return to sling shooting. The surgeon, who specializes in sports injuries, described my shoulder as one of the most damaged that he's repaired. A significant amount of bone was removed to free up the shoulder and the reattachment of the ligaments to the bone was on the heavy end of the scale. Then came the physical therapy - which continues three time a week, even now. Let me be frank, the pain in my shoulder during physical therapy was intense; at one early session I passed out from it. It hasn't been that bad since, but it is never free of pain and the diminution in pain has been a very slow, albeit steady, progression. More recently, the pain level is down to what you might feel from a big bruise and my range of motion has progressed to a nearly normal level.

Mike Beebe, my physical therapist is very experienced in sports related injuries and took a particular interest in my case because he'd never had a shooter as a patient before. Early in the process, he examined my shooting equipment and photos of me in position and borrowed some of my books on shooting to better understand the bio-mechanics of the sport (Ways of the Rifle and others).

Entering the Ben Avery Shooting Facility
A few weeks ago as I shot my first match in the sling again, Mike came to the range to observe and tried the position out himself in order to better understand the points of stress on the shoulder. I mention all of this to emphasize that I've received excellent care throughout the process and the shoulder is back to a usable condition for shooting, although somewhat reduced in strength from non-use. Nonetheless, I wondered whether by returning to sling shooting I was going to re-start the cycle that led to the problem in the first place. After all, I've genuinely enjoyed shooting F-Class and it is a great alternative with no risk of re-injury.

December 31, 2011 1000 Yard Match
Notwithstanding my reservations, I decided to try it again, reasoning that the pain level would dictate whether or not I continued. The first step was to fire a string or two in practice. The initial attempt was called off at 12 shots due to unsteadiness and pain. A few weeks later I tried again; twenty shots went well, an attempt at a second 20 shot string that day was much less stable. Both the surgeon and the physical therapist encouraged me to continue, so I did and soon was able to fire two strings in practice and decided to enter a match. Our 1000 yard match on December 31, 2011 was the next available date and so that was the one.

Conditions were fairly mild that day (see the top photo of the flags) and I was shooting the 6XC. I shot the first string under Mike's watchful eye. The pain wasn't too bad as I got into the position, but fairly intense at the end of the string when I took the rifle out of my shoulder for the first time. During this string I felt more wobbly than usual (pre-surgery) but managed a 195-8X. Phoenix being what it is, that was good for 7th place. Mike noted that I'd done no warm-up exercises for the shoulder and recommended some movement and light weight lifting (like an ammo box) before the next string.

After a stint in the pits and the warm up exercises, I shot my second string (199-12X 2nd place) and my third string (198-12X 1st place) for a match total of 592-32X and third place in the aggregate (Pete Church 596-20 and Justin Skaret 594-29 were ahead). There was no sharp pain when the rifle came out of the shoulder on those strings (having properly warmed up) and the post-match feeling was fairly normal. The biggest problem I encountered was that my old steadiness was taking much longer to acquire on each shot, thus my normally fast shot execution suffered. In the mild condition we had, this wasn't a huge problem, but in windier conditions it would be.

Registration Queue Before the Match

At our January 7 match, I shot F-TR again, not wanting to push the shoulder too much. Then this week, for our Friday 600 yard match before the Arizona Service Rifle State Championship, I shot in the sling again. This match is an open one with match rifles, service rifles Palma rifles, any rifles, and F-Class all being fired.

Andrew Luck, the great Stanford quarterback famously said that he doesn't feel that he's really in a game until he takes that first big hit from the opposing defense. Similarly, I felt that my return to sling shooting wouldn't be on track if I didn't shoot the .30-06. Fortunately, that's not too hard to arrange; therefore, the .30-06 Eliseo tubegun loaded with 200 gr. Cauteruccio bullets got the nod for this match. It might not be quite the same as being tackled by a rampaging linebacker, but it's the shooting sports equivalent - and I'm not Andrew Luck!

January 13, 2012 600 Yard Match, F-Class in Foreground

Match day dawned cold (mid 40's) and windy - very windy. When we began shooting, the wind was in the 15 mph range, coming right out of the north and fishtailing. This is a pretty miserable condition, your eyes water, each shot kicks a load of desert sand back in your face and, of course, the fishtailing wind is eager to give you 9's (or worse) on either side of the bull without notice.

