The XLR Hunter DBM is the next step in providing consumers the best hunting platform available! As chassis become more popular in the hunting market, we have been faced with the struggle of tactical DBM latches. Although these latches were great for shooting off the bench or at a PRS match, they were not the best option in the field. After every thick patch of brush you had to reach back and make sure your magazine was still in your rifle. We realized there had to be a better solution so after some testing the hunter DBM was born!
The XLR Hunter DBM includes a low profile magazine latch. This will make sure your magazine only comes out when you want it to! We have also incorporated the adjustable DBM, which allows shooters to fine tune their magazine latch height! Both of these features result in more consistent feeding, less magazine rattle, and a snag resistant DBM latch.
Not only are the Hunter DBM trigger guards included on all new Element 4.0 orders, but we also offer a stand-alone trigger guard for previously bought XLR Element 3.0 and 4.0 chassis. Installing the new trigger guard is very easy and only takes a couple of minutes! Visit the link below for an installation video on the hunter DBM and DON'T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE!
Since the release of the 6.5 Creedmoor, Hornady Match has been the gold standard for factory ammunition. If you are an owner of a 6.5 Creedmoor, it is likely that you have either shot the Hornady Match 140 or the 147 ELDM. This hunting season appears to have brought in a new competitor to town that is showing to be an excellent option for factory ammunition!
Black Hills Gold 143 grain ELDX and 130-grain Dual Performance have both proven to be very comparable in performance to the Hornady 147 ELDM. This is the first time I have shot any Black Hills ammo and I was impressed with the numbers produced. For two days I shot two different five-shot groups and two additional five-shot strings over the chronograph. These tests were also performed with the Hornady Match 147 ELDM because it provided a good baseline to compare the different ammunitions.
The 143 ELD X is a popular hunting bullet for this caliber because of its excellent expansion throughout a wide range of velocities. The heat shield tip allows the bullet to achieve best-in-class BC that carries energy to further distances. At lower velocities, the heat shield will drive into the bullet to initiate expansion. This allows the bullet to perform in any situation you face in the field making it a fantastic bullet for ethically harvesting animals at extended distances.
The 130 Grain Dual Performance is a new bullet for me. Although I have researched copper solids extensively, I have never tested them. This 130 Grain bullet is CNC machined and is designed to penetrate through the thickest skin and expand to create a massive wound cavity (hence the name dual performance). Since the bullets are all one piece, they retain a claimed 80-90% of bullet weight once expanded on impact. The copper solids are an excellent choice for shooting larger animals like elk, moose, or mountain goats.
A good place to start when choosing your ammunition is to consider what animals you are hunting and the effective range that you will engage them. This will give you a window for the energy requirements for that animal. Animals like Deer or Antelope require less energy than elk or moose, so choose the bullet based on what the required energy would be at your comfortable shooting range. You can find energy requirement suggestions for different animals in your state wildlife hunting guide. You can use common ballistic apps to find at what ranges the energy thresholds occur. The chart below shows the maximum distance I could shoot the Black Hills ammunition based on the energy requirements for elk (1500 ft-lbs.).
Once I find a bullet that will perform well at my required distance and suits the animal I am hunting, I will confirm that my rifle has the correct twist rate. Manufacturers will list the minimum twist rate for a particular bullet. It is important to be at that twist rate or faster to properly stabilize the bullet. For example, the 147 ELDM recommends a minimum twist of 1:8. In that case, you will want to be shooting a rifle with a 1:8 or faster, say 1:7.5. Over twisting a bullet slightly will still allows it to perform well, whereas under twisting might not stabilize the bullet properly.
I like to check all the above information before even searching for ammunition. This way, you do not waste any time or money on ammunition that will not work for you or your rifle. In most cases, you can find both the velocity and required twist rate on the manufacturer's website. If for some reason it is not listed, you can search the Internet and find a relatively close velocity and required twist rate.
The next and perhaps more fun step is to shoot the ammunition to ensure its performance before your hunt. You are not only shooting for groups but also to check your velocity variables. I pay more attention to my ES (extreme spread) than SD (standard deviation) when checking velocity because I like to ensure that even the rounds outside the norm will be on target. An ES of 20 will have 2 inches of elevation difference at 500 yards. It is important to note that the elevation differential deviates exponentially as you extend your distance.
