2012 Camp Perry US Long Range Nationals – Arrival

Riding the tractor tram to the pits during practice today.

$182. That is what Delta Airlines charged me for my duffel bag (under weight mind you) and two rifle cases. I just about had a melt down. Crooks!!! Which means I have the same fee on the way home. I hope I never have to fly them again. Other than that my trip was easy getting here. Except for lugging a duffel and 2 rifle cases around the airport. Fellow travelers took pity on me and helped me out. I drove an hour to the base and found the Pitre family’s RV. They were kind enough to drive the rest of my gear to Perry from Seattle along with all of the WA Junior’s gear. I checked in to my hotel and spent the evening getting all of my stuff organized for Friday.

Friday (today) is a day to arrive early and get all of the registration packets and stroll

A Rainy entrance to the US National Guard Base.

through what is left of Commercial Row. If you have never been to Perry, Commercial Row is a line of huts that vendors such as Sinclair, Midway, and any High Power related company sell their goods directly. If you are driving here it is a good time to load up on powders and things that could be expensive to ship. Many people “complain” their paychecks go right out the door when they get here. The problem for the long range shooters is that we are the very last week shooting at Perry. All of the good stuff has been sold and most vendors shut their doors after tomorrow. I know I will be visiting Sinclair’s hut tomorrow to return a trigger.

After all of the sweat and tears that Jim Cloward my gunsmith put in to rebuild the trigger again for me two days ago it broke down again today during practice today. Thank goodness we had a sight in for team members at 300 yards. I took my rifle and my “back-up” rifle that a friend Wayne was kind enough to loan me. I wanted to sight in both at 300 just in case I might need his at the end of the week. I shot mine first. A few shots in to it the bolt would not engage again. I was crushed. I grabbed Wayne’s RPA and put the sights on quickly and finished out my time getting it zero’d. This rifle is lovely I must say. The only problem is that Wayne has been shooting with a really heavy trigger. I think over 3 pounds! No way can I use it that way for this week. He said I could lighten it. I went to the master of Quadlock receivers, Bob Gamboa, and he changed the position and weight of the trigger. It has a sweet first stage now and light as a feather trigger. But so different. I spent my afternoon dry firing in the room and fiddling with perfect sling and rifle adjustments. Another lucky break is that my loaded ammo is a bit shorter than his loads he used. I don’t need to frantically re-seat bullets. I just hope they are not too short and bounce around before the lans. But I feel very confident right now. It will be a good week. I’ve done well on borrowed equipment before. We were able to meet the international teams briefly today at the practice.

Australia, UK, Canada and Japan are present. We will have a dinner and meet and greet on Sunday night and I am excited to spend more time with them. The Japanese don’t speak much English but they do have one interpreter. This should be interesting! We start shooting  tomorrow, Saturday at 1000 yards. 3 days of 1000 yards and then we have the Palma match and then The America’s Cup on Wed. It consists of 300, 600, 900 and 1000 yards. The US Team Captains will pick the team for that through the week as they see how people are shooting. I was invited to the 300 yard practice today. I did not realize it was an invite only practice. I guess I am thought of as a possible candidate. I am honored.

30CalGal – “Shoot Like A Girl! If You Can…..”


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2012 BC Rifle Championship

Chilliwack, BC

2012 BC Championship. Flintlock and High Woman Trophies

Never a dull moment! I guess this will be my year of mechanical issues. I love my two big

US Team 2012 BC Championship. Silver Medal

trophies I won but a pale comparison to the stack I had last year. Canadians Jim Patton and Don Pitcairn were unstoppable with amazing scores. Jim took the overall grand agg and Don won The Lt. Governor’s Cup also known as The Chair. My US team team tied with the Canadians in score but they had us in V count. Bummer! So close.  I started the match on fire on Friday.

I did drop one point at the first string at 300 metres but the second string I cleaned it with all V’s (X’s). That was the first stage of

US Team Silver Patch

the Lt. Governor’s Cup. But then slowly I dropped a couple more points that day. With the competition present you can’t afford to drop any points. Jim Patton just got back from Bisley (UK Championship) and was in the top 5 there. He was very warmed up for this match and it showed. He won high V count for the entire match with over 90. The next closest was about 60 V’s. I started to have a problem with my trigger where the sear would not engage when I closed the bolt. A bit startling to pull the trigger and nothing happens. I could re-cock it though and it would be fine. But I had to do this a few times. But my heart sank as I felt that again I had to mentally deal with equipment issues. Then on the last morning with the critical final round for the Governor’s cup my first stage completely disappeared.

I lost a point out the top because it went off as I thought I was approaching the stop. The

16 year old Canadian Fiona Anderson. The only other gal out there. She did really well!

next two strings I had to make do and hold very hard as I pulled through the trigger. Considering, I did pretty well. But I did drop a couple more points and that took me out of even 5th place. During our break before the final team match I had someone help me pull the action out of the stock and try to fix it. We had the instruction sheet that came with the new CG trigger and the two allen wrenches. Turns out one of the wrenches sent with the kit was the wrong size. Of course. Thank goodness there were a bunch of shooters with tool kits around. My kit did not have that small size required. A bunch of things were odd. The action for one was fairly loose unscrewing it from the stock. Then the trigger housing was loose at one end to the action. We tried to following instructions with the two screws, one for the sear engagement and one for the trigger stages. It completely fell apart! Nothing would go back together. It was

The entire lot of trophies to win. Amazing silver!

