Ridgway Varmint Silhouette


Shooting USA – Ridgway Varmint Silhouette   

34-02-1We’re at the largest silhouette range east of the Mississippi River for a new match that’s changing the game. The targets in Varmint Bench Rest Silhouette are out as far as 1,000 yards! Plus, the Smith & Wesson Performance Center debuts new equipment to make new products. We’ve got the ready-to-race M&P Ported CORE with testing by the S&W pro shooters. And, the 1876 Winchester is one of History’s Guns.

Ridgway Rifle Club

34-02-2Silhouette shooting has been around since the early 1900s, when rich landowners in Mexico shot live animals for sport. Years later, after steel silhouette targets entered the picture, and the challenge crossed the border into the U.S., the NRA sanctioned silhouette matches beginning in the 1970s. But there’s only one place that proudly touts itself as the “Silhouette Capital of the U.S.”: the Ridgway Rifle Club.


34-02-3The Ridgway Rifle Club in Pennsylvania established the first silhouette range east of the Mississippi River in the 1970s. From high power to small bore, the club is paving the way to introduce more shooters to silhouette. That also includes introducing them to Ridgway’s latest high power creation, Varmint Bench Rest Silhouette, with steel targets out to 1,000 yards.


34-02-4“Well, when we first developed it, we were scared about what energy it would take to knock down steel at 1,000 yards because nobody had done it,” says Match Director and former president of the club, Fred Kielbowick.  “We were hoping it would be no bigger than a 6.5 x 284, which was very strong and continues to be strong in the 1,000-yard game.”

At Ridgway’s first Varmint Bench Rest Silhouette match in 2009, 28 shooters participated. Five years later, nearly 120 attend regular monthly matches. It’s long range shooting with precision bench rest rifles, high-end optics, and advanced rests, in a new and fun sport for the entire family.

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History’s Guns - 1876 Winchester   

34-02-12As black powder cartridges were increasing in size and power in the late 1800s, Winchester had to produce a firearm just as strong and powerful to shoot those cartridges. Though less well  known, the Model 1876, is now one of History’s Guns. The repeater came in various rifle configurations, rifle barrels and styles, and found favor among civilians and lawmen, including the famous Texas Rangers.


34-02-11“The Model 1876 was a wonderful rifle,” says Firearms Historian Garry James. “It was called the Centennial Rifle for obvious reasons. It came out in 1876 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the United States. Basically, it looks like a Model 1873 on steroids.”




Smith & Wesson Performance Center

34-02-5On a day-to-day basis, master gunsmiths hand-build custom firearms from the Smith & Wesson Performance Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. The process is time-consuming, which is why Smith & Wesson’s new state of the art CNC machining is a necessary and time-saving upgrade for the company; plus, it also eliminates outsourcing for small precision parts.


34-02-6“So we’re combining the latest technology with a great deal of skill and expertise that’s been built up over decades, and it gives you a real magic formula to create some fantastic products, because they truly are products that perform at a much higher level,” says Smith & Wesson President and CEO James Debney.



34-02-7The first new product to come from the new machining capability is the Performance Center M&P CORE, which now has a trigger stop, light and crisp trigger, a ported barrel, and lightened slide. It’s a ready to race competitor for the Open Division in steel shooting, or the USPSA.

“The new update to the CORE is very exciting for people who want to have that open gun experience,” says Smith & Wesson Pro Shooter Julie Golob. “You can shoot this gun and compare it to $3,000 race guns.”

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Colt Mustang & Mustang XSP

34-02-13The Colt Mustang is a single-action classic firearm that carries the Pocketlite name. The Mustang is in the style of a miniaturized 1911, with a left thumb safety and internal firing pin block, loaded with six rounds of .380, plus one in the chamber.  The Mustang’s slide is machined from billet steel and the receiver is alloy aluminum, but it still weighs less than a pound. However, if you want a lighter gun, the XSP sheds an ounce off the Mustang with the reinforced polymer receiver, and a right side thumb safety.   Either will be under $600.

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Galco Purses

34-02-15For ladies who want to carry fashionably, Galco offers dozens of purses with a dedicated side pocket for your carry gun. Inside that pocket is a small adjustable holster, plus the pocket itself comes with a small key to lock the zipper. Galco handbags are made from butter-soft, high-quality leather, and range in price from $250 to $300.

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Smith & Wesson Performance Center 929

34-02-10The Smith & Wesson Performance Center has delivered an out-of-the-box competition wheel gun. The 929 is eight shots of 9mm, and is engraved with the name of the greatest competition revolver shooter, Jerry Miculek. It’s built on the N-frame with a 6.5-inch barrel and removable compensator. The cylinder is titanium, and is cut and chamfered to accept full moon clips to run 9mm. The Performance Center 929 is just under $1,200.

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Hogue “Big Butt” Custom Grip

34-02-17The Smith & Wesson Performance Center 929 comes with a Hogue over-molded grip, but does not come with other options, like a custom “Big Butt.” It’s shaped to your hand measurements, with the over-molded material combined with hard wood. Custom Hogue grips start around $100.

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USAMU Pro Tip: Using Obstacles as Opportunity

34-02-16In 3-gun competition, shooters often face challenges of obstacles and barricades throughout the stages in a match. Most of the time, they increase the difficulty, but some of those barriers can be used to the competitor’s advantage. The U.S. Army’s Sergeant Joel Turner explains how to use the barriers as opportunities.




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