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2013 Allegheny Sniper Challenge: Magnum Rifles, Short Barrels, Heavy Bullets and Shifting Winds!

The Allegheny Sniper Challenge has to be the number one precision shooting experience of my life. I remember reading an article by Jorge Amselle in the February 2010 issue of Tactical-Life, thinking how great it would be to shoot that practical rifle match. Little did I know that in September of 2012, I would be able to do just that! To top it off, “the mountain” (as it’s known to ASC alumni) didn’t let me down!

Even with a second ASC match under my belt, I can’t wait to go back and master the art of placing lead on steel in the most real world training environment that I have experienced yet. I was part of APO’s shooting team along with Mad “Matt” Peterson, our Product Development Coordinator and we both really enjoy this match.

At the last ASC event, I shot a TCR300 with a Schmidt Bender 5-25x56mm, LRA Light Tactical bipod with Ruag Swiss-P 220gr Target ammo. Definitely outstanding kit, however Matt and I decided to try something different this time around, based on discussions with a number of APO customers about building them short barreled magnums.

The 24” .300WM Tactical Competition Rifle is outstanding for clanging steel at 1200+ yards, but being fiercely competitive, we wanted a demonstrative handling advantage for true field shooting conditions you experience at ASC. This meant setting rifles up for both traditional prone AND unsupported shooting positions. So into the lathe went two custom ASW300’s with 24” barrels, and out came two compact, fast handling precision rifles with 20” barrels with combination muzzle brake/suppressor adapters. The SABER® MOD-1 Carbon Fiber series forend allowed us to custom position our 4” accessory rail sling attachment points, as a number of the ASC stages required strong sling shooting skills.

With our tactical rifles now more balanced and maneuverable, we were better able to get into sitting and kneeling positions while maintaining high levels of accuracy at long ranges. Even with 20” barrels, our .300WM rifles where able to punch out to 1250 yards at 3500 feet of elevation and remain supersonic with 220 grain RUAG Swiss-P Target ammo. The average muzzle velocity is right at 2575 fps for both rifles and they each weighed in around 13lbs without optic, bipod or sling.

Friday was the first day of the 3-day match and I have to admit that I was pinching myself. Nothing like doing what you love for a living, considering my day job is building precision rifles at Ashbury!

Rod Hansen and Jon Markwell split the field of 50+ shooters into two groups for the first and second days of the match. We started the match with Jon in “The Hollow”. As our group of about 25 shooters started hiking toward the first shooting stage, Jon was asked if we would be allowed to check zero’s? He grinned and replied, “Of course, in fact that’s where we’re going now”. I looked at Matt and winked…we had just passed the only 100 yard targets on-site, and where heading towards a really long ridge-to-ridge shot.

Anyone who’s familiar with Jon will understand what I’m talking about. A few more steps and we were in position, at which time Jon turns and announces that the “zero confirmation” will be a cold bore shot at 936 meters! This brought on chuckles and grimaces. I got down with my ASW300_20A2 and after ranging the target with a Terrapin laser range finder, I dialed in a firing solution acquired from a Trimble PDA using Field Firing Solutions ballistic software. 10.6 mils up and 0.3 mils left for spin drift. I waited for some other shooters to make their shots while one of the range officers named Brock spotted for them. I asked Matt if I could go first and stood by.

Brock called out my name and I crawled into position and snuggled up behind my rifle. The wind on the mountain is very tricky and many times very hard to see. I checked with Matt to confirm my wind call, and he agreed. I held .75 mils to the left a