August 25th, 2011

Major New Peacemaker Shooting Facility Opens Soon in WV

A vast new shooting facility in West Virginia is slated to open by the end of August. The new Peacemaker National Training Center (NTC), when fully completed, will be the east coast’s largest shooting sports complex with a 1000-yard rifle range, a 300-yard practice rifle range, 18 “tactical bays”, pistol ranges, and several shotgun ranges. Plans are underway to equip the 1000-yard range with state-of-the-art electronic target systems.

Located west of Washington, DC, the Peacemaker NTC site is a 60-minute drive from Dulles Airport. The facility is situated in the scenic hills of Glengary, West Virginia, on the far eastern end of the state.

Preview the Peacemaker National Training Center Facilities

Peacemaker to Host 1K Benchrest Match and 3-Gun Nation Championship
The new Peacemaker NTC facility will host future matches for the Virginia 1000-Yard Benchrest Club, an IBS organization. Peacemaker’s directors have stated that the 1000-yard range will have electronic scoring capability, but it is unclear when the electronic targets will be put into place, and whether these will be used for 1K benchrest matches. Assuming the ranges are completed on schedule, Peacemaker will host Match 9 of the 3-Gun Nation series on November 10-12, 2011, followed by the 2011 3-Gun Nation Championship on November 13th. Over 250 multi-gun competitors are expected to attend.

Private Membership Fees Start at $400.00 per year
The facility is private membership facility, with limited public access. The basic membership fee for an individual is $400.00 per year plus a one-time $100.00 initial range improvement fee. NOTE: Membership registration is still open. CLICK HERE to download a membership application.

Actual and Planned Peacemaker National Training Center Range Facilities

Patriot Rifle Range: Electronic Target Systems and Hanging steel. Target set-ups at 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000 yards. 10 shooting lanes. Suited for F-Class, Benchrest, and High Power. Peacemaker says this will be “the only competition-capable electronic 1000-yard rifle range in the USA”.

Liberty Ranges: Tactical Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun facility, with 14-18 interconnected shooting ranges. All ranges are 50 yards deep, some will be 100 yards deep. Bianchi Cup systems (turning targets, movers), steel courses, dueling trees, reactive steel.

Independence Range: General sighting-in and practice range for Rifle and Pistol (Rifle 100 to 300 yards, Pistol 3 to 25 yards).

Homeplace Shotgun Ranges: Trap, Skeet, 5-Stand, Sporting Clays, FITASC.

Peacemaker plans to offer training classes for rifle, pistol, and shotgun. NRA-certified instructors with be at the facility at all times. To learn more about the Peacemaker National Training Center, visit www.peacemakernational.com. For information on membership, and other details, email info@peacemakernational.com, call 304-262-1986, or write PNTC at 782 Foxcroft Ave #123, Martinsburg, WV 25401. Get the latest updates on Range Availability on Peacemaker’s Facebook Page

Editor’s Note: While Peacemaker has already conducted some tactical and 3-Gun matches, it appears that many of the facilities are still “under construction”. Before you plunk down your money for membership, we recommend you talk to the Peacemaker staff and, if possible, visit the facility in person. If you’re interested in particular range features (such as the electronic target system or the Sporting Clays range), you’ll want to learn the exact dates when these will be ready for member use.

Story tip by EdLongrange. FNH photo courtesy 3-Gun Nation.
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September 18th, 2010

Matt Kline Shoots 2.815″ Record at 1000 Yards with 300 WSM

1000-yard Matt Kline recordSeptember 12th at the Original Pennsylvania 1000 Yard Benchrest Club (Williamsport) range Matt Kline set a new 10-shot Heavy Gun World Record with a 2.815″, 100-4X.

Breaking the 3″ mark (for 10 shots) is big news in the 1K benchrest game. The existing IBS 10-shot, 1000-yard record is 3.044″ set by Joel Pendergraft in 2009, while the NBRSA 10-Shot, 1000-yard record is 4.322″ set by Dave Tooley in 2006. Counting this 100-4X target, Matt also set a new 6-Match Heavy Gun Score Aggregate of 99.000. With Williamsport Match 10 still to shoot, Matt could push the HG Score Agg even higher.

