Learning about shooting disciplines should always be an ongoing experience. Even those of us with hundreds or thousands of hours of training time can find value in absorbing the shared expertise of others. One book that I have encountered that covers precision rifle techniques is Anthony Cirincione II’s Long Range Precision Rifle; Expanded Edition. (MSRP $31) In my personal regard, it is one of the best guides out there to help with the setup and effective employment of a scoped rifle.
Anthony Cirincione has an incredible knowledge base concerning the use of precision rifles. He has over 2 years of OIF/OEF combat deployment experience in Iraq and Afghanistan as a US Army Sniper and has served as a sniper section leader. He has implemented both DMR and sniper training curricula as part of that role. In addition, he actively competes in the long-range shooting disciplines and has a private training company he instructs at when stateside.
As a gunsmith, one of my services was mounting and zeroing scopes and doing a basic setup of hunting and precision rifles for customers. Nowhere have I seen or heard a more thorough, well written and outlined guide of how to set up a scoped rifle than in this book. Chapter 1, Rifle and Ammunition Selection, is an excellent guide for new and experienced shooter alike on:
Other basics are covered in the beginning chapters as well. Cirincione demystifies other essentials, such as:
For more experienced shooters, there is a wealth of advanced data and techniques laid out in other chapters. One of my favorite sections deals with shooting over or under obstructions. This concerns the techniques to use should there be power lines, window sills, bridges, or more commonly in my experience, tree branches in the line of one’s long-range shot. This could make all the difference between a solid hit or an ineffective hit/miss. It is a subject I’ve not seen well covered at shooting schools or in other literature. Once again, Cirincione’s clarity shines through the murky waters on this subject.
Have you ever encountered high angle shots? On a recent hunt, I was at such an extreme angle that it almost felt like I was going to slide off a cliff. I’ve been shooting at extreme angles for a while and received instruction in such situations. I do believe that the section on high angle shooting in this book is probably one of the simplest and easy to understand outlines of what one needs to take in account to achieve long-range hits at extreme angles.
I only learned about the “Expanded Edition” of this book because my well-worn copy was pretty much destroyed in a micro-burst storm. I knew I left something on the range deck in my dash to the truck, and unfortunately, it was the book. The expanded edition now includes:
By far my favorite new section deals with Suppressed Subsonic Shooting. Cirincione explains supersonic vs subsonic “Cold-Can Shift”, why it occurs, and how to account for it. For subsonic reloaders, he also covers how some sound barrier calculations hold true for certain grain weights of bullets and not others. He also covers why not to drill out the primer pocket of one’s brass for subsonic-specific loads.
Anthony Cirincione II’s Long-Range Precision Rifle: Expanded Edition is an excellent addition to the library of anyone engaged or interested in the discipline of long-range riflery. Cirincione’s clear, concise style of explanation and practical exercises help guide shooters of any experience through the concepts, tips, and techniques outlined in this work. While it may not contain the most detailed and in-depth explanations of each subject it touches on, it is a great, concise overview of subjects that one needs to know in order to be a better long-range rifleman. I want to stress as well that at no time does the author reveal any classified TTPs that might compromise our armed forces.
The book is useful enough that I often find myself checking out its tables and references while in the field, and it has its own slot in my range bag for long range rifle use. For anyone interested in the accurate choice, setup, cartridges, and employment of long range rifles, I highly recommend this book.
Note: Paladin Press, the publisher of this book, sadly went out of business at the end of 2017. This book can still be purchased from sites such as Amazon, however, and will be published this year by Redd Ink Press.
Recently, we had a conversation with Legendary Arms Works’ sales and marketing executive Walter Hasser, who ﬁlled us in on the Reinholds, Pa.-based (717335-8555; legendaryarmsworks.com) company’s back story and its exciting future plans.
American Shooting Journal How did cofounders Mark Bansner and David Dunn team up to get LAW started?
Walter Hasser David and Mark go back a few years, as Mark worked on a few of David’s guns when he was operating Bansner’s Ultimate Riﬂes. After David had been operating a ﬁrearms retail store and indoor range in Pennsylvania for a couple of years, he began noticing the trend of American-manufactured ﬁrearms decreasing in quality and sending products oﬀshore to be produced. He wanted very badly to do something about it and believed, as we all believe today, that a ﬁrearm is something greater than the sum of its parts and deserving of the attention of craftsmen.
