Page 1

0 1 P TO TS E G R A T 2016 OF

COMPETITION ISSUE! Kolby Pavlock

WORLD CHAMPION 2X Steel Challenge

GUN REVIEW

Jard J67 Bullpup Carbine ALSO INSIDE

Gunsite’s Tactical Shotgun Course Tackling Your First 3-Gun

Olympic Hopeful Lance Thompson

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American Shooting Journal // June 2016


A MERIC A N

SHOOTING JOURNAL Volume 5 // Issue 10 // June 2016 PUBLISHER

James R. Baker ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER

Dick Openshaw

GENERAL MANAGER

John Rusnak

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Andy Walgamott EXECUTIVE EDITOR

Danielle Breteau LEAD CONTRIBUTOR

Frank Jardim

CONTRIBUTORS

Larry Case, Dana Farrell, Scott Haugen, Steve Joseph, Alexandria Kincaid, Mike Nesbitt, Rob Reed, Emily Robinson, Eric M. Saperstein, Patrick Surline, Troy Taysom, Oleg Volk, Mark Williams SALES MANAGER

Katie Higgins

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES

Mamie Griffin, Steve Joseph, Garn Kennedy, Mike Smith, Paul Yarnold PRODUCTION MANAGER

Sonjia Kells DESIGNERS

Sam Rockwell, Liz Weickum PRODUCTION ASSISTANT

Kelly Baker

OFFICE MANAGER/ ACCOUNTING

Audra Higgins

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Katie Sauro

INFORMATION SERVICES MANAGER

Lois Sanborn

WEBMASTER / INBOUND MARKETING

Jon Hines

DIGITAL ASSISTANT

Samantha Morstan CIRCULATION MANAGER

Heidi Belew

DISTRIBUTION

Tony Sorrentino, Gary Bickford, Barry Johnston ADVERTISING INQUIRIES

ads@americanshootingjournal.com

ON THE COVER

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Kolby Pavlock, 16, is taking the competition realm by storm. He competes in multiple disciplines and recently became the Steel Challenge world-record holder in two categories – Rimfire Iron Sight Pistol and Rimfire Iron Sight Rifle. (OLEG VOLK) (Inset) Lance Thompson is an Olympic trapshooting hopeful. (JOHN THOMPSON)

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CONTENTS

VOLUME 5 • ISSUE 10 • JUNE 2016

WORLD CHAMPION X 2

75

Kolby Pavlock has rocked (literally) the Steel Challenge stage by taking two world titles – one pistol and one rifle – and he’s only 16 years old. The Idaho shooter shares a few of the secrets that make him unbeatable.

(GAIL PAVLOCK)

SPECIAL COMPETITION ISSUE 27

WINNING THE MENTAL GAME Discover how an Olympic gold medalist and top shooters from Team S&W handle the stress of top-flight competition.

31

A HANDGUN SHOOT WITH TARGETS OUT TO 1,000 YARDS?! These aren’t your daddy’s handguns – with target distances at the annual Cold Turkey shoot in Wyoming starting at 500 yards and stretching out to 1,000, these big speciality pistols are up to the task.

51

115

SHOOTING FOR THE OLYMPICS The 2020 Olympic Summer Games are on the horizon, and Pennsylvania youth shooter Lance Thompson intends to not only make the US team but win the gold. Learn about the incredible dedication Lance is putting into reaching his goals.

133 MY FIRST 3-GUN COMPETITION When youth pistol competitor Emily Robinson decided to try her hand at 3-Gun, she learned valuable and important lessons, which she shares.

LONG GUNS SHOOTIN’ SHORT Sharps rifles are known for their longrange abilities, but this merry band of blackpowder enthusiasts came up with a different game – competing against each other at distances no more than 200 yards.

95

MORE FEATURES

FROM S&W TO SIG SAUER Lena Miculek has jumped to SIG Sauer. Find out what motivated her move and how the decision has changed her life.

145 WANNA BET YOU’LL LOVE CALCUTTAS? You can bet on dog races, horse races and trapshooters – wait, trapshooters?!? Yes! This beloved tradition has shooters and enthusiasts alike racing to the range to try their hand at not only precision but percentages, averages and $$$.

57

GUNSITE GETS ALL DEFENSIVE Our scattergun contributor Larry Case took on Gunsite Academy’s defensive shotgun course and walked away exhausted, scratched, bruised – and grinning ear to ear.

85

UNLIKE ANY OTHERS Unique ARs lives up to its name – discover the amazing hand guards made by this company in our interview with founder Jim Corbet.

123 HUNTING’S DIGITAL DEFENDER In front of the camera, on Twitter and elsewhere, Taylor Drury, daughter of a famed Midwestern hunting family, highlights the positives of her sport.

155 ROADHUNTER: TAKING CONFIDENT SHOTS Pro hunter Scott Haugen shares how he practices year-round to make the most of the moments that count come fall.

AMERICAN SHOOTING JOURNAL is published monthly by Media Index Publishing Group, 14240 Interurban Ave South Suite 190, Tukwila, WA 98168. Display Advertising. Call Media Index Publishing Group for a current rate card. Discounts for frequency advertising. All submitted materials become the property of Media Index Publishing Group and will not be returned. Copyright © 2016 Media Index Publishing Group. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be copied by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording by any information storage or retrieval system, without the express written permission of the publisher. Printed in U.S.A.

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American Shooting Journal // June 2016


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CONTENTS ALSO INSIDE 41 105 113 167 174

GUN REVIEW: Jard, Inc.’s J67 Bullpup Carbine How Permitless Carry Was Passed In Idaho PRODUCT REVIEW: UltiClip Gets Even More Versatile Carolina Brass, Makers Of .300 Blackout Brass And More PRODUCT REVIEW: Etymotic Research’s GunSportPRO Electronic Ear Plugs

DEPARTMENTS 17 19 21 23 88

14

Editor’s Note Competition Calendar Gun Show Calendar Top Shooters Salute to America’s Armed Forces

American Shooting Journal // June 2016

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TOP 10 TARGETS OF 2016 The American Shooting Journal spends a full year harassing our readers, writers, editors and staff to come up with the best targets of the year. 2016’s lineup is sure to inspire more range time, training and fun.

(ACTION TARGET)


americanshootingjournal.com 15


EDITOR’S NOTE

F

irst, there is anticipation. Then expectation, perhaps followed by butterflies in your stomach. You check your gear, then you check again. You’ve trained for this. You study the course of fire, shake out your arms and hands to loosen the joints and release the tension. You are about to pit yourself against your peers, but more importantly, against yourself. It’s your turn on the mark, and almost as if his voice was off in the distance, you can hear the range master shout well-versed commands – the adrenaline, the noise, the silence, the shot! Competition, my friends, can bring out the best and the worst in all of us. In the end, how you handle the adrenaline dump and release and how you focus on the moment will make or break any competitor. This issue is dedicated to shooters who compete in a wide range of disciplines, from blackpowder to long-range handgun, precision shooting to 3-Gun, IDPA, USPSA and more. Regardless of the sport, we all share the same human emotions of anticipation, tension, head shaking when we

have made a novice mistake, and celebration when we’ve beaten our best time. It is here that we share the same understanding. We scoured the country and found some of the uncanniest competitions, and wrangled interviews with competitive shooters to learn how they overcome disappointments and improve on their achievements. In the end, it seems, there is a secret to making each Executive editor Danielle Breteau competition your best: Always remember to have fun. I hope you enjoy this very special competition-focused issue. Thank you for sharing your stories, and please continue to do so by sending any suggestions you have about interesting people in the shooting industry to dani@americanshootingjournal.com.

americanshootingjournal.com 17


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American Shooting Journal // June 2016

Presented By:


COMPETITION C A L E N D A R



Sixteen-year-old Kolby Pavlock is a two-time Steel Challenge world record holder. Check out our feature story on the youth shooter from Idaho (page 75) about how he came so far so fast. (GAIL PAVLOCK) knife

June 10

Alabama Precision Rifle Challenge Childersburg, Ala. Private land

June 11-12

PRS Points Race Match Naches, Wash. Private Land

June 18

AZ LRPRS Club Match Buckeye, Ariz. Private land

June 23

June 24

June 25

June 11

June 17

June 25

SilencerCo Quiet Riot Tremonton, Utah Desert Tech Range

Sniper’s Hide Cup Colville, Wash. Private land

Stars & Stripes Tier 3 Regional Tulsa, Okla. United States Shooting Academy

June 4-5

Rockcastle Classic IV Park City, Ky. Rockcastle Shooting Center

The Keystone Cup Muncy, Pa. Keystone Sportsmen Association

June 11-12

Fire On The Mountain II Johnstown, Pa. Daisytown Sportsmen’s Club

June 11-12

2nd Annual Central N.M. Scorcher Tier 2 Rio Rancho, N.M. Del Norte Gun Club

Big Sioux Ballistic Challenge V Sioux Falls, S.D. Big Sioux Rifle & Pistol Club

June 11-12

Beaver State Ballistic Challenge XXIII Dundee, Ore. Chehalem Valley Sportmen’s Club

June 16-18

June 18-19

2016 Texas State Championship San Antonio, Texas The National Shooting Complex

3-Gun National Eastern Regional Championship Clinton, S.C. Clinton House Plantation

June 10-12

C&H Precision Rifle Match Clewiston, Fla. TBA/PRS club event

June 11-12

June 11-12

Snake River Rangers Nampa, Idaho Ford Idaho Horse Park

Missouri State Championship Western South Central Regional Championship Lake St. Louis, Mo. Stephenville, Texas National Equestrian Center Lone Star Arena

June 3-5

June 3-5

Oregon State Championship Idaho Shootists Canyon City, Ore.

Kansas State Championship Deer Creek Regulators Phillipsburg, Kan.

June 17-19

South Dakota State Championship & High Plains Territorial Powder Horn Ranch Regulators Mitchell, S.D. americanshootingjournal.com 19


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American Shooting Journal // June 2016


BROUGHT TO YOU BY

PRIMER

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June 11-12 June 11-12 June 25-26

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June 4-5 (Militaria)

Sheraton Hotel

West Springfield, Mass.

R&K Gun Shows

June 4-5 June 11-12 June 18-19 June 18-19 June 18-19 June 18-19

Appalachian Fairgrounds Chilhowee Park Lexington Center KCI Expo Center Nashville Fairgrounds Oklahoma State Fairgrounds

Gray, Tenn. Knoxville, Tenn. Lexington, Ky. Kansas City, Mo. Nashville, Tenn. Oklahoma City, Okla.

The Real Texas Gun Show

June 11-12

Robert Bowers Civic Center

Port Arthur, Texas

C&E Gun Shows

June 4-5 June 4-5 June 10-12 June 11-12 June 18-19

Crown Expo Center Ohio Expo Center Dulles Expo Center Hickory Metro Convention Center Metrolina Tradeshow Expo

Fayetteville, N.C. Columbus, Ohio Chantilly, Va. Hickory, N.C. Charlotte, N.C.

June 4-5 June 18-19

Deschutes County Fairgrounds SW Washington Fairgrounds

Redmond, Ore. Centralia, Wash.

June 4-5

Denver Mart

Denver, Colo.

Wes Knodel Gun Shows Tanner Gun Show

To have your event highlighted here, send an email to Dani@AmericanShootingJournal.com.

americanshootingjournal.com 21


PRIMER

TOP SHOOTERS Lynn Willecke touches off a blackpowder round using his .44 Russian. (MIKE NESBITT)

Odessa Jardim and her sister Joy Labtis prepare to shoot an Ohio Ordnance Works M240-SLR at the infamous Knob Creek Range in West Point, Ky. (FRANK JARDIM) USPSA competition shooter Emily Robinson changes mags midstride. Check out her story on page 133 about her first try at 3-Gun. (EMILY ROBINSON)

To have your photograph(s) featured here, email Dani@ AmericanShootingJournal.com with all the pertinent details! americanshootingjournal.com 23


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The American Shooting Journal team is made up of hunters, competitors, blackpowder shooters, tactical shooters and instructors, former law enforcement, military and plinkers. We have spent hundreds of thousands of rounds over the last year, and this is our 2016 list of Top Targets.

10

T O P

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- Fun to shoot - Special heart-location swinger - Small American business - The person who answers the phone is the person who makes the targets - Great prices for super-strong products - Like buying the old-fashioned way - Model at right is a custom example of what they can make - Price: $100-$150

KNOCKDOWN AIR-GUN TARGET SIG SAUER

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- Shoot target to reset - Three targets: 1/2-, 1- and 11/2-inch - Great for break barrels and PCP or C02 airguns - Compatible with .177 and .22 calibers - Handles all types of weather - Powder coated - Price: $34.95


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American Shooting Journal // June 2016


WINNING THE MENTAL GAME Pros Share How to Handle Competition Stress STORY BY ROB REED

I

t’s been a long day of competition and you’ve been shooting well. As you prepare for the last course of fire, you realize you’re in the running to win the match. Unfortunately, the more you think about it, the more nervous you get. This is the moment of truth: Have you mastered the mental game well enough to reach your peak performance, or will you let “match jitters” sabotage your efforts? All competition shooters experience stress. The difference between those who perform at the height of their ability and those who don’t hit their potential often comes down to their mental preparation. To help you master your mental game I interviewed a leading competition stress-management trainer, a sports psychologist and several top shooters to find techniques you can use to improve your performance. “There are a lot of misconceptions about stress,” said Lanny Bassham, founder of the Mental Management System educational training company. “Every athlete needs to address the mental game sooner or later. The common belief is that you don’t need to worry about the mental game until you are at a high level. That’s just not true.” Bassham researched what it takes to win after a disappointing silver medal finish in International Rifle Shooting at the 1972 Olympics. “I started my program because I choked in the Olympics,” he said. “I realized I needed to learn what winners were doing mentally that I wasn’t doing. I finally created a program based on what I learned talking to the elite 5 percent of competitors who win 95 percent of the matches. I used that program to win the gold medal at the ’76 Olympics.” SOME OF THE KEY POINTS in Bassham’s program include learning to limit the effects of your environment on your thinking, determining the optimal things to focus on during competition and improving your self image as a competitor. “Self image is huge,” he said. “The people in the middle of the pack are trying to win. The top 5 percent aren’t trying to win; they are trusting that they will win.” Bassham added that newer competitors often don’t realize the importance of these aspects because their mental mistakes are masked by the technical errors they make as

they develop their shooting skills. “As shooters improve, many get to the point where they do better in practice than in competition,” he said. “That’s a sign they haven’t developed a consistent mental game. Their mental skills are lagging behind their technical skills at that point.” Bassham stressed the importance of not changing anything in your shooting style during the competition season. “There are two ways to improve: the first is to find a technique that works better than what you are doing now and upgrade to that technique. The second way to improve is to find something that works and make it work more often. The top 5 percent do it that way.” He explained that changing techniques before a match damages your mental commitment, as part of your mind will wonder which technique you should use. “Commitment wins tournaments and doubt is the opposite of commitment. You should be careful that the new things you learn don’t make you doubt what you are going to do. The best performers in the world don’t change their mind much.” Julie Golob, captain of Team Smith & Wesson, said developing the mental ability to block out distractions comes with experience. “For me, I try to focus on the shooting problem at hand. The more I focus on the things I need to do in the moment, the less I feel the effects of stress. When I’m on the line, I do the basic walkthrough in my mind. And when the buzzer goes off, I go on autopilot.” Sports psychologist Ed Etzel is also a former Olympian. He won the gold medal in Men’s English Rifle at the 1984 Olympics before receiving his PhD in psychology. Etzel says one way to improve mental consistency is to make your practice routine as much like competition as you can. “Routines are very grounding, so the more the elements of your practice routine that mirror your competition, the better.” Randi Rogers, Julie’s teammate on Team Smith & Wesson, is a believer in using routine to inoculate herself against stress. “During training I don’t put on my gear until after I set up the range. I like to walk up to the drill as if I’m walking up to a stage at a match. I also try never to quit in the middle of a run or drill. In a real match you aren’t allowed to give up, so I always finish the drill, even if I am doing badly. This also helps me practice problem solving americanshootingjournal.com 27


under pressure.” B.J. Norris, the 2014 NSSF Rimfire Challenge World Champion, also follows a routine. “I have a very set loadand-make-ready routine,” he said. “I do exactly the same thing every single time. It puts you in a nice calm place because it’s familiar. Your mind and your body know ‘we’re doing this now,’ and it helps your mind and your body perform.” Norris recommends using visualization techniques to reduce stress. “I’ll try to visualize the entire match in my head,” he said. “That way it’s more familiar when it’s happening. I’ll put myself in the environment of being in the championship position and imagine the entire run.” He added that by putting yourself in different situations, you can rehearse different contingencies. “You want to take as many surprises as you can out of the situation. The bigger the mental playbook you have, the more things you have to go back on as you move through the event.” Another important element is the idea of mindful practice. “You need to practice being present in the moment,” Etzel said. “In training you need to be aware of when your mind drifts away and get back in the moment.” He added that being present in the moment includes accepting the conditions around you. “Whether it’s noisy or the weather is bad, you have to accept what is happening and deal with the facts of your experience without letting it disturb you. That is the face of mindfulness.”