Record Set with 300 WSM and 210-grainers
Matt Kline shot a 300 WSM with 210gr Berger VLD bullets. This confirms the accuracy of the short magnum, which may prove to be the new “go-to” cartridge of choice for those who want to shoot the high-BC, heavy 30-caliber bullets. Matt’s gun featured a BAT action, 30″ Broughton barrel, and a Nightforce 8-32x56mm BR scope. The rifle was smithed by Mark King Rifles.

Matt shared some details of his reloading process with Assist. Editor Jason Baney. This may surprise you. Matt anneals his 300 WSM brass after every firing. The necks are turned to .0135″ wall thickness for a .338″-neck chamber. Interestingly, Matt does not meplat-trim or point his Berger bullets. However, he pre-sorts the bullets very thoroughly, segregating them by .001″ variance in both bearing surface and overall bullet length. You need extremely consistent bullet-to-bullet BCs to shoot record groups like Matt did.

1000-yard Matt Kline record

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September 8th, 2010

Match Report: IBS 1000-Yard Nationals in Harris, Minnesota

The 2010 IBS 1000-Yard Nationals took place September 1-4 at the Gopher Rifle & Revolver Club (GRRC) in Harris, MN. There were three days of shooting for both Light Gun (LG) and Heavy Gun (HG) classes, with IBS, NBRSA and Williamsport rifles eligible. There was some rain on Thursday (Day 1) that delayed the afternoon relays, but, overall, Thursday had the best conditions. Mike Wieland of GRRC reports that winds were very strong on Friday (Day 2), while on Saturday (Day 3) “a breeze developed that provided a challenging condition and kept the groups bigger and the scores lower for most of the shooters”. The very strong winds on Day 2 also produced a number of DQs.

IBS 1000 yard Nationals GRRC MN

Bauer Wins Two-Gun and Heavy Gun; Baron Graham Wins Light Gun
The Overall Two-Gun Match Winner was Jim Bauer, who shot a 6mm Dasher in LG and a 300 Ackley in HG. Both guns were smithed by Gordy Gritters and featured Krieger Barrels, BAT actions, and Shehane stocks. In his Dasher, Jim loaded Spencer bullets with Reloder 15. For his Heavy, Jim used Berger bullets with Reloder 25. Jim’s match Aggs were 8.879 for LG and 9.694 for HG. Finishing Second Overall in Two-Gun was Jim Isaacson, followed by Jay Cutright (3rd), David Powley (4th), and John Stecik (5th).

Match Two-Gun Winner Jim Bauer also won the Heavy Gun Division with his Gritters-built 300 Ackley. Close behind were runner-up Steve Sabo shooting a 300 WSM (Broughton barrel, BAT action), and third-place Jay Cutright shooting a Bartlein-barreled big 7mm wildcat. Fourth and fifth in HG, respectively, were Tod Soeby (300 WSM), and James Isaacson (6.5×47 Lapua). Though there were quite a few 6mms used in HG class, the big boomers dominated the top positions.

Baron Graham shot very impressively to win the Light Gun Division. Baron shot a big 30 wildcat (300 Atlas), built by Leonard Baity. In his Krieger-barreled 300 Atlas, Baron shot used Berger Bullets with Reloder 25 powder. Second in LG was Jon Ammerman shooting a 6XC, followed by David Powley (3rd, 6-6.5×47), James Isaacson (4th, 6.5×47), and Gordy Mitchell (5th, 6mmBR). Though Baron’s big 30 won LG overall, the mid-size 6mm and 6.5mm cartridges did very well. Though a Dasher didn’t crack the Top Five in Light Gun, there were a bunch of Dashers on the line. This little cartridge, an improved version of the 6mmBR case, is really coming into its own in 1K competition, as is the 6.5×47 Lapua.

IBS 1000 yard Nationals GRRC MN

The Gopher Rifle & Revolver Club crew did an excellent job running the firing line, working the pits, handling targets, as well as doing the scoring and information gathering. Mike Wieland of GRRC says: “Thank you to all the volunteers, the sponsors and the shooters who made this a success!”

