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Everything a PRS Champ Carries at a Rifle Match

Everything a PRS Champ Carries at a Rifle Match – Austin Buschman Shooter Spotlight Part 2

This article is part of a series that is taking a deep dive with 6 of the most dominant precision rifle competitors in the world over the past several years. We’ll learn what gear they run and why they feel like those things give them the best chance of winning. They also share lots of shooting tips and strategies along the way! (View which 6 shooters and what all will be covered)

This is Part 2 of the spotlight on Austin Buschman, who has regularly found himself on the podium of pro-level, two-day Precision Rifle Series (PRS) matches for a few years, but over the past 2 years, he’s clearly become one of the winningest riflemen in the world. In 2022, he won the coveted PRS golden bullet for having the highest season points of any competitor in the PRS Open Division, which is arguably the highest honor in our sport. He also took 1st place at the inaugural IPRF World Championship in France. He’s currently tied for 1st in the 2023 PRS season rankings (alongside Morgun King). And in January 2023, Austin became the first shooter in history to clean a two-day PRS match, which means he fired 176 shots over two days without missing a single target!

Austin Bushman PRS Champion and World Champion Rifle Shooter

The previous article covered exhaustive detail about the 6 Dasher competition rifle he used to win all of those major titles. In this article, we’ll look at every single item Austin carries with him while he’s at a pro-level match and share when and how he uses different items. This includes things like how he calculates his ballistics, what shooting bags he uses on different stages, and WHY. So let’s dive in!

First, I’ll just show you a photo of everything he carries laid out, I’ll list out what each item is, and then we’ll take them one by one and share why he thinks each thing is worth him carrying on his back over a mile or more while he’s at a national level rifle competition.

Gear Austin Buschman Carries At A Match - Numbered
  1. Really Right Stuff (RRS) TVC-22i Mk2 SOAR Series Tripod with Innorel N52 Ball Head
  2. Vortex Recon R/T 15×50 Spotting Scope with MRAD Ranging Reticle in custom-made mount
  3. Homemade Tac Table with Grip Tape on Top (similar to JC Steel’s Tac Table design)
  4. Chamois Cloth
  5. Harris 6-9” bipod with Area 419 ARCA Clamp Mount and tension lock/handle
  6. Gray Ops CNC Mini Plate PRO with WieBad Mini Plate Bag
  7. MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X electronic ear muffs
  8. WieBad Wax Canvas (WC) Mini Fortune Cookie with heavy sand fill
  9. Microfiber Lens Cleaning Cloth
  10. Silicone Bulb Air Blower/Duster
  11. Zeiss Pre-Moistened Lens Cleaning Wipes
  12. Gunmaster Compact 8-Piece Pistol Cleaning Kit
  13. Hex Key Sets (SAE & Metric)
  14. Leg Extensions for Thunderbeast Bipod
  15. Elastic Weatherproof Rifle Cover (he couldn’t remember the brand)
  16. Otter Wax Fabric Wax Bar
  17. Soundgear Custom Fit Electronic Hearing Protection
  18. WieBad Wax Canvas (WC) Max Fortune Cookie with lightweight fill
  19. Spare batteries for Kestrel & ear protection
  20. Sunscreen
  21. Electrolyte Powder Packets to pour into water bottles
  22. Spare Bix’N Andy TacSport Pro trigger (including trigger hanger, screws, and wrenches)
  23. Dope cards for Vortex Defender scope caps & pens
  24. Kestrel 5700 Elite with Applied Ballistics and Link (along with a backup Kestrel)
  25. Leupold RX 2800 Rangefinder

Ballistics Solution: Kestrel 5700 Elite with Applied Ballistics

Kestrel 5700 Elite Ballistic Weather Station with Applied Ballistics
  • A Kestrel is a handheld weather station that measures local environmental conditions (temp, air pressure, humidity, etc.). A few different Kestrel models have ballistic engines built into them, and Austin uses the one with the Applied Ballistics solver.
  • Do you use a G7 BC, Custom Drag Model (CDM), or Personalized Drag Model (PDM) to calculate your ballistics? Austin: “I use the original CDM for the Berger 105 gr. Hybrid Target bullet, which is the bullet I shoot most of the time. I have found that particular CDM to be very accurate for every lot of 105 Hybrid bullets I have ever used. However, when I occasionally shoot a Berger 109 gr. Long Range Hybrid Target bullet, I use a G7 BC for that bullet. For PRS, I don’t think it matters if you use a G7 or special drag model because, in my experience, a guy can get the ballistics right either way.