11:55 and the match was starting at 12:00. Team mate Wayne allowed me to use his rifle which happens to be an RPA like my other rifle. I was normally the first shooter but we changed up the order so I could alter his rifle to fit me. I needed to change sling stop, rear sight distance and cheek and shoulder pieces. Not too much actually and it fit pretty well right away. I jumped in to position as the second shooter and shot perfectly. Whew!! I jokingly yet somewhat seriously asked if I could borrow Wayne’s rifle to bring to Camp Perry with me this week. I have two days before I leave and I work the two 10 hour shifts at the range and have no time to work with my Hall. He did not even hesitate and said yes. But I still needed my rifle looked at.

You should always have two rifles with you at a match. As I drove home last night and

Highlight! Very cool art work on an F-Class rifle. I want.

crossed the border I called my gunsmith even though it was after his work hours. Apologizing, I begged to drop off the rifle to him on my way home to see if he could fix it before I leave Thursday. He allowed me in and he took it apart and it was very screwed up inside. The screw for the sear adjustment was loose and had fallen down and snagged with a ball bearing. Who knows how this happened? Jim just shook his head. We both thought this may be a bad trigger and I might need to return it. In the mean time he will try to machine parts of it to see if we can get it going for Perry. If not we will put the old one back in and that will be my back up. Talk about stressful! I owe Jim and Wayne several bottles of wine. I won’t be getting much done this next two days except driving two extra hours each morning before work to pick up rifles and repacking my suitcase. Deep breath. I can do this. It is worth it. Believe it or not I do still feel confident going to Perry. I must crazy in the head to do all of this.

30CalGal – “Shoot Like A Girl! If You Can……”



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2012 B.C. Rifle Championship – Day 1

Gen Volkes Range – Chilliwack, BC Canada

My favorite range to shoot at is the range here in Chilliwack, BC. Called Gen. Volkes Range, it is a military range. As you can see in this photo it is pretty fabulous. The snowy peaks at the right are the border of US and Canada. The number of competitors is half the amount of last year. Seems as though a few people went to Bisley in England and just got back last week so it was a bit much to come to this also. And usually the year after a Palma World Cup people take a break. Also, the range has a new director that changed some rules this year and would not allow people to bring in motor homes as in the past. So that turned off a few. He is apparently leaving this post soon and many of the locals will be very happy. I arrived Thursday for a practice and sight in at 500 metres.

My trip crossing the border was so easy! Of course I had all of the paper work for the rifles. The agent at the gate asked me to pull over and go inside and register and pay the tax. I walked in and there were two shooters I know from California waiting. For some reason they were not being ushered through. The agent who checked my papers stamped them, sent me to pay money and came back and handed me my papers and sent me away. They never checked the rifles. Poor Mike and Alex were shaking their heads that I got out so easily. “I’ll see you up at the range!” I said. I told them it must be because they are from CA.  Or maybe they need to be female. At the range we had a quick sight in at just the 500 metre line. I was happy to shoot my Hall rifle that did so well last weekend. Well poopy. Every round went up and down. I finally felt my rear sight and the elevation portion of it was not tightened down. You could squeeze it up and down. Right before I left I asked my gun smith to zero the wind knob for me. I am guessing perhaps the elevation knob was touched somehow. This is my Phoenix Precision sight and I could not remember how to tighten it down. I had 3 people trying to figure it out. I finally reached my gunsmith and he walked us through it over the phone. (There was no cell service up there. Thank goodness there was a land line in club house.) So I got it tightened but I had no zero now. Or at least it would be slightly off I thought and the next morning we were starting at 300 metres. I had to guess what the difference the tightening of the sight would have made (I guessed about 2 minutes) and then hope that 8 minutes down in elevation (from 500 to 300 including that change) would get me in the general area of the bull. Remember we do get 2 sighters but they are convertible. You want to be able to use them. I made the right judgement.

My first to 2 shots were a 5 and a V at perfect elelvation. I’ll take them! Scoring there is V instead of X and 5 instead of 10 and then 4,3. The V-bull is TINY! This match is so difficult because of that. Zero room for error. I was on the first string of the day and it was super dark at the targets. My new front sight I was so happy about with the 4-6 app was not big enough! I learned there is even a bigger one with a 5.5 -7 app that people have strictly for this international target. Guess what am buying when I get home? So I have a very tight white ring around the bull and I dropped two points because the bull just fuzzed out and distorted. You need a lot of white around it. It makes a world of difference to call shots. Your eyes play tricks on you. I should have waited it out and let my eyes adjust more but I thought I could hold it. The next string was better. The light came over the hill. I cleaned the target with all Vs! Back at 400 and 500 metres I dropped a few more points. I am down 7 for the day. Ouch! The mirage was changing so fast I kept getting caught in it. All dropped points were at the line just outside of the 5 at either 9 or 3:00. My elevation was perfect all day but I got scooted out by the mirage. I was in first place for The Lt Governor’s Cup (The Chair) early on and then fell back a few spots with my dropped points. I am not far behind though and there are 3 more days. This happened last year as well. I have to stop looking at the score board each day. I don’t want to know where I stand until it is over. I am excited for tomorrow. My rifle is shooting super well and I love the new trigger. Now I have to pray that I do not get first string again tomorrow in the dark. I am at a double disadvantage with my front sight.

30CalGal – “Shoot Like A Girl! If You Can……”

**I may not get to write about the next three days until I get home next week. Sorry, you may have to wait for results. I will certainly put any wins on FaceBook Monday after awards.

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Could it All Be In My Head? A Mental Game

My Palma rifles – Hall action on top and RPA on bottom. Stocks made by Jim Cloward.