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August 22nd, 2010

Dashers Rule at NW 1000-Yard Championship in Montana

The Montana NW 1000-Yard Benchrest Club held its annual Championship at the Deep Creek Range near Missoula, Montana last weekend August 13-15. A record number of shooters attended. The winds were strong and shifty at times, and were “not typical Deep Creek conditions” according to Tom Mousel, the overall Two-Gun Winner. Despite the challenging conditions (some shooters had trouble staying on paper), competitors went home happy as match organizers gave out over $21,500.00 worth of prizes. All 56 shooters left with a prize, and many of the top competitors came home with a brand new Nightforce scope. Top shooters included: 2-Gun Champion – Tom Mousel (Kalispell, MT); Heavy Gun Winner – Ed Janikowsky (Kalispell, MT); 17 lb. Class Winner – Leo Anderson (Kalispell, MT); and 11 lb. Class Winner – Duane Capehart (Sula, MT).

Montana 1000-yard Championship

Montana 1000-yard Championship

Saturday Match Results & Equipment List (MS Word)| Sunday Match Results & Equipment List (MS Word)

Over the course of the weekend, despite the difficult winds, some great groups and scores were shot. Richard Schatz of Bismark, ND, nailed a 100 score/5.502″ group on Saturday, and Scott Nix of Whitefish, MT, shot a remarkable 100 score/4.556″ group on Sunday. Both men were shooting 6mm Dashers. Schatz got his 100 in a Heavy Gun Relay (though his rifle is not a true Heavy), while Nix shot his century score in 17-lb. Relay. Two-Gun Overall Champ Tom Mousel shot a 6mm Dasher in both 17-lb and Heavy Gun Classes. Tom’s match-winning and record-setting Dasher features a Stiller Viper Drop-port action, Krieger 8-twist barrel, Nightforce scope, and Shehane Tracker stock. Tom’s gun was smithed by Montana gunsmith John King (King Machine). Tom shoots Berger 105gr VLDs, pushed by a stout load of H4895, with CCI 400 primers. Tom has at least 12 firings on his Lapua cases, which he anneals every 3-4 firings with a Bench-Source annealing machine.

Tom Mousel 6mm Dasher Record

6mm Dashers Dominate 2010 Montana 1000-Yard Championship
Missoula’s Deep Creek Range is definitely “Dasher Country” and the diminutive 6mmBR Improved cartridge totally dominated the event. Consider this, four out of the top five places in the two-gun overall were shot with Dashers (Barry Bluhm was 5th overall with a 6-6.5×47). All of the top five places in Heavy Gun were Dashers, and in the 17-lb Class, again Dashers were first through fourth, with Bluhm’s 6-6.5×47 in fifth. After the match Barry told us: “You know, my 6-6.5×47 is shooting well, but I’m thinking of going to the Dasher when it’s time to re-barrel. I’m tired of getting beat by them.” The performance of the little cartridge is pretty remarkable, when you consider this entire match is shot at 1000 yards. Check out the equipment list for Saturday’s Heavy Gun Relays 1 & 2 (below). The fact that the “top guns” are running the little Dashers, even in an unlimited weight class, speaks volumes. While other larger cartridges offer superior ballistics at 1K, the Dasher is “inherently accurate”, and its low recoil allows the best shooters to fire ten rounds in well under 30 seconds. When you can nail ten shots all in the same condition, the Dasher is hard to beat.

Montana 1000-yard Championship

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July 11th, 2010

Williamsport 1000-yard World Open Concludes Today

Williamsport World OpenAs this is being written, the final relays are going to the firing line at the 2010 Williamsport World Open, one of the most prestigious long-range benchrest matches in the country. Many of the nation’s best 1000-yard shooters, including our Asst. Editor Jason Baney, are competing for a wealth of prizes donated by dozens of sponsors.

Held Saturday July 10th and Sunday July 11th, at the Original Pennsylvania 1000-Yard Benchrest Club, the World Open is a four-target Aggregate match consisting of two separate, two-target Aggs for in the Light Gun and Heavy Gun classes. Competitors can shoot either or both classes, both days. There will be prizes for the Overall Two-Gun Champion, plus the 2-day Group and Score Agg winners in each class. In addition there will be separate awards for Top Junior Shooter, Top Female Shooter, plus small group and high score in each match.

Williamsport World Open

Complete World Open results should be posted on the Williamsport website, late Sunday or early Monday, after all targets are scored, and the scores are tabulated. We hope to post names of the big winners later today, if we can get hold of Jason after the event wraps up.

