November 13th, 2017

IBS Match Report: 2017 600-Yard Nationals in Memphis

IBS 600 Yard nationals benchrest Memphis Range wind 6mmBR 6BR

Report by Boyd Allen, IBS Executive VP
The 2017 IBS 600-Yard Nationals were held October 20-21 at the Memphis Sport Shooting Association (MSSA) Range. There was a good turn-out for the event, with 80 shooters. Conditions were challenging Saturday afternoon — strong winds that put some shooters right off the target. But those who mastered the conditions earned glory. The “Top Gun” at this year’s Nationals, earning the title of IBS 600-yard National Champion, was Andy Ferguson. In winning the Two-Gun Overall, Andy turned in a truly dominant performance, recording First Place Score in both Light Gun and Heavy Gun classes, along with second in HG group and fourth in LG Group. Finishing second Overall was Gaylan Breyans, while Jim Bauer was third.

IBS 600 Yard nationals benchrest Memphis Range wind 6mmBR 6BR

Top Shooters (L to R): Steve Wilson, Scotty Powell, Seth Wooten, Gene Ford, Lindsey Talley, Andy ”Who” Ferguson, Gaylon Breans, Jim Bauer, Justin Dale, Darrell Jones, James Lederer, Robby Miles, Jeff Godfrey, Jason Wolfe, Mike Hanes. NOTE: CLICK PHOTO for large image of top shooters.

Top Ten Competitors
IBS 600 Yard nationals benchrest Memphis Range wind 6mmBR 6BR


CLICK HERE for Complete 600-Yard IBS Nationals Results »

Today’s 600-yard benchrest rigs are capable of remarkable accuracy. Even with tough conditions in the afternoons, there was some pretty impressive shooting. Out of 640 targets that were shot by 80 competitors there were 27 scores of 50, 56 groups of 2” or less, 14 of 1.50” or less, 3 groups of 1.25″ or less, and one of 1” or less. See the FULL Results for more details.

Demonstration of Winning Form — Smooth and Fast
How do you win a 600-Yard National Benchrest Championship? Here’s a video answer to that question. To see how a top shooter handles his rifle on the bench, watch the short clip below of Two-Gun Winner Andy Ferguson shooting one of his targets with his 6BR Light Gun. Andy demonstrates smooth “table manners”. He keeps his head down, running off five shots in under 15 seconds. Note how well the gun tracks, returning to Point of Aim.

Match Winner Andy Ferguson Drills Five Shots in Under 15 seconds with his Light Gun

Notably, Andy won the match shooting the “plain vanilla” 6mmBR Norma — not a Dasher, not a 6 BRX, not a 6 BR Ackley. The parent 6mmBR cartridge can still do the job, particularly in the hands of a smooth shooter like Andy Ferguson. At the Memphis range, the usual strategy is to shoot on the sighter gong just before the switch to the record and then fire all shots on the record target as rapidly as possible to stay in the same wind condition.

600-Yard Benchrest Competition — The Basics

Two Classes — Light Gun and Heavy Gun
For those that are not familiar with this 600-yard Benchrest competition, the equipment rules are the same as for 1,000-yard Benchrest. There are two classes of rifles. The Light Gun (LG) rifles are limited to 17 pounds with no stock width or buttstock angle restrictions. The front and rear of these rifles must rest on sand bags. The rear bag may not have any provision for aiming the rifle.
Heavy Gun (HG) rifles have no weight limit. Like the LGs their stocks are not limited as to width or butt stock shape. HG rear sand bags may be supported by “mechanical” rests. Return to battery rests are not allowed for either class. Both HG and LG classes may use muzzle brakes.

Match Procedures at Memphis
In 600-yard IBS Benchrest competition, targets are measured for group size and there is also a score value based on shot placement in the target rings. Prizes are awarded for group, score, and combined. Before the first record target of an Aggregate, the sighter period is six minutes. For subsequent targets in that Agg, it is reduced to two minutes. At the end of sighter period, upon command, shooters have 10 minutes to complete their record target. Aggregates consist of eight targets. Shots that do not print on the target result in that target being disqualified (DQ), as well as the applicable Aggregate.

At this year’s Nationals, shooters rotated four benches to the right after every pair of targets was shot, continuing that rotation through both days. LG was shot on Friday, HG on Saturday. Thanks to an efficient target crew and recorded match commands, shooting was over by 2:25 pm both days.

Equipment List for Top Ten Shooters

The Top Ten Shooters all ran 6mm cartridges (6BRs and Dashers) loaded with similar components. All of the Top Ten who listed their components ran Varget powder and CCI 450 primers in Lapua brass. BAT Actions were predominant, and both Nightforce and Sightron scopes were popular. The top projectiles were Vapor Trail 103s and Berger 105s.

Top Ten Equipment List
IBS 600 Yard nationals benchrest Memphis Range wind 6mmBR 6BR
CLICK HERE for longer Equipment List.

A Well-Run Match
According to all reports the entire event ran like a well-oiled machine. The target crew was quick and skilled and all of the other details were handled efficiently. Prizes and trophies were in abundance. There was even some originality. Much to everyone’s amusement, instead of the usual (boring) plaque or trophy for the Two-Gun winner, a professional wrestling-style Prize Belt was awarded. Great idea! Showing off the Champ’s Belt is Two-Gun winner Andy Ferguson (Right) with past Shooter-of-the-Year Richard Schatz.