Furthermore, a larger portion of the American shooting population should have access to a higher level of quality versus just a handful who can aﬀord a full custom riﬂe. David’s ﬁrst step in realizing his dream was purchasing the M704 design and rights to manufacture from Ed Brown. His second was to form a partnership with the best custom gun builder and share his vision with the country.
ASJ How much did Mark’s passion for hunting inspire him to have his own ﬁrearms company?
WH Mark is an extremely passionate hunter and the type of guy you want in your camp. His ideals and character set him apart, both aﬁeld and in the shop. He likes getting his hands dirty, solving problems, working with people, growing and aﬀecting those around him. And he holds a deep respect for the sport and the industry as a whole. Mark understands the emotional and spiritual experience of hunting big game. As an artisan he holds a heightened sense of how that experience is ampliﬁed when undertaken with a ﬁne instrument. I believe he takes great pride in contributing to that experience for our customers.
WH Our M704 Action design is completely unique. A true controlled round-feed system that also has the luxury of single feeding without ﬁrst depressing a round on the magazine follower is a great advantage in many scenarios. The ﬁxed ejector blade is ruggedly simple and eliminates the common user error of “short stroking” during the cycle of operation, as the spent case will not eject until the bolt is fully cycled. The action is the perfect foundation for the perfect hunting riﬂe – not to mention the precision CNC machining quality and one-piece bolt.
ASJ What is your favorite LAW model and why?
WH “The Professional” is our ﬂagship riﬂe and best seller, and it’s easy to see why once you have it in your hands. The balance is perfect and craftsmanship is unlike any other product in its price bracket. You have the luxury of a fully custom mountain riﬂe in a package for one-third of the price.
ASJ How has LAW evolved over the years and what plans do you have for the future?
WH A very signiﬁcant development you’ll see from us this year is stepping into the realm of tactical and longrange precision riﬂes. To date our product line has been based around hunting riﬂes, but we are not just a hunting riﬂe company. We are a manufacturing company – a small, veteran-owned business with a large veteran workforce committed to bringing great riﬂes and great customer service to a bigger portion of the market than before. We have some very talented folks on our product development team, with backgrounds in law enforcement and the military, along with competitive shooting. This year we’ll be bringing a chassis system to market that I think you’ll love!
ASJ Is there anything else you want to say about the LAW brand?
WH We’re very grateful for our customers and the opportunity to manufacture and sell these products into this market and this industry that we all care so deeply for. ASJ
Editor’s note: For more on Legendary Arms Works, like them at facebook.com/ LegendaryArmsWorks.
We can all boast life lessons that have taught us certain principles. For me, the optics lesson happened years ago. Ed Sweet, the host of Kid Outdoors, and I would take a lot of kids bear hunting. I’d write articles about the hunts and he’d film them for his show. On one of our first hunts we saw 10 bears in two afternoons. Only once did I spot the bear before anyone else. That’s because my partners had good glass. I had an average pair of binoculars and have realized over the years that I had been missing a lot of game. I started a quest to learn more.
Unfortunately, the old saying “you get what you pay for” is never so true as it is in the optics world. When you buy a set, get the best that you can afford and you’ll never be sorry. I’ve heard a lot of people cuss bad optics, but I’ve never seen anyone regret buying good ones.
I thought I knew most of the optic companies out there and had tested products for at least half of them, but then I attended my first SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor and Trade) Show years ago. Wow, was I shocked. I bet there were 50 to 75 optic companies on display.
So, who’s the best? What makes one better than another? They all look clear and crisp in the store, don’t they? So how can you tell which one to buy, and why spend $2,000 on a pair of binoculars when you can buy a pair for $99? Why would you buy a spotting scope instead of just using your binoculars or the scope on your rifle? Well, let’s try to get our sights around these questions.
I teach a lot of glassing for big-game seminars, have been sponsored by a lot of optic companies over the years and I still don’t claim to know it all, but here are some of the things I have learned.
On an 8×42, the 8 signifies the power or magnification. The second number, 42, is the objective size. You preferably want your objective size to be four times the power. If it is less than four times, it won’t let in enough light for low-light conditions like dawn or dusk. The problem is, the higher the objective, the heavier the weight. Therein lies our dilemma.
If you’re a sedentary hunter, buy a 10×50, but if you’re hiking all day, buy a 10×42. I used to recommend 8×42. My thinking was that when you’re huffing and puffing up a mountain and throw up anything larger than an 8x, you wouldn’t be stable enough to focus. Years ago, however, I realized how much game I was missing, so I now carry a 10x.