Here are my two beautiful Palma rifles. One is working for me really well and the other is not. At the moment. The one that is not working for me at the moment is the one that I performed so well with last year with my national record and the BC Championship and more. If you are curious which is which in the photo, the top one is my Hall action and the lower one is my RPA action. The RPA was the golden child last year.

After my win of the BC rifle championship end of July last year I went straight to Camp Perry for long range nationals. My streak abruptly ended. Shots were not landing where I called them. At local matches and the 29 Palms match after that the same thing happened. I could not hold any shots in the middle. How quickly the mighty can fall! Humbling. Now I do know that one can’t be at the top of their game every single time. But it was such a drastic change that I felt something had to be wrong with my equipment. Turns out two of the firing pin washers were broken. I had them replaced and out I went again. Even since I still have had very wide groups and random flyers. I tested different loads of ammo, different positions, sling positions and everything I could think of! I also ordered a new front Right Sight that has a larger app. What a difference that makes in your sight picture! Still did not help though on the RPA. The round count on this barrel is about 3100. High but not finished. But that could be a possible problem if this one barrel decided to call it quits sooner. Disgusted, (not sure if it was of myself or the rifle) I switched to my Hall. Please understand that I know my RPA is still an outstanding rifle. I just need to figure out what needs to be tweaked or changed. Mentally I needed to make a change.  I used the Hall for the last match in Oregon in May and with this one I was having odd shots as well. Now I was convinced it was in my head and perhaps I am just experiencing the “yips”.  A golf term of a mental break down of your stroke. I thought I would have an annual check on the firing pin spring in this action as well after I realized I have never done that since I have owned it. (Apparently you should change those out once a year just because) Sure enough the sear was broken and the trigger housing was messed up to the point that Allen Hall demanded I send the action back to him to put it back together. I also ordered and had installed a new CG X-Treme trigger 

and used the rifle this last weekend at a match. I could not miss!

My new CG X-treme trigger and I shot it last weekend at a local 500 yard match. I could not miss.

I had 13 X’s in a row on the first string. Is it in my head? I cleaned the next two strings with decent X counts as well. I was trying to notice if I was doing anything differently that would help me perform better. Who knows. All I know is that I came off the line with a new set of confidence. I am taking this rifle to BC this weekend and to Perry the week after. Even if I can blame it on the equipment I have learned that the smallest details can mess with your mental confidence. My shooting jacket is getting a little tattered, my glove has seen better days but I won’t change a thing. Especially not before a big match. Head games. Or perhaps it is superstition?

30CalGal – “Shoot Like A Girl! If You Can…..”

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Guest Blog About Eye Protection and Shooting Glasses.

I thought Andy and Paul from LuckyGunner.com did a great article on eye wear. Hands on testing and lots of it. I tried to copy this as best as I could but I am adding a direct link to their blog as well. They have video presentations. Enjoy! Anette


Eye Protection and Shooting Glasses Review

You will never think about eye protection the same again


As a Navy Corpsman, I had the opportunity to see the results of a number of injuries, including those involving the face and eyes. I was astounded to see how crucial eye protection, sometimes referred to as “eye pro,” was and how effective it could be. I saw a number of potentially vision-threatening fragments of metal and other debris stopped by good eye protection. In one case, a large chunk of metal hit a Marine in the face, partially penetrating the lens of his glasses and causing him to lose vision in that eye. Without that eye protection, he most likely would have been killed.

The author, with ESS eye protection, while deployed.

Not all eye pro is created equal, though. In order to understand how one type of eye protection might be “better” than another, we need to first look at what standards various types of eyewear may meet – and then shoot at them to see which eyewear provides the best protection.

Eye Protection Review Summary

This post is pretty long. If you’re short on time, here’s a brief video summary. Also, the “Summary and Recommendations” section at the end of the article will help you understand what to look for when buying shooting glasses.

Setting the Standard

Military and Industrial Standards for Eye Protection

Some organizations have set standards for eye protection – both ANSI, which sets industrial standards, and the US military, which has standards for what types of eye protection may be used by Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines on the battlefield and in training environments.

Eyewear for shooting shouldn’t just look cool – it needs to protect the shooter’s eyes, too.

The basic ANSI standard is referred to as Z87, and you’ll see this marked in a number of locations on most eye protection marketed to shooters. However, the Z87 impact standard involves a .25″ steel ball traveling at 150fps – this is fine for protecting eyes from debris that might fall or be thrown at them, but is not extremely relevant to shooters, who are dealing with objects traveling at much higher velocities.

The ANSI Z87 standard is hardly relevant to shooters.

The military standards are much higher. MIL-PRF-31013 describes a .15″ diameter projectile of a unique design traveling at 650fps, which is much closer to the velocities that are seen in the shooting world. Not surprisingly, there are not many types of eye protection on the market which are tested to this standard – or, of those that are, not many are marketed as such.

There’s a separate military standard for goggles, involving a .22″ diameter projectile at 550fps. The military standard does call for a shape and material which would provide for more barrier penetration, however, the testing conducted for the purposes of this article significantly exceeds both military standards in terms of projectile mass and velocity.

MIL-PRF-31013 tested eyewear (top) stops threats that ANSI Z87-only eyewear (bottom) fails to stop.

Neither standard is perfect, but the military standard is far more stringent and difficult to pass than the industrial standard. I strongly recommend going beyond Z87-only eyewear for shooting purposes.

