My regional PRS series has concluded, so it is time to reflect on the ups, downs, hits and misses. This season I did a little more traveling to shoot different ranges and meet new shooters. This ultimately was a significant benefit; while comfortable, shooting with the same people at the same venue will keep you stagnant. Before diving into lessons learned, I would like to discuss the gear I used in the Finale.
RIFLE AND CALIBER
This year I built a custom rifle chambered in 6mm GT. The rifle features a Stiller Tac-30 action paired with a Bartlein Heavy Varmint barrel. The barreled action is sitting in an MDT ACC Chassis, and in my opinion, it's the best in class until the MDT ACC Elite model is available. The trigger used is a Trigger Tech Primary.
ADDITIONAL 6GT RESOURCES FROM MDT
Now for the new stuff. I will go front to back for continuity's sake. I swapped the Area 419 Hellfire for the MDT Comp Brake. It performs like a dream; with 4 ports and disrupter ports, the gasses and concussion are directed away from the shooter, leaving you with little to no recoil. Behind that, the ACC Mirage Shield was added. While it serves the purpose of mitigating barrel mirage, it was more of an aesthetic addition for me. It also allows you to use a thumb-over-bore grip to shoot off a barricade without putting any pressure on the barrel.
MDT ACC Chassis. Note the ACC Mirage Shield and External Weights.
Also mounted to the chassis are two sets of M-Lok Exterior Weights, which help to reduce recoil and balance the rifle. My bipod of choice is the Lightweight MDT CKYE-Pod. Not enough can be said about the Ckye-Pod and all its variants. They're the best bipods in the game, hands down.
I am using a 3D-printed bag rider on the handguard in front of the magwell barricade stop. While this serves its purpose of aiding in stability while shooting off barricades and the like, I plan on upgrading to the MDT Baker Wings. Lastly, I upgraded my optic to the Vortex Razor Gen III mounted using the MDT One Piece mount. I absolutely love this scope.
Quite impressed with the 6mm GT.
OTHER ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT
This season I used an Armageddon Gear Game Changer exclusively. I once overheard a top shooter say, "If you can be competitive using only one bag, then you have my respect." That's what I strive for. You'll often see people have 3 or more bags they walk around with. Between a rear bag, barricade bag, and 2 different types of pump pillows, it gets to be a lot. The Game Changer covers all bases for me.
My preferred bag is the Game Changer from Armageddon Gear.
Kestrel 5700 is essential if you are serious about long range shooting.
The other new kit that has undoubtedly made the most significant difference is the Kestrel 5700. Previously I would write out a firing solution card with data from an online ballistic calculator using velocities found during load development. While that worked, it is certainly not the preferred method. The Kestrel makes life easier. That being said, some lessons needed to be learned to use it properly.
Speaking of that…
LESSONS LEARNED DURING THE 2022 COMPETITION SEASON
While the gear has been updated, the most significant performance improvements have occurred between the ears. This is where shooting with more experienced shooters comes into play. It blew my mind when they would ask if it was okay to give advice on how to improve my abilities. Would someone actually say no to that? Remember, folks: check your ego at the door.
Note: These will be listed in the order that they were learned.
- Check your zero and velocity numbers the morning of the match at the venue. This might seem obvious, but initially, I thought that if my zero was good and my numbers were recorded the weekend before, at my range, they would be good at the matches. I was mistaken. There are a few variables that change that will affect your zero and velocity. The difference could be minor or severe. You best not chance it, shoot the extra 5-10 rounds that morning and verify.
- When shooting off a barricade or prop, I used to hang on to my optic with my support hand. This is apparently a no-no, and it makes sense. You could be messing with your point of aim by moving the scope. The preferred method is putting your arm forward, grabbing the handguard, and putting down pressure, whether using a knob, hand stop, bag rider, Baker Wings, etc., without touching the barrel. Also, always have a strong base, specifically when in the high kneeling position. The more points of contact, the better.
- This one is quick and possibly anecdotal: be weary of the eye protection you wear; you could add a secondary parallax. A lot of high-speed eye-pro have a single curved lens that can distort your image, leading to your point of aim being impaired without you knowing it.
- SLOW DOWN! If the stage is 100 seconds and you have 10 targets to hit and finish in 60 seconds with 4 impacts, you wasted 40% of your time. Unless the time is being recorded for a tie-breaker, use your time wisely. It's better to have 8 impacts and time out than 4 impacts in 60 seconds. One of the best compliments I received at my last match was, "great use of your time."
- True up your Kestrel when possible. If your firing solution is .2 mils low at 400 yards, adjust your velocity in your Kestrel profile to bring the data to the correct reading. It is my understanding when truing up your Kestrel, less than 700 yards, you adjust your velocity. Above 700 yards, you change the ballistic coefficient.
- Trust your bullet. Don't overthink the wind. Fast-moving projectiles with high BCs cheat the wind, especially 600 yards and in.
- Lastly, use as much surface area of your bag as possible. This is prop dependent. These bags can be used in any direction; play around with them on different props so you are prepared to know which orientation to use them.
MOVING FORWARD INTO THE 2023 SEASON
This off-season will consist of A LOT of positional practice, recording my Rifle Kraft Drill results, and a ton of dry firing. Stay tuned for some fun projects moving forward, and go out there and shoot a local match. Thanks for reading.
COMPETITION RESOURCES FROM MDT
- Mastering The Mental Game Of PRS: An Easy Way To Achieve A Higher Score
- Beginners Gear Guide for Precision Rifle Competition
- Expert Gear Guide for Precision Rifle Competition
- How Professional Shooter Allison Zane Sets Up Her Rifle
- HORNADY 6MM ARC For Competition
- How To Shoot PRS: Stage Breakdown With PRS Top Lady
- Dry Fire Drills With Pro Shooter Allison Zane
- Building a Custom Bergara B14 for Competition
- Building a 6mm GT for Competition
- How I Got Into Precision Rifle Competition - PART 1 and PART 2
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
William Maxwell served in the United States Army. After returning from his first deployment in 2015, he started building firearms and focused heavily on pistol and carbine training. In 2018 he fell into the rabbit hole of precision rifle shooting. He spends his free time competing, reloading, editing digital content, and writing. He can be reached via Instagram @maddmaxxguns.