October 8th, 2019

IBS Match Report — 2019 1000-Yard Nationals at Hawk’s Ridge

IBS 1000-Yard National Championship Hawks Hawk's Ridge North Carolina NC 1K Heavy Gun Light HG LG Score Benchrest
Over 100 Top Shooters Competed at the 2019 IBS 1000-Yard Nationals.

Match Report by Blake Wilson, IBS Match Editor
The International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) 1000-Yard Nationals were, once again, a success. The Hawk’s Ridge Gun Club in Ferguson, North Carolina, hosted a flawless event over Labor Day Weekend. Over 100 of the nation’s top shooters, from 19 states, gathered to compete for the crown of “National Champion”. Events such as this take an army to make work and the 2019 IBS Nationals were no different. But the event was a big success, despite some challenging conditions on Day One. We congratulate Glenn Hiett, who shot superbly to win BOTH the Two-Gun Overall AND Light Gun Overall 2019 Championships. Well done Glenn! We also recognize IBS Heavy Gun Overall Champion Sam Edwards.

IBS 1000-Yard National Championship Hawks Hawk's Ridge North Carolina NC 1K Heavy Gun Light HG LG Score Benchrest

Ideal Conditions Change Quickly on Saturday
Hawk’s Ridge is a very beautiful range. But “The Ridge” can sometimes have very tricky, unfriendly winds. Labor Day weekend 2019 was no different. Conditions started near perfect early Saturday morning — the day began with mild temps and wind flags hanging low. Things then changed for the worse. The great conditions only lasted a handful of relays as winds became unpredictable, showing the competitors how tough Hawk’s Ridge can be. Tiny groups and high scores quickly become scarce and shooters began to feel the effects of switching, hard-to-read winds.

IBS 1000-Yard National Championship Hawks Hawk's Ridge North Carolina NC 1K Heavy Gun Light HG LG Score Benchrest

2019 IBS 1000-Yard National Championships Top Competitors

Two-Gun Overall Champion: Glenn Hiett
Light Gun Overall Champion: Glenn Hiett
Heavy Gun Overall Champion: Sam Edwards
Highest-Placing Female: Donna Matthews
Junior Champion: Hunter Hall

Light Gun Group Winner: Scotty Powell
Light Gun Score Winner: Robert Banner
Heavy Gun Group Winner: Sam Edwards
Heavy Gun Score Winner: Tod Soeby

IBS 1000-Yard National Championship Hawks Hawk's Ridge North Carolina NC 1K Heavy Gun Light HG LG Score Benchrest1000-Yard Nationals Course of Fire
IBS 1000-Yard Nationals is a 6-target Aggregate event over a two-day period for Light Gun and Heavy Gun. Light Guns must not exceed 17 lbs. weight and shoot 5 rounds per target. Heavy Guns have no weight limit and shoot 10 rounds per target. At the Nationals each shooter gets three Light Gun targets and three Heavy Gun targets. The results are aggregated together to determine Two-Gun Overall, Light Gun Overall, Heavy Gun Overall. There are also separate awards for Light Gun Group and Score and Heavy Gun Group and Score.

Day 1 included a Light Gun target, Heavy Gun target and ended with a second Light Gun target. After two Light Gun targets, several shooters were feeling great about their chances — Robert Banner, Brian Buttrick, and Dan Pantinski all had 99 scores, just one from perfect. Jerry Powers had the best Day 1 Light Gun Agg, a 3.472″ average (0.33 MOA). Justin Morrow shot the smallest Light Gun Group — 2.604″. That works out to a very impressive 0.249 MOA at 1000 Yards!

IBS 1000-Yard National Championship Hawks Hawk's Ridge North Carolina NC 1K Heavy Gun Light HG LG Score Benchrest
Donna Matthews shot this excellent 50-2X, 3.257″ LG target on Saturday.

Participants Rewarded with Famous Hawk’s Ridge BBQ
As Saturday came to an end, the smell of chicken had taken over the range. Range owner Mike McNeil is known for his famous secret sauce BBQ chicken. From the comments of the crowd as they sunk their teeth into chicken, potato salad, fresh baked desserts — they had no complaints whatsoever. Bellies full, guns cleaned, everyone headed to their rooms for some much anticipated rest.

IBS 1000-Yard National Championship Hawks Hawk's Ridge North Carolina NC 1K Heavy Gun Light HG LG Score Benchrest

More Readable and Consistent Conditions on Day 2
Feeling refreshed and excited for the challenge and anticipation for the final day, shooters showed up raving about the BBQ chicken and ready to shoot. For the most part, Day 2 was much more forgiving and calm than Day 1. The format was the opposite of Saturday — Heavy Gun relays were conducted first and last with Light Gun in the middle.

Perfect scores, small groups and everything in between was shot. Shooters made adjustments and for the most part they worked. But some made the wrong choices and the price was paid.

IBS 1000-Yard Nationals Equipment List (CLICK to Zoom):
IBS 1000-Yard National Championship Hawks Hawk's Ridge North Carolina NC 1K Heavy Gun Light HG LG Score Benchrest
CLICK PHOTO to view LARGE Equipment List.