What We Tested

From Cheap to Expensive, Here’s The List

Over 25 types of eyewear were tested, from $6 eye protection made in China to $220 high-end sunglasses made in the USA. Here’s the list.

Expensive Eye Pro (over $100):  

Affordable Eye Pro ($40-100):
Cheap Eye Pro ($5-40):
  • Allen Ruger Shooting Glasses
  • Beretta Shooting Glasses
  • Coleman sunglasses men’s
  • Coleman sunglasses women’s
  • Howard Leight Vapor II
  • Howard Leight 1000 Series
  • Howard Leight HL100
  • Ironman sunglasses
  • Field & Stream Sportsman Series Youth
  • “Prescription glasses #1″
  • “Prescription glasses #2″
  • Remington T70
  • Remington Interchangeable Kit
  • Remington shooting glasses (older- no model number)
  • Radians Hunter
  • Winchester Shooting Glasses Mens
  • Winchester Shooting Glasses Womens
  • Winchester Shooting Glasses Youth

Although the testing is broken down by these price categories later in the article, I also singled out some eyewear as being absolutely unsuitable for eye protection.

It’s important to note that some of the eye protection tested was older and had been exposed to sunlight for significant periods of time. The implications of constantly using eyewear, especially that which is exposed to sunlight, will be explained in this article.

How We Tested It

How Different Types of Ballistic Eye Protection Stack Up

Initially, I planned on testing eye protection to both military and civilian standards. However, the decidedly non-standard materials and methods used for both made it pretty difficult to duplicate exactly what the military specifies, as well as what ANSI requires.

Therefore, I used a number of common firearms with relatively low-powered types of ammunition to determine how well each type of eye pro dealt with projectiles moving at “firearm velocities,” albeit those at the lower end of the range. These low-velocity projectiles might represent, for example, a ricocheted fragment of an originally larger and faster bullet.

It’s important to note that the ammunition you see here exceeds military and civilian testing standards. This test was harsh because we wanted to find the most protective eyewear on the market – and then we wanted to see when that “best eye pro” would fail.

Therefore, I introduced a few more powerful types of ammunition and used them on the eye pro which successfully protected the face from the slower/lighter ammo. All shots were taken from 25 feet. The types of ammunition used include:

For certain types of ammunition and for those types of eye protection which survived “lower” tests, angled shots and shots at the edges or frames of the eye protection were taken.
The performance for each product in each test has been assigned either a pass/fail or A-F grade. These grades are based not only on whether or not the lens stopped the projectiles, but how much damage to the facial area resulted.
In addition, other tests were undertaken to determine the suitability of the eye protection in other areas. These tests include:
  • Fog testing
  • Abrasion testing
  • Fit during athletic activity

Several interesting observations were made during the course of this testing. I’ll walk you through what I discovered as I tested eye protection and how my thoughts on the use of various types of eye pro have changed as a result.

Eye Protection Quick Reference Scorecard

eye pro test chart results image <img

alt=”eye pro test chart results image”/><p
title=”Read about Eye Protection and Shooting Glasses on Lucky Gunner
Labs”>Read more about Eye Protection and Shooting

Unsatisfactory Eye Pro

Three Types of Eyewear You Should Not Use As Eye Protection

In the course of my testing, I discovered that there were a few types of eyewear which should not be used as eye protection:

  • impact rated eye pro which has been exposed to sunlight for long periods of time
  • non-impact rated prescription glasses
  • non-impact rated sunglasses

For the purposes of this article, consider the ANSI Z87 to be “impact rated.” It’s not perfect, but it’s better than a lot of stuff. For example, it’s my guess that a lot of people are using eyewear which falls into the above categories as eye protection.

First, we’ll take a look at older eyewear.

I tested several different types of eye protection that I had owned for five or more years – my issued ESS goggles, some yellow-lens shooting glasses which were clearly of a previous decades’ style, some prescription glasses that had an integrated headband and were intended for “sport” use, and another pair of shooting glasses that were fairly basic/inexpensive, but had seen use for years.

Although the old, well-used ESS goggles shown here technically stopped the .22 Short bullet (visible at the top of the goggles), the lens broke and was shoved into the left “eye” of the styrofoam head, which would have resulted in injury.

Every pair of older eye protection absolutely failed to stop basic “threats” which were stopped by comparable eye protection of newer manufacture or less use.

The highest quality example of the “older” group was the ESS goggle, which passed all military ballistic testing and which I personally wore in Iraq for almost all of 2006. ESS goggles and glasses were in use by nearly every Marine and Sailor in the area, and I constantly saw how effective they were.

Even so, age – and constant exposure to UV rays from sunlight – takes its toll on polycarbonate eye protection. For this reason, I would avoid using eye protection that is more than a few years old and/or has seen a lot of sunlight. Knowledgeable military sources informed me that the life cycle of military eye pro is expected to be six months.

If You Enjoy Vision, You Shouldn’t Use Regular Prescription Glasses As Eye Pro

I think it’s also important to discuss prescription glasses. A fair number of people, including myself, wear prescription glasses, and a lot of ranges don’t see any need for protective eyewear beyond prescription glasses. Wearing eye pro that fits over prescription glasses is cumbersome and annoying, to say the least, and for the most part I’ve simply worn my prescription glasses without thinking about how well they protect my eyes.

These prescription glasses offered no ballistic protection, and, in fact, proved more dangerous to the eyes due to the flying glass shards.

Then I shot a few pairs of prescription glasses, both glass and polycarbonate. Quite frankly, I will never wear regular prescription glasses as eye protection again. It is difficult to imagine how the glass prescription lenses could have been any worse – not only did they offer little resistance to the birdshot, but small glass shards flew in various directions after the shot, including straight back into the “eyes” of the styrofoam head.