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American Shooting Journal // June 2016

Golob recommended deep breathing as a way to control stress. “I’m a big fan of controlled breathing. By breathing deeply I can focus on my breathing and calm myself. I used to actually stand on one foot while breathing deeply, because by focusing on my breathing and my balance at the same time, I wouldn’t be able to get nervous.” Rogers, who is a world and nationally ranked competitive shooter, is also a fan of meditation and controlled breathing. “One of the biggest things I struggle with is controlling the ‘monkey mind,’ where my head starts going crazy, and I start thinking of everything that could go wrong. This puts a lot of pressure on me. I’ve found the best way to control this is with a little bit of meditation. I control my breathing and let my mind center by thinking about my breathing. This gets me plenty of oxygen, which helps calm me down, and it also gives me something to concentrate on that doesn’t wind me up. I also try to make time to laugh and smile on the range. I think it’s good to talk to your fellow squadmates and even give a friendly hello to the range officer before shooting to help break up all the pressure.” Everyone I talked to agreed that no matter your experience level, mastering the mental challenges of competition shooting is one of the keys to success. “I don’t think people understand how much work goes into the mental prep of shooting,” said Golob. “If you can’t produce on demand with your fellow competitors, you aren’t going to get that distinguished title.” 


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American Shooting Journal // June 2016


COMPETITIONS

SHORT GUNS MAKE LONG SHOTS TOO MOA Cold Turkey Shoot Tests Handgunners To 1,000 Yards!

STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAT SURLINE

W

hat started out in 2007 as “The Cold Turkey” shoot, where competitors fired a single coldbore shot at a target 1,000 yards away to establish a shooting order, has become a 10year tradition where specialty handgun shooters from across the nation and across borders come together in a formal competition to test their skills against each other and the rapidly changing conditions of northeastern Wyoming. Until about six years ago I had never considered that shooting accurately past 200 yards with a handgun was feasible. I have shot in International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association (IHMSA) events over the past couple of decades and the practice this hobby afforded me was more than adequate for practical hunting applications. Sure, there may have been a couple of times when I dropped an antelope closer to 300 yards than 200, but I figured at that point I was reaching the upper limit of anything I could do with my old TC Contender or my IHMSA unlimited gun. Then I read an article by the renowned handgun hunter, author and gun writer, Mark Hampton, titled “The Road to Humble” (posted at moaguns.com). In this article, Mr. Hampton tells wide-eyed readers about an adventure he had on his first trip to The Cold Turkey, held in Sundance, Wyo., where the closest targets were 500 yards away. During competition, targets were as far out as 750 and 1,000 yards. Yes, that is a one and three zeros, and yes, all firing was done with a handgun. THE MATCH IS SHOT from a bench. Groups are fired on paper after starting out with steel for sighting in. All firing is done while the clock is ticking. Sighting in can be a bit tricky, so there are unlimited sighter shots, but with a time limit. When it comes down to firing for a score we shoot three five-round groups, each measured and recorded. The most important thing is to keep all of the shots on the paper. Any missed shots will add the width of the entire target in inches to your score for each shot not on paper. From each relay the top shooters – those with the smallest groups – will return to the line and verify sights on steel, then move to the paper and fire five more shots to determine the winner at that distance. Again, the smallest group wins! This procedure is repeated for each distance and each class of specialty pistol. The 500-yard stage can be very competitive. Most shooters do very well at this distance and the group sizes

The 10th Annual MOA Cold Turkey shoot, to be held this month in Sundance, Wyo., combines handguns and long-range targets.

Shooters will compete to hit targets set from 500 to 1,000 yards out.

can be so close that they are occasionally measured with a dial caliper rather than the steel tape. Light-recoiling fast rounds are a good choice for this distance, since there is not much time for the Wyoming wind to push them off target. Remember, though, all distances are shot with the same gun in their respective classes. The 750-yard stage adds another layer of difficulty. The flight time is greater and the terrain begins to affect the patterns of the wind. Running a light gun at this distance, as in all distances, requires a bit of finesse. Consistent grip, smooth trigger pull and follow through are needed to make good shots again and again. Once we move to the 1,000-yard target, the homework really pays off. Loads with minimal vertical deviation, meaning minimal velocity deviation, are the ones that will really make a difference. Changing winds and the complication of adding another hill into the course can lead to dramatic wind drift from shot to shot. Here is where americanshootingjournal.com 31


COMPETITIONS – trip to the target face consistently. The lighter bullets can make the trip as well, as long as there is no wind change that the shooter has not accounted for. Again, keeping the shots on paper is the most important part of this shoot.

Author Pat Surline’s “heavy gun,” a Remington XP-100 chambered in 6.5x284. The handgun earned the name “Shock and Awe”; the stock is clad in desert camo and the carrying case wears digital camo. Surline’s gun was specifically built as a tribute to our troops. Shooters from all over the nation and beyond will descend on the northeast corner of Wyoming for The Cold Turkey.

the heavy guns really shine. Heavier bullets and higher velocities are what it takes to make these heavy guns run. It takes a lot of energy to make the one-second – approximately

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American Shooting Journal // June 2016

NOW, I CAN HEAR the naysayers claiming that a handgun can never reach that far, let alone be accurate, but we are not using a Ruger Red Hawk 44 Magnum or even a 9mm. These are long-range, single-shot specialty pistols chambered in rifle calibers that are capable of subminute accuracy when combined with the right bullet and powder combination. Just what constitutes a specialty pistol? A specialty pistol can be anything from a bone-stock TC Encore, an MOA Falling Block single-shot or a highly customized Remington XP-100 or clone. My light gun is a TC Encore frame with a 15-inch Bullberry Barrel Works .260 Remington with an integral muzzle brake. On my first journey to the match I fired a factory TC Encore in .243 and actually had a group on paper at 1,000 yards! The biggest factor is a quality riflescope to see the targets at distance and with enough elevation adjustment to get there. The old Leupold M-8, 4-power pistol scopes just don’t have the magnification needed to see the targets that far away. Most specialty pistols are equipped with a Bullberry barrel and a muzzle brake to get the weight up, eliminate


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COMPETITIONS recoil and keep that big riflescope from coming back and leaving a bloody crease across one’s nose. I have to admit that when I shoot my heavy gun, if my scope comes back and just touches my nose, I know that everything was in order and I made a good shot! The key is to not let that make you flinch on the following shots. MANY OF THE COMMON benchrest calibers are found in the chambers of these pistols. In the heavy-gun class, where a pistol weighing up to 16 pounds is allowed to have up to an 18-inch barrel, the .284-based cartridges reach nearly full rifle velocities and can be highly competitive. I have seen – and heard – a 7mm Winchester Magnum pistol being used in this competition! In a light gun, up to 7.5 pounds and 15-inch barrel, the smaller bench-rest calibers are more common: 6mm BR; 6mm XC; 6mm Cheetah; .260 Remington and so on. The hunter class guns can weigh up to 12 pounds and also are limited to a 15-inch barrel, but are only allowed a maximum forend width of 2½ inches. Any caliber that is capable of keeping the projectile traveling faster than the speed of sound at the intended target distance should work. Supporting a 16-pound pistol does not take much special gear, but sand bags are usually dedicated to the Hunter-class pistols. During my first few years, I used an old cast-iron Stith rest that my dad acquired at some point. I could put a

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American Shooting Journal // June 2016

small sand bag in the top of the rest and another bag under the grip and hold things fairly stable. Bringing an antique to a match like this does cause a few strange looks from other competitors. The only problem with this set-up was there was no easy way to make lateral adjustments. I finally broke down and picked up a Sinclair rest and never looked back. Light-gun and heavy-gun classes are fired from a front rest or sand bags with a rear bag of the shooter’s choice for the pistol to ride on. The hunter class is fired from a bipod or two sand bags. A rear bag or squeeze bag is allowed for quick elevation adjustments. If a bipod is used for the hunter class, it is included in the total weight of the pistol. Factory ammo can be used, but most everyone has their own special recipe. HOW CAN I KNOW where my shots are going? Well, that is where a spotter comes in. I travel to this match with some of my best friends and what better thing is there to do with friends but go shooting? We joke about being world-class spotters, since we have all filled the position of spotter for our fellow shooters at the IHMSA internationals. It is the responsibility of the shooter to pay attention to the spotter, though, since they are able to see the impact and sometimes see the bullet track into the target. Since the spotter is not dealing with recoil or loading, they can calculate corrections and give helpful information to the shooter.


COMPETITIONS A good spotting scope is going to make a spotter’s job easier, and on several occasions I have used these opportunities to do a few field trials. Everyone will let you take a quick look through their spotting scopes. There are always quality optics to check out! Swarovski makes some really good glass, but when I could see bullet holes at 500 through a Kowa Highlander set of binoculars, I was utterly amazed. Once all of the firing is done, the big finale is back at MOA headquarters where scores are announced and the “rocks,” or trophies, are given out, along with any other prizes at the awards ceremony. The rock is the whole point of going to this competition. Living in the high desert you would think that I see enough rocks, but this is a slab of Black Hills granite that is laser engraved with the match information and logo. The Black Hills are the home of Mount Rushmore and Devils Tower – these are some really cool rocks! When not competing in The Cold Turkey, some of the nearby rifle clubs will give in and allow a pistol shooter to enter a rifle match. “Do you think that thing will reach that far?” other shooters often quip. Although this is not looked upon favorably by some of the rifle purists, after a few shots downrange into the 10 or X-ring, the comment, “Well, I guess you can stay,” is the mark of approval. Shooting with a brake,

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Not only is Dan Meserve a great spotter for fellow long-range handgunners, but a good shot in his own right. Here he is with his personal best, taken with “The Big Silver Gun,” chambered in 6.5x284.

though, is almost always a trip down to the far end of the firing line. If you’re looking for something to do and find yourself in Wyoming, why not give long-range handguns a try?  Editor’s note: The 2016 MOA Cold Turkey handgun shoot will be held in Sundance, Wyo., June 16-18. For more information about this event, visit moaguns.com.


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SMOOTH IS FAST Jard’s J67 Bullpup Carbine Comes With Uncommon Features • GUN REVIEW J67

REVIEW AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY OLEG VOLK

D

their low recoil, as well. Overall construction is extremely simple, and takedown is easy: Back out and remove the thumbscrew in front of the action, pull the lower back to separate it from the upper, pull the captured recoil-spring assembly and drop the bolt out of the back of the upper. That’s it for field stripping!

THE ACTION is straight blowback, but delivers less recoil than most .22 rifles. The trick is a relatively heavy – 18.8 ounce – bolt and substantial over travel past the magazine on each cycle. The same layout gives Keltec RDB and Ultimax 100

THE CARBINE’S OVERALL LENGTH is 26¼ inches, which includes the 16¾-inch barrel, and the muzzle is optionally threaded for a flash hider or sound suppressor. The carbine would work well suppressed, as the vents gas well away from the shooter. I shot 150 rounds of various ammunition and had zero stoppages of any kind. Moreover – and very unusually for 9mm carbines – the J67 shot all kinds of bullet weights and types well. Everything from Liberty 50-grain hypervelocity loads screaming at 2,550 feet per second to Federal 147-grain subsonic JHP fed, fired, extracted and printed between 2 and 3 minute of angle. Since the J67 is not a target rifle, I did my testing prone without a bipod: multiple five-shot strings of the same load grouped variously between 2 and 3MOA due to the marksman’s limitations. For a 9mm Luger long gun with a nontarget scope, that’s very respectable. It offers an excellent single-stage trigger – a Jard specialty – that helps with practical accuracy. Although each load shot tiny groups,

ean Van Marel of Jard, Inc. designed the J67 bullpup to be simple and inexpensive. Based loosely on Sten and Sterling submachinegun features, this odd-looking bullpup folded from aluminum sheets is quite different in actual use. At 7 pounds, it hearkens back to the age when pistol-caliber guns were sometimes front-line infantry weapons. Unlike Sten and Sterling, J67 ejects down behind the magazine and the controls are ambidextrous. The safety lever is modeled on M1 Garand, and Marel chose Glock magazines, common and available in various calibers, as the standard. In my experience, the Glock magazines worked perfectly, but aftermarket magazines wouldn’t lock into the magazine well at first. The magrelease lever has to be manually pushed forward the first time on each new aftermarket magazines, such as those from ETS Group and Magpul, but then the mags worked fine. Designed with a mag catch on both sides of the well, the J67 works only with Gen4-compliant magazines.

Jard’s J67 bullpup carbine was created for use with Glock Gen4-compliant magazines, and offers extremely low felt recoil – less than most .22s – and high accuracy.

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This 7-pound bullpup has an overall length of 26¼ inches with a 16¾-inch barrel that is optionally threaded for a flash hider or sound suppressor.

the difference between impact centers of different loads could exceed 4MOA, so zeroing for a specific cartridge is recommended for long-range use. AS REMARKABLE as the accuracy was for the variety of loads the J67 digested – ball, frangibles, hollow points, the highly sculptured G2 Rip – they all ran fine. All of the spent the brass collected right under the gun too. The ejection port is far enough forward that conventional marksmanship position with a shooter’s left hand under the buttplate works fine. Since I didn’t like the look of the corrugated metal buttplate, I originally put a Hi-Viz gel recoil pad on it. I shouldn’t have bothered, as the felt recoil, even without the pad, is negligible – easily less than with a semiauto .22 rifle. The length of pull is already fairly long at 14¾ inches, and one enhancement I do recommend is a neoprene cheekpad for use in cold weather.

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The heat endurance is good: I felt no appreciable change in temperature of the forend or the receiver after 150 rounds fired over half an hour. I deliberately photographed the action without cleaning it: very little junk goes into the receiver, and there’s lots of room for particles to settle should running dirty be required. The nonreciprocating charging handles felt a little gritty at the start of the stroke, and could use more surface area for comfort, but it’s a minor gripe. Jard plans to offer larger charging handles as options. I would have liked some form of manual or automatic bolt hold-open, both for administrative chamber checks and to know when to reload. The absence of felt recoil or any hesitation during feeding makes it hard to feel when the gun runs dry. Fortunately, in serious use, that would only happen every 33 shots. While the carbine ships with a 17-round Magpul magazine, extended magazines make sense for the ease of handling as well as the higher capacity. I found that the safety lever flag would sometimes get activated when pushed against a bag in prone, but a stronger spring is available on request. THE GUN MIGHT LOOK rough but it balances beautifully, and may run effectively with one hand. Because of its reliability with hypervelocity ammunition, the J67 has a pretty good aimed range. I ran with a 5x Primary Arms scope and a red-dot for closer ranges. At very close distances, Viridian X5L light/laser provides

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Because the felt recoil on the J67 is so low, the shooter may not find it necessary to upgrade to a recoil pad.


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After 150 rounds fired over the course of 30 minutes, there was very little debris in the J67’s action. There is a lot of room for particles to settle, should the gun run dirty for an extended amount of time.

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American Shooting Journal // June 2016

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In field testing, we used numerous types of ammunition to include Liberty Civil Defense, Maker Bullet, L-Tec, Southern Ballistic Research, G2 RIP, Freedom Munitions and Federal, and all worked without failures over numerous rounds shot.

Field-stripping the J67 is a breeze. Just back out and remove the thumbscrew in front of the action, pull the lower back to separate it from the upper, pull the captured recoil-spring assembly and drop the bolt out of the back of the upper. That’s it!

another aiming option with less bore offset than the topmounted red dot. IN SUMMARY, the J67 is a reliable and capable carbine that’s fun to use. Excellent practical accuracy and imperceptible recoil make it a contender in recreational and hunting applications.

