What makes a firearm "Match Grade"?

Discussion in 'Competition Shooting Forum' started by AngelDeville, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. AngelDeville

    AngelDeville New Member

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    is it just actually being able to hit something with it?
  2. inplanotx

    inplanotx New Member

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    A true "match grade" rifle is one that will put all rounds, as close as possible, into the same hole every time. This is done by using "match grade" barrels that are air guaged to within a few ten thousandths of an inch from chamber to muzzle. The muzzle of the barrel is then cut with an 11* target crown to ensure that when the bullet leaves the muzzle, the gas pushed on the complete base of the bullet and not just one side or other.

    Then there is the "match grade reciever" that is forged and machined to very tight tolerances so that everything is equal. The barrel is then fit into this receiver and trued up so that it is completely concentric to the barrel.

    A "match grade" trigger is used to ensure the lightest trigger pull with no creap before let off. It should break like a piece of glass.

    The sights are also used that ensure that the click detents for windage and elevation are exact and not sloppy in any way.

    When this is completed, the barreled action is then glass or pillar bedded into the stock to ensure that the action cannot possibly move in the stock.

    All this work costs a lot of money, but the payback is in one hole groups.

    The is the short version of your question.

    IPT
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2007
  3. AngelDeville

    AngelDeville New Member

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    I had my suspicions on a few counts, and learned a few things I didn't know.

    Thanks for the fast response!
  4. Tom Militano

    Tom Militano New Member

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    Everything that IPT said and many hours of practice, ability to read the wind and mirage, proper equipment, ammo, and a lot of other factors all go along with using a match grade rifle to it's full potential.
  5. ThunderStick300MAG

    ThunderStick300MAG New Member

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    I must agree with IPT and Tom....Practice makes perfect and that big $$$$ rifle is only as good as the person behind it...
  6. stash247

    stash247 New Member

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    Tom said it all; the shooter!
    An old friend of mine, a fellow Named James Conway, shot for years, then coached, the USAF "Blue Team", and reads wind, and mirage, like a book.
    He shoots NRA "F- Class" rifles, almost exclusively.
    In any rifle, there is some 'defect', that keeps it from perfection, in a 'labrotory' environment, ie, shooting in a large hangar, or warehouse, but the basic rifles are a small part of 'real world' high power matches, because everybody is on a relatively 'level' playing field, with equivalent, high quality (see Plano's post) gear.
    But, get it outside, in the sun, clouds, changing light, and wind, and the 'trigger actuator' bocomes the issue.
    I can shoot with JJ (The Texas Rifle Assn named an annual trophy in his honor- that guy) at 100, 200, and we're 'shot for shot', but at 6-8-9-1000' the skill and experience takes charge; this is a guy who will beat you with his rifle, trade, then beat you with yours!
    "Match Grade" means anything you want it to mean, beyond, 'consistant'.
    Mostly, a 'sales' term.
    JJ used to drop his brass, at the gunshop, at Lackland AFB, after a day on the range, and was always asked; "What load do you want, for tomorrow?"
    His answer, interestingly, was always the same: "Whatever you think, 200 rds, make them all the same."
    All he desired was identical ammunition, to take that variable out of the 'equation'.
    Couple of years ago, he drove to Canada, to the 'Queen's Cup' match, and set three new records, then, in other matches; he outscored the winner of the "Queens Cup", by several points, and 'X's', but the Cup must go to a Canadian Citizen.
    That is "Match Grade".
  7. Tom Militano

    Tom Militano New Member

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    Stash, what years did James Conway coach the USAF Blue Team?
  8. stash247

    stash247 New Member

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    Tom, IIRC, JJ retired in 66,or 67, so I gotta reason that it was in the eary 60's.
    Funny, as Chuck Hathaway, another local USAF shooter, a contempory of Comway, coached the Palma Team a couple of years, recently.
    When either of them is 'on the scope' calling wind, and hold, I trust him more than myself; either is just that good!
    JJ 'spotted' for me at a couple of 'Black Powder Cartridge Rifle' Metallic Silhouette Matches, and it was like cheating!
    If he'd wanted to continue to do so, the '400 Meter Ram' would likely be an 'Endangered Species'; he truly made it that easy to go 'clean' on them!
    Next time I see him, I will ask!
  9. Tom Militano