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April 13th, 2010

Sign Up Now for Williamsport 1000-Yard Benchrest School

From April 30 – May 2, the Original Pennsylvania 1000 Yard Club will host a multi-day, long-range benchrest school at its Williamsport range. For $250, up to 36 students will enjoy 1 night and 2 days of training under the tutelage of some of the nations’ top 1000-yard shooters. There are still some spots available for the Spring class, so get your applications in before the April 25th sign-up deadline.

Williamsport BR Club SchoolOn Friday night (April 30), students will meet their mentors. Saturday (May 1), the class moves to the range for a full day of hands-on technical training. Topics include precision reloading, load development, gun handling, use of chronograph, analysis of shooting results, gun cleaning, and target analysis. The Williamsport Club will provide the rifles and all reloading components. Saturday’s sessions are followed by a steak dinner, included in the $250 seminar price.

On Sunday (May 2), after an early training session covering bench set-up and match strategies, students will shoot a 1000-yard match, spending time both behind the trigger and in the pits. The program wraps up before 4:00 pm on Sunday. The 1000-yard Benchrest School is limited to 36 students (with less than 3 students per advisor). Intructors include Gunsmiths Bruce Baer and Mark King, our Asst. Editor Jason Baney, and many Williamsport Hall of Fame shooters. For more info, email School Director Frank Grappone, frankgrappone [at] sbcglobal.net.

Williamsport Benchrest School

1000-Yard Benchrest School Slide Show
Sebastian Reist attended the 2009 Williamsport 1000-yard BR school. A talented professional photographer, Sebastian captured the highlights of his Williamsport 1K training weekend in the slideshow below, provided courtesy www.sreistphotography.com.

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October 17th, 2009

Greatest Hits: Record-Setting Liquid-Cooled Heavy Gun

LINK: Joel Pendergraft’s Record-Setting Heavy Gun
For years innovative benchresters have experimented with liquid-cooled barrels. Joel Pendergraft was one of the first to really succeed with the concept. Joel’s monster set a new pending 3.048″ ten-shot world record, beating the existing NBRSA, IBS, and Original Williamsport Clubs’ all-time 10-shot Heavy Gun group records.

Joel Pendergraft

Joel Pendergraft

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August 10th, 2009

Williamsport 2009 World Open Wrap-Up

Report by LARRY BANEY

The 2009 Williamsport World Open, held in mid-July, enjoyed a record turnout. The club welcomed 164 shooters from nine states all over the eastern half of the country, and from as far away as 1000 miles (Georgia). Even with new rules being applied for 2009, the match ran smoothly and was a great success.

Original Pennsylvania Williamsport Benchrest

New, Less-Restrictive Rules Attract More Shooters
The new rules in the Heavy-Gun class, which now allow muzzle brakes and have fewer restrictions, seemed to encourage more shooters to participate in both classes. The few remaining limits prohibit “return to battery guns” and rifle/rest features that obstruct upward or rearward movement. Restrictions were eased in the 17-lb Light Gun class as well. Now there are no limits on stock shape or attachments. This may have also encouraged shooters from other clubs to attend, resulting in the largest field of shooters in World Open history.

Joel Pendergraft Williamsport Benchrest

The weather was not typical for a Williamsport World Open weekend and had its share of very nice and very tough shooting conditions. Saturday was nearly totally overcast with no mirage and moderate temps that topped out at about 74 degrees. Wind was light at times and gusty at times, but definitely more cooperative in the afternoon for the Heavy Gun match. That is rare for a match at Williamsport. It often looked like we were going to get rained on, but it held off just long enough to get the match finished.

Mark King Williamsport BenchrestSunday was a much more typical Williamsport match day. It was sunny and topped out in the low 80s with a few passing clouds and low humidity. Mirage conditions were much worse than Saturday but did settle down for the last few relays of the day. The wind was a bit trickier on Sunday and hit some relays pretty hard.

Mark King Crowned 2-Gun Champion
The 17-lb Light Gun (LG) class had 153 shooters, while the Heavy Gun (HG) class had 147. Of those shooters, we had 13 women and 5 juniors. Pennsylvania Gunsmith Mark King shot great to earn “Top Gun” honors as the 2009 World Open Two-Gun Combined Champion. Mark shot a 6mm Dasher in both classes. Kathy Salt won the HG Overall, while Tilden Kuhns won the LG Overall. Matt Dienes finished first in HG Group, while Joe Salt topped HG Score. In LG, Paul Chackan won Group and Tilden Kuhns had the best overall Score.

