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PRS Style competition rifle setup

turbobrick

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If you can shoot rifles that really kick well, everything milder is progressively easier.

This premise is actually what started me down the road to building the rifle I mentioned. I had an ultralight 300wsm built, and was able to shoot a .3 MOA group at 300 with it. It took a ton of discipline to get there, but I had a riot working up the load and getting to the point I could deliver from behind the trigger. I thought, if I could only do this but using way less powder, cheaper projectiles and see my impacts in the scope that would be fun. I built a Remage (so the manual of arms is the same as my main hunting rifle) in 6BR Norma, in a Oryx chassis, with leftover base, rings, scope, and trigger from another rifle. I had a hell of a time getting the barrel off the donor action, but the Remage system was pretty smooth. I primed some brass today, and hopefully load up some test rounds over the weekend.

I really heard about PRS on the Vortex podcast, and have been intrigued for a while, but its posts like yours that really got me into actually doing it. Thanks.
 
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BucksnDucks

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Carl,
Thanks for taking the time sharing some pretty cool stuff. Those chassis set ups are gorgeous (y).
Also props for MSU work, my nephew graduates this May with his engineering degree. Bozeman and school there have been a great experience for him.
 

Backofbeyond

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@Carl next question if you’ll oblige me… what lessons/equipment/techniques from the PRS world would you recommend to or want us everyday hunting type rifles to know?
 

Wind Gypsy

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@Carl i assume that proof 223 prefit is a basic SAMMI chamber with shorter throat? I occasionally consider getting one but a 223 Wylde or 223 match chamber would be nice.
 

Wind Gypsy

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@Carl next question if you’ll oblige me… what lessons/equipment/techniques from the PRS world would you recommend to or want us everyday hunting type rifles to know?
I’m far from Carl’s experience level but learning how to get solid in a variety of positions and understanding your ballistics are the two big ones IMO.
 

Carl

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Also props for MSU work, my nephew graduates this May with his engineering degree. Bozeman and school there have been a great experience for him.

Good to hear. It's a good program overall, and there's WAY worse places to live while getting your degree.

@Carl next question if you’ll oblige me… what lessons/equipment/techniques from the PRS world would you recommend to or want us everyday hunting type rifles to know?

First thing that comes to mind is I read about or talk to many hunters are QUITE over-confident in their long range shooting skills. I tell people all the time that while competition pursuits have certainly increased my skills, they've also made me very aware of how big and how close of targets I CAN miss. I'd personally need conditions to be pretty favorable to consider a shot on game over 600. I don't shoot farther than I did prior to competing, but I have more favorable outcomes at similar ranges.

If you want to improve your shooting, recognize that it's a two part system; the shooter and the rifle.


On the shooter side, it's all about the fundamentals. There is no magic, no secret sauce. Better shooters can apply the fundamentals more perfectly, faster, and in less perfect positions. To improve, study them (there's a lot of stuff online), practice a LOT (I estimate I did ~10k dry fires in two months one winter), and add time pressure and if you want observer pressure. You don't need a formal competition for observer pressure, even just shooting with a buddy watching and recording everything is enough for many people. And it should go without saying, but if your trying to get better at field shooting, you need to practice from field positions.

Recoil doesn't help anything shooting-wise, and many people would benefit from dropping down. If you can shoot a boomer great from field positions thats awesome, but most people can't and don't shoot enough to know. I can shoot them fine from a good prone position, but I know how much compromise I'm making in what positions I can shoot from and how well I can see through recoil. Since 2012, the heaviest kicking rifle I've chosen to hunt with is a 9 lb 6.5x47 with no muzzle device. Mostly it's been something less.


On the rifle side, everything needs to be squared away. Correct assembly, correctly functioning optics, perfect zero, perfect dope, obviously good enough accuracy but that's a rabbit hole. I'll say, I don't trust 3 or 5 shot groups for anything but a spot check. If I really want to know what's going on from a zero or accuracy perspective 10 is my minimum and 20 or 30 are better.


Overall I'd sum it up that you need to be honest with yourself. Most "fliers" aren't, you should count ALL your shots unless you have a really good reason. Similarly with your own shooting performance, you won't shoot better in the field than you did on the range. If you can't do it consistently at the range, there's no good reason to think you can do it in the field. A large percentage of what you see online for accuracy and long range shooting results are cherry picked out of the noise. The old Richard Feynman quote applies well: "You must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool".



Amazing amount of attention to detail and $$ invested to build such a highly precise tool.

I‘m pretty sure TomTeriffic would not approve of your barrel labeling system.

Ha! Few people who enjoy rifles as much as I do are less sentimental about them than I am.
 