After my warm-up exercises, I got down for the first match. Once again I felt the unsteadiness and extra time for the rifle to settle, but the fishtail was predictable and easily seen in the flags, so I was able to shoot a decent score of 198-10X (3rd place) with the two lost points being poorly executed shots not attributable to conditions. The extra time needed to stabilize the sight picture led to watery eyes from the headwind and I broke those two shots when I should simply have started over. It's difficult to adjust to being a slow shooter when I've built my whole wind reading technique around shooting very fast. This will require a lot of work if the stability issue isn't resolved soon.

In the second match, the predominant direction of the wind shifted to 10:00 and it was still fishtailing; if anything, it was more intense. A fishtailing wind from the side is hard to read because the direction changes aren't as evident in the flags as they are on a fishtailing headwind. Fast shooting helps to keep up with those changes.

This condition was the worst possible scenario for shooting slowly and my score reflected that - 190-5X, last in the High Master class and plenty of shooters ahead of me in all classes. I was always behind the wind, I shot 9's on both sides and rarely found the X ring. There's simply no good way to shoot that condition slowly using my wind reading technique. I really don't want to change that technique which has served me very well for many years, so strengthening the arm is going to be my focus in therapy now as opposed to increasing the range of motion which is now fairly good.

Fadeley brothers in the pits.

A long stint in the pits followed the second match and I used it to exercise the shoulder as much as possible. Keeping the muscles warmed up on a cold day is essential to minimizing pain and hopefully to getting steady a bit quicker. The long-term solution will be more exercise, but keeping it warm at least maximizes the performance that the muscles can give on the day.

By the time I returned to the firing line, the day had warmed nicely into the low 70's and the wind was much milder and coming predominantly from right to left, although with frequent intensity changes. This looked like a condition that would be manageable despite the slow shot execution times.

The .30-06 finally had a chance to show it's capabilities and a 200-11X was the top score for the third match. This was particularly rewarding to me as my good friend Doug Frerichs won the first two matches with his 6.5-284 (that he claims is shot out). A good friendly rivalry and beating the hot 6.5 with the .30-06 was the perfect way to end the day. Tired, yes; sore shoulder, yes; big smile - you bet!

There's plenty of work ahead to get the shoulder to whatever its new potential might be. I'll continue attending physical therapy three times per week and doing my home exercises. Ideally I'll once again see that steady hold come in quickly and allow me to break a shot in a few seconds instead of 10 or 12 seconds. However, I'll also continue to shoot some F-Class to reduce the cumulative stress on the shoulder and because I've really enjoyed that discipline. I'm not sure what the future holds (who is...) but I'm more optimistic about returning to sling shooting than I was a month ago.

Walter Tang, USMC, one of my shooting point partners, the other was Wayne Ullrich also a Marine shooter.

Reloading: .30 Caliber Bullet Questions

This month we have a good set of questions from Shawn regarding .30 caliber bullet selection. I think this is a good entry to a discussion of what I look for in a bullet, so let's take a look. - GAS -

.30 Caliber Bullet Questions
by Germán A. Salazar

Hi Germán,

I have some questions regarding .30 caliber bullets for Long-Range and Mid-Range.

Currently I'm shooting the Berger 185gr LRBT for Palma in front of 44 gr. of Varget in a 32" 1:11.25" twist barrel; great bullet however it is pricey. For 1000 yards I've tried the 7mm Berger 180 gr. Hybrids the last two years at Perry in my .280 and I didn't notice any drastic improvement over the 175gr Sierra MatchKing. So for Palma shooting, is there any big noticeable difference between the Berger 185gr LRBT vs. say the Sierra 190gr SMK that you have noticed? I know on the calculator there is but was wondering what you've noticed real world. I'm leery about trying the .30 caliber Hybrids because for the additional cost, I want to see a noticeable difference. I was figuring that if I can push the Sierra 190 around the 2700fps mark that I'm getting from the Berger 185 then might as well shoot the 190.

When shooting mid-range, I shot the Palma rifle this year as my .243 was down needing a new barrel. I was shooting either 43 gr. or 45 gr. of Varget behind a 175 gr. Sierra MatchKing. For mid-range, is the 175 gr. SMK probably my best bet or would I be better served with a 155 gr. or 190 gr. SMK? The place I shoot mid-range is fairly sheltered. The largest change a person ever has to make due to wind is 0.5 MOA.