Once I find the ammunition that fits all of these needs, my final confirmation is to shoot the round at distance. This proves that the bullet I have chosen is flying stable and holding a good group down range. This is also a great time to true your data if needed (reference our data trueing article here). When you are shooting at distance, you should be shooting at paper or freshly painted steel to see your impact so you can properly verify the required accuracy of the bullet.
At times it may seem like a daunting task to choose new ammunition for your rifle; however, these steps will simplify the process for you by outlining the steps you should consider. Do not be afraid to try new options in your rifle because you might find a pleasant surprise. Black Hills Gold has proven to be a fantastic option for me this hunting season so I will continue to test their other caliber options! If you ever have any questions about choosing ammunition feel free to reach out to email@example.com or give us a call at 970-241-1807.
Jake Vibbert is one of those names that continues to sit at the top of the Precision Rifles Series. Jake has been shooting Precision Rifles series competitions since 2013. Since then, he has won 35 National matches, which makes him one of the most decorated shooters in the sport. One of his most significant accomplishments was winning the inaugural AG Cup in 2019, walking away with a $20,000 check! Not only is Jake a shooter, but his company JC Steel also sponsors dozens of matches around the country!
Jake takes a slow and methodical approach to his shooting. I have heard numerous shooters say, "I could have sworn he wasn't going to have enough time," but he always finishes. Jake has created an online shooting course (available here) that is great for not only the beginning shooter, but even a seasoned veteran can pick up on a few tricks of the trade. In this course, he goes through gear, positions, strategizing, and wind reading tips. He always likes to preach his moto BTF (breath, trigger control, follow through). This approach to every shot continues to place him at the top of matches year after year.
Jake has seen a vast amount of gear throughout the years and helped develop many tools that drive the precision rifle industry. Jake has shot competitively for XLR since 2014 and has been an immense help in product development for the constantly evolving precision rifle competitions. The Envy design and all its iterations have been heavily due to Jake and his involvement in positional shooting, and when the Envy Pro came out, there was a lot of focus on the forend and weight accessories.
Because of this, we offer the JV Competition Kit named after Jake. This accessory kit comes with everything Jake and many national shooters use. Jake's product feedback was not only seen by XLR, but Benchmark barrels and US Optics also designed products around Jake's thoughts. You can take note of the VCC Contour (Vibbert competition contour) from benchmark barrels along with the JVCR Reticle offered in the USO Foundation 25x. These are both products that you will see at almost every PRS match!
Although this match marks national win number 35, it is far more than that for XLR. Jakes commitment to helping the shooting community every day is what really makes us honored to have him as part of the XLR Family.
With the rise in NRL Hunter matches this year, XLR Industries wanted to do our part in growing the sport! We recently attended the Hornady Precision Hunter Challenge in Price, Utah to run a side stage and hang out with the #XLRfamily. It was great to see a lot of familiar faces along with meet some new shooters who are running our products! Now most shooters here are also hunters so we wanted to open their eyes to the Precision Rimfire side of competitions.
We teamed up with Vudoo Gunworks and Lapua to prove the capabilities of these precision rimfire rifles! The rifle consisted of an XLR Envy pro with the new C6 buttstock, a Vudoo Gunworks V22 barreled action, and the new Vortex Gen 3 Razor with the EBR 7D reticle. Brandt built concepts also jumped in to show off their new ocular mounted cant indicator. This is a new upgrade on the Long-Range Arms send it level that really brings the product to a whole new level!
There were a lot of great competitors at the match and XLR shooters left with a lot of hardware! Kevin Wilkey brought home 1st place factory with the Bergara MG Lite, Mike Anderson got 2nd in open light with the Magnesium Element, and Greg Herbert got 3rd in open heavy with his Envy Pro. It is great to see the different products being used to meet the weight requirements in the NRL Hunter matches!
Good job to all the shooters and we look forward to seeing everyone at future matches!
Hunting out west, a rather broad term including the possibility of sheep, mountain goats, elk, pronghorn, deer, and bears. All these big game species offer a different type of hunt, with vastly different terrain and elevation, which often calls for specific shooting equipment. Sheep and goat hunts are greatly different than elk, deer, and bear. Then you have pronghorn and plains deer on the opposite end of the spectrum. Not to mention the black hills of South Dakota and badlands of western Montana are vastly different terrain than the high Rockies in central Colorado or desert to its west.