The polycarbonate lenses didn’t shatter in the same dramatic manner, but they did crack and allow many pellets to go through.

These “stylish” women’s sunglasses offered almost no protection for the eyes, allowing birdshot to pass right through their lenses – and adding bits of debris to the face, as well.

I also tested a number of cheap, off-the-shelf sunglasses, and while some stopped birdshot, others did not. If it’s not ballistic rated/tested eyewear, you shouldn’t be using it for eye protection, in my opinion.

Cheap Eye Pro

Sometimes You Get What You Pay For

title=”Eye Protection and Shooting Glasses Review”>See more analysis
on our Eye Protection and Shooting Glasses Review</a></p> Next – “cheap,” inexpensive eye protection. This is what you’re most likely going to encounter as rental or loaner eye protection at shooting ranges across the country. You’ll also find it for sale for ten to thirty dollars, depending on how many different colored lenses are included. Despite the fancy appearance of some of this eye protection, most – not all – are tested only to Z87 standards. You’re paying more for some that might be branded with a certain firearm manufacturer’s logo, not necessarily better protection.

That said, some of the most inexpensive eyewear tested was Winchester branded, and the packaging stated that it met not only Z87 standards, but MIL-PRF-31013 as well. So not all is lost when it comes to cheap eye protection. Although the Winchester eye pro didn’t perform as well as other, more expensive, MIL-PRF-31013 tested eye pro, it was much better than most other products in the price range.

Most of the eyewear in this range did not perform well in comparison to some other types. While many of the lenses themselves stood up to #8 lead shot in terms of not allowing penetration through the lens/lenses, almost none were able to stop either a glancing blow or a perpendicular hit from a .22 Short bullet, which more expensive eye protection did without fail.

If you’re looking for eye protection and don’t want to spend much money, my recommendations would be the Field & Stream Sportsman Series and the Winchester Shooting Glasses.

Affordable Eye Pro

Sometimes, Yes, You Get What You Pay For

title=”See more analysis on our Eye Protection and Shooting Glasses
Review”>See more analysis on our Eye Protection and Shooting Glasses
Review</a></p> The eyewear in this price range is (or was, when it was produced) tested to both Z87 and MIL-PRF-31013 standards. Several of the items tested, such as the Smith Aegis and Revision Sawfly spectacles and the Smith Outside the Wire goggles, are on the Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL) of eyewear specifically authorized for use by US servicemembers while deployed.

The performance of all new production APEL eyewear was outstanding. Fort example, the Revision Sawfly eye pro successfully stopped #8 lead shot – which I found that most Z87-rated eyewear did – but it stayed together as a unit after being shot in that manner.

In addition, there was very little damage to the face and eye sockets/cheek areas.

The styrofoam head protected by Revision Sawfly eye pro showed less damage than those protected by less expensive types of eye pro. The damage below the nose was caused by the shotshell wad.

The same Sawfly lens was then shot head-on with .22 Short – a 29 grain bullet traveling at 710fps, which is not powerful by modern firearm standards, but might be fairly representative of a ricocheted bullet fragment. It stopped this bullet, which was placed in the middle of the right side of the lens, with minimal damage to the cheek area.
I attempted this same feat with a 40gr .22LR bullet at 1080fps on the left side of the lens, but it did penetrate. The Revision eyewear is thus not exactly bulletproof, but it offered impressive levels of protection and performance. Similar protection was offered by the Smith Optics eyewear. I was especially impressed with the performance of the Smith “Director” sunglasses, which were the only two-piece-lens sunglasses I tested which did not lose a lens when hit with birdshot.

However, they didn’t do as well when shot with .22 Short, stopping an angled shot but losing a lens back into the eye area when hit directly with .22 Short. Still, I would not hesitate to use this design as eye protection when shooting on the range.

The Smith Optics Outside the Wire goggles proved to be more than a match for birdshot and .22 Short.

The Smith Aegis eye pro – both the standard Aegis Arc and the Aegis Echo, which is intended for use with communication headsets, offered excellent protection against birdshot and .22 Short, with no penetration of the lens and minimal damage to the styrofoam face. The Smith Outside the Wire goggles stopped birdshot and .22 Short as well, but the additional cushioning provided by the goggle design resulted in almost no damage whatsoever to the face.

Most people aren’t going to wear goggles at the range, but for a deployed military member, goggles are an excellent option in terms of protecting the face and eyes. As mentioned above, the ESS goggles tested were fairly old and definitely past their life expectancy. While they certainly offered a high level of protection when new, they should serve as an example – switch out eyewear, or at least replace the lenses, before they stop being effective as eye pro.

As long as it was in new condition, I would recommend every type of eye protection listed in this section for shooting purposes. Deployed servicemembers should pay close attention to the APEL, which is a well-researched and tested list of eye protection.

Expensive Eye Pro

With High Prices Come High Quality or Style, But Not Necessarily High Levels of Protection.

href=”http://www.luckygunner.com/labs&#8221; title=”Read more about Eye
Protection and Shooting Glasses”>Read more about Eye Protection and
Shooting Glasses</a></p>  The most expensive eyewear in this test came from Oakley, and to be honest, I love Oakleys. In fact, the Flak Jackets with VR28 lenses I tested were my personal eye pro for the last year. I like the style of Oakleys, and how well they stay on my face when I run.

