target rifles


The False Muzzle,

When it came to target shooting back in the muzzleloader days, say around the 1840′s to 1860′s, shooters had to be especially attentive to the fine details of their equipment.  From exacting standards in casting bullets to precise measurements of gunpowder, even the slightest oversight could mean the difference between 1st prize and runner up.  In the mid 19th century one popular device was invented to aid the muzzleloading target shooter called the “False Muzzle”.  The false muzzle was a brass attachment that was placed on the end of the rifle’s muzzle to aid target shooters in loading.  The first few inches were of the device were smoothbore and shaped shaped like a funnel.  This made it easier for the user to start the bullet.  The last few inches were rifled, with the rifling exactly matching the rifling of the firearm.  Typically when the bore of the firearm was rifled, the device was attached so it too would be rifled identical to the rest of the firearm. When shooting, the user would place the false muzzle on the rifle, then load the rifle with powder, a bullet, and a patch (or a pre-measured paper cartridge).  The user would then remove the false muzzle before firing.

 The purpose of a false muzzle device was twofold.  First, it allowed the user to seat the bullet straighter, more evenly, and with more precision.  Secondly, and more importantly, it protected the crown of the bore.  The crown is the exact opening where the bullet leaves the barrel. 

 Any knick, scratch, or other deformation of the crown can cause uneven escape of gasses when the bullet exits through the crown.  When seating the bullet in the muzzle, if one is not careful it is very easy to damage the crown with the ramrod, or just through good old wear and tear.  The false muzzle thus protected the crown from such damage.

False muzzles were popular in target shooting from the 1850′s up to the 1870′s.  After the 1870′s they became less common as muzzleloaders gave way to metallic cartridge firearms.  


Whitworth target rifle

Designed in 1858, manufactured in Birmingham, United Kingdom c.1863.
.451(bore)/.475(rifling), hexagonal lead bullet, caplock, single shot.

One of the most sough-after long-distance rifle in both side of the American Civil War, one such rifle was used by a Confederate sniper at the battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse to land a hit just below Union Major General John “Uncle John” Sedgwick’s left eye, who himself probably gave us the best last word ever uttered :

“What? Men dodging this way for single bullets? What will you do when they open fire along the whole line? Why are you dodging like this? They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.”

Another Whitworth rifle fitted with a William Malcolm scope.

Efi and Torbjörn though.

Like, the dude has already a bazillion kids, and if you consider that Rein probably only visits on holidays/when he can spare the time and that Ana’s last contact with small children was about two decades ago, Torbjörn is really the only guy who has any idea how to act around a child.

He’s the one to tell D.Va (from a safe distance, mind you) that children of Efi’s age may be geniuses but they have yet to learn that intricate balance between ‘just enough sweets’ and ‘sugar high’ (some *cough* McCree *cough* never learn it) and that Mountain Dew is not a healthy choice for anyone, much less a pre-teen.

When Jack tries to live up to his Dad reputation Torbjörn runs interference and advises him to buy Efi a nerf gun first before he lets her use his rifle for target practice.

Ana tries to remember what Fareeha was like at that age and gifts Efi toys fit for a six year old instead because at some point you just forget kids aren’t all the same from age 1 to 12. 

So at the end of that day it’s Torb and Efi sitting around a table, the latter making a memo to sign the team up for babysitting because people, this is shameful, and Efi wondering if she’s part of an elaborate prank or if those really are the people who save the world on a regular basis.

It’s alright, though, because Ana’s well-meaning but inappropriate gift features all the necessary parts for an impromptu engineering project and she may not yet possess the muscle tone to fire Jack’s rifle but he’s let her have one of his biotic fields (in the true nature of a man who will give a child anything they want as long as they go away and keep quiet) and she’s already in the process of reverse engineering it and Torbjörn is as great an engineer as she is so they’re bound to have some fun.

