Top Benchrest Shooter Lou Murdica Talks With

by AJ | Last Updated: August 23, 2021

When it comes to reloading for precision and accuracy, nowhere is it more important in precision rifle shooting than in benchrest shooting disciplines.

Any seasoned shooter knows, once your rifle is built correctly, and your shooting method and technique is perfected, the accuracy comes down to consistency, and consistency in ammunition, comes down to the components and the reloading method.

Lou Murdica shooting 10x100BWA ELR
Lou shooting his 10×100 BWA ELR rifle

Lou Murdica

Most in the benchrest and precision rifle community either know, know of, or have read some information written by Lou Murdica. Some precision rifle disciplines Lou shoots are Benchrest (100,200,300), Benchrest Varmint (100,200,300), F-Open, FTR, F- Class Rimfire and Rimfire ARA. Lou has won numerous medals and awards in the FTR, Benchrest and other disciplines requiring extreme accuracy.

What shooting disciplines do you practice or compete in?

I compete monthly in F-class open 300 yard to 1000 yard, F-class FTR 300 yard to 1000 yard, 100, 200, and 300 yard benchrest group shooting, 100 ,200 and 300 yard score shooting, I compete in ARA rimfire, F-class rimfire and starting now to compete in ELR out to 2 miles. 

Lou Murdica Benchrest Shooting Tunnel
Lou’s tunnel shooting and rifle setup

How did you get started in reloading your own ammunition?

I started reloading in the late 70s and just target practicing and then started competing from 1984 on.

What is your main goal with reloading?

The main goal with reloading is accuracy.

Lou Murdica Benchrest 284 Winchester Rifle with Kelbly Action
Lou’s 284 Winchester with Kelbly Action and March Scope

What sequence do you follow when reloading virgin brass?

First thing I do with virgin brass is run it in a full Length sizing die without bumping the shoulder. Then I expand the neck and then neck turn it. Then size the neck. Then I load the brass and fire form.

What sequence do you follow when reloading fired brass?

First thing I do is anneal it with an AMP Annealer . Then I put it in a PMA tool Driver and case holder in my drill, and clean it with Scotch Brite. Then I size them in a bushing die and bump the shoulder back .001 to .002. Then I trim the length and then debur and chamfer for the mouth of case. Then I wire brush the inside of the neck. Then I use a cotton for swab with Molly on it and put it inside the neck. Lastly I clean and uniform the primer pockets before loading.

Do you anneal your brass and why?

I anneal every time with the AMP Annealer. Because it’s proven in the tunnel it makes a difference in accuracy.

What caliber do you shoot with and why?

In F-Class – Norma Dasher ,284 , 308, 300 WSM ,300 BBM

In ELR (Extreme Long Range) –  10×100 BWA

In Benchrest – 6 PPC , 30 Stewart, 22 walldog, 22 Lapua rimfire ammo

I find all these Cartridges to be very accurate, and have done well with all of them.

Lou Murdica 10x100 BWA Caliber Rifle

What does your reloading equipment consist of? (give details of brand and model)

In the tunnel I use an Area 419 Zero press, and AMP Annealer, and AMP Press and an AutoTrickler powder measure.

Lou Murdica Tunnel Reloading Bench
Lou’s Tunnel Reloading Bench

At a Benchrest match at the range I use a PMA Tool Lenzi press, an AMP Annealer, an AMP Press, an AutoTrickler powder measure and an RCBS charge master.

Lou Murdica Benchrest Range Reloading Bench
Lou’s benchrest range reloading bench

My dies are Wilson seating dies, Redding type S bushing dies or custom dies.

What load development method do you use to find a new load?

  1. I work up my load using a powder that fills the case.
  2. I start with bullet making almost a square mark from the lands of the barrel
  3. Then I load the powder on the light side and shoot 2 shot groups working up in powder 1/2 grain at a time until I start to see pressure signs.
  4. Then I look at the 2 shoot groups and shoot 3 shot groups of the loads that look good.
  5. Then I shoot 5 shot groups again from those that look good.
  6. I take the best group and then back off the lands .003 at a time and see if it can improve groups.

Do you do load development before, during or after barrel break in?

I brake my barrel in whilst fire forming brass, before doing load development.

What components does your rifle and optics that you currently use, consist of?

For my F-Class rifles I use: 

  • Cerus rifle stocks
  • Kelbly actions
  • Shilen and Bartlein barrels
  • Flavio Fare triggers 
  • March scopes 

For my benchrest rifles I use:

  • Kelbly and Scoville stocks 
  • Kelbly actions
  • Flavio Fare triggers
  • Shilen and Bartlein barrels
  • March scopes 

For my rimfire rifles I use:

  • Kelbly and Cerus rifle stocks
  • Kelbly actions 
  • Shilen barrels
Lou Murdica FTR F-Class 308 rifle
Lou’s FTR, F-Class 308 Winchester Chambered Rifle
Lou Murdica 22 Rimfire Rifle
Lou’s 22 Rimfire Rifle

What do you feel are your biggest factors resulting in your consistency?

What rear bag are you referring to when you say the proper rear bag, and what front rests do you use?

One of the most important things I’ve found out shooting in the tunnel is the importance of the rear bag, and how it will cause flyers if it does not fit right.

In benchrest I use a Lenzi front rest and rear bag. In F-Class I use a Seb front rest and a Lenzi bipod and Lenzi rear bags.

Are there any other points you may want to add?

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