SRCC Marksmanship Training: 25 August, 2018

On Saturday, August 25th 2018 from 1-3:30pm we will be hosting a drop in event for all members interested in developing their marksmanship skills. Regardless of your skill level, our expert instructors will help you with the basics (body position, breathing, trigger control) or more advanced skills such as wind reading. We will be using the club K31 and PE90 rifles. Our goal is to get you to shoot a 4 inch group at 300m with open sights. If you have your own K31 and prefer that, then bring it along. Cost is $30 for 50 rounds of ammunition. This will be a great event, so don't miss out!

Swiss Rifle Club Openhouse

Some of you have asked to have a chance to come and visit SRCC before they join in the new year (January 15, 2019 we accept new members). On August 25th from 9am to 11:45am you can come down and check us out and ask questions.

If you would like to shoot, then we are charging $20 for a guest pass which enables you to try out our club rifles and handguns for free. All you have to do is pay 60 cents per round for club ammunition (minimum 10 rounds). All sales are cash, and try to bring exact change. Visitors must be 18 years or older and bring a valid PAL to the range. Included in the guest pass fee is the ability to shoot your own rifle, however we are not allowing personal handguns during this event.

For more information on this event, go to our events page.

Spotlight on Swiss Products USA

Recently SRCC had a chance to talk to Pierre St Marie, the founder of Swiss Products USA. Swiss Products is world renouned for it's innovative, high quality accessories for Swiss rifles.

SRCC: Good morning Pierre, thank you for chatting with us about yourself and your company. Maybe you could give us a little background on yourself, where you grew up, and how you were introduced to shooting sports. Do you have a Swiss connection?

I bought my first Swiss Rifle in 1959. It was a G11 long rifle with one box of ammunition for $12.95 from a local hardware store, and that began my relationship with the rifles that I would eventually dedicate 45 years to. I joined the service in 1962 at 17, and after the service I went to work for MSTS, American President Lines, Lykes Brothers Lines and Standard Oil Company. I'd been all over the world by that time and was tired of being at sea so I signed off and went ashore to find a job to occupy my time. I was 29 years old.

Having been a budding illustrator since childhood, I decided to apply to graphics school. I was familiar with the "Bauhaus" series of schools and was determined to find one. Since there were none in the US, I applied to one in Germany. But there was a catch. The school was in Offenbach am Main and only German was spoken there. I set about educating myself in the German language. Seven months later, after a few illustrative submissions, I was accepted and moved to Germany. Switzerland intrigued me, so I traveled by car to visit that country twice a  month for the time I was in school.

After my schooling, I returned to the US and made a motorcycle tour beginning in Nashville, up the eastern seaboard, across the northern Highline and into Montana. I was captivated by Kalispell and the Flathead Valley. I decided that should I ever marry, this is where I would come, and.......... one year later I was married and left the west coast for Montana, buying land and building a home in Lost Prairie, 45 miles west of Kalispell.  Now, after 32 years of travel, and having a permanent residence, I began almost immediately working with my Swiss rifle. 

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500 yd range

After setting up a range, I brought in a number of Swiss rifles directly from Switzerland through an old friend still living there. 45 years ago it was not nearly as difficult to import those rifles as it is now or even 15 years ago. I began with load data development for the 7.5x55 cartridge. My first ammunition was Norma in that caliber brought in from Mandall's in Arizona. I had read all of the reloading manuals dealing with the caliber and noticed a definite error in all of them. The published information warned shooters that the 1911 long rifle was dangerous to reload for and had printed warnings about the GP11 cartridge. That began my own research into extant data. A very long story short, every single one of those manuals had simply repeated what Hogdon said in their manual, and .......  they were wrong! They had listed the G1911 rifle when the real "culprit" was the 1889!

Having established that my own chronographed load data was indeed correct, I sent letters and my own data charts to Hogdon, Sierra and Lyman. I received no responses but noted that two editions later, all of them had corrected their statements about the G11 and turned the warnings to the 1889 which was correct for dangerous chamber pressures using the GP11 cartridge.

All of that was the beginning of 45 years of load data gathering and keeping archives of the same. In 2000, I met Frank Van Binnendijk, the acknowledged well of information concerning all thing Swiss Militaria and firearms. First by telephone and then by Skype, we spoke virtually once and most often twice every day until his untimely demise in 2015. Frank was better known by the Swiss rifle community worldwide as "Guisan".  My time with Frank greatly increased both my knowledge and devotion to the Swiss rifles. During this time, he introduced me to Andrew Zink of AFA Waffen who eventually became my distributor in Switzerland. Back in those days I brought in a large number of Swiss rifles.