If you aren’t familiar with CDM, PDM, G7, and other drag models, I’d HIGHLY recommend checking out these articles. It’s some of the most interesting content I’ve ever written and shares where big advancements are being made in our sport right now.

Truing Ballistics at 400, 600, 800, 1000 and 1200 yards
  • How do you “true” your ballistic solution? Austin: “I start by double-checking my zero, then shoot at 400, 600, 800, 1000, and 1200 yards. Because I use one of Applied Ballistic’s Custom Drag Models (CDM), I don’t have a way to adjust or true the drag. So I will simply adjust my muzzle velocity until the corrections my Kestrel says match what it actually took to center my shots on targets at those 5 distances. I very rarely use a chronograph to measure my velocity, but simply true the velocity to make it match my impacts at long range. Only trueing my velocity, instead of also trying to adjust the drag, really simplifies things. It seems like I can always get it to line up at every distance with that approach.” This approach surprised me (Cal, the author of PRB) a little, and I’d suspect it does some of my readers, too. So I asked, “Austin, do you mean that it lines up within +/- 1 or 2 clicks at every distance, but hits at some distances might be a little high or a little low compared to other distances?” Austin quickly and confidently replied, “No. It’s pretty much dead on. I’d say out to 800 yards, it’s within half of 1/10th of a mil (i.e., 0.05 mils). For example, if my Kestrel is calling for 3.24 mils at 600 yards, and I dial 3.2 on my scope, my bullet may hit just slightly low. The waterline of my group will be slightly low, so that tells me the firing solution in my Kestrel is very accurate. Beyond 800 yards, groups tend to open up a little naturally, so it’s hard to tell if it lines up perfectly, but I’d say the Kestrel’s predicted solution is at least within 0.1 mils all the way to 1200 yards or more.”
    • How he’d true ballistics when using a BC: Austin said the trueing process above is what he does most of the time since he is typically shooting Berger 105 Hybrid bullets and using the Applied Ballistics CDM for his drag profile. But, if he is using a normal BC, Austin said, “I do find it necessary to true up BC in a pretty standard way with other bullets I’m less familiar with. When I do have to use a G7 BC, I generally check zero, then go back and forth between 600 and 1200 yards for several iterations, adjusting velocity to make shots line up at 600 and adjusting BC to make shots line up at 1,200 yards. Then I finish by checking with a few shots at each distance from 400 to 1,200.”
    • How he’d true ballistics when using a PDM (Personalized Drag Model): Austin: “I have never had a chance to shoot over the Applied Ballistics radar to get a true PDM, but if I did, I would only adjust velocity after that point until I changed something.”
  • Here is more context from our conversation on how the top shooters adjust so their firing solution matches their impacts at a match. Austin: “The top shooters are so good at getting their rifle squared away, many of them, within the first stages of a match, will have found that their zero or their ballistics were slightly off, and they’ll have already corrected for those things by the time they finish their second stage of a two-day match. Regardless of whether their ballistics and zero were perfect when they showed up, it will be perfect by the time they’re twenty shots into the match. For example, they may notice they’re hitting low at every distance on the first troop line. They’ll think, ‘Well, I was a tenth low on every target,’ so they adjust their zero immediately upon realizing that because the only thing that could mean is that their zero is off. Or, they might notice their impacts on a 400-yard target were dead on, but they started trending low by the time they got out to the 1000-yard target. Well, the only thing that could be is velocity, so they adjust their velocity. They make adjustments to those things very quickly, based on their experience. So the only factor left for top shooters is the mental game.” (Note: Austin will share more about the mental game in Part 4.)
  • Do you enter all the stages and distances before the match? Austin: “I just started doing this 2 matches ago, and I really like it. I will be doing that from now on.” (Note: Last year, Kestrel released a new feature that allows you to enter all the target distances for up to 30 stages using a feature called “sectors. That can make it faster to calculate your solution or more straightforward to adjust for shifting wind conditions on the day of the match. However, the new target sectors feature is only available on the Kestrel 5700 Elite or Kestrel 5700X – not the Kestrel with Hornady 4DOF or other models. Watch the video below from Mike at Phalanx Arms for step-by-step instructions on how to do it, or download Kestrel’s PDF instructions.)
Austin's Dope Card in Vortex Defender Scope Cap
  • How many wind holds do you write down? Austin: “I usually only write down one wind hold, but I never write down more than two. Some of that is due to the space available on my dope card that fits in my scope cap, but I also don’t find that I ever need more than two. Even if I only have one, I don’t find it difficult to adjust to changing conditions on the clock, figure out what it would take to center up a shot, and apply that to the next targets.” What I’ve learned in a few conversations with Austin is that he is very quick at doing calculations in his head, and he also is able to keep a calm and clear mind while he is on the clock during a stage, which allows him to do this while many other shooters struggle with that approach. Austin said, “To me, that is fun; to think, ‘Okay, the wind went down by this much on that target, so at the next target distance, what is that number for the wind hold going to be?’” It turns out he is VERY good at that! 😉
  • Austin uses Rite in the Rain waterproof cardstock paper, prints a grid on both sides of it, and then cuts it to fit into the Vortex Defender scope cap. You’ll see he carries a stack of those cards and pens (Item #23 in the layout photo at the top) with him at every match.
  • Do you mark your elevation turret before any stages at a match? Austin: “No. I tried it and didn’t like it. For me, I don’t think it made it any easier than just dialing to the number.” (Note: This is a recent trend among many shooters. They use a wet-erase marker to mark their adjustments on their scope turret before a stage, which can help you dial for targets faster or prevent dialing the wrong adjustment while on the clock.)
  • Notice that Austin carries his primary Kestrel ballistic weather station and a backup Kestrel in his pack. The old military saying is, “Two is one, and one is none.” If Austin’s Kestrel stopped working mid-match, it might cost him a win – which is why he has a backup ready to go.