Since backcountry elk and mule deer hunts seem to be on every hunter's bucket list. We thought we would help you by outlining the shooting tools you will need to maximize your accuracy and efficiency so you can focus on the daunting tasks of researching sleep gear, food, packs, and especially E-scouting. That way you'll have more success once you have spotted your target animal!
Personally, most of my gear doesn't change from hunt to hunt. Hunting gear can be spendy, so I like to utilize everything I have invested in for as many big game hunts as possible. Sometimes this means having a little heavier pack than others, but I do not mind the weight. If you are here to shave as many ounces as possible, you might cringe at a few of these gear choices, but once at the top of the mountain you will reap the benefits!
My Vortex Fury 5000s never get left at the house. Optical technology has advanced vastly over the last few years, with better features offered in budget friendlier optics. Range finding binoculars are something I've grown accustomed to, and I'm not sure there is any going back now.
You hear others talk about needing Swaros or Leicas to ensure you aren't straining your eyes, but I haven't run into any of those issues with the Vortex Fury's. I wear glasses and the eye relief on the Fury's are very accommodating making it so I don't have to push the glasses into my face to get a full field of view.
My Fury's are the pre applied ballistics model, which I would like to upgrade at some point. Having a ballistics solver at the click of a button would come in handy during stressful situations.
My Kestrel 5700, another tool that I take with me everywhere. Getting a ballistic solution is slower than having them built into your binoculars, but the Kestrel gives you the ability to read the wind. This is essential in the mountains where the winds change throughout the day.
I would rather spend the extra 5 or 10 seconds and know that I have an accurate wind reading than the check and guess method and end up wounding an animal. People always argue that you don't need to know what the wind is doing at the target (which is correct), but I would rather have a good starting point and then take some observations than just rely 100% on feel.
Another important tool is a good shooting tripod. This is one of the most important parts of the package because a good tripod allows you to pick apart country with your binos. You can then you can attach your spotting scope and confirm that it is the trophy that you are after. Then, swap out your spotter for your rifle and have a rock-solid shooting platform.
I personally run a Two Vets Recon with a RRS BH-55 ball head. This tripod has large enough legs to give you a solid shooting platform, with a super smooth ball-head for scanning while glassing. Make sure when you order a tripod head, you have all the correct adapters for your binos, spotter and rifle. ARCA rails have many different variations, so I recommend converting everything to a 1.5 inch RRS Dovetail spec which is the spec most of the shooting community is following!
One of the most discussed tools is your rifle scope. In my opinion, a shooters #1 goal here is to find a durable scope that will hold zero. I have seen everything from rifles hitting scopes and trees, to me losing my footing and falling on my rifle. A scope that holds zero is only going to increase your confidence in the field when the time comes to take the shot.
At this moment, I am running a Nightforce ATACR and have put it through the paces. These rifle scopes have a strong reputation for being one of the most durable scopes on the market.
Don't forget, a good scope is useless without good rings. Hawkins is a perfect balance point for durability and weight. If weight is not a factor, a Spuhr one piece scope mount is built like a tank. Those are the two I would stick to but there are a lot of other ring manufacturers out there.
Hunting out west is going to test your gear. Traveling bumpy roads, bouncing rifles in packs, and hitting rifles off rocks and trees can allow screws to come loose. It is a must to have proper tools to get you back up and running so you are not coming off the mountain.
This is one area that is hard to pick and choose what to bring! If you are in rough terrain or hiking deep into the backcountry, you want to cut as much weight as possible. At the same time though this makes you want to prevent having to go back to the truck for something as silly as a scope ring screw.
A good middle ground for me is the Fix it sticks All In One Torque Driver Kit in my pack paired with the long range Fix It Sticks kit as a backup in the truck. The torque driver kit is small and compact and has all the tools you should need to tighten anything on your rifle. If you are using a good chassis, rings, and base you should be able to minimize any POI shift if anything comes loose. From the testing I have done, I am confident that I could take my entire rifle apart, put it back together, and still be within ½ moa of my zero.
You must be very particular about torque specs when you are originally putting your rifle together so you can replicate that torque when you are on the mountain.
While there are other things one could think to bring, this walk through of the rifle gear is what I recommend to any hunters when they come out west. Some of the ultralight backcountry hunters might cringe at some of the listed equipment, but that's because they are cutting as many ounces as possible.