Balance in Single-Player CRPGs

Someone on twitter asked me this question and I think it’s worth answering in a longer form than twitter allows.  I’ve already answered this question in brief and in video form at various points, but I think it’s important to address here:

Something that bothered me from PoE was the constant updating to classes and races to balance them. Did you guys worry about this>

In Baldur’s Gate I or II or even the Icewind Dale series? I mean really who cares if one class is OP or Race or Hybrid class? >>

You guys are making a single-player RPG not an MMO or game with a online multiplayer component.

Variants of this question are common in single-player CRPG circles.  The implication is that balance is important in an MMO/multiplayer environment but it is not important (or so much less important that it doesn’t merit addressing in patches) in a single-player CRPG.

I would like to repudiate this in two general ways: 1) I will argue that overall balance is important and valuable for players in single-player CRPGs 2) I will argue that individual CRPG players and CRPG communities overall do not present consistent objections to tuning and this undermines the general complaint.  It is not the responsibility of individuals or communities to be consistent in their feedback, but it is the job of the designer to design, which means considering the needs of the audience by listening to and interpreting feedback on a broader scale.

Yes, Balance is Important in Single-Player CRPGs

I think it’s easy enough to make the first point through reductio ad absurdum: why not give AD&D fighters 1d4 hit points per level, a worse THAC0 than wizards, and worse saving throws than any other class?  Obviously it’s because playing them would feel terrible.  Why don’t we give all of the enemies attacks that do 1-3 damage, a quarter of the hit points of the PCs, and rock-bottom defenses?  Because playing through that would feel boring for anyone who had the slightest interest in combat content and systems.

Some may say, “Hey, no one is arguing that balance isn’t important at all,” but in fact that is what many people directly say or suggest.  Maybe they don’t really mean it (which I will get to later), but that is often what comes up.  If we can agree that some degree of balance is important, then there’s no point in suggesting anything to the contrary and we’re really just debating to what degree is balance important and worth a) design consideration pre-launch and b) patching.

In my view, balance in a single-player CRPG is important to the extent that it allows players making different character and gear choices to be viable through the content of the game.  It is always important to remember that system design (including class, race, ability/spell, and item design) is one part of the equation.  Content makes up the other big part (setting aside UI/UX for purposes of this discussion).

When our area and system designers build encounters, they have to be built around an understanding of party capabilities: their overall statistics, their available gear, their consumable items, and their various abilities.  In a traditional D&D-style CRPG, this spectrum of possibility gets wider and wider the higher the levels get and the more gear becomes available to the player.  The less balanced individual choices are from level to level and item to item, the more difficult it is for area designers to design content that works for a spectrum of choices.

It Was Actually a Problem in the Infinity Engine Games

One of the questions was, “Did you guys worry about this in… even the Icewind Dale series?”  Well, no.  I certainly didn’t worry about it in the original Icewind Dale.  I assumed everyone who picked up the game was as conversant as me in AD&D 2nd Ed/Forgotten Realms rules and lore, had played hundreds of hours of it in tabletop with similarly aggressive psychogamers, and had weathered fair but diabolically brutal DMs whose scenarios demanded quick thinking and ruthless min-maxing tactics.

You might not believe the number of Black Isle QA testers (and developers) who yelled or cried in anger, virtually or in person, about how difficult some of the IWD scenarios were.  One in particular was the Idol/priest fight in Lower Dorn’s Deep.  I had a tester hootin’ and hollerin’ about how it was “impossible”, how he had tried to beat it for two hours and couldn’t make any progress.  It was a scenario that I and my office mate (Kihan Pak) both beat on the first try.

On Heart of Winter, Burial Isle practically split QA in half.  One half thought it was a cakewalk.  The others acted like they were being forced to dive into a swimming pool full of razor blades.

The dividing factor was system mastery.  AD&D 2nd Edition (and 3E) are systems with a boatload of trap choices, inherently bad builds, garbage spells/feats, and generally inferior options.  They’re not presented as inferior options to the player.  They’re presented as options… that turn out to be implicitly awful even in the best circumstances.  To the next part of the question, “I mean really who cares if one class is OP or Race or Hybrid class?”  The answer is, “The person being brutalized by content designed for the OP classes/races because they picked the ‘bad’ option.”

