Production Division - When to upgrade

donovan106

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Hey guys,

I am currently running a Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor at our local club matches in the Production Division. My first match of any kind was this year in February and ended up shooting 7 club matches this year. I got my step daughter into shooting NRL22 and centerfire this last summer. We were really hoping to make it to TPRC and the Guardian match in AZ, but my work schedule conflicted with both of those matches.

I really enjoy shooting my RPR, but at what point do you make the decision to upgrade your rifle? I know that a better rifle will not make me a better shooter, it might pick me up a few points here or there. I understand that working on fundamentals and practice will help me more than anything.

So, when did you decide to upgrade your rifle and what factors helped you make that decision?
 

1moaoff

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Some people want to stay in production
Some people want to be in open
It's the same match. You could shoot that gun in open. Some of us are lucky enough to just build toys, when we do we end up in open. So no real answer from me on that just a few thoughts.
 

donovan106

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By the way some of the new "production" rifles are customs.... and shoot just as well. They just happen to meet the rules.
Yea, I have seen a few of those rifles with aftermarket parts. I'm not sure how I feel about it because I thought the Production class was more for entry level rifles/off the shelf (Remington 700, Savages, etc). I know there's still a difference between a $2k rifle and a $3k or $4k rifle. If it falls within the rules, it falls within the rules. I can't blame anyone for wanting to shoot any of those rifles in Production if they are able to.
 

Rugster

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I suppose it depends what your goals are. I upgraded as soon as I knew I was hooked on the sport. There’s really no reason to shoot production. You can count the number of production shooters at most matches on one hand.
 
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anotherwannabe

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As a fellow RPR shooter that has used one in a few matches pretty successfully... I’m also trying to decide if i should upgrade this year or not. This is what is on my mind....

What is your % score vs the top open guy in your club matches? If it’s below 75%, the gun almost certainly isn’t holding you back yet. If I had eliminated mental mistakes (wrong dope and timing out not managing the clock), I could have reached 80% the finale open winner score with my current equip.

Is you / your gun shooting <= .75 moa groups (5x5 groups) with hand loads or factory on a calm day? I’ve gotten 3 different 6.5 RPR barrels to all shoot .5-.6 groups in 25 shot tests with handloads, but never with factory ammo which always shoots just over 1moa for me. If you can’t get to that level of precision/consistency it’s either you, the loads, or the barrel is shot out if you’re >=2500 rounds. If the barrel is shot out you might just want to upgrade anyways, but you can find other guys takeoffs for $150 or just buy a new gun for $750 on gunbroker and sell your old one for $500 to someone who is going to rebarrel it anyways. ask me how i know 😉

The RPR has a few problems but they’re pretty easily/cheaply fixed:

Make the trigger as light as possible, the stock adjustment makes it 2.25lbs. This year in production you can do more to improve the trigger, just take the adjustment spring out completely. It will make it 1lb in my experience over a couple guns. At 3.5lbs it will be hurting your groups and costs nothing.

Buy a sawtooth rifle arca plate to square off the forend. That round hand guard is a crappy idea for barricade work. It will add some weight to the front of the gun which helps balance it and makes it much steadier on a bag. $109

Adding weight to make the gun balance is the last big issue and I’ve been trying to figure out a good low cost solution for that myself lately. A 13lb gun shooting 147’s is definitely recoiling a lot more than a 20lb gun shooting 6 dasher, but what are you gonna do... there is always something to complain about!
 
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anotherwannabe

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I suppose it depends what your goals are. I upgraded as soon as I knew I was hooked on the sport. There’s really no reason to shoot production. You can count the number of production shooters at most matches on one hand.
I agree with this point 100% - even as a production shooter. Shoot a < $1000 actual factory RPR and keep your cost low if you want to shoot production. The $1999 production semi-customs are within spitting distance of the $2700 MPA bolt guns. A nice $825 stuteville barrel is more than a whole new RPR however - it’s a slippery slope.

Shoot production to be cheap and get better.
While it was neat to win a trophy this year, I’m really judging my progress improving against the open shooters winning the match. I’d rather be tin cup vs shooter mcgavin until my skills get better I guess.
 

donovan106

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Congratulations on your trophy!

From the looks of it I'm right around 65%-70% give or take a few %. I usually leave the club match knowing I blew 1-2 stages from my own mistakes. I really judge myself against everyone not just whoever is in the Production class at our club matches. I see Production more of a subclass because I still want to get into the top 10 at our club matches, even though I've only done that twice.

My RPR shoots very well, but I am shooting Prime 6.5 which I am lucky I still have 4-5 boxes of. I don't know when their supply will ever come back. I have everything to hand load, I just have to get around to doing it.