Basically, there are three main options: compact, semicompact and full size. You need to determine your application. Where I live, we often scramble up and down mountains all day; this is why I carry a semicompact version. A full-sized binocular would be too heavy, and I know that I would never carry them. On the other hand, if you live in Texas and hunt out of a blind, then by all means get the larger set.
Now the tough choice: What brand should you buy? There are several good choices on the market. I’m sponsored by Leica and they have top-notch optics. Leupold and Bushnell also offer models that meet different budgets, and both offer decent warranties as well.
Years ago, everyone used leather straps to carry their binoculars. After a hard day of scrambling up and down it would feel like my neck had been dislocated by all the bouncing around. This is when I discovered Butler Creek elastic straps. They fit like a bra – not that I’ve ever worn a bra – and hold the binoculars against my chest. A lot of people make straps that are similar, but back in the day Butler Creek owned the market.
Now let’s cover spotting scopes. Why buy a spotting scope? Why not just use your binoculars? Because you’ll miss a ton of game. What size should you buy? Because of weight, I choose to carry a 35x, which is sufficient for me here in Idaho. If you’re sheep hunting in Alaska, you may want a 60x. You will need to determine where and how you hunt before making your decision.
When I glass, I do what is known as “zoning” – no, not fall asleep. I’ll climb to the top of a high ridge and set up. I start viewing towards one end of the mountain and glass across horizontally, then drop down 50 yards and go back. I will do this until I get to the visual bottom. Try to avoid randomly looking around. Have a system or you’ll miss game and never even know it.
Animals feed in and out of cover, so wait a few minutes and repeat glassing. If you glass an area long enough, you’ll grow accustomed to odd-shaped rocks and stumps, and notice when something new appears that wasn’t there before. As the sun moves, shadows may cause things to look different throughout the day too.
One good thing about using a spotting scope is if you see something, you can back away from the optic and let your partner look through. How many times have you seen an elk across a mountain and it’s taken five minutes for your buddy to see it too? Problem solved!
Which is best? A straight or a 45-degree angled optic? Over the years I’ve started favoring an angled neck. To me it’s a little more user friendly and causes less muscle stress throughout the day.
At the end of a hard day of glassing your eyes are going to be strained. You’ll go to bed feeling like you’re seasick or worse, hallucinating. I know everyone is on a budget, but as an old buddy used to say, “On this purchase, don’t leave any change in your pocket.”
Let’s move onto scopes. For fast shots you’ll want a 3x to 9x. They use smaller powers so they can pick up game fast. For hunting out West, you’ll want more magnification for the longer shots you’ll take.
I love the idea of a scope cover because the last time I hunted deer in Nebraska during a blizzard, I found a deer, threw up my rifle, looked through the scope and it was full of snow. Needless to say, I missed. I’ve tested numerous scope covers over the years and every single one has managed to get hung up on a limb and disappeared. This also goes for the covers on my binoculars. Maybe it is just me.
Some people will tell you to spend more on the scope than you do your rifle. This is somewhat true, I feel. I have a stainless-steel Remington 700 .338 Winchester Magnum. The scope is a Leupold VXIII 4.5x to 14x, so it’s half again as expensive as the rifle. This must mean that I somewhat agree with this concept.
It goes without saying, baby them! I don’t strap my rifle on my four-wheeler and go bouncing around. I baby my scope and consequently it stays on tight. It is also not a good idea to leave optics in the blistering sun either.
To properly clean them, Hamilton Boykin at Leica told me to hold them upside down, blow off any loose dust and then pour water on the lens to rinse off. Then with a soft, wet lens rag, wipe them clean in swooping motions. Don’t wipe in a circular motion or you will grind in sand particulates. Spitting on the lenses and wiping them off with your dusty shirt tail doesn’t cut it either.
Try a good optic once and you’ll never go back. ASJ
Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, the world’s leading manufacturer of high performance sports optics, is pleased to announce the world’s first premium crossbow scope, TERRA 3x XB75 with patented ballistic reticle. The new XB75 2-7×32 offers crossbow enthusiasts the ability to determine aiming points from 20 to 75 yards in 2½-yard increments based on the chronographed speed of the bow.
The anti-reflective coatings to produces bright, high-contrast images eliminating the need for an illuminated reticle
Once the 30-yard crosshair is sighted in, the scope is now calibrated to your crossbow and all of the other aiming points will be correct.