The broader that spectrum of choices is for players, the more difficult it is to design content that will be at a similar level of challenge for those players given any given combination of choices within that spectrum.  And to restate what I wrote before, the balance is mostly important to the extent that viability, i.e., the ability to get through the content, is supported.  BG, BG2, IWD, and IWD2 often failed that test.  Once viability is addressed, I’m not particularly concerned about balance.

Tuning Down High-Powered Outliers

The exceptions are abilities and items that are so incredibly powerful across the board that it’s almost impossible to make any content challenging with them in play.  If we design content to be challenging with those abilities/items in mind, any players who lack those abilities and items will effectively be crit path blocked.  Their game has either ended or become so incredibly difficult that it’s no longer enjoyable.  And if we don’t design content with the overpowered abilities and items in mind, any player who coincidentally or intentionally uses those items effectively no longer has any challenge going through the game.  It becomes an unlabeled Easy difficulty slider rendering all other options/choices irrelevant.

In those cases, I advocate reducing the power of the abilities/items so players don’t trip over “Hey I guess I win” options and our testers can still use them in playthroughs and give meaningful feedback.  There is one salient example I can think of: sniper rifles in Fallout: New Vegas.  In Fallout 3, Bethesda had given sniper rifles a x5 crit rate modifier.  Keep in mind that any attack from stealth (e.g. shooting an unaware target with a sniper rifle from long range) is automatically a crit.  The x5 multiplier made even standard/close range combat shots have an incredibly high chance of critting.  I didn’t notice that sniper rifles had that multiplier and it didn’t come up in testing prior to release.  In release, players noticed it quickly and sniper rifles became the de facto way to handle most encounters.  Why use a 12.7mm SMG or hunting pistol when any shot from a sniper rifle was likely to crit and do 90+ damage?

In one of the first patches, I reduced the crit rate multiplier to x2.  There was initially a lot of complaining about it, as there always is when anything is tuned down, no matter how overpowered, but the sniper rifle retained its role and continues to be used in that role. It’s a sniper rifle. It’s good at sniping. It doesn’t need to be great at close range.

Inconsistent Player Feedback

There is one trend about player feedback regarding tuning that’s hard to argue against: communities generally complain about tuning anything down but applaud (or at least do not complain about) tuning things up.  I can tune up 10 things in a patch and detune one thing and will hear far more feedback about the one thing that was detuned, no matter how marginal or necessary that detuning was.  If there’s negative feedback about tuning something up, it’s usually because players feel it needs to be tuned up more.

In Patch 3.03 for Pillars of Eternity, Matt Sheets and I tuned up seven rogue abilities, five barbarian abilities, and a variety of other spells and abilities. Players generally seemed to like this, though some wished the rogue abilities had been tuned up more.

In Patch 3.04, the soulbound dagger The Unlabored Blade had a bug fixed where its 10% Firebug proc was never firing.  Two weeks later, Patch 3.05 reduced the 10% proc to 3%. This was a change I had requested for 3.04 but it had been overlooked.  I requested the change because daggers have a fast attack rate and that dagger has a +20% attack rate enchantment.

Which set of changes do you think I heard more feedback about?  If you guessed the marginal drop in proc rate on the soulbound item that had only worked properly for two weeks, you’d be right.  The rogue and barbarian changes affect far more players and more significantly, but “loss” (even if imagined for most players) weighs more heavily.

Despite having a reputation for only detuning, I tuned many more abilities and items up in PoE patches (and in F:NV patches, as well as the JSawyer mod) than down.  Players remember the losses more than the gains, but both are a necessary part of the tuning process.

I could abstain from tuning, but I don’t think most players would benefit from that.  Players remember early Diablo 3 tuning as particularly bad, but the game at launch (especially the economy and itemization) was poorly balanced, as Travis Day elaborated on in his 2017 GDC talk.  In the long term, Diablo 3′s economy and itemization today are much better than they were at launch and I believe most players benefit from and appreciate that.  Even if you effectively never played D3 as a multiplayer game, you still benefit from that.