After reading about you trying F-Class I shot double at the state LR match. 2x1000 sling and a 2x1000 F-Class. Will say the small F-Class target was challenging but for me there just seemed to be something missing. However will say when I get to the point I can't see anymore (I'm only 34) I'll do it full time. Nice thing about F-Class though, is it's easy for my girlfriend to shoot and lets me bring her along to matches until she gets more practiced up and use to sling and irons.

Any advice or opinions would be appreciated. Hope the shoulder is coming along well.


Hi Shawn,
You've put a lot of good questions into your letter; I'll do my best to give you my thoughts on them. Let's begin with the comparison of the Berger 185 LRBT with the Sierra 190 MatchKing. I think this is a great comparison as it presents a clear contrast between two styles of bullet design. Both bullets are of conventional form: tangent ogive, relatively long boat tail, and are intended for similar uses, so the comparison is apt. I'll use the data in the first edition of Bryan Litz's book Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting for the dimensions quoted below.
The Sierra 190 has a 7 caliber radius ogive, similar to most of the Sierra MatchKing line (excepting newer designs like the 155 gr. #2156 and a few others). This radius and the overall design derives from the Frankford Arsenal 172 gr. match bullet that was loaded into .30-06 and .308 match ammunition by Frankford Arsenal and Lake City for decades. Compared to many modern designs, this is a relatively blunt nose shape and it results in a long bearing surface of 0.393". The length of the bullet is 1.353" and the G7 ballistic coefficient (BCg7) is 0.270. What does this mean in practical terms?
The Sierra's design results in a bullet that is very accurate and very easy to stabilize. The long bearing surface is always an accuracy enhancer (think of a .38 wadcutter for a moment - it's all bearing surface) and the bullet is shorter for its weight than the more modern designs. That means it will be easier to stabilize in a slower twist, such as a 1:12" twist, than a longer bullet like a Berger 190 VLD (1.386"). This becomes more of a concern as temperature drops and the marginally stable bullet becomes marginally unstable. Of course, the best insurance against this is a slightly faster twist barrel such as you have, or the 1:11" twist that I use. So the Sierra 190 is a stable, accurate bullet, able to be fired in any commonly encountered barrel twist - what are the negative aspects of this older design?
If you compare seating depth to the lands for two bullets of the same weight, one longer than the other (shorter bearing surface, longer nose) the shorter bullet will have to be seated deeper into the case to obtain the same relationship to the lands (jump or jam). Therefore, the Sierra 190 will end up deeper in the case than the Berger 185 and will consume some of the available powder capacity. Unfortunately, the Sierra could really use that capacity to good effect for long-range shooting. The usual solution is to have a chamber with a longer throat, whether as part of the original chambering job or done with a throating reamer at some other time. My .308 reamer has a 0.114" freebore dimension and that is ideal for the Sierra 190 (that's no coincidence). I can still seat 175 gr. bullets into the lands, but 155 gr. bullets will have a fairly big jump. That's no real concern to me because I generally don't shoot any .30 caliber bullet lighter than 175 gr.
The second, and fairly obvious, disadvantage of the blunter 7 ogive design like the Sierra 190 is that it has a lower BC (0.270 BCg7) than a bullet with a longer ogive, like the 9.13 ogive of the Berger 185 LRBT (0.283 BCg7). In order to increase the BC of a bullet of a given weight and caliber, you have to make it longer. You do that by making the nose longer (larger radius ogive) and in some instances by increasing the length of the boat tail. This is kind of like pulling taffy. When you do that, the bearing surface necessarily gets shorter - after all, that extra length had to come from somewhere. Compare, for a moment, the Berger 185 LRBT with the Lapua 185 D46, a very traditional design. The Berger's bearing surface is 0.360" and it is 1.353" long; the Lapua D46 has a bearing surface of 0.408" and it is 1.308" long. As bearing surface is reduced, tuning factors such as seating depth and barrel twist become more critical.
From a bullet designer's standpoint, as you stretch the bullet, the center of pressure on the bullet moves forward, further from the center of gravity. This kind of bullet is a more delicate balancing job for the designer if he wishes to maintain a very high level of accuracy - which, of course, is the ultimate goal. However, Berger has done an excellent job of meeting that challenge in design and manufacturing so we need not concern ourselves with that. To the extent that a faster twist barrel is more suited to such bullets, that can be taken care of at any time with an appropriate barrel; thus we are left with a BC vs. cost trade-off; well, sort of...
