The next logical evolution in the sport of Palma.
by Joe Carlos
The first Palma Trophy Match was held on September 13-14, 1876 at Creedmoor Range, Long Island, New York with competing teams from Australia, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, and the United States. Since then, 27 official competitions have been held, along with three unofficial events, with the U.S Team winning 13, including that first one. Over the years, Teams from about two dozen countries have participated. The PALMA Council is the international ruling body and consists of one representative from each qualifying country. As written by this council, these events are dedicated “to sustain in its finest tradition the superb competition in long range rifle marksmanship, which since 1876 has engendered mutual understanding and friendship, warm goodwill, and above all good sportsmanship among marksmen.”
Palma shooting largely levels the playing field as everyone is forced to use less-than-optimum cartridges for the distances. This is an excellent way for people interested in precision long range shooting to develop wind reading skills. You will learn more about wind reading by shooting Palma matches, or a Palma rifle in long-range matches, than any other type of Highpower or Fullbore match.
Here’s how to build Palma rifles with gain twist barrels based on AR-15 receivers.
Carlos On Sierra Bullets
I have mentioned in a number of articles how the 90 grain Sierra Match King .224 bullet designed in 2005 was prone to mid-air blow ups due to jacket issues. I talked about this most recently in my December 2016 article, “Gain Twist Barrels For Palma.” Those of us who write frequently for American Gunsmith sometimes find our articles “in the pipeline” for awhile from the time they’re written until they are published. Changes can take place in that interim. This was the case with Sierra’s 90 grain bullet.
Sierra’s original 90 grain bullet remained on dealer shelves for nearly a decade in its original flawed condition. However, it was recently redesigned. I have been testing the newly redesigned Sierra with Berger 90 grain Match Boat Tail and Sierra’s new bullet appears to be blow-up proof. I have torture tested it and have experienced no failures and am obtaining speeds of 2,800 fps in 30” and 32” Palma barrels with stellar results. I also have customers using it and they like it. Accuracy is comparable to the Berger and the ballistic coefficient of the new Sierra is higher than any other 90 grain AR-15 bullet on the market.
I’d like to formally update the record and apologize to Sierra for statements that were correct when written but out of date regarding the new bullet when published in my December 2016 article. Readers should be careful when purchasing Sierra 90s to be certain they are getting the new bullet. I would be leery of any boxes of 90 grain SMKs that have been on dealer shelves for much longer than a year as they may be of the old design. If the dealer will permit you to open the box, the new bullet is factory pointed (which helps attain the high ballistic coefficient) and the older bullet has an open hollow point.
Thanks for your understanding and look for a full article on the new bullet in the near future.
– Joe Carlos
Read more in the December 2016 issue.