Superlatives of Note
Even though there were some nice conditions at times, only two perfect ‘100’ scores were fired all weekend: Dan Stonebraker did it with a 6.5-284 in LG and Ed Nazy nailed a ‘100’ in HG class. The ten shots that scored Nazy’s 100 pointer also proved to be the smallest HG group at 4.355 inches. The smallest group in LG class, measuring 4.803 inches, was fired by Lacy Baney with a straight 6mmBR. Even with the weather, 6mm chamberings accounted for the smallest LG groups. The top 10 LG scores were also dominated by 6mms, with a 30 Cal and 6.5 Cal thrown in. The big 30 Cals produced most of the smallest HG groups and top HG scores, with a couple 6mms and a 6.5mms in the mix. Mark King, the Two-Gun Overall Champion, won “all the marbles” shooting the small 6mm Dasher in both LG and HG.

Original Pennsylvania Williamsport Benchrest

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July 6th, 2009

Williamsport 1000-Yard BR School Hits the Mark

The Second Williamsport 1000-Yard Benchrest School wrapped up on June 7, 2009 after two days of great weather. The weather cooperated just long enough to complete the school and send everyone on their way. Then it proceeded to rain for a few more days! According to student feedback, it seems this one-of-a-kind, long-range Benchrest Clinic at the Original Pennsylvania 1000-Yard Benchrest Club was a success.

Williamsport 1000-yard benchrest
Photo by Sebastian Reist, www.sreistphotography.com.

A full class of 36 “students”, ranging in age from 20s to late 70s, came from all over the USA (from as far as Oregon, Georgia, and Missouri), to attend the second-ever Williamsport 1000-Yard Benchrest School. With the help of more than a dozen Williamsport regulars and record-holders, along with generous support from vendors such as Berger Bullets and Forster Products, the school finished up with nary a hitch.

Williamsport 1000-yard benchrest

Students were taught brass prep, reloading methods, bench setup, gun handling and cleaning, along with other finer aspects of the 1K benchrest game. Saturday after the lectures and a good meal from the grill, students tried their luck on some 1040-yard clay birds on the back bank (as well as some shots on paper), and basically familiarized themselves with gun-handling and sandbag tracking. Sunday was the day for them to try all their newly-acquired skills and knowledge by shooting a mock 1000-yard competition under real match conditions. The students obviously caught on quickly because there some very small groups (6″ and less) were shot by folks new to the long-range game.

Williamsport 1000-yard benchrestIn addition to the classroom sessions and practice on the firing line, the clinic’s “curriculum” included pulling “pit-duty”. While working the pits, students got a look at Williamsport’s brand new, state-of-the-art pits, complete with an extended concrete ceiling! Williamsport’s targets are no longer at 1022 yards like they always have been, but are now at 1003 yards. The new pits now meet or exceed the NRA guidelines for pit construction. These will surely be as safe as or safer than any pits in the country. There will be more photos and details to follow on this once the construction is totally finished.

Below is a slideshow/video created by Sebastian Reist, a “student” at the 2009 Williamsport 1000-yard BR school. A talented professional photographer, Sebastian did a superb job capturing the highlights of his Williamsport 1K training weekend. In the video you’ll see a “shooter’s eye view” of the targets and a view from the pits as a 10-shot group actually forms up on the target.

Hey guys–watch this video! Sebastian did a great job and this is probably the best multi-media video we’ve ever run on this site.

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Photos and Video © 2009 Sebastian Reist, used with permission.

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May 9th, 2009

Spaces Still Available for Williamsport (PA) Benchrest School

From June 5-7, the Original Pennsylvania 1000 Yard Club will host a multi-day, long-range benchrest school at its Williamsport range. For $200, up to 36 students will enjoy 1 night and 2 days of intensive training under the tutelage of some of the nations’ top 1000-yard shooters. There are still a few spots available for the class, which is designed for novice to intermediate shooters. The sign-up deadline is June 1st.

Williamsport BR Club School

On Friday night (June 5th), students will meet their mentors, including school director Frank Grappone. Saturday (June 6th), the class moves to the range for a full day of hands-on technical training. Topics will include precision reloading, load development, gun handling, use of chronograph, analysis of shooting results, gun cleaning, and target analysis. The Williamsport Club will provide the rifles and all reloading components. Saturday’s training sessions are followed by a steak dinner, included in the $200 seminar price.