Shooting Bags

Austin carries 2 traditional shooting bags with him at every match, plus 1 more bag that is more of a specialty bag used in niche scenarios. Here are his two primary shooting bags:

Otter Wax for Wax Canvas Shooting Bag
  1. WieBad Wax Canvas (WC) Mini Fortune Cookie with heavy sand fill: Austin uses this bag on every positional/barricade stage. He usually places this bag on a prop (rock, pipes, barricade, etc.) and then rests his rifle’s forend on top of it. The heavy sand fill creates an extremely stable shooting position, but the bag weighs 7.8 lbs. Austin: “This might interest people: I wax this bag pretty often. I like it to be real tacky. I use Otter Wax, which looks like a little bar of soap. I might rewax it right before a positional stage if I want it to be a little bit more tacky. And I make it a point not to drop it in the dirt if I don’t have to during the day because I don’t want to mess up the tacky wax surface. On some stages, it might be better for me to use that same bag for some positional shots and then also use it as a rear bag, and if that’s the case, I don’t worry about it and let it get dirty. But, most of the time, I’ll use my other bag as my rear bag, and this one is primarily for positional shots.”
  2. WieBad Wax Canvas (WC) Max Fortune Cookie with lightweight fill: This is Austin’s primary rear bag, meaning he uses it under the butt of the rifle while shooting from a prone or modified prone position. This bag with lightweight fill weighs 2.2 lbs. Austin said the lightweight fill makes this bag “easier to fluff up. It seems to hold its position when I squeeze it. When I squeeze a bag with sand fill, it wants to kind of settle back down on its own, and you have to really work hard to get height out of your rear bag. But with the light fill, it’s very easy to fluff it up, and I don’t need it to be really firm in order to stay stable. When I first started, I used a really small rear bag, and then I eventually learned you almost can’t have a big enough rear bag. You can always use the corner of it if you need to get down really low, and if you need to get up really high, then you can stand it on its end and fluff it up. I can go to almost a foot high with that bag if I had to on a stage, and I can go down to the dirt on the low end if I need to.
Wiebad Fortune Cookie Shooting Bag Size Comparison
  • Why do you prefer the WieBad Fortune Cookie over the AG Game Changer? Austin: “I honestly haven’t ever tried a GameChanger with sand fill, at least that I can remember. I’m not sure I could give a reason one has an advantage over the other. I really like my WieBad bags because of the sand fill and the canvas material. The waxy canvas molds to props and to the rifle’s fore-end with very little effort after it’s broken in. I’ve seen enough good shooters shoot with their sand-filled AG bags that I know those work also.”
Gray Ops Mini Plate PRO with Bag
  • 3rd “Specialty” Bag: Gray Ops CNC Mini Plate PRO with WieBad Mini Plate Bag. This plate/bag combo stays in Austin’s pack for most stages, but he does run this mini plate with a bag attached in niche scenarios when he can’t run a bipod but could get in a modified prone position some other way (see photo below). Austin: “I only use this bag attached all the way out on the very end of the fore-end when I’m going to use a tripod or another bag for rear support. This plate/bag combo is basically used in place of a bipod if I can’t use a bipod for some reason – like on a cattle gate or something else where bipod legs won’t stand on it.
Austin Bushman with Gray Ops Mini Plate PRO with Wiebad Mini Plate Bag