However, while most Oakleys are Z87 rated, they are not MIL-PRF-31013 rated. What does that mean? Well, that they aren’t as good at protecting your eyes from small, fast moving objects. The one piece lens Radar and Radarlock models offered acceptable protection from birdshot and stopped or deflected angled hits of .22 Short, but wouldn’t stop direct hits from .22 Short.

Would this keep me from using them as eye pro at the range? I’d definitely use them for a lot of athletic activities and wouldn’t feel too unsafe using them at the range, but I would not buy them specifically to use as protection while shooting.

The year-old Oakley Flak Jackets did not provide high levels of protection against birdshot.

I compared two different sets of lenses for the Oakley Flak Jackets, one which I had used in the Arizona sun for a year, and one which had not seen much use. There was a difference in performance – the unused lenses being better at deflecting angled shots of .22 Short – but in general the Flak Jackets offered less ballistic protection than I would like, and I will be using other eyewear from now on.

If you are a fan of Oakleys and would like ballistic protection too, look for specifically marked Ballistic M Frames, which are on the APEL and offer ballistic protection. However, it appears that they are only available through Oakley’s military sales program, which offers good discounts to active military personnel. I was unable to order a pair of the Ballistic M Frames and could not reach anyone at Oakley in order to acquire some.

For use as shooting eye protection only, I would not recommend any of the products tested in this section.

Absorbing Energy

Some Eye Pro Does This Better Than Others

It’s important to understand another factor when it comes to protecting your eyes. While the lenses themselves may physically prevent fragments or birdshot from entering your eyes, the forces and energy of that shot are still moving towards your face. How the lens – and frame – transmit these forces to your face will affect how much damage is done to the area around your eyes.

This is definitely preferable to having pieces of metal enter your eyeball, but if we can minimize other damage, we should. In extreme cases, the failure to properly protect the eyes from this amount of force could result in loss of vision.

While this Winchester-brand eye protection passes MIL-PRF-31013 testing, it absorbed and dissipated the energy of the shot in a manner which caused more damage to the face than other types of eye pro when subjected to similar forces. The weak nose piece might be partially to blame for this.

I cannot be certain that the forces placed upon the eye protection I tested – every lens and every shot – were absolutely equal, so I can’t definitively say that X eye pro would protect your eye sockets better than Y eye pro. But I can say that I observed less crushing, tearing, and damage to the styrofoam around the eyes with certain types of eye protection, and certain lens and frame designs, than others.

I noticed that those with solid nose pieces, broad enough to not cut into the skin and not soft enough that they folded out of the way under pressure, distributed force quite well.

More damage to the face resulted with certain eye pro types which did not have, among other things, sturdy nose pieces and lens designs which dissipated force in the most ideal manner.

In one case, the eye pro was flattened and pushed backward into the face so hard that it sliced the styrofoam head in half. This isn’t likely to happen with a real human head, but it was still unpleasant to think about.

The most gruesome example was the cheap Remington eye pro which shed both lenses back towards the eyes, one of which ended up embedding itself into the eye socket. The real-world implications of this action are unpleasant.

Trust me. You wouldn’t want to have this happen to your eye.

In all, most eye pro with separate lenses did not provide a very high level of protection (Smith Optics’ Director sunglasses were the exception). Not having tested every type, I cannot say whether this extends to all separate lens eye pro on the market. It is interesting to note, though, that almost every type of eye protection on the Army Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL) has a one-piece lens.

Another observation was that of the one piece lens eye pro, the versions with a thin or small bridge area invariably failed at this point. This might allow fragments or debris through and will allow more damage to the surface of the face and eyes. The versions with larger or thicker polycarbonate at this point, however, offered higher levels of protection.

Other Eye Pro Factors

There Are Other Things You Need To Think About When Buying Shooting Glasses

By now you should have an understanding of how different types of eye protection perform. There are some basic practical factors you should consider when making eye pro purchases, as well, including:

  • Fit – you’ll note in the above photos that the Revision Sawfly eye pro left large gaps between the rear corners of the lens and the “cheek” of the heads. This was also true on my face as well. It would take a lucky shot to get something inside the gap, but it still made me uncomfortable. If possible, you should try on different types of eye protection to see which models offer the best coverage on your face. I found the Smith Optics Aegis models to offer a much closer fit in this regard.
  • More fit – I went running with nearly every pair of eye protection tested, and those with soft rubber on the arms stayed in place much better than those without. Also, the smaller/lighter eye pro didn’t move around as much when I ran. This stuff might not matter if you’re only looking for eye protection for use at a static range. If you’re moving around, though, it’s something to think about.
  • Scratch resistance – No polycarbonate is immune to scratches. Even the more expensive types, like my Oakley Flak Jackets or the Revision Sawfly, scratched when tossed in a bag with some empty cases and other metal objects and tumbled around for a while. That said, the more expensive eye pro was more resistant to scratches when dust and dirt were wiped off of the lens than the cheap eye pro, which in some cases scratched so quickly that they would interfere with accurate shooting after minimal use.

Summary and Recommendations

What You Should Look For In Eye Pro

I know that this post has been long, so if you’re looking for a simple takeaway, here it is.

Non-ballistic eye protection is fine for keeping relatively slow-moving objects away from your face. Empty cases ejected from a firearm, dirt kicked up by muzzle blast, etc. For faster-moving projectiles such as ricocheted bullets, you need high quality, tested eye pro. I would personally prefer eyewear with a single piece lens for any activity where my face might be struck by small, fast-moving objects.