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Excellent reliability and suppressor compatibility make it viable for self defense. At $899 list price, it’s not as inexpensive as intended, but the performance justifies the price and then some! The only serious competitor to it in low recoil and accuracy is the more expensive Sig MPX. To learn more, go to jardinc.com/jard-j67. 


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BLACK POWDER

SHOOTIN’ SHORT WITH LONG GUNS Innovative Black Powder Competition In Washington State

STORY BY MIKE NESBITT

The Capitol City Rifle and Pistol Club in Washington state boasts a healthy group of avid black powder shooters who compete throughout the year in what they call short-range matches where the targets are set at only 100- and 200-yard distances. (JOHN WEGER)

ost of the time legendary Sharps rifles are featured for their long-range capabilities, and that is no surprise because those long-range shots are what made the Sharps so famous. Even so, those guns are just as fantastic at short range. Our local club, the Capitol City Rifle and Pistol Club near Olympia, Wash., enjoys holding black-powder cartridge rifle matches, but our longest distance only extends to 200 yards, so we have short-range matches.

M

THE COURSE OF FIRE for these matches is simple: Each shooter

gets two targets and the idea is to put 10 shots through each target – one at 100 yards and the other at 200 -- for a total of 20 shots. Shooting is done from any unsupported position, which basically means no bench rest. All of our shooters at this particular match used the sitting position with X-sticks, although shooting prone is allowed. The rifles we use are – as it says in the rules – “either traditional singleshot or lever-action, tubular-magazine rifles with exposed hammers.” In the match we recently held, all of the shooters used Sharps rifles, and no one can blame them. THIS WAS A SMALL MATCH with only seven shooters attending – these are the most fun – and the weather was very nice. americanshootingjournal.com 51


BLACK POWDER CAPITOL CITY RIFLE AND PISTOL CLUB CURRENT STANDINGS NAME               Jim Dickerman Bob DeLisle Mike Nesbitt Allen Cunniff Sam Snelson Jeff Ritter Don Kerr

RIFLE/CARTRIDGE 1874 Shiloh Sharps .45-70 1874 Pedersoli Sharps .45-70 1874 C. Sharps Arms .44-90 1874 C. Sharps Arms .45-70 1874 C. Sharps Arms .45-100 1874 Shiloh Sharps .45-70 1874 C. Sharps Arms .45-90

100 YARD 94-4X 89-2X 89-3X 87-X 87-X 90 80

200 YARD 95-2X 95-2X 95-X 94-2X 92-2X 87 79-2X

MATCH TOTAL         189-6X 184-4X* 184-4X* 181-3X 179-3X 177 159-2X

ACCUMULATIVE 550-9X 350-4X 522-6X 374-8X 357-4X 534-3X 474-4X         

* The tie was broken by more Xs at the longer range.

It was cool enough for a light jacket and very sunny. In fact, it was almost too bright because the targets were often in the shade, which made them hard to see. This didn’t stop Jim Dickerman from claiming the top score and first-place prize yet again. Dickerman doesn’t win the top prize every time, but he has done it before. He also shoots in national matches, as evidenced by some of the blue entry stickers on the stock of his .45-70. It’s always nice to see Dickerman show up for our little matches because we know we’ll see some very good shooting. Right behind Dickerman came Bob DeLisle using another .45-70. DeLisle’s score was only five points behind Dickerman, and like Dickerman, DeLisle shot his best score at 200 yards. In fact, five of our shooters in this match shot higher scores at

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200 yards than at 100. It is true that the 200-yard bull’s-eye is the larger of the two, but it doesn’t seem that much bigger. I was tied with DeLisle for second place, shooting my heavy 13½-pound .44-90. Dave Dolliver was spotting for me, and sometimes he had some interesting ways of calling the locations of my hits. On the 200-yard target, for example, I fired and Dolliver said, “That one went really low!” It was actually a nine pointer at 8 o’clock position, but it was the lowest hit on that target. DeLisle and I had identical scores, but he had one more “X” on the 200-yard target, so he won the tie. ON MY 100-YARD TARGET, I must explain that two windage adjustments were made while firing those 10 shots, and the


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BLACK POWDER three shots that are cutting the top of the X-ring were the last three shots fired. Following me, for the first time in a long time, came Allen Cunniff and he was shooting his favorite fancy ’74 Sharps in .45-70. Cunniff trailed DeLisle and me by only three points, so he wasn’t very far at all. Cunniff will reclaim his position at or near the top of the winners’ list soon enough, probably at our next match, which is this month. With the Matthew Quigley Buffalo Rifle Match coming right behind our June match, you can bet that Cunniff will be practicing. Two points behind Allen came Sam Snelson with his French grey-finished Sharps .45-100. Snelson knows that rifle pretty well, and it is his only Sharps. He uses it in silhouette matches too and does rather well. We’ll be seeing him shooting higher scores again. Next came “Loco” Jeff Ritter (we call him Loco because he was an engineer on the steam locomotives at Knott’s Berry Farm). Loco won our last match without even being there. He had a trip scheduled so he shot his targets early, appropriately witnessed. Now, he might want to do that again just in case not being at the matches brings him good luck. We’ll have to see about that. Loco used his .45-70 Sharps, but that might change because he is building a .45-90 on a rolling block, so we’ll have to see what he’ll be shooting next time.

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Claiming last place for this match was Don Kerr. There’s nothing wrong with that and every match has a last place. Kerr knows he needs to practice more, but for the last few months he’s had other things on his mind. Once some of the confusion clears away he’ll be using his Sharps .45-90 much better. This match was a good one, and it is one of six that we will have in 2016. At the end of each year, we award prizes for the last shoot, plus aggregate prizes for the entire season, which is a great end to a great year of shooting. 

On the 100-yard target, Mike Nesbitt made two windage corrections during his 10-shot series, and the three shots cutting the top of the X-ring were the last shots fired. (MIKE NESBITT)


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IN THE LAND OF RAVENS Larry Case Takes On Gunsite Academy’s Defensive Shotgun Course

The world-reknown Gunsite Academy, located in Arizona’s high desert, hosts numerous firearms courses throughout the year, and our resident scattergunner Larry Case recently spent several days putting a Mossberg 500 ATI Scorpion – and himself – through the defensive shotgun class.

STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY LARRY CASE

I

like shotguns. People who have been around me know this. Like many of my ilk I was given a .410 single-barrel shotgun at a young age. Back in my misspent youth, I often took it out and killed rabbits, squirrels and the odd grouse that stayed on the ground too long. They all fell to the little Model 37 Winchester. The years flew by and bigger, more sophisticated shotguns took the Winchester’s place. My career in law enforcement took me to new levels of firearms training; I enjoyed working as a firearms trainer and even did some competition shooting. I will always be proud of my department, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Section, and I watched them come to the forefront of firearms training. We stepped out of dark ages and obtained the best and most upto-date training we could find. DNR’s firearms trainers were even often asked to help train and qualify other law enforcement agencies. While all of this training was great, I wanted to learn more and knew that someone, somewhere was taking training to new levels – Gunsite Academy – and like most gun aficionados everywhere, I certainly knew about its founder, Colonel Jeff Cooper. THE MAN AND THE ‘MODERN TECHNIQUE’ Col. Cooper is considered an icon in the defensive-firearms training world. Cooper earned a degree in political science from Stanford University before becoming a commissioned officer in the Marine Corps. He served in World War II and Korea before coming to Arizona in 1976, when he started

the American Pistol Institute, which would ultimately become Gunsite, one of the most respected firearms training academies in the world. “The mission of Gunsite Academy is to provide good people with the skills by which they may conduct themselves as responsible citizens of a free Republic,” is Gunsite’s mission statement. Col. Cooper adopted a raven as the symbol for Gunsite early on, because in Norse mythology the raven was a messenger from the gods to mankind. Ravens are numerous in the area and after passing under the iconic sign of the raven on the front gate, I always had the sense that they were keeping an eye on me while I was there. It is safe to say that Col. Cooper was not a typical Marine Corps veteran. He was a renaissance man. He wrote over 20 books and hundreds of magazine articles. One of his greatest achievements was developing a style of fighting known as the “modern technique.” Prior to this, military and law enforcement would often conduct firearms training using a one-handed shooting position – much like a bullseye shooter – or what appeared to be a quickdraw, shoot-from-the-hip stance. Col. Cooper did away with all this and taught what hecalled the Weaver stance – named after Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Jack Weaver who developed the technique in competitions. This stance incorporates a smooth draw, then both hands come together for a two-handed grip, the pistol is brought to eye level and the move is finished off with a controlled trigger pull. The technique is now the basis for firearms training all over the world, and though he passed away in 2006, any police officer who has survived a firefight with a handgun in the past 50 years owes Col. Cooper a debt of gratitude. americanshootingjournal.com 57


Shooting a shotgun in defensive mode is, in many ways, vastly different than using one for hunting.

Col. Cooper went on to help found the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) and often stressed that the mental attitude of a person involved in a gunfight is just as important as the weapon itself and the shooter’s proficiency with it. He preached that simply owning a gun does not make you a gun fighter. As he put it, “Owning a piano does not make you a pianist.”

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The modern technique was first developed for the handgun, but Col. Cooper also used it for fighting with a rifle. Do these methods also apply to the shotgun? You betcha! TAKING ON THE DEFENSIVE SHOTGUN CLASS The defensive shotgun class is what I came to Gunsite for. I spoke to lead instructor and range master Dave


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Hartman, who gave me some tips and insight into wielding a shotgun as a defensive weapon rather than a hunting gun. He suggested using a fixed stock – not folding – and preferably a shorter rather than a longer shotgun. Now, unless you are very long in the arms and neck, a shotgun that has a long length of pull – the measurement from the end of the buttstock to the trigger – will be uncomfortable to shoot. You will experience more felt recoil, and don’t confuse a folding stock with an adjustable one. I used the Mossberg 500 ATI Scorpion with an adjustable stock and it worked fine.

Hartman said it would be best to use a short barrel, although there is no need to go below the 18-inch legal length, but at the same time you really don’t want grandad’s 32-inch barrel Model 97 Winchester either. The shorter barrel is less wieldy and handles better in tight spaces, similar to what you would encounter defending your home. It is also a good idea to have a sling on your shotgun. When you need to stow a shotgun for any reason you will want it with you – that is, on you – so you can pick it up again at a moment’s notice. Whether it is a traditional carry strap or single-point system doesn’t really matter. Having a dedicated flashlight is important too. If you

MOSSBERG 500 ATI SCORPION Here is the deal: The growing popularity of the defensive shotgun has caused a rise in the demand for tactical configurations. Adjustable stocks, pistol grips, rails and ammo carriers are widely available to trick out your shotgun. Since this is not Mossberg’s first rodeo, they have wisely teamed up with Advanced Technology International to supply all the goodies to make a dynamite tactical/defensive shotgun. The Mossberg 500 ATI Scorpion is a beast. To create it, Mossberg took the time-tested Mossberg 500 pump gun, added an ATI adjustable stock, pistol grip, side-saddle ammo carrier, heat shield and multiple rails for lights and other accoutrements. I shot this gun through the entire 260 Shotgun Class at Gunsite Academy with four different kinds of ammo and did not have one malfunction. The Mossberg 500’s dual extractors, twin-action bars and anti-jam elevator in the mechanism saw to that. I treated this gun pretty roughly, did not baby it and did not even offer to clean it during the class. The Scorpion also delivered some very respectful groups with slugs at 100 yards. With a suggested retail of $588, if you can find a comparable shotgun with as many accessories for less Mossberg 500 ATI Scorpion money, I say buy it. For more, go to mossberg.com.

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People come from all of over the nation, even other countries, just to attend courses at one of the most historic ranges in the country.

can’t see, you can’t fight. You can make do with a good handheld, but a light mounted on the gun, either on the forend or on a side-mounted rail – such as on my Mossberg Scorpion – is best. High-visibility adjustable sights are also necessary. A plain bead on the barrel for very short-range encounters will suffice, but remember this is a fighting shotgun and in this

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Gunsite class we engaged targets out to 100 yards. Ghost ring and rear/blade sights work well, but I chose an optic for this class – the Trijicon MRO (miniature rifle optic). Don’t let the name fool you. The target acquisition with this red-dot sight was extremely fast. I was amazed at the long-range accuracy that the combination of the Mossberg and Trijicon delivered. Much of the time more is better when it comes to


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ammo, so having an extended magazine tube is a great upgrade. There are many companies that supply extension tubes, such as Nordic Components and Taccom, but many shotguns are now coming off the shelf in tactical or defensive mode – my Scorpion is one of them. The Gunsite instructors pointed out that most homeowners who engage with a single intruder are not likely to need to reload multiple rounds. If you are required

Trijicon MRO

The Mossberg Scorpion chambered four different types of ammunition during the multi-day course of fire and never jammed.

TRIJICON MINIATURE RIFLE OPTIC With any firearm you can only shoot as well as you can see. Most shotguns make do with a simple front bead sight, and for some jobs this is sufficient. Most of us, however, can use all the help we can get. For my recent Gunsite 260 shotgun class, I chose to put a red-dot optic on the Mossberg shotgun I used. The Trijicon MRO (miniature rifle optic) is a sealed reflex sight intended for use on rifles, carbines and shotguns. The large aperture and tapered light maximizes the viewing area and allows for better situational awareness and

fast target engagement from any shooting position. You can and should shoot a shotgun while using this optic with both eyes open. Mount the shotgun to your cheek, see the red dot on the target and pull the trigger. It is that fast. The 25mm objective lens makes for a huge field of view, and when you learn to shoot with both eyes open, the tube of the optic seems to disappear. The red dot goes on the target, boom, work the action, move to the next target! Trijicon optics are manufactured with military and law enforcement needs in mind. This optic is rugged, has a 7075 aircraft-grade aluminum housing with sealed lenses and is waterproof up to 100 feet, although I am not sure what you would be shooting in water that deep. I didn’t run over this sight with a truck, but I didn’t baby it either. The MRO will take anything you dish out. I would put the MRO on any defensive shotgun and many shotguns for hunting, especially for turkeys. You can only shoot as well as you can see, and with the Trijicon MRO you can see and get on target very quickly.

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The defensive shotgun course at Gunsite is in depth and varied. We not only shot in close-quarter environments, we also shot numerous rounds at 100 yards.

to participate in a full-blown gun battle, however, more ammo is better (note the previous mention of an extended magazine). An ATI Halo side-saddle ammo carrier was mounted on the side of the Mossberg I used for this class. At first, quite honestly, I didn’t like it, but by the end of the class I was a fan, and it helped me complete the Gunsite El Presidente drill under par for time. I felt as if we came off the range every day of this shotgun class just as your bird dog should after a day in the field – very tired but happy. Make no mistake, the instructors will push you – how else will you find out what you can do? – and very little time was spent on the bench. You are there to train and shoot, and my friend,

you will shoot some ammo. Just about the time you start to wonder why you’re repeating a drill for the tenth time, the light comes on and you get it. This is how you learn and develop muscle memory. Loading the shotgun while looking at your target quickly teaches you where all the buttons are, and you will no longer fumble with the shotgun or the ammo when you are confronted with the real thing. One of the drills I found most interesting was the long-range work with slugs. The shotgun is a short-range weapon, but with the proper gun and sights I think you would be amazed at what you can do at 100 yards. We routinely shot targets at this distance, and it was not a

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Having an 18-inch shotgun with a collapsible stock was perfect for each of the scenarios we worked through during the course.

If you have never been to Gunsite, you should add it to your bucket list. It was founded by Colonel Jeff Cooper and is practically historical.

problem. The Trijicon MRO really helped with this. THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE Part of the unique Gunsite experience is, of course, just being there. You’re in the high desert of Arizona, which means higher elevation and often cooler temperatures – it snowed during this class in late March – and you are where Col. Jeff Cooper started this chapter of his legacy. Being from Back East, the wildlife and fauna here fascinated me. Whenever one of those big jackrabbits would hop across the road or firing range, I would make a comment about how I would like to try my hand at hunting them. After a few days of this I am pretty sure that nothing I said surprised the other guys in the class. Start thinking about making the trip to Gunsite. This is where people from all walks of life come when they decide to get serious about defensive shooting. If you want to take what many would consider the best defensive-shotgun class available, the staff at Gunsite would love to hear from you. It’s all there waiting for you in the desert amongst the ravens and the jackrabbits.  68

American Shooting Journal // June 2016


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COMPETITIONS

‘THIS IS A NORMAL SPORT’

Two-time World Champion Youth Shooter Kolby Pavlock On Shooting Competitively

Kolby Pavlock is a youth shooter who is taking the competition realm by storm. The 16-year-old Idaho boy competes in multiple disciplines to include 3-Gun, United States Practical Shooting Association and Rimfire. He has recently become the Steel Challenge world-record holder in two categories – Rimfire Iron Sight Pistol and Rimfire Iron Sight Rifle.