Tripod: Really Right Stuff (RRS) TVC-22i Mk2 SOAR Series Tripod

Really Right Stuff RRS 2 Leg Tripod TVC-22i Mk2 for PRS Matches Rifle Shooting
  • Austin: “I probably would have never bought this tripod, but I picked it up off a prize table at a match. Now that I’ve been using it for a few years, if the one I have broke, I’d immediately be looking to buy another one. Without owning one and using it for years, I’d never would have guessed how much I like it.
  • You may hear some shooters refer to this tripod as “the gamer tripod” because it has a few novel features that were specifically designed for precision rifle competitions. First, each leg only has 2 sections. Most tripods have 3 or 4 sections per leg, which makes them very compact when fully collapsed. The collapsed/folded height for this RRS TVC-22i tripod is 38.2” without a head (compared to 23.3” of the other popular RRS tripod for rifle shooting), which makes traveling with it less convenient. You get some funny looks when you carry it onto a plane – ask me how I know! 😉 Another unique feature is that the leg sections are inverted, meaning the bottom section has a bigger diameter than the top section (most tripods are the opposite). 2 section legs means you only have 3 twist locks to touch to get the tripod deployed (instead of 6 or 9 leg locks with traditional tripods), and the inverted design allows you to extend and lock a leg with one fluid motion. Those features allow you to deploy the tripod significantly faster than any other design on the market (crucial for matches that require you to deploy a tripod while on the clock). Like all RRS tripods, it’s incredibly rigid and stable.
  • Do you use this tripod as a rear rest at matches? Yes. (The photo below shows this technique, which is where a shooter uses a tripod leg to steady the rear of the rifle while shooting off a barricade/prop.)
Austin Buschman with Rear Tripod Shooting Support in PRS Match
  • Do you think you use a “rear tripod” more or less than other pro shooters? Austin: “Before the 2022 season, I would say that I used a rear tripod less than other pro shooters. I felt like I was a good enough positional shooter that I could clean any stage with a single bag. With my mini fortune cookie bag under the fore-end, I didn’t think there was a stage out there where I couldn’t hit a target with that bag. And it may be true that if you do everything right and get a little lucky, you might be able to clean any stage out there with a single bag – but there are a lot of stages where you can increase your probability of a clean score by using a rear tripod. Around the middle of the year last year, I really started to believe in that and use it to my advantage. Today I’m looking to get any advantage I can on a stage, so if I think I can use a rear tripod and still finish the stage in time, I will. It’s just something you do to up your probability of getting all your hits. I don’t know if I use it more than other pros today. I’d have to say about the same amount.”
  • His tripod head is an Innorel N52 Ball Head. When I first asked Austin what brand it was, he couldn’t remember and had to go look at it to see. He said he really doesn’t care what the ball head is. Austin: “I never shoot off the ball head, so it kind of doesn’t matter to me what ball head it is because I’m only going to use it for the spotting scope. If I ever need to shoot a rifle off the tripod, I will unscrew the ball head and take it completely off, and then I’ll put my sandbag on top of the tripod and rest the fore-end of the rifle on it just the same way I shoot all positional stages. It’s just super easy to aim and pan the gun around, and I don’t have to work a tension knob or lock anything on the tripod. I also feel like the rifle has less vibration riding on top of a sandbag than if you’re clamped into a tripod head. When the rifle is clamped into a tripod, I feel like there is some flex from the ball head and the ARCA clamp that makes you constantly have some wiggle in your crosshairs.”