Individual lenses detach from the frames once a certain level of force is reached, and they are driven back into the eye sockets – sometimes at undesirable angles – where considerable damage may be done. There are good two piece lens eye pro out there, like the Smith Optics Director, but single-piece lenses distribute force much better.

Also, a wide, comfortable, and preferably soft rubber nosepiece is critical.  This will, along with good “arms,” serve to keep the eye protection in place during energetic activity – but it will also reduce the chances of the lens being driven down or back into the face at angles or with enough force to damage the orbital bones.

A frame that connects across the top of the lens, not individual arms which attach to the outside corners of the lens, is recommended. This will reduce the chances of the lens detaching from the frame – it’s still possible, just less likely – under impact. Depending on the design, some eye pro with this design also uses the frame to absorb impact and distribute force.

You should also consider how well the eyewear fits you, both in physical dimensions and comfort – and, frankly, whether you think it looks good on you, because you’ll be more likely to wear it if you don’t think it makes you look stupid. Finally, make sure the manufacturer states that it passes MIL-PRF-31013 testing.

Take some time to find the right eye protection for you – and keep in mind that you don’t have to spend a fortune. It’s possible to buy eye protection that meets all of this criteria for as little as $40, which is a pittance compared to losing your vision.

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2012 NW Multigun Challenge

Stage 1 at the 2012 NW Multigun Challenge. Nice profile of my JP and Leupold Scope!

Bend, OR

My 4th multigun match is under my belt. Although very windy and dusty at the COSSA

Our squad 7.

range in Bend the weather was beautiful. The dust did seem to make its way in to every crevice of gear, cars and humans though. Can anyone develop a range with grass or vegetation to counter that? This NW Multigun Challenge was successfully organized by Doug Hartley and Scott and Brenda Hawkins. Leupold Tactical Scopes and Warne Scope Mounts were the main sponsors.  Other than 2 equipment failures that were fixed I finally am feeling a bit more comfortable in this discipline of shooting.

I have a huge thank you to FNH USA for sending me a replacement bolt assembly just in

Bonus rifle shot at 800 yards with the donated RBros Rifle and Leupold scope. I hit it!

time for this match. If you recall at the Ironman last month it broke. Really broke. Tabor who is a sales director for FNH just happened to be one of the ROs on that stage. Since I was given the gun by West Coast Armory I was hoping they could reach FN and get a new part. Unfortunately they had experience from past customers not getting warranty parts for a long time if ever. I was surprised to hear that and thought I should turn it over to the gunsmith to see if he could fix it. That very next day Tabor contacted me out of the blue via email to let me know they wanted to take care of the situation and

Final stage shoot house. Charles is planning his strategy. Run by Marine Sgts, their shooting team members.

get me a new part. How awesome is that? I judged before I knew better. I let him know I was hoping to have it in time for the Challenge and they shipped it out asap. We cleaned up the shotgun, lubed it and put in the new bolt assembly. Well, we apparently did not put it back together correctly.

The very first stage it shut down. A fired round was stuck in the chamber and the next round was stuck in the loading area. The bolt was not going back because of the extra round in the way. Taking it all apart we realized the magazine spring  and retainer were not correctly tightened or put together. Not knowing yet what was wrong I decided to use Charles’ new Benneli M2 for the rest of the day. Now the Benneli

Stage 1 shotgun and log range rifle. Leupold.

has its own character. It ran really well but I kept getting confused with the cocking lever and its function besides locking back the bolt. Then my friend Mike DeGuzeman offered me his FN shotgun to use for the match since he was done shooting. His jammed also! It was the same problem. After he gave it to me he realized the retainer was not on it. I did not see him put it together and I think perhaps he did not put in correctly also? And he also thought maybe he had not cleaned it in awhile.  Ah shooting. So many tiny little details. On Sunday I put my faith back in to my FN and we made sure all parts were put together and sure enough it ran perfectly all day. So I will admit this malfunction was operator error and not the equipment. As far as the rest of my gear, my Tanfoglio and JP Rifle were perfect. I love this photo at the top of the page. So do three of my sponsors Nosler, Leupold and JP Rifles. As for the match there were two stages that gave me the most trouble.

I lost big points on the two stages the shotguns stopped working. But stage 1 which should have been a good stage for me turned out to be the hardest. It was the one stage with longer rifle ranges. There were 7 seven flashers from 160 yards to 325 yards. As soon as my squad started shooting we had the perfect storm come through. Winds were gusting at about 20 mph. The flags were straight up and directly across from 9 to 3 o’clock. I also have not had a chance to zero in at different distances since I change scope mounts. I do know my holds fairly well for 200 and 300 but the winds made it much more difficult. I only hit 2 of the 7. I was not going to take a million shots so I gave it about 5 each and moved on. That even seemed too many. The other tough one was the last stage on Sunday. It was a shoot house and had all 3 firearm targets on all sides of the house through high and low port windows. It required back tracking as well as well side to side. I was the first shooter and felt rushed to memorize all of the targets. So I missed one rifle target and 2 steel shotgun targets. I was frustrated that I did not stick to my plan of the rifle strategy. I changed it as I was shooting and that messed me up. I keep learning! I now am switching mental gears to prone shooting only for the next couple of months.

Charles is helping me load about 1000 rounds of .308 to get me through practices, the BC Championship and Nationals in Ohio. I tell you I could not do this without him. This year at Nationals we have 4 teams coming from Great Britain, Japan, Australia and Canada. Should be tons of fun. 5 long days of shooting. We also are having for the first time in the US the America’s Cup. I am on one of the US squads for Nationals but the Americas Cup team will be chosen at Nationals as they see how each member is shooting. No pressure or anything!