INTERVIEW BY ERIC M. SAPERSTEIN • PHOTOGRAPHS BY GAIL PAVLOCK

outh shooter Kolby Pavlock is young man from the Boise, Idaho, area who has immersed himself in the world of competitive shooting. Until recently, this level of sport was populated mostly by adults. But Kolby’s story starts when he was 3 with parents who took him hunting. When he was 10, he started hunting birds, graduating to big game at age 12. Now 16, Pavlock is a junior at Kuna High School and attends college classes at the Dennis Technical Center in Boise. With a 3.75-grade-point average, he is planning to pursue a degree in machining and mechanical engineering after graduation.

loves all three disciplines, in 2015 he made the decision to focus solely on USPSA. Pavlock’s sponsors are very important, and he takes personal pride in their trust and investment in his career. The list includes Brass Guys, Breakthrough, Gem Stop, Gemtech, Hawktech, Highborn Outdoors, Hoftac Industries, MCM Firearms, Rudy Project, Seekins Precision, Tactical Solutions, Taylor Freelance, Vortex Optics and ZEV Technologies. I had an opportunity to catch up with Pavlock about his lifestyle, his aspirations as a shooter and to discuss his future and career. I can say Pavlock is a soft spoken and humble kid who shares our passion for liberty. He thrives on the competitive spirit and enjoys the comradery of the range.

PAVLOCK BEGAN his competitive shooting career at the age of 12, competing in 3-Gun and rimfire, following this up with United States Practical Shooting Association. Kolby currently shoots a custom Glock 24 Gen 3 from ZEV Technologies, and is ranked as master class, just .13 percent away from achieving grandmaster. His rimfire equipment includes a Tactical Solutions X-Ring .22 rifle and Ruger Mark II 22/45 with a Tactical Solutions barrel. His 3-Gun gear includes a Seekins Precision AR-15 with a Vortex Razor HD Gen II 1-6X24 scope, a custom Glock 34 from ZEV Technologies and a Remington VersaMax shotgun. While he

American Shooting Journal Kolby, thank you for taking the time to talk to us today. As a world champion, what have you had to give up to achieve this epic level of achievement? Kolby Pavlock I made the decision to really focus on becoming a world-champion shooter when I started shooting. I had to drop out of activities like hanging out with friends, school sports and had to limit my time hunting. In exchange for these activities, I get to practice and train more often and really focus on my shooting. I believe that if I focus on shooting and make it a high priority, my future will continue to be rewarding and challenging.

Y

americanshootingjournal.com 75


COMPETITIONS KOLBY PAVLOCK’S CURRENT STANDINGS

Pavlock’s shooting skills have garnered the attention of numerous sponsors that include Brass Guys, Breakthrough, Gem Stop, Gemtech, Hawktech, Highborn Outdoors, Hoftac Industries, MCM Firearms, Rudy Project, Seekins Precision, Tactical Solutions, Taylor Freelance, Vortex Optics and ZEV Technologies, to name a few.

ASJ How did your parents react when you wanted to start competing? KP My parents were happy. As hunters, we really didn’t know much about the sport of shooting, so we all learned together as my shooting career went on. My mom supports me by helping out with all of the sponsorship things and keeping my head in the game. My dad supports me by helping with all of the reloading and keeping guns cleaned and zeroed.

2012 IDAHO RUGER RIMFIRE CHALLENGE 1st place Junior 2013 WASHINGTON STATE STEEL • High Junior 2nd place Rimfire Rifle overall • First place Iron Sight Rimfire Pistol overall WEST COAST STEEL CHAMPIONSHIP • Junior Iron Sight Rimfire Rifle champion IDAHO RUGER RIMFIRE • High Junior 2nd Iron Sight division IDAHO SECTIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP USPSA • Third place Limited B Class MGM IRONMAN • Placed 89th out of 269 overall Tac Ops • Third place out of 17 junior Tac Ops 2014 WEST COAST STEEL CHALLENGE • West Coast Centerfire Limited champion • Junior Centerfire champion • Iron Sight 2-Gun Ruger Rimfire master • Junior Rimfire champion • Iron Sight Rimfire Rifle champion • Junior Iron Sight Rimfire Rifle champion

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ASJ What are your goals outside of the shooting sports? KP I plan on attending college to become an engineer and machinist. Right now I am in a precision machining class and love it. I would also like to educate people about guns and competitive shooting. I have been asked by friends and others why I am not in a normal sport. This is a normal sport! It is just not well known and often feared. Education is important, and that means educating others as I go along.

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ASJ How have your sponsors influenced your career path and your opportunities? KP These amazing companies have made it possible for me to succeed by providing me with excellent products and support. My role as a sponsored shooter is to continue educating people on the importance of the Second Amendment, not only for those in competitive shooting but those who just like to shoot for fun.

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ASJ Can you describe the moments in your shooting and personal life where you feel you’re at your best and you are at your worst? KP I am at my best

WORLD SPEED SHOOT CHAMPIONSHIP • Iron Sight Rimfire Division champion WASHINGTON STATE STEEL • High Junior 1st and 2nd overall • 1st Rimfire Iron Sight Rifle • 1st Rimfire Iron Sight Pistol IDAHO NSSF • High Junior 1st overall Iron Sight division MGM IRONMAN 3 GUN • 18th out of 150 overall Tac Ops • 2nd out of 13 Junior Tac Ops HIGH DESERT 3 GUN CHAMPIONSHIP • High Junior SEEKINS 3-GUN TEAM MATCH • High Junior 2nd overall USPSA AREA ONE • 103 out of 352 overall • 39 out of 122 limited USPSA NATIONALS • 51 out of 153 limited 2015 BERRY’S STEEL OPEN • 7th overall limited GLOCKS ONLY MATCH • 2nd out of 94 overall OREGON STATE USPSA • 5th out of 59 limited IDAHO STATE USPSA • 3rd out of 36 limited, High Junior MGM IRONMAN 3-GUN • 23rd out of 126 Tac-Ops WASHINGTON STATE STEEL • 1st and 4th overall AREA 1 USPSA • 18th out of 143 limited HIGH DESERT 3 GUN • 3rd out of 35 overall AREA 3 USPSA • 13th out of 78, High Junior NORTHWEST NSSF RIMFIRE CHAMPIONSHIP • 1st out of 152, High Junior, High limited USPSA LIMITED NATIONALS • 31st out of 285 NSSF RIMFIRE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP • 1st out of 180, High Junior, High limited STEEL CHALLENGE WORLD RECORD • 1st Rimfire Iron Sight Pistol • 1st Rimfire Iron Sight Rifle • 3rd and 4th overall Rimfire out of 70 • 11th out of 35 limited/56th out of 141 overall • Two new steel-challenge world records in Rim Fire Pistol Iron (72.59 seconds) and Rim Fire Rifle Iron (65.79 seconds)


COMPETITIONS my groove. When it comes to preparing mentally, I take a moment to shut everyone out and tell myself to relax, don’t get nervous, act like it’s a local match and have fun. When I started shooting and going to big events I would get super nervous, but now I don’t let anything get to me anymore.

An excellent student, Kolby is also an avid educator and helps others build their skills. Here he stands with dad Doug.

when I spend hours upon hours training and practicing before a big match, or after the ďŹ rst couple of stages into a match because I get comfortable and start to relax. I am at my worst when I’m tired or just not feeling it. Mornings are difficult too, because I haven’t fully woken up or found

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American Shooting Journal // June 2016

ASJ What’s your message to the next generation of shooters? KP Stand up for what you believe in and don’t let anyone tell you that it is stupid. Instead, ask them if they would like to see what competitive shooting is all about. Educate, educate, educate! Most people are misinformed, uneducated or afraid, and often the media represents guns as bad. There will be people, young and old, who may never get it, but everyone is entitled to their opinion. Always be true to yourself and remember that you are doing a sport that you love. KOLBY PAVLOCK DEMONSTRATES the attributes of a young adult who understands how to aspire and achieve. What strikes me the most is his ongoing desire to give back. Whatever he learns, he is immediately ready to pass on and share, often sharing his knowledge with other shooters, including tolder ones. Pavlock demonstrates everything that is right with the millennial generation. �


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Unique-ARs designs and creates some of the black-gun industry’s most impressive, eye-catching and truly personalized hand guards on the market. The One Shot (above) is one of their most popular models.

Filigree

ONE IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER Unique-ARs Makes Highly Personalized AR Hand Guards INTERVIEW BY STEVE JOSEPH * PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF UNIQUE-ARS

J

im Corbet is the founder of Unique-ARs and hails from an extensive machining and design background. He loves outdoor activities such as hunting, snowmobiling and skiing, and is a volunteer firefighter in Idaho, where he and his family have the perfect environment to play in. Corbet’s talents coupled with the black-gun craze and all of their accessories set him on a path creating ingenious and personalized designs for these platforms. Corbet sat down with

Oval americanshootingjournal.com 85


American Shooting Journal and shared his inspiration on these unique and very clever creations. American Shooting Journal How did Unique-ARs get its start? Jim Corbet We started with a desire to bring something really cool and slightly bad-ass to market. I wanted to push the envelope and make something unique. The AR market seemed to be a natural fit. Accessories for the AR rifle were booming when I originally came up with the concept, and truly customized, one-of-a-kind parts were not available. I saw an opportunity! I wanted to show what we could do with the AR platform, which is perfect for truly custom and unique personal designs.   ASJ These are probably the coolest looking handguards we’ve ever seen. Where do the design ideas come from, and do they compromise strength and durability? JC We have a team of designers who work to develop the designs. Of course not all of the ideas make it to production. The handguards are milled on a four-axis mill and are made from 6061 aluminum, so they are incredibly strong, and our stock designs are tested for durability and

function before they are released. Custom designs are also run through a rigorous test before being signed off on by the team. ASJ How many different stock designs do you carry? JC We have over 30 stock designs. They range from the mild, like the Ovals, to something wild, like the One Shot. The most popular is the Wing and Skull. We also have softer designs like the Lotus Dragon and Filigree. ASJ Do you do custom designs? JC We do. You can submit a design idea to our design team, and they will generate a digital preview for you

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American Shooting Journal // June 2016


THE FERRARI OF TRIGGERS PERFORMS AS GOOD AS IT LOOKS. BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT. “This trigger is so clean and crisp that it amazes me every time... The reset is magic.” - Joe

“Once you squeeze this trigger and make a follow-up shot in the same hole, you’re gonna be so mad you spent money on any other trigger group.” - Doug

“I have used many different drop-in AR triggers in the past, but the RA-535 is without a doubt the best of the best! The break is so clean, I am almost surprised when it happens, and the reset is so crisp that double-taps and follow-on shots are a breeze.” - Joel

“I was able to have a much better feel between my finger and the trigger with no take-up, giving me a much more precise shot. And with the reset as crisp and solid as it is, my follow-up shots were fast and spot on.” - Les

“My grouping has become so tight, it’s hard to count the shots on the paper target at 100 yards with backup sights only… Amazing product. Amazing company.” - Daniel

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The American Shooting Journal and American Tactical salute all members of the Armed Forces who have served, fought and currently fight to protect our nation’s freedoms.

WE THANK YOU!

MARK WILLIAMS Combat photographer Mark Williams is a Marine Corps veteran, firefighter and professional photographer. After nearly a decade of service to his county and community he has begun a second career in the art world. Mark has published photography in the firearms and apparel industries and has also received awards and accolades for his photography in Afghanistan. For more from Mark Williams, visit bourbonandsalt.com.

Brought To You By:

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upper receiver. We also offer an upgrade to a barrel nut for the DMPS-style .308 upper receivers. The barrel nut is easy to install and gives our free-float hand guards a solid shooting platform. ASJ What gas block would work well with Unique-ARs’ hand guards? JC We recommend a low-profile gas block.

The Unique-ARs team is made up of machinists, engineers and family members who live in the McCall, Idaho, area, north of Boise and surrounded by the Payette National Forest.

to see. Custom designs can be custom length from 4 inches up to 21 inches. We can do most designs, but remember, it is a round tube with an outside diameter of 2 inches. Some designs look better at that size than others. ASJ Do you have a special mounting system for the hand guard? JC Every hand guard comes with a proprietary barrel nut for the 5.56/.223. It is designed to fit on any mil-spec threaded

ASJ What typical lengths do you recommend for your hand guards? JC Our stock hand guards come in standard lengths of 7, 9, 12 and 15 inches. We can also do custom lengths. ASJ How do you like doing business in Idaho? JC I love – we love – Idaho. The worst thing about working in Idaho is sometimes the call of the outdoors is greater than the call of work! Idaho is a great location to set up shop. Business is important, but family, community and living a wonderful life is just as important. Idaho allows us to take care of business with great people and live life the way we want to live it. 

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COMPETITIONS

CHANGING GEARS Lena Miculek Moves Over To Team Sig Sauer STORY BY FRANK JARDIM * PHOTOGRAPHS BY LENA MICULEK

L

ast year, at 20 years old, Lena Miculek became the top female 3-Gun competitor in the country and the only person I have every known who has a pet toucan. It’s named Riley. She tells me that Riley is a toco, the biggest of the toucan species. When I ask her if it cost $100,000, she laughs and tells me that Riley’s breed is, in fact, the “Bugatti” of toucans but costs nowhere near that. She’s told me that her parents taught her by example to work hard and save every dime, so it seems odd that she’d buy such an expensive and rare jungle creature for a pet. She explains that a vacation only lasts a week, but a toucan can live for 25 years. I like her value-based logic. Also, her husband convinced her it would be fun. Last year all three of them drove to a 3-Gun competition in Nebraska in their 1993 Ford Explorer painted to look like the one used for tours in the film Jurassic Park. That is just how she rolls, literally. BEFORE LENA MICULEK WAS BORN, her father Jerry had established his reputation as one of the best competitive marksmen in the world and the fastest man on Earth with a double-action revolver. Her mother, Kay, was right alongside him competing, and since Miculek was home-schooled, she went with them to every match until she was 15. She grew up surrounded by guns (at home and in her mother’s gun shop), shooting and competitions. The family lived on a shooting range on Shoot Out Lane, in rural Princeton, La. Miculek has known how to safely handle and shoot firearms for as long as she can remember, though exactly when she started and under whose guidance is long forgotten. Naturally, she learned to shoot a revolver; but handgun competitions didn’t ignite any passions in her soul. Neither did the shotgun or precision long-range rifle competitions. In fact, while she was growing up, she didn’t really want to shoot at all. Shooting was work. Starting at age 8, she shot in one competition a year and that was enough for her. Her parents never pushed her either. For them, guns and shooting were a full-time profession, as well as their passion. The subject was always on their lips and seeing guns on the dining room table in the house was as normal as seeing silverware. As a kid, Miculek had none of the typical childish curiosity about firearms, and by the time she was 15, she wanted to get completely away from anything related to shooting. She took a year off and thought about what she

Lena Miculek is a household name in the gun industry and has just made a big move over to Sig Sauer, and her toucan Riley is along for the ride.

wanted to do with her life. Her older stepbrother and sister pursued careers in the military and nursing. In that year of soul searching she met Brock Afentul, the boy who became her husband at age 18, at a Christian evangelism conference and they began dating. She mastered karate, earning her black belt and dabbled in mixed martial arts fighting. As much as she enjoyed that year, she knew something wasn’t right. She realized that she truly missed the people on the competition circuit. At 16 years old, she decided she wanted to be a professional shooter and that 3-Gun would be her game. IT WAS A ROUGH START. It took her 20 matches before she cracked the code and then started winning and placing in the next 50, earning four world titles and a national title. In 2014, Smith & Wesson saw her potential early on and started sponsoring her after her second big win at the 3-Gun Nation match in Las Vegas. Miculek stayed with S&W for a year and half until last February when she took on an even more involved and diverse role with Sig Sauer as a full-time contractor, in which competitive shooting is only a part of her job. She shared with me how she got to where she is now.