On Sunday (June 7th), after an early training session covering bench set-up and match strategies, students will participate in a 1000-yard match, spending time both behind the trigger and in the pits. Instructors will explain how to read conditions, and will demonstrate target measuring and analysis after the relays. The program wraps up before 4:00 pm on Sunday.

The 1000-yard Benchrest School is limited to 36 students (with less than 3 students per advisor). Intructors include Gunsmiths Bruce Baer and Mark King, our Asst. Editor Jason Baney, and many Williamsport Hall of Fame shooters. For more info, email School Director Frank Grappone, frankgrappone [at] sbcglobal.net.

Williamsport Benchrest School

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May 5th, 2009

Ken Brucklacher Sets 1000-Yard Score Record: 100-8X

Ken Brucklacher, current President of the Original Pensylvania 1000-yard Benchrest Club (Williamsport), joined the immortals this Sunday, May 3rd. Shooting a .300 Weatherby Mag with 240gr Sierra MatchKings, Ken set a new 10-shot Heavy Gun World Record score of 100-8X. The group size was pretty amazing too. A measured 3.137″, Ken’s ten shots also set a new group record at the Williamsport range, besting the previous mark set 13 years ago by John Voneida (3.151″ and 100 score). Brucklacher’s group is just 0.089″ larger than the 3.048″ all-time, 1000-yard small group shot last month by Joel Pendergraft.

Conditions were good when Ken set the record. It was cool, with overcast skies, and the winds were calm with “the flags still hanging down”. Ken said he “took his time, made sure he was on for every shot.” He pretty much held “on the center of the white patch” in the 1000-yard target. The result was spectacular, as you can see below:

Brucklacher 1000 yard record

Ken has been shooting 1K benchrest for 9 years, and in the past year his big Heavy Gun has been awesome. This new 100-8X record was not a fluke. Ken’s gun has already shot two 100s in competition. In fact, Ken set a 6-match, Heavy Gun 1000-yard World Record for score with his .300 Weatherby, averaging 98.333. In 2008, Ken’s Heavy Gun shot a 100.0 score in the 8th Williamsport 1K match, a 99.0 in the 9th Match, and another 100.0 in the 10th match of the year. That’s consistency.

300 Weatherby Norma

Gun Specs: Aluminum stock, Lawton Action, Krieger Barrel
Ken’s record-setting Heavy Gun features a Lawton action in a John Buhay machined aluminum stock. Gunsmith Mark King (Duncannon, PA) built the gun and chambered the 34″ Krieger, 10-twist barrel as a .300 Weatherby Magnum with 0.339″ neck. The record group was set with a windage-adjustable rear rest. Elevation is set with the front rest. Interestingly, when shooting the record group, Ken was “holding dead center on the white patch”.

Record-Setting Load: .300 Weatherby Mag, 240gr SMKs, H4831SC, Fed 215Ms
Ken set the record with a .300 Weatherby Mag shooting 240gr Sierra MKs, seated 0.028″ off the lands. His load was 72.0 grains of Hodgdon H4831sc pushed by Federal 215M primers.

Brucklacher 1000 yard recordBrucklacher used Norma .300 Weatherby brass “right out of the box”. You read that right… Ken set the record with brand new Norma brass with no case prep whatsoever. He didn’t touch the flash holes or primer pockets — in fact Ken didn’t even chamfer the case mouths. This was brand new brass, not fire-formed. According to Ken, he “just added a primer, filled the cases with powder, and shoved in a bullet.”

While Ken does not point his bullets or trim meplats, he did weigh and measure the 240gr MatchKings (base to ogive) before loading. Ken has not chronographed this load so he doesn’t know the velocity. Ken didn’t do any special load tweaking for this record group. However, he explained that he changed his seating depth last summer, going from .018″ jump to .028″ jump. That minor change, Ken noted, “really seemed to close up the groups”.