To me, it is more important to have reliable gear that can take a beating, rather than lighter gear that is prone to breaking. I am not afraid to carry another 5-10 lbs if I know nothing is going down on top of the mountain.
Hopefully this helps you a little bit on what you are planning to take on your next hunt out west. If you ever have questions about the tools or equipment I use, feel free to reach out to us at 970-241-1807 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Jaden Miller
We have all been there, you ask the RO for time and all that you hear is crickets…. Or if you are on the other side of the table, a shooter asks you for the time and as soon as you look down, they shoot. You do not want to be on either side of the table, but it happens at every precision rifle match! The XLR timer mount is the solution to both issues! You can easily press the start button when you start the stage and glance down when you want to know your remaining time!
The timer mount easily attaches to the thumb rest provisions on the side that you are not using. This allows you to simply hold your rifle in the air, wrap your thumb around, and start the timer. It is an easy and convenient way to make sure you are on time to finish all your shots! This timer mount has saved me a few times in the last few matches!
View XLR Timer Mount Specs
With the surge of NRL 22 matches taking place around the nation, the Bergara B14R has been a hot topic. The Bergara B14R is a great “bang for the buck rifle” to get into the sport, but it will not hold you back as you progress your shooting skills. The rifles come with a factory stock that has an adjustable LOP, and adjustable cheek piece which makes it a great stock for getting started. Once you progress and want to upgrade the rifle, that is where Bergara shines! The actions are a Remington 700 clone, so they work with Remington 700 Chassis and triggers. This is a huge benefit to make sure you can use all the popular precision rifle equipment.
Although the factory stocks are great for starting out in NRL/PRS 22, there are some upgrades that really help as you become more competitive! I started out by upgrading from the factory stock to the XLR Envy Pro Chassis. The biggest reason for the upgrade was the full length arca, enlarged mag well, and the adjustable DBM. All these features really helped make sure my rifle performed consistently from match to match and did not have any issues.
The next upgrade that I felt was necessary was the trigger. The Bergara triggers are one of the best factory triggers I have felt! With that being said, it was hard for me to transition between it and my TriggerTech diamond on my centerfire rifle. That was the only reason for the change, and I do not think it is a do or die upgrade, but I like to keep everything the same!
Another nice addition that I found was the L3I 14 round Bergara Magazine. This was a great way to reduce the amount of mag changes that were needed in a match. Most of the 22X matches seem to have a lot of 12 and 14 round stages so a 14 round mag only made sense! This mag has worked very well so far, and I have not had any issues with feeding!
Once all these upgrades were complete, I was into the rifle around $2250. While I would not call this a budget rifle, it is far cheaper than some other options on the market and performs very well! I currently have 3 of them set up all the same way and they all shoot under ¾ moa at 100 yards when paired with quality ammo.
XLR Industries has paired up with Lapua and Vudoo side stage at the Price, Utah NRL hunter match this June. Come see how well the XLR ENVY PRO, Vudoo Gun Works V-22 and Lapua Center X work together. We will also have the Element 4.0 and ATOM chassis on hand.
Dates: June 24 – 26, 2022
Range Address: 5245 S 8000 W, Price, UT 84501
The match is located in scenic Eastern Utah at the renowned North Springs Shooting Complex.
North Springs is harbored in the unique landscapes south-east of Price, Utah. This match is an opportunity to work on hunting situation shots Shooters should expect natural terrain obstacles and thick cedars to navigate around and find shooting positions, target distances between 200-850 yards, and angled shots between 0-10°.
This is the time of the year when shooters start getting the itch. It is the best time to start brushing up on your wind calls and making sure that your rifle is shooting well! One common question that we get asked is how we true our data when we gather dope. This is a great question because there are 3 common ways to align your dope with your ballistic calculator!
Before we start shooting out to distance, there are a few inputs that are important to have correct. You must have a good zero (I prefer 100 yards), updated atmospherics, a provided BC, and a velocity. This is the starting point and sometimes it aligns very well. But if your ballistics calculator is not giving you the correct elevation adjustment then you will have to true your data.
The first method to truing data, and my preferred method is getting my velocity from my Magnestospeed Chronograph and then adjusting the BC to align my Kestrel 5700 output with what I am seeing on target. The reason this is my preferred method is the chronograph gives me a fixed number that is specifically for my rifle. Once I have ran 5 shots over the chronograph, I will put the average into my kestrel and use the BC that is provided on the box or in the Kestrel App. Once I have my rifles profile in the Kestrel and I have made sure my atmospherics have been updated to real time data, I will shoot the rifle at 1200 yards. Typically, this will get me within 1/2 a mil of the target for my elevation. I will then change the BC to match the elevation adjustment that was needed to hit the target.