  Swiss Products Armoury

Swiss Products Armoury

One day in 2005, I met a gent who was interested in bringing in Swiss brass. Coincidentally, RUAG in Bern was in a position to ship that beautiful national Match Swiss brass to the US.  I did a quick search and determined that Graf & Sons sold a lot of brass from various Mfg's, so I called them. "What caliber??.... for what rifles??..... never heard of them. We'll pass." We brought in some 10 or 12,000 of them from RUAG, posted about this Swiss Boxer match brass on the net and in three weeks of so it was all gone. I called Graf's again. "What?!!? You sold it all that quickly?"  Yep....... and I'm going to make the order for 100,000 this time. "Wait! I think maybe we can handle this after all!” ....... and they did. That was the beginning and after RUAG slammed the door on the export of that brass to the US, Graf's contacted Prvi Partisan who began making the brass and later sold loaded cartridges to Graf's and eventually... to you. RUAG in Bern had begin the Mfg of Boxer brass for it's commercial sales in Europe, so....... no more virgin boxer brass to the US.

SRCC: What is the history behind Swiss Products? How did you first get involved in selling accessories for Swiss rifles?

The following was written about us and is rather accurate:

“Swiss Products began in 1999 when Pierre St. Marie and Jack Sturgess formed a Montana Partnership. Pierre supplied the concepts for a number of Swiss K31 rifle accessories, Jack fabricated the prototypes, Pierre then took them to the SP Range for field testing and, if the accessory proved itself over a spectrum of rifles, it was put into production. A Montana Handshake is all they required to seal the deal and Swiss Products was born.”

That began a 20 year partnership with each of us performing their part of the agreement. The first year the accessories were to referred to as "St. Marie" rifle accessories. By the year 2000 we agreed to rename our "retirement business” Swiss Products. As it happened, the "retirement business" grew a bit bigger than anticipated. Jack passed away a number of years ago, leaving the St. Maries to continue on with their Swiss Products line.

SRCC: What is your approach to developing products?

Our premise is to design and produce accessories for Swiss rifles that facilitate pure enjoyment for shooters. Because these rifles are of the collectible bent, I was determined that these accessories did not require any physical change to the rifles themselves.  However we did accommodate a growing number of 1911 rifles imported by Santa Fe and Golden State Arms in the 1960's and 70’s that had been converted to  308 and had been drilled and tapped for an inexpensive bent, sheet metal scope mount. The design for the SP replacement mount accommodated both the three hole and the five hole versions, but machined of steel, blued and finely finished. We also provided a simple but very effective Muzzle Threading Kit for a growing number of shooters using the Threaded Damper and Muzzle Brake. 

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P11 Diopter

The pinnacle of the Swiss Products line is the 1,000 yard P/S Diopter, developed for the K31 and recently, the 1911 series of rifles. Our products have been reviewed in a number of publications including the American Rifleman's review of our 1911 Clamp On Scope Mount. The  P/S Diopter is our flagship sight system and this is the story of the first production P/S. 

We developed our first diopter because the ones in production both in Switzerland and Germany had obvious shortcomings. Anyone who owns an “original” diopter knows this. The diopter was never a Bern manufacture and has nothing to do with Army issue items. They were originally all made by “cottage industries” in Switzerland and Germany, so there are no “originals". These diopters had a real flaw. If you traverse the windage to the maximum in both directions you’ll see a gap open up exposing the inside of the diopter to dirt, sand, or whatever. The Matrix also “cocks” itself off true horizontal. You’ll also notice that when you mount the diopter to achieve a true axis alignment to the front sight and the bore, you have to begin with a left windage setting. We completely redesigned the interior workings of the diopter to correct all of that. The Steel Type P/S only came about because of demands from the Swiss SSV. Without those changes they would not give us approval for Swiss Sanctioned Matches worldwide, so we developed the Type P/S and gave it a 1,000 yard capability to boot. Now with the advent of the new Adjustable Front Sight, even the old Type P’s and PIIs will achieve the 1,000 yard ability. The new P11 Diopter series will use the 1911 Clamp-On-Mount and work with the 1889, Kadett, 1896, 96/11, the G11 and the K11 rifles. The new P11 is also a 1,000 yard system.