I think the big question is do you go to the higher end Production rifle with your Bergara's, MPA, John Hancock, Badrock or for $500-$700 more just get one of the MPA's?

My step daughter and I want to try to make it to one national match close to us. Then maybe the following year we will try to get to a few more.
 

VP47PPC

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I just finished a year of clubPRS matches shooting Seekins Havak and Bergara HMR Pro. Am having fun and still need to get better in some areas so not looking to move up anytime soon.
 
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anotherwannabe

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I think the big question is do you go to the higher end Production rifle with your Bergara's, MPA, John Hancock, Badrock or for $500-$700 more just get one of the MPA's?
If you were buying a "first" gun for PRS maybe the $1999 semi-customs could make sense, but I definitely won't be upgrading anything just to stay in production class. If 2k is your budget for a gun, the production guns from PVA and others are probably a good value. But unless you're going to try and shoot national matches, the distinction of production or not doesn't matter at the club level (at least in TX) so buy the rifle you want based on other factors. Despite all the semi-custom production rifles and reports that they're selling like hotcakes with many months of backorders, I don't think I saw more than 1 person actually shooting one at a match.

I think a lot of guys show up to shoot one national match in production (which is the intent), but then place near the bottom and then never sign up again - assuming the equipment is holding them back. My first national match I scored ~30% of winner and it was -ugly-. But I was at ~70% by the finale with the exact same equipment.

If I keep practicing, could I get into the high 80's% in 2019? That would get me close to qualifying for finale in open, that might be the ultimate tin-cup motivation!
 

308pirate

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How about a third strategy?
  1. Fix whatever minor issues bug you about the rifle now
  2. Get a new premium barrel on standby
  3. Use the money saved to buy more ammo
  4. Work on the technical and mental aspects that are probably holding all of us back more than the gun
 

Rugster

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How about a third strategy?
  1. Fix whatever minor issues bug you about the rifle now
  2. Get a new premium barrel on standby
  3. Use the money saved to buy more ammo
  4. Work on the technical and mental aspects that are probably holding all of us back more than the gun
He never mentioned money being an issue. If he had, then my advise would have been different. Why can’t you fix multiple problems at once? Better practice with a better rifle. Judging by his second paragraph I think he’s aware you can’t buy skills.
 
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308pirate

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He never mentioned money being an issue. If he had, then my advise would have been different. Why can’t you fix multiple problems at once? Better practice with a better rifle.
Yes, he never mentioned money. That doesn't mean that it might not be a consideration.

You know what else he never mentioned? That he doesn't like the rifle. That the rifle is some sort of issue or handicap.

You know what he DID mention? This:
I usually leave the club match knowing I blew 1-2 stages from my own mistakes.
My advice may not be what he wants to hear. But it might be what he needs. Up to him to decide tho.
 

Sheldon N

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Is there actually a production division in your local club matches? From my understanding it's really only a thing at the national level 2 day matches. I don't see that on the main PRS club page for the SW region, and I know our region doesn't track it. Are your club matches actually tracking the production shooters? If they are tracking it, are there other shooters in that division that you are actively competing against?
 

donovan106

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AZ LRPRS does track Open, Tactical and Production, but for some reason when the scores are uploaded to the PRS website everyone is shown as Open class. I noticed that everyone was showing as Open class right before the finale this year. There's usually around 6-8 Production shooters and I think the highest we had was 12. That match was a 2 day train-up and club match the next day.

AZ LRPRS - December Practiscore
AZ LRPRS - December PRS

Our club has had trophies for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Top Tactical and Top Production for the last 5 or 6 months. This is what they look like with the corresponding info on them.

2018 AZLRPRS Production Trophies.jpeg
 
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donovan106

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I have no problems with my RPR at all other than the fact the hand guard is round, but with this upcoming season it sounds like we can make some small changes to our rifles. I feel I will always be practicing no matter what rifle I am running.
 

Rugster

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Yes, he never mentioned money. That doesn't mean that it might not be a consideration.

You know what else he never mentioned? That he doesn't like the rifle. That the rifle is some sort of issue or handicap.

You know what he DID mention? This:


My advice may not be what he wants to hear. But it might be what he needs. Up to him to decide tho.
I’m not going to internet bicker with you. But he has yet to ask how to be a better shooter. He asked when people decided to upgrade. I provided an avenue for a discount for him to save a few bucks if he decided to go the MPA route. If he asked how to be a better shooter I would tell him something very similar to what you told him. But there’s no reason he can’t both be more efficient in his practice and upgrade his rifle. I did exactly that and executed my goal to make the 2018 finale. Maybe you should ask him about his goals before you give him the path?
 