Homemade Tac Table

Tac Table for PRS Tripod Rifle Shooting
  • What many shooters refer to as a “tac table” or “tactical table” is a small flat surface that attaches to a tripod. There seem to be a hundred designs on the market now, and most of them are made of aluminum. I believe Jake Vibbert, a legendary PRS/NRL shooter and owner of JC Steel Targets, made the first commercially available version, which is what is shown in the photo (link to his Tac Table Gen 2 product page).
  • Austin made a custom/homemade version that is similar. Austin: “I made a tac table myself out of aluminum. I just bought an arca rail off Amazon that is about 2-3 inches long and bolted it to the plate. Then I covered the top with grip tape.”
  • Austin is using a tac table in the photo below. With this setup, he simply has a rear bag on top of the table, which basically makes that awkward barricade position more similar to a prone shot. Pro shooters are masters at finding creative ways to get a steady shot from improvised positions – and that position looks extremely stable!
Austin Buschman with RRS Rear Tripod and Gray Ops Plate in PRS Match

Spotting Scope or Binoculars: Vortex Recon R/T 15×50 Spotting Scope

Vortex Recon RT 15x50 RT155 Spotting Scope with Reticle
  • What do you use to find targets and spot shots for other shooters? Austin uses a Vortex Recon RT 15×50 fixed power spotting scope that has a mil-based ranging reticle in it. Austin has lost vision out of one eye, so he said he clearly doesn’t need binoculars, so this monocular works great for him. Austin: “I love that it has a reticle and that it’s small and compact. It focuses very easily and makes it really easy to watch bullet trace.
  • Austin built a custom tripod mount for his spotting scope that is more solid than the included mount. He machined it out of a block of aluminum.
  • Do you mil/measure every target before a stage? Austin: “I don’t mil every target, but I might check a couple of them on a stage.” Most pros have seen a ton of targets over their career, and Austin said they could usually guess the angular width of a target within 0.1 mils just looking through binoculars without a reticle – and he’s seen some guess target sizes within 0.05 mils. He said he might inevitably end up measuring all of the targets on a stage because often other shooters in his squad might ask him how wide a certain target is since he is sometimes the only person in the group with a reticle in his spotting scope or binoculars. (Note: Often, shooters want to know the angular width of a target in MOA or mils because they use that measurement to decide what to hold for their wind correction. If they aren’t sure if their wind hold should be 0.8 mils or 1.2 mils, if the target is 0.5 mils wide, they can just put a 1.0 mil hold in the center, and theoretically, any wind drift from 0.75 mils to 1.25 mils would result in a hit. If the target was only 0.3 mils wide, then you may need to decide if it’s more likely to be closer to 0.8 or 1.2 and potentially favor one side of that range or the other.)
Leupold RX 2800 Rangefinder

Rangefinder: Leupold RX 2800

  • Do you carry this to most matches? Yes
  • Do you range every target at a match? Austin: “No. I don’t use my rangefinder very often. I mostly just trust the distances match directors provide in the match book. I really only double-check a range if I suspect a target distance is wrong for some reason, like if I hear someone say it’s wrong or if it seems like all the other shooters before me are consistently hitting high or low.”