Editor’s Comment: Looking at the Two-Gun Top 20 Equipment List above, we see the Light Gun Ranks were dominated by 6mm Dashers, and 6 BRAs (BR Ackleys), most using Hodgdon H4895 powder. There were quite a few 300 WSMs among the top Heavy Guns. Krieger, with 10 selections, was the most popular barrel choice, followed by Bartlein (4), and Brux (3).

More than Marksmanship — Competitors Appreciate the Camaraderie
These events are always a pleasure to attend. You get to put faces with the names you’ve heard, compete against the best across the country, and see how you stack up to them. It’s fun to shake hands with the likes of Tom Jacobs (Vapor Trail Bullets past National Champion), Bart Sauter (Bart’s Bullets and current holder of 600-yard records), Mike Wilson (Current Light Gun Group and score record holder), the Hornady Team and many more.

IBS 1000-Yard National Championship Hawks Hawk's Ridge North Carolina NC 1K Heavy Gun Light HG LG Score Benchrest

This wonderful sport has no shortage of great men and women from many different states and cultures. Match director David Matthews, as well as Robert Smithey and the entire Hawk’s Ridge Gun Club staff, definitely showed how to put on a nearly flawless event. We cannot forget Kent Bratten for his tireless efforts in finding prize donations for the match. The IBS gives a special thanks to all our great sponsors who make the prize tables so abundant. Thanks for your generosity!

IBS 1000-Yard National Championship Hawks Hawk's Ridge North Carolina NC 1K Heavy Gun Light HG LG Score Benchrest

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October 8th, 2019

Heat Build-Up and Firing Rate Can Kill a Barrel Prematurely

barrel life test rapid fire cooling

Can sustained rapid-fire shooting with no cool-down period wear out a quality barrel more quickly? The answer is “Yes” according to Forum member LCazador, who did an interesting comparison test with two .243 Winchester barrels. He started off with two, identical, match-grade HV taper stainless barrels. Both were NEW at the start of testing, and LCazador shot the same load through each: 95gr match bullets with 38 grains of Hodgdon Varget. After giving both barrels the same, gentle 20-round break-in, 300 rounds were then fired through each barrel — in very different ways. Barrel condition and wear were monitored with a borescope.

Barrel One — Slow Fire, Cool Down Periods, Cleaning Every 50 Rounds
At the end of the 300-round test, Barrel One looked brand new. There was none of the severe fire cracking found in Barrel Two. This barrel was shot no more than 10 times without a cool down and firing was done at a much slower pace. Cleaning for this barrel was done every 50 shots.

Barrel Two — Fast Firing, No Waiting, Cleaning Every 100 Rounds
The second barrel, which received hard use and minimal cleaning, was severely damaged with severe fire cracking at the leade and throat. As a result, the barrel had to be re-chambered. This barrel was shot 100 rounds at time without cleaning and was shot up to 20 times in succession without a cool down.

LESSON LEARNED — Heat Kills Barrel Life
Don’t let your barrel get too hot, and keep it clean. One afternoon can ruin a barrel!

Hawkeye Borescope imageMonitoring Barrel Wear with Borescope
Some folks worry too much about what their borescopes reveal — many barrels do not have to be “squeaky clean” to perform well. In fact some barrels run better after ten or more fouling shots. However, a borescope can be very helpful when your barrel starts losing accuracy for no apparent reason. Forum member FdShuster writes:

“A borescope is a positive way of backing up your suspicions when the rifle starts to throw an occasional (soon followed by more frequent) wild shot. Using the scope is also an excellent way to determine that the cause is barrel wear and not simply a need for a concentrated cleaning session to remove built up copper and more importantly, carbon fouling.

I’ve had a few barrels that gave every indication of being shot out. But I ‘scoped them out and found the cause to be nothing more than requiring a good cleaning. They then returned to their usual performance. There’s no guessing involved when you are able to get ‘up close and personal’ using the scope. The borescope also provides an excellent view of the all-important condition of the crown. My borescope is one of the most valuable investments I’ve ever made.”

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October 8th, 2019

Kirsten “Carves” Halloween Pumpkin with Volquartsen .22 LR

Halloween Pumpkin Kirsten Joy Weiss carving Volquartsen

October is Halloween month, so we thought we’d share the seasonal spirit with our readers. In this video, our friend Kirsten Joy Weiss shows off her impressive trick-shot skills. To help celebrate the gouls/goblins holiday, Kirsten “carved” a pumpkin using her semi-auto Volquartsen .22 LR rifle. Kirsten had to send a lot of rimfire rounds into her orange friend. It turns out the little .22-caliber bullets worked better on exit than entry — Mr. Pumpkin’s posterior side was more impressive than his front. But overall, the effort turned out very well indeed, as you can see. Nice job, Kirsten.

On inspection, Kirsten found that the most impressive Jack ‘O Lantern face appeared on the reverse side of her pumpkin. The “exit wounds” were better than the entry holes.
Halloween Pumpkin Kirsten Joy Weiss carving Volquartsen

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