American Shooting Journal What appealed to you about 3-Gun? Lena Miculek The overwhelming difficulty. The absolute layer upon layer of things you have to master. You don’t just shoot a pistol, you shoot a pistol on the run or in weird positions. You don’t just shoot a rifle. You learn to shoot a rifle offhand, use barricades, shoot on the run at targets 5 yards away and long range up to 600 yards. It appealed to me because there americanshootingjournal.com 95


COMPETITIONS so than any other sport with guns.

Even though Miculek grew up in the competition shooting realm, thanks to parents who are world-champion shooters, it took some time for her to get excited about the challenge and become serious about winning.

were endless things that I needed to do – however weird that sounds – and how much fun it was. During my first match I was terrible! The first stage was the long-range rifle and I hadn’t even shot a rifle at long range. I missed all seven targets. I sat there and shot a whole magazine, but in the end it made me aspire to be better, more

ASJ What was the problem? LM There was a time there when I was blocking myself from shooting anything at all. It took about 20 matches to get good. We were at the Pro-Am in Kentucky and we had shot the second to last stage, and I absolutely tanked it. I mean, I rolled over in a ditch on fire and died – horrible! I went and sat in the car with my mom and she asked, “Lena, you can beat me in practice, so why when you come here are you absolutely horrible? What is that?” “I don’t know what it is,” I said. We had this long talk and it was like a light-bulb moment. I went out and shot the next stage and finished 14th overall in that stage. Things had finally connected. After that I went to Hungary and won my first world title (International Practical Shooting Confederation, IPSC, World Shotgun Championship tactical division: High Lady). I won that and it just kind of took off from there. ASJ What was the light-bulb moment? LM I had expectations, however tiny they were. It’s not like I would show up and think that I wanted to shoot in a particular time, or that I wanted to place first. I never thought that, but I had to try to not think about it – however weird that sounds. I just had to shoot. I was placing value on the

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COMPETITIONS entire stage and forgetting about all the steps it takes to get to the end of the stage. So I just changed the way I thought to, “Nothing I can do is more important than the one shot I am about to make right now.” When I had that mentality, it worked very well. ASJ Your parents are world-class shooters. Do you think you inherited natural talent? LM A lot of people ask me that. I don’t think it’s so much what’s in my genes. What I do thank them for is teaching me to always know the right way to do things. At a very young age I was going to the classes they were teaching. Even before I could (shoot), I knew exactly how to do it. Once I started to apply that, things came really quickly to me. I had a really good understanding because I grew up around it. Nothing was new except that I had never actually tried to apply it. ASJ You would think you would have been winning matches right out the gate. LM My shooting ability was there. It was my mental game that threw me all the way off. If you ask [3-Gun] shooters, especially newer shooters, how they felt while they were shooting, they’ll say they felt slow. And usually if you talk to them more, they’ll end up telling you they felt kind of frantic and that they were trying to catch up the whole time. The

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only reason that feeling is there is because you have a set goal in your mind of what you’re trying to accomplish. How can something feel slow, unless you have something you’re comparing it to? Does that make sense? ASJ Yes. So, you are saying that expectations are a mental obstacle that interferes with proper shooting? LM Yes! So, what happens is, even though none of us sits there and says, “I’m going to do this in this time,” or “I need to do this,” it’s naturally in there. We have set it for ourselves whether or not we try to. ASJ How does a competitor shake the monkey of expectations off their back? LM It’s a matter of counteracting them and saying, “Time doesn’t matter and nothing is more important than the one shot I’m taking right now, and I won’t rush anything.” What happens is that it’s actually faster than anything you can do, because you’re calm and you’re working your way through it. ASJ A Lena Miculek handguard on your rifle helps too, I’m guessing? LM [Laughs] It might. I know it helps me. I designed it for F-1 Firearms AR after I got some 3-Gun experience. It’s got a wide flat bottom and sides, which make so much more sense


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COMPETITIONS to me than a round guard. The flats are much steadier when you shoot off the barricades. ASJ How are professional shooters compensated? LM There is no standard in the industry. It’s totally personal. You go in there and work out a deal for yourself. I can’t go into the details, but with Smith & Wesson I got bonuses only if I placed. I made a living at it, but it was hard. The shooting industry is small and you’re a solo show. You’re responsible for all your own travel. Last year I was on the road for 170 days. There was one stretch where I was gone 36 days straight, and I just hated everyone, every gun and everything [laughs], but I got over it. ASJ What about all the ammo you use? LM People think I have a giant truckload of ammo I can practice with. That’s not true. I’ve had ammo sponsors, and I’ve been with Freedom Munitions for a long time and now I’m with Sig Sauer. I do get factory ammo from them ready to go, but if I were to shoot all factory ammo in practice, I can’t justify that. A practice session can range from 200 to 1,200 rounds a day. So, I do a good bit of reloading for my practice ammo. We live on a range, so I have brass. Primers and powder I buy, and my uncle has a bullet-casting company. You kind of make it work.

ASJ Why did you make the move from S&W to Sig Sauer? LM Quite a few reasons. To leave S&W was quite a big deal, as you can imagine. It is one of a few companies that has a longterm career shooter they sponsor. Leaving that was a huge jump. They haven’t done this for anyone else, and now I’m leaving them [laughs]. There was a lot of discussion. Staying in the same place wasn’t what I wanted to do. Sig was going where I wanted to go. I saw more of a future there. Once I built my shooting resume, I had other goals. Sig wanted to do a lot more publicity things. They wanted me to come to the factory to talk and do several other things, get my advice and talk to employees on employee day, which I did. It was more involved than what I had before – more of a relationship. When you have more a relationship with a company, more opportunities come up. ASJ I guess as a Sig contractor you get a regular paycheck too? LM I do not have to compete as much this year as I have before, which is nice because now I can use that time to do different things, promotional things [laughs], things that aren’t, well, competing. That’s going to be nice. I can’t wait to get out to the Sig academy. They’ve got 52 instructors there and so many fun classes. I took a tour of it last winter but it was covered in snow. I’ll have to wait until it gets warm enough, so I don’t die. [Laughs]. 

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IDAHO JOINS THE RANKS OOF PERMITLESS-CARRY STATES How Gun Activists Made It Happen STORY BY ALEXANDRIA KINCAID * PHOTOGRAPHS BY SHAWN P. HUDGENS

O

ne rainy morning four years ago, I walked out of Boise’s largest gun shop to find two gentlemen standing in front of the store, clipboards in hand, requesting signatures on a petition. It was to request that Idaho citizens support a permitless gun-carry law. That was the first time I met Greg Pruett, and I offered my help with his endeavor. Idaho is known as a gun-friendly state, with many, if not most, residents owning at least one firearm. If a law-abiding citizen can own a gun, shouldn’t that person also be allowed to carry it without requesting special government permission? After all, the United States Supreme Court has confirmed that the Second Amendment protects our individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense purposes. Having a firearm in your home is helpful, but the ability to protect yourself outside your home where the criminals and terrorists lurk seems pretty basic to most gun owners. But instead of “legal to own, legal to carry” laws, Idaho has clung to a special permitting process for law-abiding gun owners who wish to carry a legal firearm tucked under a shirt or jacket. The law requires basic training, imposes conditions on age and background and requires an Idaho sheriff’s stamp of approval, unless you are one of the few state residents who fall into the law’s exception to this general permitting process. You see, the politicians who passed Idaho’s concealed-carry law also wrote themselves out of the law – any city, county, state or publicly elected Idaho officials are immune and may completely bypass the need to jump through the permitting hoop. GREG PRUETT, a native Idahoan, decided to change that. A military veteran who served over 13 years until he was forced into medical retirement after a tour in Iraq, Pruett explained to me that in 2012 he learned that other states such as Vermont, Alaska, Arizona and Wyoming already had permitless carry. He and thousands of other Idahoans believed the state should lead the nation in gun rights rather than follow.

Idahoans spent four long years attempting to pass a permitless-carry law, and earlier this year, a bill signed by Governor Butch Otter put Idaho into the ranks of the first ten constitutional-carry states.

Greg Pruett has tirelessly worked with and for the people of Idaho on the subject of permitless carry.

In an effort to unite Idaho gun owners, Greg organized the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance, a grassroots gunrights organization that would answer to no one outside the state. Since its inception in 2012, ISAA has grown to over tens of thousands of supporters across Idaho. It has beaten back dozens of illegal ordinances, defeated antigun legislation and led the fight for permitless carry in Idaho. PART OF THE JOURNEY for permitless carry has been an educational endeavor. The public and the politicians americanshootingjournal.com 105


Idahoans joined fellow Westerners in Wyoming, Arizona and Alaska, as well as residents of Arkansas, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Vermont and West Virginia in being able to legally carry without a permit.

need to understand that permitless carry does not allow criminals or the mentally ill to carry a firearm. It also does not eliminate the permitting process – it simply makes the permit optional. The permitless carry law only affects law-abiding gun owners by granting them permission to carry their legal firearms with them outside of their homes and relieving them of the onerous and outdated concealed-

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carry restrictions. Pruett correctly calls the law an “under the coat” law, because it simply allows lawabiding citizens to lawfully carry their firearms concealed, as in “under a coat.” This is why lawenforcement officials generally support permitless carry laws. In fact, the Idaho Sheriff’s Association and the Fraternal Order of Police chose to support Idaho’s permitless carry bill in 2016. Permitless carry also does not necessarily eliminate the state permitting process. The way Idaho’s permitless carry law is written, people who want a permit can still get one. Permits are useful for reciprocity purposes, so you can still carry concealed when you travel to other states. The permits are also useful for bypassing the NICS background check when buying a gun from a dealer. PERMITLESS CARRY PROTECTS law-abiding citizens, as it eliminates one of the many legal traps for gun owners: Concealed carry laws frequently impose arbitrary geographical boundaries on where a law-abiding citizen can and cannot carry a firearm. Do you know where a city’s limit starts and stops? If you carry a firearm in Idaho concealed, you may do so without a permit outside of city limits. If you cross the line into a city with your firearm concealed and you do not have a permit under the current


law, you can be charged with a misdemeanor. In this way, concealed-carry laws, as well as laws surrounding what firearms can be lawfully possessed and how they can be transported, create a huge pitfall for Americans who have no intention of violating a law, but who inadvertently wind up criminals because they carry their firearm the wrong way or into the wrong place. In my practice, I routinely help those who have broken laws such as carrying a firearm the wrong way or the wrong type in a place where they were not allowed to do so. These laws are traps for the unwary and otherwise law-abiding gun owners. People need to remember, however, that concealed-carry permits and the permitless-carry laws do not override other laws restricting us from carrying in certain locations, such as courthouses or federal buildings. THE FIRST YEAR that Pruett proposed permitless carry in Idaho, he took his idea to the state’s pro-gun legislators. Pruett told me that he learned the hard way that Idaho politicians, who enjoy an elite status where they do not need a government permit to carry a concealed weapon, didn’t really seem to care that fellow Idahoans didn’t want to ask government permission either. His organization, ISAA, gathered 3,000 signatures that first year to make permitless carry a reality for the rest of the state. Despite the public’s clear desire to change the law, the politicians instead focused their efforts on passing more gun-related restrictions, including a more stringent permitting process. “I think we were very naive the first year we went to the capitol. We approached legislators who refused to listen to us. We tried to play nice and do as they wanted us to do. We essentially played the game the way they wanted it to be played.” This game-playing, according to Pruett, got him absolutely nowhere with the legislation. THE SECOND YEAR ISAA proposed the permitless carry legislation, Pruett saw no improvement. “We played nice again. We were told once again that we needed to come back next year. We were told that it was an election year and that big bills are generally frowned upon during an election year. It was “next year” all over again. We were beginning to understand that the process does not help the people, and it isn’t about the people; it’s about the power the politicians hold and their unwillingness to relinquish it.” Pruett finally realized that playing the game the politicians’ way was not going to work, ever. Politicians who tout themselves as pro-gun are not necessarily pro-Second Amendment. THE THIRD YEAR of proposing permitless carry, Pruett chose to simply introduce the bill on his own. “After our print hearing, we thought we were on our way. But no sooner had we had introduced it than the speaker of the house and the secret gun committee put a stop to it. So that was that. They opposed it and it went nowhere.” What is the secret gun committee? According to Pruett, 108

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it is an unofficial legislative group composed of members of the Senate and House who determine what gun bills will go forward. If the committee does not like a firearmsrelated bill, they kill it behind closed doors: no public vote, no accountability, no public record of the committee at all. If you think this sounds illegal and contrary to the way Americans are supposed to be represented in the statehouse, you’re not alone. Pruett relayed to me that this committee is the epitome of everything Americans dislike about government: It provides political cover for those in the legislature who don’t care for pro-gun measures. IN 2016, IDAHO WITNESSED an extravaganza of chaos surrounding permitless carry unlike anything before. It would take four new and different permitless-carry bills, all proposed in the same legislative session by different players, to get to one that would not impose further restrictions on gun owners, but would actually restore gun rights. That bill, S 1389, passed both houses and was signed by Governor Butch Otter in late March. Pruett is quick not to take credit for the permitless carry in Idaho. Instead, he points to the power of the people. “When the people rise up, make their voices heard and threaten these guys’ jobs, they tend to listen. If they don’t feel like they are going to lose an election for their stance, then they don’t care. So the people are really what made all of this possible.” If you are inspired by ISAA, Pruett has some advice for

Author Alexandria Kincaid is a gun-rights and Second Amendment attorney, war and arms historian and author of the book Infringed.

you: “There can’t be compromise. You have to get the people involved and you can’t play the games that the legislators want you to play. They will try to demean you into submission. Then they may try to butter you up so you will compromise. You demand the best from them and expect nothing less. You have the people on your side and that is all you need. Find state organizations who have boots on the ground and a much better pulse on the gun owners of their respective states and join the fight!” 

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f you are not familiar with the design and now offers the Ulticlip3. This Ulticlip, then you must know clip offers a wider variety of mounting that it is unlike any traditional solutions and holster options to the holster clip on the market. lineup to include plastic molded-style There is no need for a belt or any other holsters as well as most leather models. Among many of the features we secondary means of support to provide retention. You might ask, “So what does love, it is made in America with a this mean?” It means that once you clip military-grade black oxide finish your already-existing holster where you and uses a C-1075 spring steel – this It even works great for keeping my gun like it, you can be sure it will never move translates to ridiculously strong stuff. perfectly situated in my sling bag so my gun is always in the exact same position every time. again, until you decide to take it off. The steel has a wax- and oil-coated This little clip is so incredibly strong – treatment, which is a rust inhibitor, how incredibly strong is it, Danielle? – that even Klingons couldn’t and it only weighs .78 ounces. Some of the most important features that we gun-toters remove it, and it uses a design that we mere mortal humans are enjoy is the concealability of this little clip. I don’t even know actually familiar with on other applications. The combination of where it went.  the clip design coupled with the application of using it as a holster retention device will make you slap your forehead. But wait! There’s more. Ulticlip has even expanded their Editor’s note: For more on the Ulticlip, visit ulticlip.com.

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COMPETITIONS

HOW TO BUILD AN OLYMPIAN Youth Shooter Phenom Lance Thompson Shoots For The 2020 Summer Games STORY BY DANA FARRELL * PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOHN THOMPSON

F

ourteen-year-old Lance Thompson of Carlisle, Pa., has spent the last several years of his life with one goal in mind – competing in the 2020 Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo. As an Olympic trapshooting hopeful and honor student, Thompson maintains an intense, disciplined schedule that includes shooting up to four days a week during the school year and living full time at a training center during the summer. This arrangement allows him to train every day when school’s out. While living at the training center he stays with one of the team members, a 25-year-old female shooter, in an efficiency apartment 100 yards from the range. This summer marks his third season living at the center.

FINDING HIS CALLING Lance found his calling in a roundabout way when his dad enrolled him in an NRA shotgun class at their local gun club. Although he was only 9 years old at the time, Lance was big for his age and the instructor made an exception. He allowed him to participate in a class that normally required a minimum age of 12. Now, 6 feet tall and 160 pounds, Lance says that even at age 9, he was one of the best shooters in the class. His mother and father, realizing their son had a gift for pointing a shotgun, saw to it that he began training in the sport of Olympic trap at the prestigious Keystone Shooting Park, in Dalmatia, Pa., north of Harrisburg. “I am not an Olympic trapshooter, so this isn’t ‘Dad’s dream,’” says Lance’s father, John. “I never even knew what Olympic trapshooting was until Lance started shooting it. So it’s not like I’m an old ATA shooter and got my kid

Lance Thompson started shooting shotguns at age 9, and in five short years he is now competing internationally and training for the 2020 summer Olympic Games.