I don’t expect players or communities to be consistent in their feedback, but as the director and, in many cases, the lone system designer, I have to make decisions on more than just the volume of feedback on any particular topic.  Changes that make bad options better are almost universally good.  Changes that make overpowered options worse are often still a good idea if I believe more players will benefit from the change.  I didn’t hesitate to reduce the Petrified damage bonus from x4 to x2 in Pillars of Eternity because that affliction was far and away the best way to deal with difficult encounters, either through the Gaze of the Adragan spell or trap.

I Will Tune Again

Just to make this clear, while there will always be a point where I stop tuning a particular game, I’m never going to stop using patches as an opportunity to balance items, abilities, classes, encounters, enemies, etc.  I’ve been house-ruling and tuning games since I noticed trap options and OP garbage in 2nd Edition AD&D in middle school.  I re-wrote 5th Edition Ars Magica’s certamen system because it’s a cool idea that’s really uninteresting in play.  I re-wrote Pathfinder/3.X’s armor system because, as many players have noted, it doesn’t actually provide many interesting options.

If I think players will benefit from adjusting the rules or the content and there’s an opportunity to make those changes, I’m going to do it.  I certainly don’t expect players to like all of the changes I make, but if you object to the idea of post-launch balancing, you should probably never play any of the games I direct.  I’m always going to tune them, if possible.

Thanks for reading.

Portrait by Jason Seow.


Colt Match Target

A somewhat odd combination; a match grade target rifle but chambered n 7.62x39mm. Note the lack of a threaded barrel for the use of muzzle devices. Majority of early AR-15 rifles chambered in the Russian caliber use a hybrid magazine that combines the AR and AK mag together. Generally most AR-15′s in 7.62x39 are not very popular, similar to the way most AK’s in .223/5.56x45mm are not popular. (GRH)

Shance fic idea

An AU where: 

- the Kerberos mission was a success 

- Shiro was very very famous because of it 

- Shiro was stil Lance’s hero and wishes to work with him/ aspire to be like him 

- And so he strived to be the best damn pilot there is 

- cue Keith side story about rivalry, competition, and envy of Keith’s related closeness to Shiro 

- Anyway, Lance had the opportunity to go to space but not with Shiro but that’s ok because SPACE! 

- Shiro was the one in charge of prepping/training Lance for the mission 



- a lot of GOOD JOBS and TOMATO FACE Lance (or Shiro) 


 - Ahem… and so the day of the launch Shiro wishes Lance good luck and BOOM! Lance is in space 

- everything goes wrong because Lance and his crew gets captured by the Galra 

- role reversal people! ( oh lord now i remember what it’s called ) 

i got a little carried away :D it gets darker from here

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Shoreline - Chapter 1/4

Olicity Navy Seal AU - rated M, for violence and sexy times.

Can a wounded Navy Seal find his way back to the living?

A/N: This is dedicated to all our warriors.


Chapter 1

Zero Dark Thirty, 50 miles from Mogadishu Somalia, the Horn of Africa.

Beads of sweat trickled down the center of Chief Petty Officer, Oliver Queen’s back as he and five members of his covert special forces Seal team crept stealthily through the outskirts of the urban town.  Night vision goggles bathed his vision in a swath of distinctive green.  Their mission was to hike two clicks into the western corridor of the town, manned and owned by the terrorist group, Al Shabab – Al Qaeda’s third-largest affiliate, and rescue an American teacher kidnapped from a school in the coastal region.  The physical condition of the held female teacher was an unknown, but one that would only worsen as her captivity went on.

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Dream Snooping Alternate Version

Sooooooo, I had intended this story to remain a one-shot, but some people’s comments (including one in AO3 from @squigglydigg / @squigglydigglydoo herself) gave me quite a bunch of ideas for an alternate timeline(?) that wouldn’t leave me alone. I should actually be studying, but I had no Internet for most of the day and I used that as an excuse to write this in two sittings, XD.

           I’m not entirely convinced about the format and descriptions in this one but I don’t really know how to change it anymore. Hopefully this didn’t come out excessively angsty. And I hope I got Henry right! Last chapter he didn’t even get to talk, so this is my first time actually depicting him, haha! The story is both in ffnet and AO3 if that’s more your style! But enough talking already. I hope you enjoy!