30CalGal – “Shoot Like A Girl! If You Can…..”

Thank you to all of the sponsors for the NW Multigun Challenge; R&R Targets, Crimson Trace, RBros Rifles, Colt Competition, MGM Targets, Ergo Grip, Cheaper Than Dirt, Seekins Precision, Brownells, PWS, STS Arms, Higher Capcity, Stag Arms, Repcon NW and Hogdgon. These matches do not happen without their support and prize table contributions.

As for the mat

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2012 41st Division Regional Championship

Washington State Junior High Power Shooters new name and logo. Designed by Gabrielle Pitre.

Once again Washington State has an awesome new group of junior shooters to take over the world of High Power. Camp Perry will be over run with a group of almost a dozen WA juniors in August.  The Washington State Warriors. This amazing logo at top was designed by Gabrielle (Gabby) Pitre. I can see a bright future for her in graphic design. For 3 1/2 weeks they will be living on base of The Ohio National Guard and competing in CMP, NRA and Long Range National Matches. Not all of them are shown in this top photo but allow me to introduce this group. Left to Right: Anton Vilkotski, Luke Rettmer, Gabrielle Pitre, Haley

Warriors 1 and 2 – Anton Vilkotski, Luke Rettmer, Gabrielle Pitre, Haley Rettmer, Natasha Pitre, Tanner Dennison, Danny Ashford. Photo by Mike Pitre.

Rettmer, Natasha Pitre, Tanner Dennison, Danny Ashford.  The 4 shown in the photo below are the winners of last weekend’s Regional Team match. They beat all of the adults that were Master and High Masters. Nice job to Tanner, Danny, Gabrielle and Natasha. Natasha took top junior in the 600 yard match on Saturday and Haley Rettmer took 3rd place and (bummer) First Leather in the Leg Match on Sunday. So close. All of them had great scores. Not only are they all very talented but just an awesome group to hang with. I have enjoyed getting to know most of them the last couple of years. As for my performance this weekend? I was not at all happy with Saturday but Monday brought sunshine and smiles.

Regional Team Winners. Tanner, Dennis, Gabby and Tasha. – Photo by Mike Pitre.last couple of years. As for my performance this weekend? It was not so great on Saturday but really great on Monday.

Saturday was the 600 yard prone match of 60 rounds. I cross fired in the second string so that put me away. I know never to give up even after a tough blow like that because you never know what may happen up to the last shot fired. But with that many great shooters around I did not

have much chance to catch up. Congrats to Mike Mauer for his great win on Saturday. I shot my RPA Quadlok again this weekend so I could convince myself that this rifle is fine and it is all in my head that “it is not shooting well”. I still had shots that were not on call. But sure, it very well could be me. If you remember I had some broken washers replaced earlier this year which was causing the issues before. On Saturday I had a couple of RPA action owners/shooters take a look at the rifle and they noticed the bolt was extra difficult to close and open. I learned that the lugs were not engaging evenly. Two weren’t even engaging at all. Which means a lot of pressure is on the other two. This also could mean that there is an uneven angle or pressure on the cartridge in the chamber. And in my head I believe that could cause some weird shots. (Others may be rolling their eyes at this comment I am sure.) I do not know why this issue has happened. But off to the gunsmith it goes. Again. I am going to take the Warner rear sight off of it and put it on my Hall action with my new front Right Sight that is arriving in the mail. I am getting the bigger iris of 4.0 – 6.0. I don’t have 30 year old eyes anymore. Another zeroing in and I should be good to go. Mentally anyway. I can’t decide if once I get the RPA fixed if I want to sell it or keep it. It is an amazing rifle. Look what I did with it last year! I just don’t trust it at the moment. But just as I was feeling blue, Monday came along and perked me back up again.

Monday was the CMP Leg match. In order to give away two awards for The Leg Match we needed 16 non-distinguished shooters minimum. Thank you to Paul for coming out of the wood work to make up the numbers. He made our 16th shooter. This match is across the course with service rifles. You go backward from 600 yards forward. There are no sighters allowed. Except for 600 yards the stages are half the round count. You have to perform. You get one chance. I have found from past Leg matches that you can never tell how it is going. You may think you dropped too many points at a certain stage to give you a win and then you find out others struggled at other stages. Even with the zeros you had the day before at the same range, they never seem to be perfect again on the Leg match day.

CMP Gold Medal

Well I managed to win the match. Winning the match gave me a gold medal (In photo at right. Actually Charle’s medal but this is what will be sent to me by the CMP) and a Hard Leg win. One Hard Leg is required no matter how many points you earn. Whew! I got it out of the way. I now have 16 points. 14 more to go.

To explain why anything can happen during this match? David Scott. He is an excellent High Power shooter. He should have won. I was scoring for him at 600 yards and watched the trace of his bullet through my scope as he took his first shot. We were on target 17. The trace went to target 18. I realized he did not think anything of it when he saw 18 come up with a score and he went to take another shot. He did not hear the shooter on 18 shout that his target was cross-fired on. I could not stand for that to happen again and got his attention. He could not believe it. He had been shooting on 18 all day during the team match and it was stuck in his head. I am sure he thought his chances of getting a medal were done. Nope. He still took 2nd and received a Silver medal and 6 points. And he was only 2 points behind me. He shot so well on all other stages he kept his lead. Anything can happen. Don’t ever give up hope until the final round is down range.

30CalGal – “Shoot Like A Girl! If You Can….”


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