Increasing the BC of each bullet model appears to be Berger's goal in recent years and Sierra has followed that lead, although to a lesser extent. I can appreciate the value of reduced wind drift as much as anyone, but I believe that many shooters, particularly those at the intermediate level (Expert and Master in the US) tend to over-value high BC in comparison to other elements of a match-winning performance. To state the obvious, there is no bullet with a high enough BC to allow a shooter to ignore wind changes on a windy day with frequent speed and direction changes. You must know how to respond to those changes and if you don't, then there is no hope of victory (although there is always the opportunity to learn). Conversely, in a low wind environment, such as your home range (you stated that windage changes greater than 1/2 MOA are rare) the high BC bullet has no particular value over a more traditional design.
As a general rule, whether from the .308 or the .30-06, I shoot the Sierra 190 for most of my mid-range matches and the balance are fired with a variety of other traditional design bullets such as the Sierra 180 MK, the Lapua 185 D46 FMJ, Winchester 190 match bullet and a few others. I'm a pretty good scrounger and over the past few years I've managed to buy over 15,000 of these bullets at prices ranging from $15/100 to $18/100. Yes, there's plenty of them out there gathering dust on your fellow shooters' shelves and many are willing to sell. At those prices, there's no way I'm not going to shoot them; in fact, it costs me less to shoot a .30 caliber than a 6mm.
Does shooting these bullets relegate me to mid-pack finishing positions? No!!! In fact, here in Phoenix, where we have incredibly competitive prone matches almost every week of the year, I manage to win a significant percentage of them, and rarely finish out of the top three. The same has been true during my recent excursion into F-TR. Using those old-style bullets for many, many years has been a significant factor in the development of my wind reading skills and at this point, I believe that I am not at a disadvantage as to wind reading at any match in which I compete - and that, more than any bullet, is the key to winning a match. Your equipment must be first rate, your shooting skills nearly perfect and then, you will have the opportunity to test your wind reading skills against the other top shooters and that is the sole factor that decides the finishing order at a big match.
I will add one strong caveat to this discussion, however. It is very difficult to find a safe load with the Sierra 190 in a .308 case that will keep the bullet over 1.2 mach at 1000 yards. This isn't a problem with the .30-06, of course. To maintain that velocity level with the Sierra 190, the .308 will need a long throat and careful powder selection. VihtaVuori N550 is a good choice but it has become very scarce in the US over the past few years. My usual Sierra 190 load of IMR 4064 (MV 2640 fps), while absolutely perfect at 600 yards, is not suitable for 1000 yards for this reason. Accordingly, I only shoot a .308 at 1000 yards with a high BC Berger bullet and only as part of a Palma match. In other matches I shoot the .30-06 or the 6XC. Note that I said "safe load"; there are many unsafe loads being fired, but I have done enough instrumented load testing to stay clear of those. When I say safe, I mean under SAAMI maximum allowable pressure. The shorter bearing surface of the higher BC bullets reduces in-bore friction, allowing a slight increase in powder charge over a traditional bullet design of equal weight. The resulting higher muzzle velocity, combined with the higher BC allows the Berger to remain above 1.2 mach at 1000 yards from the .308 case.
You might ask, then, if there is ever a time when I think the more expensive, higher BC bullets are worth the cost and the additional tuning effort. Yes, there is. For me, that time is when we hold our big championship matches, namely the Arizona Long-Range Championship, the Arizona Palma Championship and the Berger Bullets SW Long-Range Nationals. At the end of 2011, I won the F-TR category in the two Arizona championships using Berger 175 LRBT and 185 LRBT bullets. The margin of victory in the Palma championship was two points after three days of shooting - that's when they pay off. When the competition is highly skilled and the match is of significance, the additional cost for the additional performance is well justified because the higher BC will save you a point once or twice over the course of the aggregate and that's what you'll need. At other times, save a bit of money, shoot more and develop your wind reading skills. Above all, spend some of the savings on gas and get to a windier range!
Best of luck to you,