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More Spartans!
  • Spartan!Ruby, at the base's firing range, carefully aiming down her target with her sniper rifle, zeroing in on its position, then firing two shots into the target's "chest" taking down the shield and blowing a hole into the target: Two.
  • Spartan!Weiss, taking aim with her DMR and sends four shots to the target's center, dropping its shields, then a single shot to the head of the target, slightly irritated: Five...
  • Spartan!Blake, aiming her M6C Magnum down range, and fires seven shots into her target, dropping the shields at the fifth shot: Six. But seven for good measure.
  • Spartan!Yang, her target considerably closer than the rest of her teams', pointing her shotgun directly towards it with a single arm, firing a single shot that rips through the shields and tears the target apart, with a cocky tune: One~
What I learned in my first 3gun matches

I’ve done three multi/3gun matches in the past month and I figured I’d kinda write a little about what I learned and somethings I’ll be working on to get better. Being completely new to firearms competitions, no USPA, IDPA…anything… i had no idea what the matches were going to be like. 

The first thing i learned is… its pretty hard. The events are not just shooting, there is running, obstacles, weird rules for certain stages (such as target sequences, firing positions, etc.) and some times you have to carry heavy objects (I’ve already eaten dirt a few times.. not pretty). The point is it can be as intense as you want it to be, but the club I’ve shot with loves to have people come that aren’t potential badasses, so don’t be discouraged if you’re just out to test yourself, have fun or just shoot for the hell of it. I personally am trying to improve enough to actually compete ( I cant play a sport just to play, I want to be good, but that’s just me) 

The second thing I learned was that this is going to cost a lot of money if i really want to take on the sport. Already having a pistol and rifle my first addition to my rig would be a shotgun (ill get more into that later), after watching a few matches before i started to play the game I’d decided to get semi-auto. I bought the shotgun, then a side shell holder, then a jimmy clip for shells on my belt, I needed a good retention pistol mag holster, an AR mag holster… See where Im going with this? (granted you can get by using pockets if you just want to play, but this post isn’t really for those guys). On top of equipment most round counts in clubs are 150 for pistol, 150 rifle, 75 target shells and 10 slugs… you’ll also be shooting steel a bunch, so bi metal ammo and steel core are off limits (this means no tul ammo or red army). So in my area that cost about 150 bucks if I’m buying that ammo new, I personally only train with reloads, I’d rather be super sure about my ammo at a match. So yeah, its a lot of money, though there are ways to keep it cheaper, I’m sure. 

On my equipment.

For my rifle I used one I built. 16 inch barrel, standard BCG, magpul stock, Milspec pistol grip, Vltor rail, SOTA upper, Bushnell drop zone 1x4 223 optic, and an Elftmann tactical 3gun trigger. Besides the rail and trigger its pretty standard. 
Worked fine but I did get some light primer strikes on the Elftmann trigger so I ended up changing it to a CMC trigger, I really like Elft’s triggers but I would rather have them in my MPX than my competition rifle because my CMC is just more dependable in my lil ole opinion. 

My Bushnell optic works well for the $120 i spent on it, though I rarely train with magnified optics so I’ve had a lot to learn about them. I’m more of an irons/red dot kinda chick. The optic does get me through about 500 rounds without the zero getting off, but it needs to be checked before each match in my opinion ( my last match i suffered quite a bit because i thought it was “good to go”). 

My pistol is a Sig P226, though, Ive recently been thinking about changing this platform to a Sig P320 full size RX, (This will put me in the open division instead of the tactical division) or a CZ P-09 for a few reasons, the first being the weight of my 226. The p226 has a metal frame and is considerably heavier than a polymer gun. While this is my favorite pistol in my personal collection, I think ill be getting a polymer CZ P-09… but only because its more available than the Sig P320 RX full size model, plus from what I understand there are more aftermarket parts for the P-09. All that said, my P226 performs pretty well, and its a pretty accurate gun so replacing it isn’t a super big priority right now. 