The next method requires the same equipment but is a different way of truing the data. You will gather your velocity and use the BC off the box, but then shoot at 600-800 yards and adjust your velocity to your POI (point of impact). Then you can go out to 1200 and adjust your BC to match your calculator. This method is what I would recommend to guys using cheaper chronographs. The numbers will get you very close, but if your velocity is off by only 20 FPS it can cause problems once you reach out to further distances. While this method is not my preferred, guys have had great luck with it and it ties into the next process!
For the third method, all you will need is a ballistic calculator and a good spotter. You start with the velocity and BC that is provided on the box or a good guess if you are reloading. This is the starting point, and you will use the elevation that is given by your ballistics calculator to true your data. Once you have put rounds on target, you can then true your muzzle velocity to match your elevation. The Ballistics arc app, and a kestrel meter both have a built-in program to true your elevation. Once your data matches at around the 600-yard range, you can go out to 1200 and true your BC to match your POI at that distance.
These are the 3 most common methods that I have seen from guys, and they all get similar results. I do prefer using method 1 but it does require some equipment that is expensive. With that being said I can typically get data trued and good to go in around 15-20 rounds. No matter what method you use, confirm your dope at 3 different distances and shoot 2-3 shots per target. I prefer 500, 800, and 1200 but you could be limited by your range. I also prefer painting steel a dark color and then a small orange aiming point so I can see the impact after it is hit and not have to rely on watching the shot.
If you ever have any questions on trueing data, ballistics calculators, or anything else pertaining to long range shooting, feel free to give us a call at 970-241-1807 and we will help you out!
- Jaden Miller
For years, long-range shooters have been pushing the limits of different short action magnum cartridges. Short actions appeal to hunters and long-range enthusiasts due to their shorter bolt throw, allowing quicker follow-up shots and weight savings for those ounce counters. Although cartridges like 6.5 Saum and 300 WSM were designed for use in short actions, shooters have become frustrated with one specific issue over the years. The cartridge length is limited by the length of the short action magazines if they want the rifle to be a repeater.
To use heavier, higher BC bullets, you have to be able to push them fast enough for them to be beneficial at longer ranges. This means more case capacity is needed. Obtaining more case capacity requires the bullets to be seated out further, making more volume for powder. By doing this, the case's overall length will be too long to fit into a short action magazine. What have shooters been doing to fix this? They have had their dream rifle built off a long action. Long action magazines will give you WAY more internal magazine length than you will ever need, but it will almost guarantee that you will also have feeding issues.
Action manufacturers such as Defiance machine, Lone Peak Arms, Zermatt Arms, and Stiller have all noticed the COAL frustrations and have developed a solution. They are now making medium-length actions. These actions allow shooters to gain .305 inches of coal over a short action magazine. So those high BC bullets we all want can be seated out further and we get the case volume needed for these awesome short hotrods. While the SAUM and WSM cartridges led the way to this change, 6.5 PRC and 6.8 western have also increased the demand for these medium length actions.
In the video below, you can see the length difference in the 6.5 Creedmoor and 6.5 PRC. Both of these are short action calibers, but for the hand loader, a 6.5 PRC that is throated out will allow them to seat 153 grain Hornady A-Tips, or 156 Grain Berger EOL out further and capitalize on the performance. With the Creedmoor, you could shoot the 153 or 156 grain bullets without any coal issues in a short action.
Some critical information to be aware of while deciding which medium length action to purchase is that Defiance will call theirs an XM. The reasoning is that they already have the name medium used for their 700 short action clones. What they call a short is actually a Remington model 7 footprint. Leaving the title for the actual medium length receiver to an "extra-medium" abbreviated to XM.
Lone Peak Arms, Zermatt, and Stiller are all called mediums, and fortunately for them, all share the same footprint. At XLR Industries, we offer both a Lone Peak Medium (covers Zermatt & Stiller) and a Defiance XM inlet in our Element 4.0, both aluminum and Magnesium chassis models.
If you ever have questions about what action, caliber, or chassis might work best for you, feel free to reach out, and we would love to get those questions answered for you!