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COMPETITIONS

Lance’s training regime requires him to be transported to the famous Keystone Shooting Park four days a week during the school season and lives there full time during the summers.

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got involved in this.” The elder Thompson spent 20 years as an elite cycling trainer, so he entered into the Olympic commitment with eyes wide open – he knows what it takes to compete on an international level. In support of his son, John now holds an NRA Level 1 Shotgun Coaching license, and is one of only a handful of International Shooting Sports Federation-certified instructors in the United States – a certification that required a trip to Ireland to attain. “To do this at the level we’re doing it, it’s all-hands-on-deck. Everything revolves around Lance’s shooting schedule and what he’s got going on. Even though he’s got some really good sponsors, there are obviously still expenses. It’s a 100 percent commitment – you can’t dabble. If you want to become a world champion, you can’t just dip your toe in or just do it on the weekends” says John in regards to what it takes to shoot at Lance’s level. Both parents lend 100 percent support to their son’s goal of making the Olympic team, with mom Patty usually driving Lance back and forth to Keystone to train several times each week during the school year. “Keystone is about an hour and fifteen minutes away from where we live, so once or twice during the week and both days on the weekends we’re driving to and from – two and half hours in the car, and then spending six or seven hours a day there on the weekends. At least one of us is there, if not both of us,” says Patty. She also accompanies


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COMPETITIONS Lance overseas when he competes in Europe – a place where “Olympic trap is taken much more seriously than in the US,” according to John. Lance has already shot in Germany, Italy and France, with “the hexagon” probably providing his fondest international shooting memory. “One of the best places I ever shot was in France. I was shooting for the junior division, and I ended up first. I was the youngest junior to ever win the junior division in 32 years.”

Lance says one of his best shoots abroad was in France, where he won a junior division.

OLYMPIC TRAINING REGIMEN When other students his age are likely home playing video games, Lance works out on a balance board to strengthen his core muscles while passing the time watching TV. On those school nights when he’s not making the trip to Keystone, he’ll mount his gun one hundred times to build muscle memory and strength. Not all of his training is physical, however. He uses Olympic Gold Medalist rifle shooter Lanny Bassham’s Mental Management program for mental training, something he says helps him relax while shooting under pressure, and he uses Vizual Edge two to three times per week, a software program developed by medical professionals to assess and improve one’s visual performance. Lance thinks Vizual Edge helps him track targets and improves his peripheral vision. Shooting coach Allen Chubb is currently helping him find his optimal balance point, so that he’s not leaning too far into the gun, and he’s not being rocked backwards onto his heels upon firing.

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COMPETITIONS INTO THE FUTURE Last year was a successful one for Lance, having won six gold, three silver and four bronze medals in Olympic-style competitions. His 2016 shooting schedule will take him to Malta and Italy, where he hopes to add to his growing medal collection. At the ripe young age of fourteen, he’s already amassed a long list of sponsors whose support helps defray the cost of his rigorous and expensive training schedule. Among his sponsors are B&P ammunition, Perazzi firearms – Lance shoots a 30-inch-barrel Perazzi MX8 – Pilla eyewear,

Lance’s recent achievements include winning six gold, three silver and four bronze medals in Olympic-style competition.

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Giacomo Sporting USA, Eurotarget USA, Salomon footwear and 5.11 Tactical. What does this highly driven Olympic hopeful do for fun when he’s not training? “For fun I usually shoot sporting clays, because if I shoot any other sports, it throws off my timing for Olympic trap, so it’s hard to transition back.” Look for Lance Thompson in the 2020 Olympic games. In the meantime, he’ll be hard at work developing the skills needed to earn that coveted spot on the USA Shooting Team. 


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HUNTING’S DIGITAL DEFENDER In Front Of The Camera, On Twitter And Elsewhere, Taylor Drury Highlights The Positives

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Taylor Drury, a member of a widely respected Midwestern hunting family, is among a growing number of female hunters taking to the fields and woods across America – and to social media to advocate for and defend her sport.

aylor Drury is the only child of hunting sage Mark Drury. When she was 10 months old she had a Mossy Oak onesie. At 3, she helped call out turkeys for her dad while she wore a pink Easter dress. Unlike most kids in her peer group, she never had the desire to play video games. Instead, her father instilled in her his own love of nature, and so at an early age Taylor found her fun outdoors. By 8 years old, she was competent with a single-shot .223-caliber rifle and killed her first deer under her father’s guidance. The doe was bigger than she was and she still vividly recalls the memories of the experience. There was the rush of adrenaline watching the animal fall, pride in her marksmanship, and the feeling of having participated in the circle of life by providing a nourishing venison meal for her family supper table. She was too small to dress and butcher that first deer herself, so her father did it for her and used the experience to teach an anatomy lesson in flesh and blood to complement what he’d already taught her using books and the computer. At age 10, Taylor was practicing with a boy’s bow in her basement after school and, at 12, she killed her first deer with one. Taylor is 20 years old now. Starting six years before she was born and continuing all during the time she grew up, her father and uncle Terry Drury were building the family business, Drury Outdoors, and earning the respect of hunters with their excellent instructional videos. That work kept her dad on the road a lot between their farms in rural Iowa, and Missouri and their

(OUTDOOR CHANNEL)

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Exposed to hunting at a very young age by her father Mark Drury, Taylor killed her first deer at age 8 with a single-shot .223. With female participation in hunting rising, gear manufacturers are keying on the market by introducing bows and clothing geared towards women, and not just in pink patterns. (DRURY FAMILY)

production studios and home office in urban St. Louis. They were a commuter family, but as close knit as any family could be. Mark lived in Iowa, but Taylor and her mom lived in the suburbs of the Gateway to the West, as the city is known, so she could have a stable home and school life. No sooner would the school week begin than Taylor would be counting the hours until 2:30 Friday afternoon when the family would reunite for the weekends in the country at one of their farms. After Taylor graduated high school, the whole family moved permanently to their Iowa farm and she began college and serious work in the family business. IF YOU WATCH Outdoor Channel’s Drury’s THIRTEEN, you’re familiar with Taylor’s true-to-life-role as the advanced student of whitetail deer hunting under the tutelage of her father and uncle. What you may not know is that she works alongside them behind the scenes too. The fun of the hunt is tempered by the hard work it takes to create it for the show. To put it in perspective, last season Taylor spent 50 days “hunting” for the show, but only harvested three animals herself. The show is produced in-house by Drury Outdoors and Taylor is as often behind a camera as she is behind a rifle or bow. The show is carefully planned and taped to represent the many facets of the hunting experience in a realistic way, from the peace and beauty of watching the sun rise through the technical details of when, where and what to do on a deer hunt, right down to the delicious conclusion at the supper table. The Drurys aren’t just showing you how to hunt; they are sharing with the viewer what they call the hunting lifestyle and the ethical responsibilities and emotional experiences that make it up. Nonhunters often miss these critical factors, which leads them to 124

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dismiss hunting as barbaric, cruel and unnecessary. The Drurys show us how the ethical hunter bonds with the land and the animals in it and becomes a direct part of the circle of life and the conservation process. When you eat meat you harvested yourself, you respect that meal; and when it’s done, the plates are clean. For the past two years Taylor’s most important role in the family business has played out online in the world of social media. Drury Outdoors connects with a million followers through their Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram accounts, and Taylor spends five to six hours a day responding to messages and creating 40 to 50 original content postings a week. She even takes to Instagram while on the hunt, though being unplugged from the electronic chaos of the modern world is one of the things she likes best about the hunting lifestyle. She answers those messages because it’s her job and Drury Outdoors considers social media critically important to spreading its positive, educational message to hunters and nonhunters alike. Working in social media has its fun points. Taylor delights in interacting with so many fellow hunters and fans of Drury Outdoors, and there have been many marriage proposals. (Future suitors, be advised, you will be vetted by her dad.) The downside of social media is the


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Mark, Taylor and Taylor’s cousin Matt Drury and their show Drury’s THIRTEEN won the Outdoor Channel’s Golden Moose Award for best overall show production in 2015. (OUTDOOR CHANNEL)

regular death threats and trolling (some of it disturbingly violent) that she has to ban and delete from the company’s social platforms. Though Taylor answers any genuine criticism, believing that education paves the road to understanding, she won’t dignify trolling with responses. She’s seen attacks as unsophisticated as schoolyard namecalling and bullying to organized cyber slander campaigns initiated by anti-hunting groups and even individuals in the entertainment world. The one thing they all have in common is ignorance. She wishes she didn’t have to deal with the negativity, but “… at the same time, we all have a voice on social media, and if you have a positive message, it’s the perfect place to explain why we hunt. And you never know who might be reading your message; like someone who once bullied a hunter and then read your positive message and had a change of thought.” Taylor told me she’s noticed that online attacks are more frequently directed at young women and girl hunters than men and she has taken it upon herself to be the positive communicator that sticks up for them. What she has found gratifying is how other hunters have stepped up to defend them too in such numbers that their positive messages have overwhelmed the negative ones the attackers sought to spread. TAYLOR’S EXPERIENCE IN HUNTING seems to parallel a national trend that has seen the number of women involved in shooting sports steadily rising in the 21st century. Selfdefense is the most common reason women give for gun ownership and hunting is the second. In 2001, there were estimated to be 1.8 million female hunters. By 2014, there were over 3.3 million. Taylor’s explanation for the increase in multi-faceted. First off, women enjoy the same aspects of the hunting lifestyle as men do. Just like men, they are more likely to become involved in hunting if someone introduces them to it at a 126

American Shooting Journal // June 2016


As comfortable as she is online and behind a camera, Taylor’s favorite place just might be in the treestand with her family. (OUTDOOR CHANNEL)

young age. Prior to the last decade, a major obstacle to their participation was a lack of clothing, gear and weapons specifically for women. When you are only 5-foot-2 tall, a 36-inch

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long bow with a 60-pound draw can be hard to handle. Taylor told me when her father first took her to the local Cabela’s, she had to shop in the boys section to find something that

would fit. Today, she’s delighted to see companies like Under Armour develop full lines of clothing engineered for women so they can be comfortable in the field. The size, weight and recoil of typical hunting arms were problematic for women, so the firearms industry created lighter, and lighter recoiling, rifles and shotguns and low-recoil ammunition loaded with high-lethality bullets. Advances in bow technology now permit women to hunt as effectively as men, despite generally having less upper body strength. The new bows are physically compact, so a person of small stature can use them but they can now drive lighter, harder-hitting arrows, faster, with less draw weight, than the bows of 10 years ago. More women are hunting today because they can and Taylor, along with Eva Shockey (see April 2016, American Shooting Journal) and Tiffany Lakosky, and other high-profile Outdoor Channel women hunters, are their new role models. TAYLOR KNOWS WHO SHE is and where she wants to go. Her goal is to complete her degree in business and marketing at Columbia College and become Drury Outdoors’ next generation. She wants to continue the work of her father and uncle in sharing hunting knowledge, teaching hunting ethics and explaining the benefits of the hunting lifestyle. For her, the opportunity to do something she loves with the people she loves most is a blessing. Working on Drury’s THIRTEEN is part of that blessing. “We make sure as a family that we portray hunting in the way every hunter would be proud of. It’s funny, but I’ve been hunting for 12 years and I’ve never gone on a single hunt where there wasn’t a camera rolling,” she says. For her junior year, she switched to online course work to have more time to participate in the family business. “So really, I’m just used to it, and I don’t look into the camera and see it as a hassle or an inconvenience. I look into the camera and think and I make sure I say the things needed to get that message about the hunting lifestyle out.”


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MY FIRST 3-GUN COMPETITION Youth Pistol Competitor Emily Robinson Steps Into The Next Arena

Emily Robinson is an avid youth shooter who first started competing in Glock Sport Shooting Foundation matches, worked her way to United States Practical Shooting Association matches and is now tackling 3-Gun competitions.

As a 17-year-old home-schooled student, Robinson is also dual enrolled in community college majoring in emergency medicine.

During her first 3-Gun challenge, the pistol portion was second nature to Robinson. It was the rifle and shotgun segments where she felt she had a learning curve to conquer.

STORY BY EMILY ROBINSON * PHOTOGRAPHS BY RODNEY ROBINSON

I

have always been a pistol shooter. Even the first time I was out on the range, I loved everything about shooting, from the smell of the gunpowder to the sound the steel makes when it is hit by a bullet. I think that’s what got me hooked on competitive shooting. I was 9 years old when I attended and watched my first Glock Sport Shooting

If you ever have an opportunity to meet this tall young lady with the most charming country accent you have ever heard as we have, don’t be fooled by it! She is a powerful competitor and is taking the competition circuit by storm – all of them. americanshootingjournal.com 133


Foundation (GSSF) match in Columbia, S.C., and my whole family attended to see what it was all about. The second match I attended was the GSSF annual shoot in Conyers, Ga., and although I did not shoot in that match, I was allowed to borrow a Glock with a .22 conversion and shoot the plate rack. Right after this event, my parents bought my brother and me a Glock 17 and I actually competed in my first match two months later. I loved how everyone was so friendly, supportive and helpful. Since I was so small, people gave me advice on how to hold the gun, my stance and other tips. Some of the people who helped me that day have become longtime friends and are now like a second family. After several years of shooting GSSF matches all over the Southeast, it was a natural progression to move to United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA). MY FIRST USPSA MATCH was the North Carolina Sectional in 2012. I had never even been to a USPSA match, nor had I ever practiced for anything like it. It was all new, and I was even a little intimidated. It was so much fun watching everyone on my squad shoot during their round, but when it was my time to shoot, I felt like a deer in the headlights. After I completed the first stage, I was a little surprised at how well I had done. I was really slow, but the accuracy was there and that was most important to me at that time. Just as I had been taught in GSSF, accuracy was first on the priority and speed would eventually come, and that’s exactly

During initial course walk-through at her first 3-Gun event, Robinson’s nervousness began to subside as she realized the many similarities with USPSA, with which she was much more familiar.

what happened. To date, I have won three state-level titles in USPSA. After three and a half years of USPSA and even longer in GSSF, I got the itch to try 3-Gun. I had met so many people who shot 3-Gun that I really wanted to give it a try. Since I had not worked with shotguns or rifles very much, there was definitely a learning curve. When it was time to get started, I had to gather equipment and get it ready. For Christmas I received a Choose a well built Alaskan-made Mossberg JM930, which can be used NOMAR bag to carry the gear on for 3-Gun right out of the box, so that your next adventure! was a great surprise. Then I had the HOMER, AK HOMER amazing experience of attending the SHOT Show for the first time in 2016. See our full line at I set up appointments with several potential sponsors, one of which Call Us Toll Free 1-800-478-8364 was NightForce, which turned out to be huge for me. Coincidentally, my interviewer had been a range officer and fellow production shooter at the Georgia State USPSA Championship, Waterproof Floating Gun Scabbard so he had heard of me. He gave me with fleece lined closed cell foam insert a chance and supplied me with an awesome NightForce NXS 1-4x24 optic and mount even though I hadn’t yet shot a 3-Gun match. Similar to my first USPSA match, I had never attended a 3-Gun match. The closest I had come to seeing one AMERICAN SHOOTING JOURNAL READERS: was on TV, and I was really excited MENTION THIS AD FOR A FREE but nervous. I had enough time to CARRY STRAP WITH PURCHASE shoot about 100 rounds through my shotgun and get my rifle zeroed from the 100-yard line with my new Call to order yyours today! NightForce optic. I was dead-on