Ear Protection

  • A couple of years ago, Austin said he would notice his ears would ring for a couple of days after shooting a match. The muzzle brakes at these matches are loud! So he upgraded his ear protection to the MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X electronic ear muffs – and he loves them. No more ringing, even after a two-day match! These are what he prefers to wear because they are so good at suppressing loud muzzle brakes.
  • If the match is hot, Austin usually wears a sun hat – and when he does that, he uses Soundgear Custom Fit Electronic Hearing Protection – Platinum. Those are in-ear protection instead of muffs. These are the ones that you have to go to an audiologist and get a custom ear mold made for, which means they are very comfortable to wear.
Austin with his in-ear custom molded ear protection and sun hat
  • Why do you prefer the muffs over the in-ear? Austin: “I feel like the muffs protect a little bit better or have a little bit better sound. That’s the only reason. The custom-molded, in-ear is more comfortable. They’re pretty close to the same decibel rating/reduction, but I guess I just hate the thought of losing my hearing.
Austin Buschman Shooting Precision Rifle with Ear Protection

Extra Bipod & Bipod Accessories

Thunder Beast Bipod Leg Extensions
  • Leg Extensions for Thunder Beast Bipod: Austin: “If I can tell before a stage that will need a taller bipod, I will put these on.” With these on and fully extended, you can get up to 12 inches of height from the Thunder Beast bipod.
  • Harris 6-9” bipod with Area 419 ARCA Clamp Mount and tension lock/handle: As I mentioned in Part 1, Austin runs the Thunder Beast (TBAC) bipod on almost all stages, but he does keep a traditional Harris 6-9” bipod in his pack that he might use on 1 or 2 stages during a typical two-day match. Austin: “The legs on the Thunderbeast Arms bipod have a wider stance than a Harris, which is true for most other bipods, including Atlas, an Accu-Tac, the normal configuration of an MDT CkyePod. So the one thing I like about the Harris is the narrower stance of the legs allows you to run a bipod on a few stages where a wider leg stance wouldn’t work as well. People who have an Atlas or a Thunder Beast or one of those other brands besides the Harris end up not using their bipod, and it makes them take less stable shots. One example is a tire stage. Harris bipod legs are narrow enough to fit perfectly on the sidewall of a tire, like the rounded portion of a tire when it’s laid on its side. The size of the tire matters because on a huge tire, any bipod will work. But, on a smaller tire, the Harris works perfectly, but some of the other bipods have legs that are spread too wide and will fall off one side or the other or simply make your position a little bit precarious.” When the difference between winning the match or being in 2nd or 3rd place might only be 1 extra hit throughout a 200-shot match – little things like that can make the difference.
Harris Bipod ARCA Clamp

Tools & Spare Parts In His Pack

Here are all the tools he carries in his pack:

Compact Rifle Chamber Cleaning Kit & Hex Key Wrench Set
  • Compact Cleaning Kit for Chamber: Austin carries a Gunmaster Compact 8-Piece Pistol Cleaning Kit that he picked up at Walmart. Austin: “This kit has some little cleaning rod sections inside that you can attach together, along with some little brushes. I carry it just in case I need to clean out a chamber during a match. It’s got just enough little rod sections to be long enough that it’ll reach from the back of the action and brush out the chamber.”
  • Hex Key Sets: Austin carries SAE & Metric hex key sets (aka Allen wrenches).
  • Spare Batteries: A few extra batteries for his Kestrel, ear protection, etc.
Spare Rifle Trigger, Parts & Tools
  • Spare Bix’N Andy TacSport Pro trigger, Impact action trigger hanger, screws, and wrenches: This is everything Austin would need to replace a trigger at a match. Austin said he hasn’t ever needed to do that yet, but he likes having it just in case. Austin: “If you think about the scenarios where you might have to go use a spare trigger or spare bolt or backup rifle, for many of those scenarios, your match is likely ruined anyway (at least for winning it). It’s likely that whatever happened might have cost you 4, 5, or 6 shots, which is too many to stay in the race against other top shooters. But I wouldn’t just give up. I’d swap it out and keep trying for score.”
  • Do you travel with any other rifle parts that aren’t in your pack? Austin: “If I fly, I will also take a spare bolt with me. But, when I drive, I take a whole backup rifle with me that is almost identical in every way to my match rifle.”