    Tom Militano New Member

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    The best wind reader I've ever seen was SGM Roy Combs from the All Army Rifle Team. He was the same way, it was like cheating when he was reading the wind in team matches. Roy died a couple of years ago and his wife died shortly after he did. The next best, in my opinion, was Jess Causey, also from All Army.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2007
  10. torpedoman

    torpedoman New Member

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    Lots of money ,a really good smith, and a good shooter.
  11. stash247

    stash247 New Member

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    Peto, two out of three ain't bad; Money, however, does not figure.
    I've been 'waxed' in matches, by 'kitchen table' guns, and beaten shooters with weapons costing a small fortune.
    A good shooter 'raises the bar', for any match; who says a good shooter cannot be a quality 'smith, as well, and produce, on a limited budget, a quality product, to win with?
    One cannot 'buy' a clean run, he must shoot it, and doing so with a familiar weapon is the usual approach.
    I bought an old Stevens rifle, from a pawn shop, several years ago; it would not even function, properly, at the time of purchase; the triggers had to be 'set' to cock the hammer!
    I essentially 'stole' the rifle, on this basis.
    It will shoot, today, under an inch, at 100 yds, with good rimfire ammo.
    True enough, I have substantial time in the rifle, but, no real money.
    QED?
  12. AngelDeville

    AngelDeville New Member

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    I'm working on my shooting as we speak, I know that is my weak link in the equation. A local club sponsors shoots and I think I'll get out to watch a few, and when membership opens in the spring, see if they'll accept me..:p
  13. USMC-03

    USMC-03 New Member

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    There are really two terms floating around here; "Match Grade" and "National Match".

    Stash hit the nail on the head:

    Match Grade is really a marketing term used to describe bullets, barrels, brass, etc. that is either manufactured to more stringent specifications than or it is separated by means of selective inspection from regular production products. The intended result is to attract precision shooters to use these products by eliminating, as much as possible, variation in performance. There is no set accuracy standard.

    National Match is a term used to describe a type of formal rifle and pistol competition and the equipment used to participate in it. Without going into to much detail, shooters fire a set course with service arms modified for accuracy only partially, and must conform to specific restrictions. The end goal of shooters participating in National Match, or Excellence in Competition events is to accumulate enough points to be awarded the Distinguished Rifle or Pistol Badge.

    Quoting from http://www.nps.gov/spar/historyculture/national-matches.htm:

    "The M14 National Match rifle is the same basic design and operation as the standard issue M14 rifle, except for the elimination of automatic fire capability. Each M14 NM rifle is required to fire 50 match rounds without a malfunction during targeting and accuracy tests. The extreme spread of these groups cannot exceed 3.5 inches at 100 yards."

    A partial list of national match components for the M14NM include trigger group, operating rod, ½ minute sights, NM barrel, and heavy stock free floated and bedded to the action.

    All that being said, everyone previously referring to the shooter as real the key to accuracy is correct. It is not uncommon for a highly skilled shooter with a moderately accurate gun to out perform others using the best money can buy. Then again, it can be very hard to develop beyond a moderate skill level with sub-par equipment. Eventually you won't be able to tell if the problem stems from the shooter or the gun.
  14. robertbank

    robertbank New Member

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    Marketing!

    Take Care

    Bob
  15. LongRifles

    LongRifles New Member

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    Not that I've ever seen a decisive answer either, but I'd whittle it down to "A firearm with enough accuracy to reliably shoot inside a 1/2 Minute Of Angle."

    That seems to be the bar these days in NRA Highpower and Fullbore matches.
  16. Psycho-82

    Psycho-82 New Member

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    So with whats been said above about a great shooter with a decent rifle is better then the best rifle and a decent shooter. Just getting into long range precision shooting, what should i concentrate on more? Im a very good shot with iron sights but should i spend the money on a "match grade" rifle or not?
  17. RevDerb

    RevDerb New Member

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    Can I assume that the details are basically the same for handguns? Thanks in advance for your response.
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