TERRA XB75 features:
Extremely low profile 1-inch tube design
2 to 7x Magnification
1/4-MOA adjustments provide 100% repeatability, click by click
Patented ballistic reticle with yardages from 20 to 75 yards
For crossbows speeds 275 fps to 425 fps
Magnification 2.3 7
Effective lens diameter 24.4 mm 32 mm
Exit pupil diameter 12.2 mm 4.6 mm
Twilight factor 7 15
Field of view (ft. at 100 yards) 46.5 ft. 13.5 ft.
Objective viewing angle 7.4° 2.5°
Diopter adjustment range ± 2.5 dpt
Eye relief 90 mm / 3.55 mm
Parallax-free 30 yds.
Square adjustment range 62 MOA
Adjustment per click 1/4 MOA
Center tube diameter 25.4 / 1 mm
Eyepiece tube diameter 41 mm
Objective tube diameter 39.5 mm
Coating ZEISS MC
Nitrogen filling Yes
Waterproof 400 mbar
Functional temperature range -13 / +122 °F
Length 11.5 in
Weight 13.4 oz
Subject to changes in design and scope of delivery as a result of ongoing technical development.
For more information on ZEISS’ award winning products please visit us at www.zeiss.com/us/sports-optics.
About the ZEISS Group
ZEISS is an international leader in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. The more than 24,000 employees of ZEISS generated revenue of about 4.2 billion euros in fiscal year 2012/13. Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. ZEISS has been contributing to technological progress for more than 160 years. ZEISS develops and produces solutions for the semiconductor, automotive and mechanical engineering industries, biomedical research and medical technology, as well as eyeglass lenses, camera and cine lenses, binoculars and planetariums. ZEISS is present in over 40 countries around the globe with more than 40 production facilities, around 50 sales and service locations and over 20 research and development sites. Carl Zeiss AG is fully owned by the Carl Zeiss Stiftung (Carl Zeiss Foundation).
As an fyi, crossbows are banned in Oregon, but can be used during Washington’s rifle big-game seasons (but not during the archery hunt). They’re also OK during Idaho short-range weapons seasons (as are tomahawks, large rocks, boomerangs, very loud and shrill yells).
Story by Mike Nesbitt
The annual Matthew Quigley Buffalo Rifle Match is really some doin’s! Hosted each June by the Forsyth Rifle & Pistol Club of Forsyth, Mont., it isn’t the longest distance match or the most “critically scored,” but nonetheless, there’s nothing else quite like it, and for a match like Quigley, it pays to be ready. (By not being critically scored I simply mean they count hits rather than 9’s, 10’s, or X’s. A hit is one point, and those are hard-to-get points.)
Quigley is a huge event, very well attended by all types of shooters, and the inspiration for this long-range match, of course, came from Tom Selleck’s character in Quigley Down Under, the 1990 movie about an American sharpshooter who responds to an Australian’s help-wanted ad, but finds the job morally wrong. We can easily say that the shooting in these matches is almost as good as portrayed in the film.
The rifles used in the Quigley match can be any traditional single-shot or lever-action rifle with a caliber of .375 or larger. That means the good old .38-55 is just about the smallest cartridge you’ll see on the firing line. Bullets must be made of cast lead (gas checks are OK) and the powder charges can be black powder, black powder substitute, black powder/smokeless powder duplex loads or smokeless powder. Even though there are no restrictions for the powder used, Quigley is referred to as a black-powder shoot and most shooters actually use it.
One of the Quigley rules is that shooters must use the same rifle for all distances and targets. Those distances, include shooting offhand at the 350-yard target as well as a seated 805-yard shot over cross-sticks, among others.
Last year, I chose my C. Sharps Model ’74 chambered in .44-77. The 400-grain bullets worked very well for me, and the 70 grains of Olde Eynsford 2F sends those bullets out of my 28-inch barrel at about 1,370 feet per second. It shoots well enough to give me good scores at 200 yards and it is enjoyable enough to shoot from the shoulder. But 200-yard shooting won’t even get you started at Quigley, since the distances begin with offhand shooting at 350 yards. I needed some long-range experience very badly. In order to get just that, I entered into a few black-powder cartridge-rifle silhouette matches. That was a whole new world for me and very fun! Why I waited so long before trying the silhouettes, I don’t know, but I certainly learned a few lessons! With my newfound education on shooting silhouettes out to 500 yards and copious notes, I was ready to try Quigley, or at least I thought so.