History: John Cantius Garand - A Brief History of the Man and his Rifle

John Cantius Garand:
A Brief History of the Man and His Rifle
by Hap Rocketto

John Cantius Garand - 1943
  The Connecticut State Department of Transportation names sections of highways and bridges to honor various Nutmeg State groups or individuals. By and large the names are assigned with an eye toward local prominent individuals, deceased war heroes, law enforcement, and firefighters feature large - along with the occasional unavoidable political hack.

One day in the late 1950s, World War II veteran Arthur St. John, then Commander of American Legion Post 15 in Jewett City, Connecticut, recalled that "There wasn't anyone in the infantry that didn't have an M-1." He also remembered that the rifle’s inventor John Cantius Garand spent a number of years in Jewett City as a lad and thought that there should be some commemoration of the fact.

St. John mobilized what political clout the small rural community could muster and shortly thereafter, on October 19, 1958, Connecticut Governor Abraham Ribicoff was inking his signature to official documents naming a bridge on The Connecticut Turnpike/Interstate 395 over the Quinnebaug River between Griswold and Lisbon near Jewett City in honor of Garand. St. John chaired the committee organizing the dedication ceremonies which drew and estimated 15,000 spectators to the bucolic northeastern Connecticut location. What the famed inventor thought of the honor is not recorded, but he could not have been other than pleased at such an honor.

A native French Canadian, Garand, one of the best known of all United States firearm designers, was born on New Year’s Day of 1888 in St. Rémi, Quebec, Canada. His family relocated south to Jewett City, Connecticut where John received a rudimentary education before leaving school to work in one of the many textile mills that thrived in the region. Starting out as a sweeper, the mechanically inclined young boy eventually found work as machinist. He learned his craft well and eventually left rural Connecticut for a position with Browne and Sharpe, at that time one of the premier companies involved with the development of machine tools and machining technology, in Providence, Rhode Island. He moved on from there to be a machine designer with Federal Screw Corporation

Main Street, Jewett City, Connecticut, 1907
 Garand had a familiarity with guns, as would any young man growing up in the rural United States at the turn of the 20th century, and his sharp mind and skill with machine tools lead easily to an interest in firearm design. When the United States entered World War I, Garand submitted a design for a light machine gun to the government which was accepted. By the time the gun went from drawing board to prototype the war had ended. However, the government, in a rare moment of foresight - pun intended - retained Garand as a weapon’s designer in 1919. He quickly sought United States citizenship after being hired and spent the rest of his professional career at the Springfield Armory. He rose to be Chief Civil Engineer of the armory, quite a feat for a person with minimal formal education and certainly impossible in the modern age.

The preliminary work on his namesake rifle began in 1924 although it would not be until 1934 that the design was patented and another two years before it began to see the start of mass production. By coincidence, perhaps as a belated birthday present, the “United States Rifle, Cal. .30, M1” was adopted as the standard issue rifle on January 9, 1936, just eight days after Garand’s 48th birthday.

Obverse and Reverse - Medal for Merit
 The development of the M1 allowed the United States to enter, and remain, throughout World War II as the only belligerent to regularly equip its military with a semiautomatic rifle. The British Empire had its SMLE in all its various “Marks,” the Germans the Karabiner 98 Kurz, the Soviets the Mosin-Nagant, the Japanese the Arisaka, and the Italians the Carcano - all serviceable and sturdy but all bolt-action rifles.

However, the Garand was not present when the United States took its first offensive action of World War II. Just six months after Pearl Harbor, on August 7, 1942, when United States Marines stormed ashore on Guadalcanal, Tulagi, Florida, and nearby islands, they were armed with the bolt-action Springfield 1903. The M1 had been adopted by the Marines as its standard rifle on November 5, 1941, but supply and training had not caught up with the First Marine Division. The Garand would first see combat when the 164th Infantry Regiment of the North Dakota National Guard, as part of the Army’s Americal Division, landed and began reliving the Marines on Guadalcanal on October 13, 1942. By the end of 1943 all United States Army and Marine combat troops were equipped with the M1.

Garand was recognized for his work at Springfield with the Medal for Meritorious Service in 1941, and was awarded the first Medal for Merit in 1944. He received many other awards, including the Brig. Gen. John H. Rice Gold Medal of the Army Ordnance Association for meritorious service and the Alexander L. Holley Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

John C. Garand Receiving M1 Rifle Serial Number 1,000,000

Upon his retirement, in 1953, he was presented with a “US Rifle Cal. .30 M1” Serial number was 1,000,000 as a token of the great regard and respect in which he was held. The M1 rifle would continue in production for another four years and when the lines were finally silent, almost five and half million M1 rifles had been produced by Springfield and civilian arms plants.

The rifle saw active duty through the Vietnam War with US active, reserve, and National Guard units. The rifle was used for drill training at Aviation Officer Candidates School through the 1970s as well as at the Naval and Coast Guard Academies. They are still in use with the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Team, the Norwegian Royal Guards Drill Team and the Greek Army Presidential Guard - the Evzones.