Sheldon N

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AZ LRPRS does track Open, Tactical and Production, but for some reason when the scores are uploaded to the PRS website everyone is shown as Open class. I noticed that everyone was showing as Open class right before the finale this year. There's usually around 6-8 Production shooters and I think the highest we had was 12. That match was a 2 day train-up and club match the next day.
If I were in your shoes my decision would be based on how much of a challenge it would be to win in production division in matches next season based on my current performance and where I expected to be after practicing and developing. If I was already winning trophies in production I would be personally be leaning towards "climbing the next mountain", so to speak.

The gear stuff follows that decision. IMO, don't sweat any big upgrades until you make the jump. Doubt you'll be taking the RPR with you.
 

donovan106

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As far as becoming a better shooter I'm always open to suggestions. I dry fire indoors with a DFAT and practice on props in our garage. I'll probably be looking into some training classes in Arizona if the timing is right with my work schedule. As far as a goal I want to make it to a finale, I don't know if I can make it to 3 national matches this year though.
 
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onebadmofo

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With your PRS membership, you get 15% off anything MPA sells (used to be 20%). Keep that in mind when weighing options.
I can't find the 15% off from MPA for PRS members.... can someone provide that?
 

Rugster

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There is a code but I’m not sure they want me to post it. If you call in and speak with Lisa and give her your PRS member number she’ll get you taken care of.
 
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Dthomas3523

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Are you planning on keeping at it?

What is your budget?

Those questions answer when you should upgrade.

Whatever your budget is that still allows you to buy ammo necessary to practice and compete......spend that. If its and RPR budget, shoot that. If it’s a full blown 5-10k build with optics, spend that. If it’s somewhere in between, get some advice on what to spend the most/least on.

Once you figure your budget, you can start trying components that fall in line with that.

Small note: it was mentioned above to lighten your trigger. This is sometimes good and sometimes bad. Make sure your fundamentals are sound and going with a lighter trigger is not to compensate for bad fundamentals. It’ll catch up to you in the long run.
 

Walkalong

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I just finished a year of clubPRS matches shooting Seekins Havak and Bergara HMR Pro. Am having fun and still need to get better in some areas so not looking to move up anytime soon.
I just ordered my first "long range rifle" and hope to shoot a local match soon. I went with the Seekins Havak Bravo. I looked at the Begara Pro. How do you like them vs one another? Pros, cons? Thanks.

Also, my first thought was to stay under the 2K rifle/2K scope dollar figure to be in production, but blew that with the scope choice. I have ordered all I need to start. If I like it enough I will upgrade as I feel the need over time.

My buddies over at THR convinced me that the Seekins would not be an issue if I do poorly, and that it will be all me. That's all I can ask of a rifle.
 

Walkalong

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Oh yea, my first thought was to stay under the 2K rifle/2K scope dollar figure to be in production, but blew that with the scope choice. I have ordered all I need to start. If I like it enough I will upgrade as I feel the need over time.

My buddies over at THR convinced me that the Seekins would not be an issue if I do poorly, and that it will be all me. That's all I can ask of a rifle. I don't see myself ever being big player or traveling much (Out of state) to shoot matches. Just looking to have fun and stretch my limits/learn.
 

ThePretzel

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I will definitely have to keep that in mind. Do you know where you can get the discount or do you have to call in?
Another important thing to note about MPA is that they just switched to use a Curtis Custom action in their production class rifle. With that kind of build it's a hell of a deal to rival the John Hancock, especially with the 15% discount for PRS members.
 
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anotherwannabe

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@ $1700 at 15% off is def a smoking deal. The hybrid chassis alone is 1k...

anyone know what a replacement barrel for them runs?
 

ThePretzel

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@ $1700 at 15% off is def a smoking deal. The hybrid chassis alone is 1k...

anyone know what a replacement barrel for them runs?
It's a Curtis, so I imagine it would probably be similar to any other Curtis Custom pre-fit (something in the $500 neighborhood). As far as production class qualified replacement barrels I didn't see any on the MPA website so I have no idea what those run, you'd probably need to email them to find out.

That said it doesn't state a model for the action, so it's possible that it's got difference headspacing than an Axiom (no way it could be a rebranded Vector for that price).
 

Dthomas3523

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@ $1700 at 15% off is def a smoking deal. The hybrid chassis alone is 1k...

anyone know what a replacement barrel for them runs?
Hybrids are easily found for $750, don’t pay retail.

I’d always assume a barrel for any action out there is going to be $550 on the low end and $750 on the high end. Depending where you go/what you get.