August 13, 2019
“Whoa…that’s light!” I must admit I was not quite sure what to think when I pulled the Bix’n Andy Rem 700 Benchrest trigger for the first time. Ryan Kelbly laughed as he adjusted it for me – a service rifle shooter accustomed to a 4.5-pound trigger. The rifle was beautiful – even more so than I had imagined. The black nitride bolt of the Kelbly’s Big Bore Panda action perfectly accented the matching McMillan prone stock, just as Ryan had promised it would. I could not stop smiling, Jim Kelbly chuckling from behind his desk.
It is still unreal. I started shooting service rifle at 200 yards in 2015, across the course in 2016. Shooting 200 yards seemed a tremendous distance – only to be considered close when compared with 600 yards. To be entering a discipline where 800 yards, 900 yards, and 1,000 yards are standard is unbelievable. I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go.
When I first contemplated putting together a long-range gun, a coach and friend of mine both inspired and encouraged me to put together a .308 Palma rifle. Hearing about his experiences on the U.S.A. Young Eagles team and those of a friend of mine who attended the 2019 World Shoot led me to write an article for Shooting Sports USA on the U.S.A. Young Eagles team. This only increased my interest.
Thank you to everyone who helped educate me on various calibers and on Palma specifics. I surely do not know everything but I know far more than I did when I first contemplated starting in a new discipline.
Special thanks to Kelbly’s Inc., Krieger Barrels Inc., and Bullet Central – I could not do this without your support! I will still be competing in service rifle in pursuit of the Distinguished Rifleman’s Badge, but am excited to try something new and learn skills in Palma I can apply to service rifle.