The Civilian Marksmanship Program has financed a bulk of its marksmanship program by the sale of the venerable rifle to self-proclaimed “Garandaholics” and “Cosmoline Creeps.” It has been kept it alive as a competitive firearm through the CMP’s John Garand Match program

Garand, a Rotarian, was also an avid chess player in his younger days, eventually moving to checkers in his later years. He enjoyed ice skating so much that he reinforced his living room, shut it off from the rest of the house, installed a green window shades to cover the windows, allowing cold air in and keeping the sun’s rays out, waterproofed the floor, and filled it with a 100 gallons of water so he might skate in his home.

Garand signed over all patents of his invention to the U.S. government and never received any royalties for his invention. He never earned more than $12,000 a year in his 34 years of service at Springfield. Perhaps not bad dollars in the late 1940s and early 1950s, but not anywhere near what he might have commanded in the private sector.

A New York Times editorial in November 1939 noted of the M1:

“No other nation can ever use the rifle. Its self-effacing French-Canadian inventor, still an employee at the Springfield arsenal on a modest salary, has refused substantial offers both from foreign Governments and arms companies here. All his rights are vested exclusively in the country of his adoption.” The fact that he handed over the patent to the government earned him a great deal of credibility. Though he earned no royalties, he maintained that the invention gave him “a lot of pleasure.” When the rifle became famous during the war, he shrugged off suggestions that he should be considered a hero. When asked about the M1, his typical response was: “She is a pretty good gun, I think.” (Thomas A. Bruscino Jr, “M1 Garand Rifle” in A History of Innovation U.S. Army Adaptation in War and Peace, Center Of Military History, United States Army, Washington, D.C., 2009)

On June 27, 1980, in the presence of Mr. Garand's wife and two children, the Honorable Clifford L. Alexander, Jr., Secretary of the Army, officially dedicated Room 2E680 of the Pentagon Building as the Garand Memorial Conference Room (Salazar, German, Rifleman’s Journal, January 2010, http://riflemansjournal.blogspot.com/2010/01/history-john-c-garand.html ).

John Garand passed away on February 16, 1974 at the age of 86. He will be long remembered by countless US war veterans and rifle competitors for his peerless combat and match rifle, by firearms enthusiast as one of the great US designers ranked with Browning, Colt, Ruger, Gatling, Williams, Maxim, Thompson, Sharps, and Henry, and by the residents of quiet Jewett City by the bridge named in his honor.

Hap's Corner: A Good Excuse is Worth a Minute of Wind

A Good Excuse is Worth a Minute of Wind
by Hap Rocketto 

Military Team Armorer's Vans at Camp Perry 2001
One of the great weights that have been lifted from my shoulders since I retired from the National Guard and left the All Guard Shooting program is the need for excuses. It seemed you always had to have a good reason, read that excuse, in hand, to cover a poor score or performance. The competition at the top is always tough and if things go wrong sometimes you cannot blame yourself or you will loose too much confidence. Therefore, it is amazing how many barrels go bad, triggers get gummy, and bad rounds turn up when you are having trouble. All of your friends nod wisely in agreement, tell you it was a tough break, and then salt the excuse away to use if the occasion arises for them. Since I am now paying my own expenses, I don’t have to answer to anyone but myself. I am a hard enough critic anyway and I can’t fool myself.

Christy Mathewson, one of the greatest baseball players ever, once said that, “You must have an alibi to show whey you didn’t win. If you haven’t one you must fake one. Your self-confidence must never be undermined. Always have an alibi, but keep it where it belongs-to yourself.” This is good advice

The need for a good excuse usually keeps the gunsmiths pretty busy on the armorers’ vans that support the major military teams. If something is not going right, the usual solution is to “take it to the van.” Self-confidence must always be maintained, even if means having perfectly good equipment examined.

Civilian shooters know that tax dollars support these moving machine shops, and therefore believe that they should also have access to them. It is part of the traditional relationship between military shooters and civilians. Civilians pay the taxes and in return, the military leaves its brass. I guess gunsmiths think the same way because I have never heard of a civilian with a problem being turned away from a van. Maybe they can’t help because “we don’t set up our guns this way”, but they always try. Many are the six packs of beer dropped off at a van as a thank you when an apron-garbed military gunsmith successfully solved a civilian’s rifle problem.