SRCC: So what’s in the future for Swiss Products?

It's now been a very long road of my love of the Swiss rifles, and I've loved every minute of it. My son, Latigo has now taken the reins and will carry it through into the future with new additions to the line. My grandson, Julian Ricochet at age 11, is now working in the assembly part of our operation, so it seems that the future of Swiss Products is in good hands.

"Dogenes sass in Seinem Fass un sprach ...... Ja ja, dass kommt von dass.”

(Diogenes sat in his barrel and spoke  "Yes yes ... That comes from that"

meaning "actions have results, good or bad.”)

 

for more information go to www.swissproductsusa.com

Scope Mounting & Sighting In

Everyone at the range owns a scope of some kind. With that in mind we have put together a collection of videos that might help some of you in selecting the right product, and making sure it works properly. Most of the scope issues we have seen at the range don't have anything to do with the scope itself, but more with picking the right scope rings and how the scope was mounted.

Gun Cant - Why You Need to Get This Right

This is an extraordinary photo of an actual target, shot at just 50 yards, that shows the effect of gun cant: your rifle shooting on an angle. In one group you see where the rifle shoots when the scope is level to the ground, and then when the same setup is at a 20 degree angle to the ground. Imagine how far off centre you would be at 300 yards! The point is to have your rifle shooting level to the ground (assuming that is how you zeroed your rifle) all the time.

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Choosing a Scope

 

Picatinny Rails, Weaver Rails, What’s The Difference?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between all those different rails is? Here is an excellent article form Brownells that breaks it down for you ..

Rails explained

 

 

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Choosing Rings

Sometimes you get what you pay for. This is very true when it comes to scope rings. What is the point in buying a top of the line Nightforce Competition Scope for $3,000 and trying to save money by purchasing $30 scope rings? In Canada scope rings can go anywhere form $20/pair to $600/pair. A good pair of rings will have near full contact with your base, allow you to torque the bolts to a desired amount, and be perfectly aligned with each other. This will help you to achieve repeatable shots every time.

Rings generally fall into three catagories: mass produced (usually in the $15 to $100 a pair range), high tolerance, precise machining ($80 to $160 a pair), and matched rings ($160 and up). There are alot of really good manufacturers and you can do your research to figure out which is best for you. Designwise I would suggest you avoid rings that have bolts on one side with a spring clamp that holds the scope in place and rings where the top half attaches at an angle. These sorts of designs have proved problematic in the past, either not holding zero in the first case, or marking the scope in the second case.

The better functioning rings allow you to torque the bottom half of the ring to the scope base seperately from the top. Usually the base cross bolt is torqued around 50 ft lbs, while the top of the ring is torqued around 20 ft lbs. Examples of this style are Vortex Tactical, Burris XTR Signature, and Nightforce.

In Canada we have two manufacturers that make world class rings that are very affordable. In Calgary, Alberta Tactical makes matched rings in the $165 to $220 range. These rings are created from a single piece of metal to provide extact alignment and sold as a mated pair. MDT in Chilliwack BC make incredible rings in the $90 to $200 range that have a solid design and incredibly high machining tolerances. Their Premier scope rings at $90/pr represent some of the best value rings in Canada.

Basic Adjustment

 Included here is a very simple way that you can mount your scope in a very effective way.

 

More Advanced: How to Bed a Scope Rail

For those that are interested in a trying a more advanced method, some shooters bed their scope rail. Most people don't need to worry about this but it's included for your interest.

Sighting In Your Scope

Making a Balistic Chart

Once you get your scope zeroed at 100 yards (or meters), consider creating a ballistic chart for your ammunition. If you are using factory ammunition, go to their website and find the ballistic calulator, or a table related to that ammunition. This will give you your scope's elevation settings at various distances.

