2017 Year in Review

The 6.5 Guys take a look back at 2017 to make observations about their journey and current trends in the sport of Precision Rifle. We also address common viewer questions, as well as provide some perspectives for what’s ahead for the 6.5 Guys in 2018.

The first question addressed is one of the most common that was asked during the 2017 competitions season. “Why are you guys shooting .308 Winchester versus another more competitive cartridge option?” There are many reasons why this was selected for the year. First, there has been interest in the Tactical competitive division in the PRS and NRL competition arenas, particularly for people coming into the sport the rifle they have is likely shooting a .308 bullet or for MIL/LEO personnel that is what their duty rifle is chambered in. As observers and reporters of the sport, Ed explains it would be valuable to discuss the sport with real-world experience of having competed with this cartridge. He also notes that it didn’t take long into the season, given the ballistic disadvantage this cartridge has versus other choices (i.e. 6.5mm and 6mm based cartridges) that realize why shooters elect to move away from .308.

Another reason why .308 Winchester was selected was it makes for a great platform from a training perspective. It will have inherently more recoil to manage as well as require the shooter to be much technically proficient in the fundamentals of marksmanship and ability to make wind calls versus more competitive long-range cartridges. Additionally, the long barrel life allows the shooter to work on these skills to train without concern about wearing out a barrel within a year.

Steve also points out that at the time the decision was made in the fall of 2016 to run .308 for the 2017 match season, a lot of new high BC bullets had been introduced for the .308 caliber. These included the Nosler RDF, Hornady ELD, Sierra Polymer Tipped SMKs, and others. These new bullets captured a lot of interest and the 6.5 Guys felt it would be of interest to test the performance of these bullets as well as try them in competition and share the observations with the audience members.

The final reason was to demonstrate to people that may be new to the sport and only have a .308 rifle available that you can bring the rifle you have to a match, compete effectively within the Tactical division, improve your skills, and have a lot of fun.

Viewers have also posed the question if Ed and Steve will continue to shoot .308s in the Tactical Division as they go into the new year. However, Steve explains that the answer to this question came in the form of an Instagram post that showed the big delivery from Grafs & Sons of reloading components for next year. in the 2018 they will be shooting the 6×47 Lapua using the Sierra 110 grain SMK bullets. The decision was made after consultation with their gunsmith Travis Redell of R Bros Rifles.

The 6.5 Guys receive a lot of viewer questions about gear and gear selection. The second question addressed is, “What seems to be some of the new gear that many competitors are now using in match competition?” The Reasor Precision Game Changer bag, as well as similar bags (e.g. Wiebad Fortune Cookie) have become prevalent with most shooters and may now be considered by most serious competitors as table stakes for effective engagement of a barricade type stage.

Another observation is the notable shift of pro competitors towards the 6mm caliber and in particular the light recoiling 6mm cartridges such as the 6 Dasher, 6 BR or the 6BRX.

In addition to cartridge selection, many competitors have begun to widely adopt the use of chassis versus a tradition composite-based stock. The Masterpiece Arms competition chassis has become a favorite choice for many match shooters through some of its continuous innovations of improving on its basic design. Stocks are a great choice, but Ed notes that with stocks the action must be bedded to a stock and thus, that stock is mirror-matched to that action where as a chassis has the flexibility to accept any barreled action it is inletted for.

The third common question from viewers is “why have there been less videos produced during the 2017 year?” Although one of the goals of the 6.5 Guys is to continually produce quality content, Steve explains that two other demands of life have pulled time away from the 6.5 Guys part-time pursuit of shooting and creating videos. First, work and careers have placed more demands on balancing work/life schedules and increased work travel has resulted in less time at home. Second, health issues arose during the year. Steve suffered a setback during the year of having multiple Gout (a form of arthritis) attacks which kept him from shooting for a few months. Both Steve and Ed are taking a renewed focus on maintain their health as they look towards the new year.

Another change in the 2017 year has been an intentional effort to give-back to the precision rifle competition sport by volunteering to support more matches both in setting up as well as serving as ROs (Range Officers). It had been a couple of years that the 6.5 Guys had not jointly served as ROs for a match and they felt it was important to serve as volunteers for several matches.
There have been many benefits such as meeting new competitors or some of the viewers, helping to improve the quality of match by having experienced ROs spotting and scoring, as well as gaining wind call experience while spotting competitors shots.

The 6.5 Guys receive a significant amount of viewer messages and email each week. Steve and Ed discuss typical or frequently asked questions. The most common questions seem to center on load development or reloading techniques. This seems to be driven by their videos and articles that have been produced that focuses on these topics, which have proven to be extremely popular topics. They encourage viewers that ask these types of questions to provide as much background context and detailed information so that they can provide a helpful and targeted response to the question. Additionally, Steve advises that the best place to start for reloading information is to consult a good reloading manual.

For 2018, the 6.5 Guys will be continuing to plan on producing video content. One area that Ed suggests will be explored is videos that explore or focus in on more detailed looks at topics that have been covered in previous videos, or perhaps a summary review that covers their end-to-end reloading process and practices. Steve mentioned another video that will be forth coming will address a common request from viewers to provide a tutorial or walk through on using the load analysis Excel spreadsheet that was made available on the website. Shooting gear will also continue to be a regular focus of content that will be covered.

 

Editor: Steve Lawrence (steve@65guys.com)

Copyright 6.5 Guys LLC

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