On to my shotgun: I chose a CZ 712 Semi Auto 12 gauge. For the price of $485-ish I thought it would be a good start for 3 gunning. The only thing I did to this gun was buy an extended magazine tube to increase my guns capacity from 4+1 to 11+1. The magazine tube extends past the end about 7 inches from a 20 inch barrel, its kinda ostentatious if I’m being real here. I did end up cerakoting it bazooka green because I’m a tad did ostentatious myself. 

The shotgun ran through about 600-ish rounds perfectly but now I’m having a few issues with it, maybe once I get it performing well again ill expand on that.

My first match

The match started around 930 with a shooters safety and stage brief, they even had a shorter one right before for new shooters. During the brief they discussed the importances of safety and the “180 rule”. The 180 rule is about the angle of where your muzzle can be pointed at all times. There is a zero tolerance policy with this, so even an accident puts you out for the day. I haven’t found it really difficult to maintain this rule, but I also saw a few people get close and having a range office yell “muzzle,muzzle!”, and i can see how if you’re not paying attention it could be an easy thing to do… which is why they spent 15 minutes talking about how its not only very unsafe and the most common DQ for new shooters. No one from my squad got a DQ that day. 

Some other things that could get you disqualified were flagging anyone, including yourself and dropping a fire arm. There are some other violations like running with your finger in a trigger guard, but I’m not sure if that disqualifies you for the entire event or not. 

My first stage was a rifle/pistol stage. The rules were that you started with an empty magazine in your rifle with the bolt forward and a magazine of 15 rounds holstered, from there you would reload the rifle and chamber it, and engage targets. The first two targets were paper silhouettes that needed to be engaged twice in the “B” zone or once in the “A” zone, after those targets were neutralized there were three steel silhouettes at 120,150, and 200 yards that needed one hit each. Once all of the rifle targets were hit (or you ran out of ammo I guess) you had to ditch the rifle on safe in a full barrel and move on to the pistol targets. First there was a steel target tree were you “send and receive” the round steel from side to side on six targets. The next ones were four sets of two, ten inch steel yellow targets set about 20 yards apart from each other that you would double tap each before moving on/running to the next. End stage. I did ok on that stage besides a few light primer strikes, finishing that stage with 144.85 seconds on the timer, nothing to write home about. 

I posted the rest of the stages from that day on youtube so thats really the only stage I’m going describe in detail. 

Moving on to the problems and more difficult aspects I’ve experienced. 

1. Shot gun reloads are the toughest part for me. Before I bought my CZ i can count the times Ive ever shot a shotgun on two hands, so this part of 3gun has been the most challenging. My goal is to spend the least amount of time reloading a shotgun as possible, the first match I did I had no way to hold shells and was picking them out of my pocket… this took up an insane amount of time and from them on out i made it a priority to get shell holders and practice shot guns a lot more. 

2. Finding a good holster for my pistol is now more of a priority. I’m running a drop leg serpa right now but i might be getting a safari land one after this season. During the first match I ran this serpa on my belt, but i didnt like reaching that far up my body to draw when I’m in a timed event. 

3. Planning out your stage more than just listening to the stage brief really is important. Visualizing your run a few times has helped me, if I dont do this I tend to move ahead of myself and have to repeat a target or literally take a step back. 

4. Failing to check or properly tune my equipment has been the worst of my issues lately. I’m getting far more anal about things that I used to not get upset over, after all, I’ve basically just been a plinker or an ammo waster for about two years now. When something happens on the range like a small equipment problem or a jam, its no big deal when you only get one shot at a stage thats timed… being a little competitive it’s harder to just brush it off and not beat myself up about it. 

Over all I’ve had a fantastic time even when I’m sucking really bad. No one is rude or snobby about me asking lots of annoying noob questions, even if you have a bad run they always say “good job” and its a very good way to spend an afternoon and make new friends. There were 70-something competitors at my first match and roughly 60 each at the others. for the record, I’m playing in mostly “outlaw” matches which are not a part of 3gun nation, but from what I hear the rules are basically the same. 

To anyone thinking about starting up 3gun: be prepared to have a fun time being humbled… and bring sunscreen 

If you need at TL:DR its probably not interesting to you anyway.