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April 19th, 2009

Joel Pendergraft Sets New IBS 1000-Yard Heavy Gun World Record

Pendergraft record Hawks RidgeYesterday, April 18th, Joel Pendergraft of Durham, NC put 10 shots into 3.048″ to set a new IBS 1000-yard Heavy Gun World record. Competing at Hawks Ridge, NC, Joel set the record with his big, 300 Ackley Improved HG fitted with an unusual water-cooled 12-twist, 4-groove Krieger barrel. Joel shot BIB 187gr flat-based bullets in Norma brass, pushed by a “generous amount” of Alliant Reloder 25 and Federal 210M primers.

This 3.048″ 10-shot group was a remarkable accomplishment, breaking one of the longest standing 1000-yard World Records. Bill Shehane commented: “This tops the NBRSA, IBS, and Original Williamsport Clubs’ all-time 10-shot Heavy Gun group records. Took a long time to do it and I for one know Joel did not back into it — he has worked harder than most the last 10 years to break this record. And just like John Voneida of the Original Williamsport Club who held this most prestigous record for so long, Joel is a super nice guy and a great competitor.”

Joel Pendergraft

Pendergraft’s fellow 1K competitors were quick to praise his accomplishment. Dave Tooley observed: “I still remember the day I suggested flat-based bullets to Joel and the laugh I got. Well he was laughing today. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Glad I was there to see it.” Posting on Benchrest Central, “4Mesh” wrote: “Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy! That gun showed some serious promise last year at the World Open and anything that cranks off targets like the one you shot there, has what it takes.” Jim Hardy added: “The new record is great but no better than the fine man who shot it. Everyone who knows Joel will say the same thing — he is one of the finest men you will ever meet. He lives the life, and walks the walk and has paid his dues in the 1000-yard BR game to get the record.”

Joel Pendergraft

Joel Pendergraft

Pendergraft was modest after his notable achievement: “Some of the words spoken are too kind. What makes this so very special is to be able to celebrate the accomplishment with all of my shooting friends[.] A good friend once said that records are shot when preparation and opportunity meet. I feel blessed to have personally had the opportunity. The preparation we can individually work on and acheive but the opportunity only comes to a few. Those of you that compete in longe range competition will know what I mean.”

Joel Pendergraft

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April 11th, 2009

Long-Range Benchrest School at Williamsport, PA

From June 5-7, the Original Pennsylvania 1000 Yard Club will host a multi-day, long-range benchrest school at its Williamsport range. For $200, up to 36 students will enjoy 1 night and 2 days of intensive training under the tutelage of some of the nations’ top 1000-yard shooters. On Friday night (June 5th), students will meet their mentors, including school director Frank Grappone, and will work on informal “homework” assignments.

Saturday morning (June 6th), the class moves to the range for a full day of hands-on technical training. Topics will include precision reloading, load development, gun handling, use of chronograph, analysis of shooting results, gun cleaning, and target analysis. The Williamsport Club will provide the rifles, plus all reloading components–powder, primers, and bullets. Saturday’s training sessions are followed by a steak dinner, included in the $200 seminar price.

On Sunday (June 7th), after an early training session covering bench set-up and match strategies, students will participate in a 1000-yard match, spending time both behind the trigger and in the pits. Instructors will explain how to read conditions, and will demonstrate target measuring and analysis after the relays. The program will wrap up before 4:00 pm on Sunday.

The 1000-yard Benchrest School is limited to 36 students. Gunsmiths Bruce Baer and Mark King, and many Williamsport Hall of Fame shooters will provide instruction. There should be no more than three students per advisor. Over the course of the weekend, trainees will receive 14-16 hours of quality “hands-on” instruction, plus actual match shooting time. This program is designed for novice to intermediate shooters. For more info, email School Director Frank Grappone, frankgrappone [at] sbcglobal.net.

Act soon, if you want to attend — the sign-up deadline is June 1st. Available slots are mostly filled already. If you’re interested, don’t delay — the classes fill up quickly.

Williamsport Benchrest School

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February 6th, 2009

AZ Long-Range Championships This Weekend at Ben Avery

The Ben Avery Shooting Facility hosts the Arizona Long-Range Championship this weekend, February 7-8, 2009. This event will draw many of the top 1000-yard shooters from the Western states. Prior to the Long-Range Championships, a individual Palma match will be held today, Feb. 6th. The Palma match will have 15 shots for record at EACH of three distances: 800, 900, and 1000 yards.

Photos courtesy AZ Desert Sharpshooters.