Products Used in These Videos or worth considering

ATRS Matched Rings (very high end rings, matched as a pair, made in Calgary, Canada)

MDT Scope Rings (very good quality rings, made in Canada, very well priced)

Wheeler Fat Wrench (for properly adjusting the tension on your scope rings and crossbolt)

JB Weld (for bedding you scope base and rings)

Plumb Bob (to make sure your rifle and scope are aligned with gravity)

Acetone (cleaning up your JB Weld excess)

Red Star Targets (quality targets made in Calgary, sold in blulk)

Redfield Targets (cheaper targets, but lots of them)

Wind Reading

Once you start shooting out at 300m and beyond you will notice your rounds landing in a horizontal string on windy days. This is due to the effect of the wind blowing your rounds around. Rather than getting up at 5am to go shooting, it's time to figure this out. Here are some really basic primers from the pros on how to read the wind condition and what to do. In order to get better at doing this, go to the range in the middle of the day on a when the wind is blowing hard.

A Message from Our Secretary

We have been busy building and improving our shooting range. So far the feedback has been positive and our members like what is happening.  For 2018 we have more improvements planned the details are explained in this newsletter.

Range Rule compliance continues to be a bit of an issue with many of our members.  Leaving the gate open, not registering, bringing guests without paying the guest fee, not picking up the brass or garbage and safety issues are continuing to be a problem.  I urge all members to familiarize themselves and re-read the Range Rules again.  Adherence to these rules is important.  Most of these Range Rules are not just made up …. They are THE LAW. 

Participation in the program shoots was very low in 2017.  Many of our programs are free of charge (except the ammo).  For 2018 we are introducing a new concept to shoot some of the programs.  The cost is only $20 + ammo. If you wish to receive the medal from Switzerland for a particular program, there will be an additional charge of $20.  By the time the medal lands in Calgary, it is costing the club about $38. 

I urge you to participate in our competitions shoots in 2018. See you at the range!

A Call for Board Members!

Early in 2018, there will be a number of volunteer positions that any member can apply for. Both SRCC and APRA encourages gender and ethnic diversity on these boards, and regardless of how long you have been a member you may apply. This is a good way for you to get some entry level, not-for-profit experience working at the board level. Remember you don't need to be a 'sharpshooter' to be an excellent board member. These positions would fall into two main areas:

- SRCC Board. Every year certain positions become available on the SRCC board. We will make an announcement early in 2018 to announce these and what the requirements are.

- The Alberta Provincial Rifle Association (APRA) has board member positions available each year. APRA Board Members are responsible for overall governance of the APRA lease and to provide guidance to the four clubs occupying the property, including the SRCC. Board members should have a positive attitude, be analytical, courteous, work well in a team, and be available to attend 4 board meetings per year. You will be expected to learn the details of the APRA Lease, the Alberta Societies Act, and the Not for Profit Act which we can provide you should you get the position. The term is for one year.

To apply to any of these positions, please send an email with the position you are interested in, along with a brief summary of your background to Herb at swissrccalgary@gmail.com

 

2017 In Review

2017 was a huge year at the SRCC. At the end of last year we had just under 50 members and by the end of 2017 we will be at 92 members, with a substantial waiting list for 2018. 

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As you may recall last year we added the 100m and 200m target positions. In 2017 we re-contoured the range to reduce erosion and make all target positions easier to see. At 300m we added target frames for those wanting to shoot paper targets using the cantilever systems. At the shooting point, we added 5 covered benchrest positions, complete with a concrete floor, three walls and a roof. In addition to new first aid kits, bear proof garbage bins have been installed in 3 locations across the range; please use these as it will make the range a safer place to be. 

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The shooting house was extended with a new shooter’s hangout that we can use. We have installed a wood stove, and next year will insulate the entire building so it can be used year round. The pistol bay was updated as well, with new backstops, target frames and the purchase of a reactive steel target system. Around the back of the shooting house a sea can was installed. All significant items were then moved into the sea can where they are now securely locked away. This will now allow us to provide members with easier access to the shooting house throughout the year. Then to finish it off, the parking lot was expanded, levelled and re-gravelled, the edges of the range were trimmed and straightened, and the entire range was hydro seeded.

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This was a monumental effort that involved many volunteer members. Todd D. was instrumental in getting the required permits together, Herb B managed the project overall including all the sub-contractors involved in construction. Many other members volunteered their time in project management and construction. Travis O. did a masterful job building the pistol bay steps and handrail, Walter S, Mike T, Andy H, Hans & Harrison F, Dieter M, Steven J, Christof B, Jakob S, and many others helped out with various tasks.

 

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Range Improvements for 2018

Next year we hope to focus more on making the SRCC experience a better one. Of course much of this is contingent on revenue generated through membership fees and the funding formula we have with the APRA. So what's planned for next year?