Dan Norwood - NGMTU

The military teams also runs clinics as part of this symbiotic relationship. Once, at a Marine Corps Highpower clinic the instructor was discussing the effects of wind on the bullet at long range. After going over wind values and the method to determine the wind’s value he gave a hypothetical wind condition and had the students determine the windage they would put on the rifle. He then said they had released the shot and when it was disked the spotter was a nine o’clock nine. He then asked, “You’re a High Master on the Marine Team. Your first shot at 600 yards is not the X you called. You know you doped the wind correctly and broke the shot perfectly. What would you do next?” He was waiting for one of the obvious answers such as checking to make sure the condition did not change or to insure that you had clicked on the correct windage.

An eager hand popped up in back and the Marine acknowledged the shooter and asked for his solution.

“Gunnery Sergeant.” replied the self-confidence and well-informed shooter. “ If I were a High Master on the Marine team and I shot a nine that I knew should be an X the first thing I would do would be to take my rifle to the van.”

Good Stuff: Becigneul Case Turning Motor

Good Stuff: Becigneul Case Turning Motor
by Germán A. Salazar

Turning case necks to uniform thickness is one of those tasks that can materially aid accuracy by ensuring that each piece of brass has nearly equal neck tension to its mates. I won't go so far as to say that neck turning will result in perfectly equal neck tension, because the brass itself isn't that uniform, nor is each piece's reaction to the cycling effect of firing and resizing equal. However, turned necks will be a lot closer to each other in their grip on the bullet than unturned necks.

As much as I appreciate the benefits of case neck turning, and actually enjoy the process of turning them, the limited charge capacity of the various cordless screwdrivers I've used over the years to add a bit of speed to the process (and avoid carpal tunnel syndrome) has been frustrating. Most recently, I was using a Lithium battery powered model; although it provided good torque, the battery was all gone after turning 15 to 18 cases and required a 12 hour recharge. Unfortunately, that simply isn't enough, because I turn the necks on all the brass I shoot and I would like to be able to turn out a full set of 72 pieces in one session rather than spread over a week of evenings.

Paul Becigneul's case turning motor is just what I was looking for - a well-built, heavy-duty unit that plugs into the wall and will allow me to extend my neck turning sessions to the limit of my patience or eyesight! Although there have been a variety of similar devices and "case lathes" offered for sale in the past, they've been priced fairly high; Paul's unit is reasonably priced and built like a tank. I became aware of Paul's work through the forum on http://www.accurateshooter.com/ . In addition to the motor, Paul makes action wrenches and barrel vises of excellent quality; I've had an opportunity to see them in action at a friend's shop. After dithering over the purchase for a few months, I bit the bullet and placed my order. Fortunately, Paul had a unit ready to ship and it arrived on my doorstep two days later.

The unit's design is fairly straight-forward: a surplus electric motor turns a Forster case-holding collet. Paul makes a nice knurled collar to open and close the collet and power is controlled by a household type wall switch; the whole assembly is mounted on a hardwood base and has a usefully long power cable.

In operation, it works very well, the collet has enough clamping power to hold the case after a quick hand tightening, no wrench is needed (although you can use one if you are so inclined). A quarter turn of the collar opens the collet and a quick turn of the wrist tightens it back up. There are flats on the shaft for a 13/16" wrench, but you won't need to use one. The motor turns at about 180 rpm which is just right for neck turning. What's really nice is that the motor has enough torque to hold its speed throughout the whole operation and a/c power to keep it going all day long!

As with any powered case neck turning device, the case wobbles a bit as it turns. This doesn't matter a bit as the turning cutter is held in your hand (which is free to move) and the cutter's arbor is the actual alignment device. The wobble is the same or less than what I had using the power screwdriver with a K&M holder. I check each case neck at three points on a Mitutoyo digital tubing micrometer and am getting equally good results with this unit as I did before.

Contact Paul pbike4466@directv.ne​t for specific pricing and ordering information. The basic unit is currently priced at $220, each collet is $10 and shipping is $20 to most U.S. locations. Paul ships to Canada, I don't know if he also ships other countries.

Paul is a great guy to deal with, he is really dedicated to making high quality, affordable tools for the precision shooter. All I can say in conclusion about this device is: "Where have you been all my life!"

Paul has a video on YouTube that demonstrates the unit in action, just click the image below to run it.


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