JT88

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Thanks for the information. I'm primarily a hunter but my Dad also taught me how to reload and shoot... and I've always loved all three. I'm shooting my first PRS match in less than 2 weeks. Any advice?

The rifle I'm is shooting is a R700 chambered in .260 Rem, 22" Sendero contour 1:8 with a Trigger tech turned down light. Nightforce NXS, bubble level, PVA Mad Scientist brake, and an Atlas bipod. I've shot it a lot but I can't find my Berger 144 Long Range Hybrids anywhere lately so I think I'm going to shoot 130 Hornady ELD-M factory ammo instead of my reloads. I hate to do it but I don't want to shoot up all my Bergers.

What ballistic calculator is your favorite? I'm using Hornady 4DOF but I've always liked Applied Ballistics - Bryan Litz is a genius. Just wondering if you know if it's worth the money?
 
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Carl

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Thanks for the information. I'm primarily a hunter but my Dad also taught me how to reload and shoot... and I've always loved all three. I'm shooting my first PRS match in less than 2 weeks. Any advice?

The rifle I'm is shooting is a R700 chambered in .260 Rem, 22" Sendero contour 1:8 with a Trigger tech turned down light. Nightforce NXS, bubble level, PVA Mad Scientist brake, and an Atlas bipod. I've shot it a lot but I can't find my Berger 144 Long Range Hybrids anywhere lately so I think I'm going to shoot 130 Hornady ELD-M factory ammo instead of my reloads. I hate to do it but I don't want to shoot up all my Bergers.

What ballistic calculator is your favorite? I'm using Hornady 4DOF but I've always liked Applied Ballistics - Bryan Litz is a genius. Just wondering if you know if it's worth the money?

Happy to help how I can. Is it a one day match or two day match? Where is it at?

Totally understand the bullet situation. If you're in a position to possibly podium, I'd use the Bergers. For your first match these days that's very unlikely and I'd save them if you have the ELD-M option.

What model NXS?

I use Geoballistics first, and Hornady 4DOF and JBM on occasion. I think AB provides some very good products, but I like how what I use works and am very comfortable and familiar with it. Just about all of them work well enough to not cost you a point at a PRS match, if you know how to use them.
 

JT88

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Happy to help how I can. Is it a one day match or two day match? Where is it at?
One day, Hidden Valley Range in Cardwell, MT
Totally understand the bullet situation. If you're in a position to possibly podium, I'd use the Bergers. For your first match these days that's very unlikely and I'd save them if you have the ELD-M option.
Thank you.
What model NXS?
5.5-22 Second Focal Plane MOAR Reticle
I use Geoballistics first, and Hornady 4DOF and JBM on occasion. I think AB provides some very good products, but I like how what I use works and am very comfortable and familiar with it. Just about all of them work well enough to not cost you a point at a PRS match, if you know how to use them.
Thank you. Do you own a Kestral? I've thought about buying one for years. I guess I'm too much of a purist
 

Carl

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One day, Hidden Valley Range in Cardwell, MT

Thank you.

5.5-22 Second Focal Plane MOAR Reticle

Thank you. Do you own a Kestral? I've thought about buying one for years. I guess I'm too much of a purist

Good choice of matches if you want advice from me. I shot the January match there, ran the February match, and will be shooting this one. I don't have any knowledge of the specific course of fire, to keep it fair. However, based on the path Jared and I set with the first two matches, I'd expect:

Stage times between 2:30 and 3:00 per shooter (in minutes), 2:00 if they want to get sporty for the newer guys.

10 rounds per stage, with some exceptions possible.

The opportunity to get quite stable at MOST stages. I'd look up shooting with "tripod rear support" and practice that with whatever tripod you can get your hands on. Someone in your squad will be willing to loan you a tripod during the match, I guarantee. If for some reason they don't, ask someone to find me and you can borrow one from me when needed.

I'd practice mock stages as much as you can. 2-5 targets, 2-4 positions, under the time constraints I gave above. Just dry fire. Get as quick as you can at getting into position, finding the target, and breaking a good shot.

Good dope is crucial. I'd shoot a 10 shot group to confirm zero, then if you can shoot 5-10 at 1000 or 1100 yards and find the average point of impact. True your dope to that. If you have a Labradar, Magnetospeed, or Ohler chrono you can PROBABLY trust that and true your BC, otherwise true your velocity.