Optics Cleaning Accessories

If you can’t see clearly out of your optic, your match is over. Pro shooters are trying hard to see every bullet impact so they can fine-tune their wind call and place the next shot even closer to the center of the plate. Austin carries a few things to clean his optics lenses:

Silicone Bulb Air Blower Duster for Rifle Scopes and Binos
  • Silicone Bulb Air Blower/Duster: I’ve noticed a few pro shooters carry these to clean off their scope or other lenses. It’s something photographers have used for a while. If there is a little moisture or dust on a lens, it’s often better to blast it off with air rather than try to wipe it off. Not only is it faster, but there is less chance that you’d scratch a lens, have streaks or smudges, or mess up a lens coating. Clever idea for just a few dollars and less than 2 ounces of extra weight!
  • Microfiber Lens Cleaning Cloth: In case the air blower/duster above didn’t work! 😉
  • Zeiss Pre-Moistened Lens Cleaning Wipes: These are pre-moistened with 40-50% alcohol, which is very nice if you’ve got smudges or something you need to get off a lens.

Other Pack Items

  • Chamois Cloth: For drying stuff when it’s raining. Austin: “The chamois cloth seems like it will continue to absorb water even when everything in your bag is soaked. Once something like a t-shirt or towel gets drenched, it’ll continuously get other stuff wet rather than absorbing water, so a real chamois cloth is nice.”
Elastic Waterproof Rifle Cover
  • Rifle Cover: Austin said this was an elastic/stretchy waterproof rifle cover, but he couldn’t remember exactly what brand. He said he thought it cost around $30-40. Update: A reader named Ash helped us identify this in the comments. It is the Alpine Innovations Gun Slicker Waterproof Scoped Rifle Sleeve/Cover and you can find it on Amazon.
  • Sunscreen: Because cancer sucks.
  • Electrolyte Powder Packets: Austin carries these to add to bottles of water. While he didn’t mention this, clinical studies have shown the effects of dehydration on cognitive ability and performance and have also explicitly shown increased advantages to using electrolytes combined with plain water. Hydrating regularly, especially with electrolytes + plain water, has shown measurable improvement in focus, ability to recall information, maintaining composure and reducing anxiety, higher energy, increased mental clarity, and faster response time. Those things can help when you’re on the clock at a match! Austin will share tips on the mental game in Part 4, but he believes when it comes down to who wins among the top pros – it 100% comes down to the mental aspect. We rarely think about how to optimize for the mental part, but stuffing a few of these in your pack could be a great idea!

Match Backpack: Eberlestock FAC Track Pack F3F

Austin said he did some research about a year ago, and after looking at a ton of backpacks, he landed on this Eberlestock FAC Track Backpack. It’s what he carries all this stuff in at a rifle match. The pack volume is 2,100 cubic inches (or 34 liters), it weighs 6 lbs., and is 25” tall x 12” wide x 10” deep. It has a polycarbonate frame, molle webbing both outside and inside the pack to help organize gear, three external pockets, and comes with a rain cover.

Eberlestock FAC Track Pack F3F PRS Rifle Match Backpack

Rifle Case: Pelican 1750 Rifle Case

Austin said this is the case his rifle is in when he travels, both when he’s driving or flying to a match. I know Austin flew to France with his match rifle for the 2022 International Precision Rifle Federation World Championship, where he won a gold medal. Handing your competition rifle to an airline is tough, so Austin must trust the Pelican 1750 rifle case to hold up!

Pelican 1750 Rifle Case

Thanks for sharing all of that stuff with us, Austin!

View Other Articles From Austin Buschman’s Spotlight

This was one of a 4-part series that spotlights Austin Buschman, the gear he runs, and other aspects of his precision rifle shooting. Here are links to all of those articles:

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About Cal

Cal Zant is the shooter/author behind PrecisionRifleBlog.com. Cal is a life-long learner, and loves to help others get into this sport he's so passionate about. Cal has an engineering background, unique data-driven approach, and the ability to present technical information in an unbiased and straight-forward fashion. For more info, check out PrecisionRifleBlog.com/About.