It all seemed too soon when my partner Allen Cunniff and I drove into the Quigley camp. We were immediately met by “Dangerous” Don McDowell, who was our guide and took us under his wing. He showed us our camp area and then took us down to the firing line to sight in. He made sure we were registered and suggested that we shoot in his same group.
Sighting in can be done throughout the week preceding the actual match; however, once the match starts, that’s it! One reason is simply because the firing line is too busy. Highest compliments must be extended to the staff for the administration of this fine event. They run more than 600 shooters through the course of six targets in about six to eight hours. Each shooter is assigned to a group and those groups are broken down into squads for firing in relays. The target course is doubled, meaning there are two of each target. This allows 12 squads to be shooting at the same time. Hits are recorded by scorekeepers who have earphones and receive an electronic signal when the target is hit.
All shots are taken from the sitting position using cross-sticks except for the bucket target, which is shot offhand. Eight shots are fired at each target, making Quigley a 48-shot match.
Each shooter has a spotter who watches for hits or misses and can suggest changes in sighting elevation or windage. McDowell was my spotter for every shot I fired. Getting at least one hit per target was a small goal that I had set for myself. That goal, I admit without shame, was not met. I just couldn’t get a hit on the bucket. Folks who were watching could see that my shots were close enough to show that I was trying. McDowell, who also shoots a Sharps .44-77, exclaimed, “If you were using a .45, you would have hit it!” As “Dakota” Dick Savage, a shooter who finished in the top 10 at Quigley in 2012, said in reference to getting scores that were lower than what was hoped for, “Well, that’s Quigley.”
Our group started with the large octagon, which means we didn’t take shots at the 805-yard buffalo, the furthest target, until last. This was the target I had looked forward to the most. My first shot, McDowell told me quietly, was right in line but just over its back. With that information, I dropped my rear sight down only about five minutes of angle, and fired again. That time, McDowell whispered, “Good hit, right in the white spot at about 1 o’clock.” My day had been made and I got two more hits on the buffalo with my following six shots.
Sometimes you can hear the bullets hitting the steel targets. But considering the bullet’s time in flight plus the speed of sound for the noise of the impact to get back to you, that impact won’t be heard until four to six seconds have passed. That seems like a very long time.
You can visit the Quigley match online at quigleymatch.com and read all of the details, including the individual scores. Last year over 600 buffalo-gun shooters gathered from 36 different states and three other countries. Ed Tilton from Columbia Falls, Mont., has won the last two shoots with a Model 1874 Shiloh Sharps chambered for the .45-90 cartridge. The record score was shot in 2004 by Al Loquasto with 46 hits out of the possible 48. The long-range course at Quigley has never been “aced.”
For me, the whole experience was simply outstanding, including the obvious brotherhood between shooters. I was talking with Tilton after the match and compared scores, my 11 hits to his 45. He said that my scores would certainly climb and his could only go down, then we’ll meet somewhere in the middle. My personal goal is to get closer to the middle this year.
I’m getting ready for Quigley again. This year I’ll use my heavy Sharps 74 in .44-90, shooting heavier bullets than my .44-77. The .44-90 weighs 13½ pounds and has an aperture front sight with a spirit-level which should have a better advantage over the silver-blade sight on my .44-77. I thought about using my Highwall in .40-70 SS, but to me Quigley is a Sharps shoot; in the movie, Selleck’s character uses a Sharps 1874 rifle chambered for the .45-110 cartridge with long-range sights.
The .44-90 will be used in some of our short-range matches before going to Quigley and maybe at some silhouettes matches too, although it’s too heavy for NRA rules. For ammo, I’ll take at least 100 rounds using 465-grain bullets over 90 grains of Olde Eynsford 1½ F. This way, a lot of shots can be fired for sighting-in before the match gets started. I’m practicing my offhand shooting with this heavy rifle too, and with a good body-rest, it isn’t too heavy to hold.
June 20-21 will see the 24th gathering in southeast Montana, and getting ready for it is time and shots well spent. ASJ
Note: For other great images from BJ Lane on the Matthew Quigley shoot, you can visit them at bjlanesimages.com.
Posted in Black Powder Tagged with: Allen Cunniff, BJ Lane Photography, Black Powder, Cross-Stix, Dakota Dick Savage, Ed Tilton, Forsyth Rifle & Pistol Club, Forsythe, Long Range, Mike Nesbitt, Montana, NRA, Off Handed shooting, Olde Eynsford, Quigley Down Under, Quigley Shoot, Sharps Model 74, Silhouette, Tom Selleck