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never been to this facility, didn’t know very many people there and the stages looked longer and more complicated than pistol stages. My nervousness subsided as I watched a few people walk the stages. I realized that the stage prep is pretty much the same as in pistol matches. You have to understand the layout of the stage and the stage brief, then develop a plan that works for you. I talked to a few people about their stage plans, and once I broke the stages down between the three weapons, everything seemed to fall into place. I wasn’t worried about the pistol stages, and I knew I would just have to slow down a little on the rifle and shotgun. I knew the rifle and shotgun were going to be obstacles due to my lack of trigger time. The match started off a little rocky. My shotgun During her third 3-Gun round, which included four long-range rifle targets set at 55, 110, 160 magazine spring created a problem that stopped and 210 yards, Robinson hit each target on the first try, except for the 210-yarder. After her first miss, she remembered to compensate for the distance and nailed it on the second try. my rounds from feeding into the chamber. One of the match directors had an extra spring that I borrowed and fixed the problem – another example of how within 10 rounds. Awesome optic! I also shot a few rounds great people are in the shooting sports! By the second stage on the move to try to get comfortable. My Glock 34 would I started to feel more comfortable, and overall felt that I did round out my 3-Gun trio. Items such as shotgun-shell pretty well. carriers and rifle-magazine pouches were borrowed from The last stage was probably my best. It started with three friends, but I felt just about ready. pepper poppers that threw clays into the air. These are reactive steel targets that fall to the ground when you shoot THE DAY HAD ARRIVED and it was time for my first 3-Gun them, and as soon as they hit the ground they throw a clay match. I arrived at the range and everything was new. I’d

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pigeon into the air as a secondary moving target. I’d never shot clays like that before, but I hit them all. I even had to do a pick-up shot on one of them and still got it in the air! The next string was a pistol stage, which I shot on the move to make up some time. After that, there were four long-range rifle targets at 55, 110, 160 and 210 yards. It was time to really test that rifle zero. I set up for the shots, took a long breath and exhaled and fired the first shot. Hit! The next two shots were both hits. My confidence was pretty high. I fired at the 210-yard target and missed. I remembered to adjust for distance using my optic and fired again. Hit! I was so proud of myself. I was pretty happy with how I did on that stage especially. There were several things I had never encountered but I worked through them. In the end, I had no misses and no penalties. My time wasn’t the greatest because I wanted to make sure I was safe and my hits were all good, but I was pretty happy with my results. IF I COULD HAVE CHANGED anything about my first match, I would have paid more attention to other competitor’s stage plans and applied what I observed to my own. It was a lot different than I had expected, but overall I expected to make mistakes since this was my first 3-Gun. I got a little aggravated with myself over simple mistakes, but I will learn from them! One of the similarities between 3-Gun, USPSA and GSSF are the people. These are some of the friendliest, supportive and helpful people you will find anywhere. The people on


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After her first 3-Gun competition, Robinson came away feeling great about the experience and knew where she had made mistakes. She says that in the future, she will pay more attention to how other shooters set up for their rounds.

my squad offered help throughout the entire day, and I really appreciated that. MY ADVICE for anyone looking into 3-Gun or any shooting sport is to be confident when you go out there. If you need help or equipment, just ask. Ninety-nine percent of the time someone will be there to help, whether you know them or not. Even if it’s your first match, match directors and range officers will walk you through it to get you started. One thing I’ve learned about the shooting world is that someone will always be there to lend a helping hand. Everyone is new at some point and no one started out as a pro. All you have to do is apply hard work and dedication, and have fun. You can learn something from everyone on the range, whether it’s your first match or you’ve been doing it for 20 years. It’s all in the way you look at things. 


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Calcuttas have been around as long as there have been shooting competitions for people to bet on. Pitting two or more shooters against each other is often all it takes for a bet to be wagered on a winner

Calcutta Shoots Pit Shotgunners Against Each Other For Chance To Win Cash STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY DANA FARRELL

I

n the shooting world there are various types of Calcuttas – live bird, gun-club Calcuttas and those that are run concurrently at registered Amateur Trapshooting Association events. The fact that Calcuttas are not endorsed by the ATA hasn’t stopped shoot organizers from overlaying Calcuttas on top of registered trap events for years – in fact, it’s no secret that it is routinely done at some very high-profile events on a recurring basis. A Calcutta, according to the dictionary, is a “betting pool in which gamblers bid on contestants in an auction, the proceeds from which are paid, according to a prearranged scale of percentages, to those who picked winners.” It’s widely known throughout the shooting community that the really big Calcutta money has historically been found at live-bird shoots, where pots can get as high as $400,000. CONCURRENT CALCUTTAS NOT WHAT THEY USED TO BE A few years back, an annual Midwestern trapshoot, which will remain unnamed for the purpose of this article, was a standout place for really big payouts on the ATA trapshooting circuit. This shoot sometimes drew as many as 3,000 shooters, of which, as much as 90 percent of them entered the Calcutta. This was usually overlaid on Sunday’s handicap event. “You could win another $15,000 to $20,000 in the handicap Calcutta,” said four-time trap-shooting All American and Michigan Trapshooting Association Hall of Famer Barry Kemper. “There were a lot of shooters – north of 500 squads, sometimes as many as 800. When I started

shooting in 1993, it was the place to go – if you could handle the pressure and the targets. It could be raining or snowing, windy or sunny … it was like shooting in Michigan. You never knew what was going to happen to you that day.” That Midwest event was one that people would travel a long way to take part in, but it started to die off around 10 years ago, and in Kemper’s opinion this was due to a couple of reasons: the club started throwing shorter birds, and they started shooting all 100 birds from one trap. Kemper said if you got a trap that wasn’t adjusted correctly or wasn’t working well, you were out of luck. “There are a bunch of reasons why you wouldn’t want to shoot all 100 birds from one trap,” he said. americanshootingjournal.com 145


COMPETITIONS gave everybody all these yard reductions,” said ATA EXAMPLES OF STAGES A COMPETITOR ATA WILL FACE AT THE MGM IRONMAN Hall of Fame member Brad Dysinger of Ohio. “Now you’ve

Another well-known gun club in the Desert Southwest began throwing a popular concurrent Calcutta around 2005, which benefitted in no small part from the extra money that came in courtesy of a few very generous, deep-pocketed financial supporters. The event lives on to this day, although it’s no longer the high-stakes game it was in its glory days. “There were a lot of Calcuttas at the little clubs back in the ’70s and ’80s where for $20 you could win $800 to a $1,000. What’s really messed up the Calcuttas is when the

Jason Marzette enjoys shooting in Calcuttas and his family equally share in the fun just watching him shoot.

got a bunch of people at 18 to 19 yards who are sandbaggers, and it’s kind of killed the Calcutta. The young guys shoot for ribbons. Kind of like they want to give a ribbon to every kid who plays soccer. Trapshooting has turned into that same thing. They all want to be winners and the gamblers have all but died out.” There is a lot of discussion on the Internet about why the popularity of the Calcutta has declined. Many opinions are given, but few seem to acknowledge that they are technically illegal, or that the risk of prosecution may figure into why they may leave some shoot promoters cold. What might be viewed as harmless fun is in fact considered gambling without a license in the eyes of the law. One trapshooter recently said that he viewed Calcuttas to be no more illegal than playing Lewis Class – a system based on the final scores as they are posted when the shoot has been completed and gives every contestant an equal chance to win, no matter what their ability – at a shoot, a sentiment probably shared by many shooters. What hasn’t died out is the gun-club Calcutta, which is still very much alive and well across rural

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COMPETITIONS America. Often shot as a two-man team event, these contests can be either a pick-your-partner- or draw-your-partnerstyle game, with shooters backing up their partner if and when a bird is missed. A loosely organized group of clubs scattered throughout western Michigan throw Calcuttas in this fashion on a rotating basis. It’s very popular throughout the state, with shooters sometimes driving several hours to participate in the fun. HOW IT WORKS Often held as a 50-bird event, clubs charge a $10 per shooter entry fee, with 50 percent of the entry going to the

In two-man team Calcuttas, if a shooter misses his target but his partner breaks it, it’s still scored as a dead bird. If the primary breaks his bird but his partner also fires, it’s scored as a lost bird.

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payout pot and 50 percent to the club. Once all teams are determined and registered, they are divided so that an even number of squads appears in each event. The auctioning off of teams is then started, with opening bids starting at $10 per team. Anyone can bid – both shooters and non-shooters alike. Most clubs set bids in $10 increments, with the stipulation that if a team receives no bids, they must buy themselves for $10. It’s predetermined how many places will pay, with ties usually splitting. If three places are paid, the high shooter or team might get 50 percent, second 30 percent and the third 20 percent of the payout pot. Also predetermined is the buyer/shooter winnings ratio. Often the buyer may get 70 percent of the placement winnings, with 30 percent going to the shooter or team. Other ratios are also possible, such as 80/20 or 60/40. In the two-man team scenario, if a shooter misses his target but his partner breaks it, it’s still scored as a dead bird. If the primary shooter breaks his bird but his partner also fires, it’s scored as a lost bird. This format gets 10 shooters on the line at a time and is exciting for everyone. For the next round, shooters move back to a longer yardage for the next round of 25, and teams rotate so that the backup shooter is now the primary gunner with his partner assuming the backup position.


COMPETITIONS Clubs will run “protection shoots,” as well as two-man backup shoots with the same lost bird/dead bird rules for a couple of hours before the auctions, so spectators can watch and learn who’s hot and who’s not. It’s almost like horse racing in that regard, with favorites picked for the auction held later. “Some attendees don’t even bring a gun and come simply for the excitement of betting on the game,” said Jimmy Whitley of the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Moose Sportsman’s League, whose club recently held a successful Calcutta on an unseasonably warm January day. “Nothing stops a shooter from making a bid of his own on an opposing team, either. In a draw event he may get paired up with a less-than-desirable shooter, but he can increase his odds of pocketing some cash by bidding on another team he thinks has a good chance of winning.” Joe Bowles was teamed up with Whitley at the January event and the two walked away a few hundred bucks richer. “These are fun games … nothing too serious. You don’t get hurt too badly financially,” said Bowles. “It’s just a good time to get together with the regulars – especially during the winter when a lot of these guys hang up their guns. You can come out and get some good-quality competition in.” Whitley, who organized the recent Calcutta at his club, said Calcuttas are both fun for the shooters and healthy for the club. “People like registered shoots for the bragging

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rights, but they’re burned-out on spending almost a dollar a bird and getting a shot glass or a coffee mug for winning,” said Whitley. These days he much prefers going to hole-inthe-wall clubs with the chance of winning $350 in a one-hour event. “Back in the ’70s – especially out in Vegas – sponsors used to put up cars and gold coins at the ATA shoots, but those days are long gone. Calcuttas are fun and more casual. You’re not spending all weekend there and getting beat up like you do at the ATA events, and it’s just a fun format and a lot of opportunities to win money.” 

Jimmy Whitley (left) and Joe Bowles (right) were the winning team at a recent Calcutta held at the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Moose Sportsman’s League. Jim Whitley Sr. (center) bid on them and won the prize. (HERB KLEIN)


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R&J Firearms - RJAR-15 5.56 Premium Ideal game: Varmint, target, home defense, competition Caliber: .223/5.56 Barrel length: 16 inches Overall length: Adjustable Weight: 6.89 pounds Magazine capacity: 30+1 Twist rate: 1 in 7 Barrel: Ballistic Advantage QPQ treated Stock: Polymer Scope mount: Picatinny MSRP: $1,399 Hardened Arms - Hardened Arms Camo Ideal game: Varies based on caliber Caliber: .223/5.56, .300 Blackout and 7.62x39 Barrel length: 16 inches Overall length: Adjustable Weight: 6 pounds Magazine capacity: 30+1 Twist rate: 1 in 7 (5.56), 1 in 8 (.300BO) and 1 in 10 (7.62x39) Barrel: 4150 chrome moly vanadium - black nitride Stock: Magpul six-point Scope mount: Picatinny MSRP: $1,299.99 to $1,549.99

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Davidson’s Gallery of Guns – Diamond Back Tactical DB15CKM Ideal game: Varmint, target, home defense Caliber: .223/5.56 NATO Barrel length: 16 inches Overall length: Adjustable Weight: 6.65 pounds Magazine capacity: 30+1 Twist rate: 1 in 9 Barrel: Steel Stock: Six-position composite Scope mount: Picatinny MSRP: $599 Layke Tactical – LT10 Ideal game: Elk Caliber: .308/7.62x51mm Barrel length: 18 inches Overall length: 36 to 39 inches Weight: 8.4 pounds Magazine capacity: 5 to 25+1 Twist rate: 1 in 10 Barrel: Layke Tactical 4140 nitride Stock: Composite Scope mount: Picatinny MSRP: $1,599 to $2,000

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Jersey Elite - DR15 Rifle Ideal use: Varmint, target, home defense Caliber: .223/5.56, .300 Blackout, 6.8 SPC Barrel length: 16 inches Overall length: Adjustable Weight: 6.65 pounds Magazine capacity: 30+1 Twist rate: 1 in 7 Barrel: 4140 carbon steel Stock: Composite grip Scope mount: Picatinny Tactical MSRP: $1,389 with case Cerakote MSRP: $1,569.00 with case Cobalt Kinetics – B.A.M.F. Edge Ideal game: Midsized game Caliber: .223 or 5.56mm Barrel length: 16 or 18 inches Overall length: Variable Weight: 7.13 pounds Magazine capacity: 30 Twist rate: 1 in 8 Barrel: Faxon (.223 Wylde) Stock: Composite Scope mount: Picatinny MSRP: $2,995

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Legendary Arms – Bobcat Ideal game: North American big game Caliber: Various Barrel length: 20 inches Overall length: 38.5 inches Weight: Approximately 6.6 pounds (caliber dependent) Magazine capacity: 5+1 rounds Twist rate: Caliber dependent Barrel: #4 contour stainless-steel, fluted and threaded Stock: Legendary Arms Works handlaid fiberglass Scope mount: Two-piece Picatinny MSRP: $1,959 Centurion Arms – CM4 Ideal use: Small varmint and enemies foreign and domestic Caliber: Multi or 5.56 Barrel length: 10.5 up to 16.1 Overall length: Variable Weight: Variable Magazine capacity: 10, 20, 30 and 40 Twist rate: 1 in 7 Barrel: N/A Stock: Composite Scope mount: Picatinny MSRP: $1,500

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M4 Carbine Small game .22LR 16.1 inches Adjustable 6 pounds 30+1 1 in 13.75 inches M4 Contour Composite collapsible Picatinny with detachable carry handle $329.99

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Trojan Firearms - MPV2 Ideal use: Varmints, target, home defense Caliber: .223/5.56 Barrel length: 14.5 to 16 inches Overall length: Adjustable Weight: 6.8 pounds Magazine capacity: 10+1, 30+1, 40+1 and 60+1 Twist rate: 1 in 7 or 1 in 8 Barrel: 4150V or SS Stock: Composite Scope mount: Picatinny MSRP: $1,499.99

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Deguns – S&W M&P 15 Sport II Ideal game: Midsized game Caliber: 5.56mm Barrel length: 16 inches Length of pull: Adjustable Weight: Variable Magazine capacity: 30-round PMAG Twist rate: 1 in 9 / six-groove Barrel: M&P15 Sport Stock: Composite Scope mount: Picatinny MSRP: $739

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Best Of The West – Hunter Elite Ideal game: Deer, elk, moose Caliber: 7mm Rem. Mag Barrel length: 26 inches Overall length: 46.375 inches Weight: 9.75 pounds (scoped) Magazine capacity: 3+1 Twist rate: 1 in 9 Barrel: Stainless-steel Wilson Arms #4 Stock: Composite Scope mount: Talley Rings Huskemaw Blue Diamond d (upgrade available) MSRP: $3,995.99 with 3-12X42 Huskemaw Blue Diamond ond RTD MFT – RT-10 SAPR Ideal game: Deer, elk, moose, wild boar Caliber: .308 Winchester Barrel length: 20 inches Length of pull: Variable Weight: 9 pounds, 9 ounces Magazine capacity: 5, 10 or 20 - PMAG Twist rate: 1 in 10 Barrel: RTD Match stainless steel Stock: Composite - LUTH AR MB1 Scope mount: Picatinny MSRP: $2,295 scope

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Volquartsen – VM-22 Ideal game: Small game Caliber: .22LR Barrel length: 18.375 inches  Overall length: 37 inches Weight: 5.4 pounds Magazine capacity: 10 Twist rate: 1 in 16 ber tension Barrel: Lightweight THM carbon-fiber in .920-inch bull-barrel diameter meter Stock material: Composite Scope mount: Integral Picatinny MSRP: $1,295

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– N6 Gen III Medium to large game 7.62x51mm 16.1 inches 35 inches 8 pounds 5 to 25 1 in 10 polygonal Noveske stainless-steel medium profile ofile fil Composite

Palmetto State Armory - GX Billet Classic Rifle Ideal use: Varmints, target, home defense Caliber: 9x19 Barrel length: 16 inches Overall length: Adjustable Weight: 6.7 pounds Magazine capacity: 30+1 Twist rate: 1 in 10 Barrel: PSA chrome moly steel, A2-style contour, melonite finish Stock: Polymer Scope mount: Picatinny MSRP: $879.99

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Rise Armament – RA-327 X2 Rifle Ideal game: Predator or competition shooting Caliber: .223 Wylde Barrel length: 14.5 inches (16 inches with compensator) Overall length: 34 inches (buttstock closed) Weight: 8 pounds Magazine capacity: 30 Twist rate: 1 in 7 Barrel: RISE Armament 416 stainless steel with RA-701 compensator Stock material: Composite Scope mount: Picatinny MSRP: $1,973

Noveske RifleWorks Ideal game: Caliber: Barrel: Overall length: Weight: Magazine capacity: Twist rate: Barrel: Stock:

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ROAD HUNTER

TAKING A CONFIDENT SHOT Pro-hunter Scott Haugen Shares How He Practices To Make Most Of The Moments That Count With time and money riding on his every shot, pro-hunter Scott Haugen makes it a priority to know his rifles’ and shotguns’ capabilities and how they’ll perform in the field when the cameras are rolling and shot opportunities present themselves.

STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY SCOTT HAUGEN

T

here are several factors that have allowed me to make a living as a TV host and author in the outdoor industry over the past 15 years, but one of the most important is being a good shot. After all, if I don’t connect on the shot by making a good, clean hit, the footage isn’t usable and that ends up ultimately costing me, the camera crew, producers and networks not only money but precious time. To become the best shot I can, I practice – a lot. I consider myself an above-average shooter, though far from the best. But I know what my guns can do, how specific loads perform

and I know when to pull the trigger in the heat of the moment, be it on big game, predators or birds. What does my practice routine consist of? Anything and everything, all year-round. However, I keep it simple and fun, and you can too. GOING LIGHT Ammo for shotguns and rifles isn’t cheap. I’m not going to rifle through many boxes of high-end Weatherby rounds in the off season, nor pump through top-shelf waterfowl loads all spring and summer long, but I will shoot rifles and shotguns with regularity. While the cost of .22 ammo is still high compared to americanshootingjournal.com 155


ROAD HUNTER what it was years ago, it’s much less expensive than largebore, center-fire cartridges. Because of this, I shoot a lot of .22 shells. Whether it’s from a semiauto, or pump-, lever- or bolt-action .22, I go through many rounds each year with each gun. These .22s are a downsized version of the big rifles I shoot with the same action types, and they allow me to practice form, gun operation and hone my accuracy and overall skills. With the .22s, I’ll practice from every conceivable position that I would shoot the bore rifles from and all potential situations I might find myself in while on a hunt. From standing to kneeling, sitting to prone, uphill to downhill, I’ll practice them all. I practice with bulky jackets on, as well as my backpack loaded with weight that I might wear on late-winter hunts. This is the time when I practice with my Bog Pod tripod shooting sticks, too. I like sturdy, three-legged sticks over a bipod or monopod for the increased stability the extra leg adds. For shotguns, I wait for light loads to go on sale at the local sporting-goods store, then I buy them by the case. While these low-recoil loads come in 9, 8 or 7½ shot, it doesn’t matter because it’s repetition and good shooting form that I’m after. I don’t reach out and shoot clays and skeet very far with these loads, but that’s OK. Occasionally I will run through a box of quality trap loads, just to practice

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Shooting a Nosler 325 WSM at over 400 yards, Haugen was able to connect on a perfect hit with this big Idaho bull. Accurate shooting comes with practice, and that’s done well before hunting season opens.


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ROAD HUNTER Stationary shooting from a bench is great for sighting in, but emulating more of what you might encounter while afield is a better way to practice.

longer range leads and work on shooting form. THE BIG GUNS As big game and waterfowl seasons approach, I’ll practice with the guns and loads I’ll be using on upcoming hunts. These guns are already sighted in and ready to go – all I need to do is practice shooting them. Once in a while I’ll pull a couple rifles from the safe and fire one round into a target. One shot is all I want to take on big game, and making each shot count on a target versus going through 20 rounds every time I shoot it helps me focus. This focused shooting on the range translates to confident shots and expected hits in the field. A couple months before hunting season, I’ll shoot my rifles from all possible positions. Knowing the terrain you’ll be hunting in and

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ROAD HUNTER what rest will work most efficiently for you is key. A bipod attached to your gun is great for open-country muleys and pronghorn, but not what I would want for blacktail deer or elk. Sometimes shooting bags have a place on a hunt too, especially for long-range, so practice with these and get familiar with how they work. As for shotguns, I practice with upland and waterfowl loads. Pattern them to see how they impact paper targets at 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 yards. Now is a good time to experiment with after-market chokes and specialized loads, seeing what works best in your shotguns. If you’re a turkey hunter who shoots a shotgun with a scope or reflex sight, treat those guns like a rifle and you’ll be dialed in to put that Thanksgiving tom on the ground. Cabela’s Ground Pounder self-healing target is a great way to practice. It moves with each hit, adding a perpetual new level of target acquisition for each shot.

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THE TARGETS Targets play a big part in my


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ROAD HUNTER practice shooting sessions. I love punching paper because there is no question regarding the point of impact. One of the tools I use to help record and track multiple shots is a Bullseye Camera System. This device consists of a camera that sits downrange, aimed at your target, and wirelessly transmits the image back to your shooting position on a mobile device. Touch the screen after each shot to record your image, and see your last shot flashing. This allows dozens upon dozens of rifle shots to be made on a single paper target, which saves time and money. For shotguns, I’ve patterned guns on the same target with up to six shots, and since you can see the impact of where each shot hits, you don’t have to change paper after every shot. I like shooting steel targets with .22s and centerfire rifles. I have multiple MGM steel targets set up on my home shooting range. I like auto-popper targets since they move back and forth with each shot, but I really love the circus-style steel targets. Spinning and twirling steels not only force you to acquire the target before each shot, they make you shoot at a very precise moment to get them to rotate or spin, depending on the design. Much of my success on hunting big game around the world comes down to knowing when to make a shot, and this is largely based on an animal’s behavior. Often the

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shot is reactionary, a result of pulling the trigger when the proper angle instantaneously presents itself. These skills can’t be built by shooting paper, but they can by shooting moving steel targets. Cabela’s has a line of self-healing rubber targets that are great for shooting on the ground. They come in various shapes and sizes and in high-visibility yellow. A centerfire rifle is needed To get these targets to roll on the ground; the .22s barely budge them, unless you hit them on the edge, and even then they will move just a bit. If looking to spice up your .22-shooting accuracy, which will carry over to the big bores, try shooting a golf ball on the ground. Hit anywhere on the golf ball and it will spin, roll, hop or go airborne, requiring you to quickly reacquire and pull the trigger for the next shot. Balloons, water balloons, plastic milk jugs filled with water and clay pigeons are also fun to shoot, and leave little question as to point of impact. Anything that breaks, bursts or pops is fun, no matter what your age or level of shooting experience. Tannerite exploding targets are another fun, safe target to shoot. Exploding targets have recently gained negative press, but that’s because people are mixing in chemicals that they are not supposed to, or the manufacturers of


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ROAD HUNTER some brands are using dangerous chemicals that create a fire. Due to the chemical composition of a Tannerite target, it’s impossible for this brand to start a fire. This is my exploding target brand of choice.

This summer, try to hit the range as much as possible. Track your shooting progress and your confidence will rise when it comes time to pull the trigger on that big buck or fast-flying mallard. 

MGM STEEL TARGETS MGM’s line of moving steel targets are ideal for building shooting skills. Gaining repetition through shooting .22s is great, affordable practice, even though you’ll be hunting with large-caliber centerfires. MGM Targets are made in the US, crafted of premium steel for centerfires, rimfires and shotguns, and they come in a wide range of categories, sizes and shapes. Due to the quality of steel used to build MGM targets, along with their precision balance and craftsmanship, they respond as designed when hit by a bullet or shotgun round. This leaves no guesswork as to where you hit, even at long range. Hunters will want to consider a dueling tree, auto popper, spinner, whirly-gig or flash target to start with. If you’re like me, you’ll soon have several of these steel targets. Not only are they fun, but they force you to shoot at specific times, and this style of reactive shooting will hone overall shooting skills.

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MASS BRASS

Carolina Brass Produces Most US .300 Blackout Cases – 2 Million And Counting! – And More STORY BY TROY TAYSOM

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n a small island located off the coast of South Carolina resides the foremost producers of .300 Blackout brass in the country. By producers, I mean a husband-and-wife team that buys barrels full of used Lake City .223 brass and creates .300 Blackout brass. Every casing is processed by hand. There isn’t any high-tech automation here – just lots of blood, sweat and sore shoulders. Jayme and John Bowman own Carolina Brass and are a typical American couple: They have two little girls, one is 12 and the other is 6; up until three years ago they both worked regular nine-to-five jobs, Jayme in a restaurant and John as a body-shop mechanic; and they had been processing brass more as hobbyists until three years ago. That was when they decided to quit their jobs (on the same day) and pursue the dream of owning a small business, in this case – pun intended – brass. Neither Jayme nor John grew up with guns, and it wasn’t until just six years ago that they were bitten by the firearms bug. Jayme’s father unexpectedly decided that he wanted an AR-15, so as a family outing, they all went to a very large, very famous gun dealer in South Carolina and bought the rifle. Jayme and John both fell in love, hard, and now six years later they are considered the leading experts on the .300 Blackout. They field calls and emails all day long with questions about loads and how to work with this relatively new round – new, considering guns have been around for

Carolina Brass has processed over 2 million .300 Blackout cases by hand, a process that ensures absolute quality and oversight on every case produced by the family-run company on a South Carolina island. (CAROLINA BRASS) americanshootingjournal.com 167


shoulders it into a .300 caliber. The advantages are many: the bolt carrier group, magazine and lower receiver are identical and interchangeable with the .223/5.56. Only the upper receiver is different, as it sports a .30-caliber barrel. For the avid reloader, the .300 Blackout is a blast. One can load anything from a supersonic 110-grain bullet to a 220-grain subsonic round perfect for suppressors, and it can be loaded using pistol powder. I shoot 150-grain bullets loaded with Winchester 296 (pistol powder) out of my .300 Blackout AR-15. Once the bullet is seated in the casing it is the same length as the .223 round, meaning you can use the .223 magazine and not lose any capacity. The round Carolina Brass also produces brass for 9mm, 38 Special, .45 ACP, .223 and .308, and supplies competition shooters such as Shane Alred, who shoots in the USPSA-Limited is effective out to about 300 yards, but guys single-stack as well as Glock Sport Shooting Foundation and 3-Gun. (SHANE ALRED) have made 1,000-yard shots with it. I’ll leave it at that and let recent years’ debate on effective distances continue to rage on. about 800 years. Jayme said in my interview that they have processed over 2 million rounds of .300 Blackout – all by hand! CAROLINA BRASS DOESN’T only process the infamous .300, they also offer 9mm, 38 Special, .45 ACP, .223 and .308. In LET’S BACK UP just a moment for those who are less familiar fact, they were approached by a large company to be the with the .300 Blackout. It’s a strangely beautiful rifle sole provider of brass for this round. They turned the offer cartridge that is customarily shot from the AR-15 platform. down simply because they don’t want to be pigeon-holed Why? Because it’s made using .223 brass. The .223 brass into one category. is cut at the shoulder and then run through a die that Jayme made it very clear that their primary motivation

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in processing so much brass is to keep it in the hands of American shooters. They aren’t happy that the government chops up most of its spent brass and sells it to China as scrap. Scrap gets the government around a $1 per pound, while companies like Carolina Brass regularly pay $7 to $8 per pound at auction. It seems like it would be more profitable to put it on the open, domestic market and support small business, but what do I know?

Competitive IDPA shooter Jimmy Puckett uses only Carolina Brass for his 9mm, 45ACP and .300 Blackout brass. (JIMMY PUCKETT)

THEIR PRICES ARE not only competitive, but are lower today than when they began. They use only Lake City brass because they feel it is the best. I have personally ordered from Carolina twice before I interviewed them for this article. My first order was placed using gift cards. None of the cards had a big enough balance to do one large order, so I placed several small orders. A day later I received an email saying that a portion of my shipping costs had been refunded because they combined all of my orders into one. I have never had that happen – ever. The brass was perfect and loaded like a dream; the primer pockets were clean and the casings were burr- and defect-free. Customer service is the foundation of Carolina Brass. When someone calls in, either

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Jayme or John will answer and they are happy to discuss with you, at length, whatever your questions are, including what kind of lube they use on all that brass. John gave me his secret recipe and, yes, I will share it at the end of the article – don’t skip ahead! I was not surprised to find that the Bowmans have many customers who they cannot name because they are large companies that purchase and rebrand the brass. But many of their customers are competitive shooters, like Jimmy Puckett, an IDPA shooter from central Texas who buys 9mm, .45 ACP and .300 Blackout from Carolina Brass. Shane Alred shoots USPSALimited, Single Stack and Production, as well as GSSF and 3-Gun – he uses Carolina Brass for all of these sports in 9mm, .45 ACP and .300 Blackout. Chad Halstead, currently completing gunsmithing school, used to shoot F-Class Target Rifle (F-TR) with an AR-15 in .223 that weighed 16.3 pounds. He reloads his own custom rounds using Carolina’s brass and is now in the process of a complete overhaul of his Savage Model 10, and will be using .308 brass from John and Jayme, as well. JAY BELL FROM BULLDOG ORDNANCE told me that they “research and develop .300 Blackout to insane levels.” In order to do this one must be ultraconfident in their brass and structural integrity. Jay went on to talk about the brass market. “We have used a lot of other people’s brass. What we found was that there is a lot of junk out there pretending to be a quality product. We found gross inconsistencies with most of it – dented cases, primer pockets improperly swaged and so on. Carolina Brass doesn’t have those issues. They are extremely consistent. They understand the minute details required to produce what we need, and their attention to detail shows in the product. They are very reliable when it comes to communication and shipping, and their customer service has been great. You can’t say that about most of the others.” 172

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Jayme and John arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t looking to get rich, nor expand and automate the business. They explored these options and decided that that just wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t for them. They wanted complete control over every aspect of production. When they package up an order, they are putting their stamp of approval and quality on it, and what a stamp it is! AS PROMISED, JOHNâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S SECRET lube recipe is 99 percent isopropyl alcohol (nothing less), and pure lanolin (again, no substitutes!). Mix it a ratio of 5:1. The lanolin will stay suspended in the alcohol and wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mess with your powder. It can be used wet or dry. Lube is expensive, so thank John for saving you lots of money, as well as trial and error. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s done 2 million rounds, and that counts for something! Â? Editorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s note: For more information about Carolina Brass, visit them at Carolinabrass.net.

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Product FEATURE

SOUND ON, SOUND OFF

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REVIEW BY LARRY CASE * PHOTOGRAPH BY ETYMOTIC RESEARCH

L

et’s just be honest about this, OK? Wearing hearing protection on the range can be a real pain sometimes. I am especially averse at times to wearing full earmuffs when shooting long guns. You mount the gun to your shoulder, the buttstock collides with the muff and things start to go downhill. Foam earplugs help with this, if you can keep them in your ear and if you can hear what is going on around you when not firing. Being able to hear on the firing line while training or in competition is important. Range commands are given, instructions relayed or you may just need to hear your buddy tell you that your pants are on fire. So, we need hearing protection when the guns are blazing, but we need to hear conversation when they are not. Electronic earplugs are the answer. Etymotic Research’s GunSportPRO Electronic Ear Plugs

offers a great option for your hearing protection. They are designed for gun-sport enthusiasts in the field or at the range where enhanced awareness, clear communication and blast protection are desired. They allow natural hearing when no background noise is present, and gradually protect from loud continuous noise from vehicles, machinery or gunfire from nearby shooters. At the flip of a switch sound is amplified, improving distance detection up to five times for enhanced awareness. I used the GunSportPRO model earplugs on my recent trip to Gunsite Academy (see p. 57) and found them to be comfortable, effective and easy to use. Suggested retail for these earplugs is $299. If you do much shooting or go to NASCAR races, they are worth every penny. Etymotic Research is even offering a 10 percent discount by using the code EHP10TP on their website at etymotic.com. 

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