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Best Custom Rifle Barrel What The Pros Use

Best Custom Rifle Barrel: What The Pros Use

Behind Every Great Shooter, There's a Great Barrel: In a sport where every detail counts, choosing the right rifle barrel can make all the difference. From exclusive insights on barrel brands to technical details on length and contour, our latest article is a deep dive into the critical choices that contribute to superior accuracy and performance. Discover the latest trends and insight from leading experts and seasoned competitors!


  1. Never in competition except cleanly taking my rare deer through near impossible AZ draw odds.

    I think would be interesting to go over cost analysis to not only show shooters the sizable expense but to give them ideas that might aid them in purchases.

    As a by note from a doctor, I always use plugs & muffs. Always. My hearing has been effected as children, we never used. In spite of my minor hearing affliction, I am able to hear rangemasters 100% of the time.

    • Hey, Dick. Thanks for the comments.

      A cost analysis would be interesting. I would say most of these things are “nice to haves” for the majority of competitors. For guys just starting out, whether you had an expensive tripod or the Gray Ops mini plate is not going to cause you to move from 120th place to 50th. In fact, it might not result in you hitting any more targets. Part 4 of this series with Austin Buschman will actually share how he has approached continual improvement over the years. He basically has a pretty disciplined process to identify what cost him shots after each match and then hyper-focused on improving that area before the next match. I’d bet you’d have to shoot for a couple of years before the thing that caused you to miss the most shots in a match was not having some of this more advanced gear. In fact, I’ve been doing this for a while, and gear is still not my weakest link – it’s still me! 😉

      I think you’ll love Part 4 of this. I asked Austin several questions like, “What’s the most common mistake you see a new guy make when it comes to gear?” I’ll post all those answers in Part 4, and I think it speaks to this really directly. He had an unexpected answer on that one. I know that I personally hadn’t heard anyone answer that question or a few others like Austin did. He’s definitely an independent thinker and usually has a unique perspective on things!


  2. gene c. solyntjes

    Hello Cal,
    It was a real ‘wakeup call’ to read the extensive article and see all the incredibly sophisticated equipment used nowadays by todays’ competitive shooters.
    At 80 and receiving 12 heart stents in two operations, I know I could almost certainly not walk a course such as PRS etc., but that does not mean I do not enjoy reading about the current shooting disciplines and equipment.

    Cal, thanks for your very informative site.

    • Thanks for sharing, Gene. I agree. This was super-interesting for me to read, too. It’s neat to see all the innovation that has happened over the last few years. I can remember back in 2012/2013 when this was still in the early days, almost none of these things existed! When you think about that, we’ve come a long way in 10 years in terms of our ability to hit tiny targets at long range from improvised field positions. All of this stuff supports us in that direction.

      Glad you found it interesting and thanks for the kind words!

  3. Humberto Claudino

    Thank you very much for sharing yet another beautiful article, I would like to know if you have any articles about how a Precision Rifle Series (PRS) competition goes.
    Greetings from Brazil.

  4. As an EDC philosophy guy I find these articles extremely interesting. A person’s individual philosophy of use for a given item in a given situation can vary greatly and for some justify making changes to their own systems.

    Thanks very much for this new approach to the series, Cal.

    • Hey, Matt. I agree. The psychology behind what all drives beliefs and behaviors when it comes to reloading, and what different people believe is really important or not is very interesting. The shooting industry in particular seems to have a lot of well-worn paths of thinking or traditions around what matters. Lots of times it’s pretty jolting when someone has success with an approach that is different from what the widely accepted practices are (especially in the shooting community), so this article in particular did feel that way to me. But, Austin is a very pragmatic guy. I’m just glad he felt comfortable enough to share all this stuff, knowing that it flew in the face of what a lot of people believe. I’m sure it will make a few guys adjust their approach to reloading. I know it has me!