The second focal plane scope with a 22x top end isn't ideal, but you can make it work. If it was me, I'd set it to 11x and leave it there the whole match. I'd make my dope card with wind references such that you know what values to hold in a 10 mph wind, given that the reticle is at half power and therefore each tick mark is 2x what it would be at 22x. You can shoot a match at 22x, but it'd be a handicap for MOST (not all) experienced match shooters, and a bit more for a greener shooter. I'd plan to dial for elevation across the board.

I have a Kestrel and use it so rarely I should sell it. Lot's of top shooters swear by them, I find what they offer to not be worth the clunky interface. A LOT of good shooters have been bit by the interface, myself included. I can make the same errors on my app, but it's a lot easier to catch. A printed dope card is a pretty good route too, IMO, I have used them plenty and have no problem using them still. I'd use them more often if it wasn't ONE more thing to do before a match.
 

JT88

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Good choice of matches if you want advice from me. I shot the January match there, ran the February match, and will be shooting this one.
Awesome. Surprised we'll be shooting the same match, very cool. Small world.. Looking forward to it.
Good dope is crucial. I'd shoot a 10 shot group to confirm zero, then if you can shoot 5-10 at 1000 or 1100 yards and find the average point of impact. True your dope to that. If you have a Labradar, Magnetospeed, or Ohler chrono you can PROBABLY trust that and true your BC, otherwise true your velocity.
I figured as much, thank you.
The second focal plane scope with a 22x top end isn't ideal, but you can make it work. If it was me, I'd set it to 11x and leave it there the whole match. I'd make my dope card with wind references such that you know what values to hold in a 10 mph wind, given that the reticle is at half power and therefore each tick mark is 2x what it would be at 22x. You can shoot a match at 22x, but it'd be a handicap for MOST (not all) experienced match shooters, and a bit more for a greener shooter. I'd plan to dial for elevation across the board.
I was planning on a similar approach. I'm a bit concerned about it. Wish I'd have waited and bought a FFP version but we'll see. I don't usually struggle to get on target so I may still decide to run it at 22, I haven't decided yet. It may be suicide... Planning on practicing on steel out to 1000 at 100 yard increments before the match.
I have a Kestrel and use it so rarely I should sell it. Lot's of top shooters swear by them, I find what they offer to not be worth the clunky interface. A LOT of good shooters have been bit by the interface, myself included. I can make the same errors on my app, but it's a lot easier to catch. A printed dope card is a pretty good route too, IMO, I have used them plenty and have no problem using them still.
Good, thank you for the help. Looking forward to putting some rounds down range. I'm sure I'll learn a lot and probably eat a few slices of humble pie 🥧 I wish I could find reloading components right now. Such a bad time to be screwing around with factory ammo or new recipes.
 
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JT88

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JT88, not to speak for Carl, but I think his reasoning for shooting at 11x, rather than 22x is the ability to spot your misses - or impacts. Really tough at 22x.
Thank you. That makes sense.
 

Carl

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JT88, not to speak for Carl, but I think his reasoning for shooting at 11x, rather than 22x is the ability to spot your misses - or impacts. Really tough at 22x.
Yep, spotting impacts is the #1 reason, but finding targets in the scope quickly is a close second factor. I also think it leads to less eye strain and helps reduce some target panic, but those are tertiary for sure.

To JT's former points, there isn't anything clearly wrong with being prepped for 11x and 22x both, IF you don't get wrapped around the axle mentally. No offense to you as I don't know you, but that is a big if for a lot of competitors.

Regarding the humble pie, it can be tough but having your expectations set reasonably is important for your first match. There will be a lot of guys there with a lot of competition experience, don't be intimidated, they know what you're going through. Never the less; shoot against yourself, take every shot one at a time, and it doesn't help at all to think about how you're doing while you're shooting. Easier said than done, but you've heard it from a ton of other disciplines for a reason.
 

JT88

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Thanks again. I'm excited for the match. Looking forward to shooting it and learning new ways to shoot better
 

fishing4sanity

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IMO, these type of matches will definitely make you a better shooter and they're a lot of fun! This is a great thread, thanks @Carl for sharing your passion. If diving down the rabbit hole of centerfire competitions isn't enough, there are also rimfire matches.
Here are a couple of videos from recent matches to hopefully get @JT88 and anyone else thinking about PRS/NRL matches excited.
 

FLS

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Be careful going down this rabbit hole. It’s a very expensive and very addictive hobby. I about to drive to FL for an Osceola hunt, but first had to load a couple of hundred rounds for a match the day after I get back. Shooting on the clock, under pressure is the best thing a shooter can do to improve his skills IMO. The match Im shooting next Saturday has 90 second par times. 10-12 shots with a bolt gun on multiple targets at multiple ranges in that amount of time will test your fundamentals, your ability to focus, and your equipment.
 
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