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- SIUS Wireless Targets. SIUS is a 50 year old company that specializes in electronic shooting target systems. The existing electronic system we have is a target system built by SIUS over 25 years ago. Since 1992, SIUS’s newer wireless systems have been used in all shooting sports at the Olympic Games including Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro and is used throughout Europe in all major shooting competitions. One of the largest competitions is in Switzerland, where over 200,000 shooters compete.

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The system comes with a binder of various shooting competitions, each with it’s own unique bar code. Simply scan in the bar code and the entire system is programmed. The newer color monitors create a replica of the target, which shows where your shots are landing, highlighting the last shot, and scoring the entire event for you. A printout can be made including a miniature copy of the target with all your shots recorded. For 2018 the SRCC wants to install two of the wireless systems on indoor firing points #1 and #2.

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- Radiant Heat. Now that we have our outdoor shooting positions established, the next step is to extend the shooting season. We would like to add overhead radiant heaters, similar to the ones you find in some outdoor restaurant patios. This should extend our shooting season and allow us to shoot earlier and stay later in the season.

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- Winter Access. The APRA has expanded winter access to the various ranges, plowing the access roads coming off of Homestead Road. Starting immediately, the road is being plowed up to the range building parking lot. If you are driving a car instead of a truck, we would suggest parking just below the final hill to the range parking lot. You still need to walk the path to the targets, so you may want to wear boots. The road will be plowed fairly regularly, but remember this is a remote location so it may take a day or two after a storm to get things cleared out.

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- Solar Power. Last year at the SRCC AGM we discussed adding solar power to the range. Because the costs were fairly high to do this we opted to defer this to a later date. Since that time solar power costs have come down drastically, making this a more feasible upgrade. For 2018 we will be examining the addition of solar power to operate lights and target systems at the range.

Finish Off Inside of Shooters Hangout. The Shooter’s Hangout is 95% finished. All the exterior work has been completed on time and on budget. For 2018 we will add insulation, interior walls, a ceiling, and furniture. This will make it much more bearable when the weather gets colder.

Renewals

Renewals for 2018 are currently being taken until December 15, 2017. We recommend that you renew immediately. The entire process takes only a few minutes to complete. We have a significant waiting list of potential new members eager to get a spot, and as of December 15, 2017 they will have priority, so renew early. Should you miss this date and need to renew at a later date, you can still renew online.

Remember that we are all volunteers. Making the renewal process as quick and simple as possible reduces the time that our members spend processing applications. Please respect their efforts and the time they put into this endeavour. Please follow this link to renew for 2018:

 

 

New Members

New memberships will be processed starting December 15, 2017. At that time a ‘new member’ link will be sent out to our waiting list where they can apply. Once a person is accepted as a new member, they will be given a choice of dates to attend a mandatory range orientation, where they can pick up their membership cards.

Range Building Access Key

Effective immediately all locks have been changed at the Range. We now have ONE key that opens almost every door. There are three levels of key holders.

Level 1. All those who have been members in good standing for one year can apply for a key that works for the following doors.

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- Outdoor bench rest door

- Shooters Hangout & main shooting building

- Pistol building

- Clubhouse 

There is a $50 deposit which is refundable when the key is returned. Keys must be returned when your membership is no longer in good standing.

Level 2. All current active RSO’s can apply for a key that works for the following doors.

- Outdoor bench rest door

- Shooters Hangout & main shooting building

- Pistol building

- Clubhouse 

- Sea-Can

- Target shed

- Target enclosures

There is a $50 deposit which is refundable when the key is returned. Keys must be returned when your membership is no longer in good standing.

Level 3. Executive members have keys to all the doors.

If you would like a key, please eTransfer the $55 ($50 deposit and $5 shipping) to: swissrccalgary@gmail.com and a key will be mailed to you.

 

Swiss Rifle Club Calgary (SRCC) AGM: February 10th, 2018

The SRCC will have it’s AGM on February 10th, 2018 at 1:00 pm at: 

Austrian Canadian Club , 3112, 11 St NE Calgary AB

Several positions are open for a membership vote which include President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer. We encourage you to attend this important meeting where you can have direct input into the priorities of the SRCC. Many decisions are made during this event, and in order to have a say you need to be there. Come and meet your fellow members over coffee!