On Saturday the 7th there will be two (2) Any-rifle, Any-sight 1000-yard matches (20 record rounds per match), followed by a 4-man team match with two shooters per realy. On Sunday the 8th, there will be two more Any-rifle, Any-sight 1000-yard matches (20 record rounds per match). The Championship will be determined based on combined Saturday and Sunday Aggregates.

CLICK HERE for Match Program and Schedule.

Member of the U.S. F-Class Open Team have been “working out” this week at Ben Avery, tuning their 6.5-284 rifles and working on team strategies. Many members of the Team will participate in the AZ Long-Range Championship this weekend. If you are in the Phoenix area, this is your chance to come out and meet team members and see some of America’s top long-range shooters in action.

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November 7th, 2008

The Hottest Chamberings for 1000-Yard Shooting

The question is often asked “what’s the best cartridge for 1000-yard Benchrest”. This immediately stirs a debate between fans of the “Big Thirties”, 6.5mm and 7mm advocates, and a few staunch 6mm defenders. In truth, a wide variety of cartridges, from the 6mmBR all the way up to .338 Lapua magnum, can do well at 1000 yards.

However, there is clear statistical evidence that magnum-class 30s are still the top dogs in the 1000-yard game. Steve Shelp, who shoots with the Hawks Ridge Gun Club in North Carolina, has amassed statistics from years 2000 through 2006, recording all the calibers and chamberings used in the matches of the North Carolina 1000-yard Shooters Association. The data is further sorted by Light Gun (LG) and Heavy Gun (HG) classes. Steve has even been able to filter the data to include Relay Winners and Shootoff Participants. Steve has also created tables that show the Top 30 Groups and Scores in both LG and HG classes.

Below is a table showing the Top 15 Chamberings among shootoff participants, for combined LG and HG Classes from 2000-2006. We have totaled the Big 30s in this group of 15, and the large 30 Calibers (red dots) represent 66% of the total. There are 2064 entries in this set of Top 15, and 1355 are 30 Calibers.

1000-yard shooting

The next chart includes ALL LG and HG Relay Winners from years 2000-2006. Steve has sorted the data by bore diameter. The two dominant calibers among Relay Winners are: 30 Caliber (.308) at 60%, and 6.5mm (.264) at 27%. Presumably most of the 6.5mms are 6.5-284s, but there are some larger 6.5mm wildcats as well. NOTE: When you look at Light Gun Relay Winners only, the percentage of 6.5mms rises while the percentage of 30 Cals falls. Overall however, the big bore 30-Caliber rifles are still “King of the Hill” in 1000-yard competition.

Steve Shelp’s data is contained in three Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Click the links below to download the collected 2000-2006 data.

Top 30 IBS Scores and Groups

1000yd Chambering Statistics (LG, HG, and combined)

1000yd Participants by Bore Size (Includes Relay Winners)

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July 5th, 2008

Williamsport World Open, July 12-13

If you want to test your long-range shooting skills against some of the best shooters in the country (including our own Jason Baney), head to Pennsylvania next weekend for the Williamsport World Open. Shooters will compete in Light Gun and Heavy Gun classes for a host of prizes including scopes, actions, and barrels. Sponsors include Nightforce Scopes, BAT Machine, and Bartlein, Hart, and Krieger barrel-makers, among many others. In addition, the Original Pennsylvania 1000-Yard Club will give $1000.00 CASH to anyone breaking the match time current Light Class or Heavy Class Ten-Shot Benchrest World Record during this event. (Award limited to person shooting smallest group of the weekend.)

Williamsport 1000-yard club World Open

The schedule of events will be: Saturday Morning – Light Gun Match One; Saturday Afternoon – Heavy Gun Match One; Sunday Morning – Heavy Gun Match Two; Sunday Afternoon – Light Gun Match Two. Complete Event info, including Course of Fire, Rules, and a list of nearby motels, is found on the World Open Webpage, or contact Matt Dienes, 724-479-0790.

CLICK HERE for World Open APPLICATION

The deadline for entry to the World Open at 7:00 pm Friday night. Rotations will be drawn at this time so please get your entry fees in before that time. NO LATE ENTRIES will be accepted on Match Day. The cost is $60.00 per Class for the two day event ($120 for both Classes both days). The Pig roast held Saturday evening is included in this fee.



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