IBS 600 Yard nationals benchrest Andy Ferguson Prize Belt Two Gun Winner

Wicked Winds Challenge Shooters on Saturday
The conditions were variously described as “horrible”, the “worst for any match on this range this year”, and so on. Conditions were worse on Saturday than Friday, blowing like stink by the end of the day. Friday morning it was cool, humid and breezy, with a wind speed of a little over 3 mph. By mid-afternoon, when the match finished, it was 20 degrees warmer and the wind had increased significantly to about 9 mph. Saturday morning was warmer, less humid, and the wind speed was about the same as Friday afternoon. But by mid-afternoon, at the end of the match, the wind was blowing 15 mph having peaked an hour earlier at 17 mph!

IBS 600 Yard nationals benchrest Memphis Range wind 6mmBR 6BR

Doing a little research on the Berger Bullets website, with a 105gr VLD running 2950 fps, and a 15 mph wind coming from 5 O’Clock, the bullet deflection at 600 yards would be over 17.5 inches. There were a fair number of shooters with good records that missed targets.

Good Deed by Match Director Mike Moses
Match Director Mike Moses “paid it forward” this year in Memphis. Mike learned that his friend, bullet-maker Bart Sauter, had invited a young barrel-maker, James Lederer, to the Nationals. As this would be Lederer’s first 600-yard experience, Bart was going to lend Lederer one of Bart’s rifles. But it had another maker’s barrel installed. Mike decided Lederer should, fittingly, use a barrel Lederer made himself. So Mike then chambered up one of two Lederer barrels Mike had recently purchased, and fitted it to one of his own rifles. Mike then fire-formed cases, worked up a load, and assembled ammo for the match.

Mike prepared three complete rifles (and ammo) for the match — one for himself, one for his daughter (Lindsey Talley, ace photographer), and one for James Lederer. It’s hard enough to prepare a Nationals rig for one shooter. Mike did it for three people, PLUS he ran the match.

How did it work out? James Lederer finished mid-pack on Friday, and put what he had learned to good use on Saturday, taking a solid fourth place in Heavy Gun.

Both Bart and Mike have been impressed with the quality of Lederer barrels. James has several years’ experience working for a well-known barrel-maker before designing his own computer-controlled cut-rifling machine, and opening his own one-man shop.

Bauer Power — Jim and Sally Bauer at IBS 600-Yard Nationals

Bauer heavy gun 600 Yard nationals van truck transport slide-out wood caddy

Jim Bauer sends 5 record rounds down range with his “Eagle” HG in Maxi-Tracker stock.

Sally Bauer shoots sighter rounds with her Stars & Stripes HG Maxi-Tracker.

Bauer heavy gun 600 Yard nationals van truck transport slide-out wood caddy

The Bauers have a great transport set-up, with custom, slide-out rifle carriers fitted to their van. You can see the two Heavy Guns featured in the videos in the lower drawer.

The Memphis Sport Shooting Association Facility
The Memphis Sport Shooting Association operates an impressive facility with ranges for rifle, pistol, and shotgun. The 600-yard benchrest range, with covered firing line, is nicely sited, with thick stands of trees left and right. There are 24 very solid concrete-top benches. Plentiful rain and sunshine provide ideal conditions for trees and grass. For those of us in the arid West, the Memphis range seems green and lush. The trees on either side offer some (but obviously not complete) protection from wind.

Bauer heavy gun 600 Yard nationals van truck transport slide-out wood caddy

Bauer heavy gun 600 Yard nationals van truck transport slide-out wood caddy
2012 Photo by Birdog for VarmintHunters.com.

The range was built on land that had been an across-the-course High Power range, and the raised berms for intermediate firing lines are still present. That makes the wind bit more “interesting” when head- or tail-wind angles prevail. There are no pits. For each bench, at 600 yards, two record targets are posted one above the other with a 20” square steel sighter gong directly below. The sighter plates are repainted throughout the day during target changes. CLICK HERE for a 360-degree video view of the range from the covered firing line.

To the IBS Membership — Thanks for Helping with Match Reports
Putting together these match reports for the IBS page on Accurateshooter.com is challenging and enjoyable work. The hard part is coming up with pictures and videos. This time I have been lucky and I am thankful for that. The best part is that I get to talk to some very fine people. Thank you all for taking the time to make my work possible. I appreciate it. — Boyd Allen

Credit Randy Dawson (Birdog) for most of the images and videos used here.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
April 13th, 2017

2016 600 Yard IBS National Championship

Big Piney 600 yard ibs nationals Missouri 600yd

This story involves a match held last fall, but we know many of our readers compete in the Mid-Range (600-Yard) Benchrest discipline and follow developments in this sport. Accordingly we’re offering this report on the 2016 IBS Nationals held at the Big Piney Sportsman’s Club in Houston, Missouri.

The 600-Yard Nationals at Big Piney last September was a great event that drew 82 shooters from 14 different states. Competitors traveled from as far away as Florida, Idaho, and North Dakota to compete in the 2016 600-Yard International Benchrest Shooters National Championship. The weather was great and so was the food. A good time was had by all, and shooters praised the facility and the efficient way the match was run. The IBS offers a big “thank you” to everyone involved in running this excellent match. Their hard work and dedication deserves recognition.

On the forearm of this Heavy Gun was painted: “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”
Big Piney 600 yard ibs nationals Missouri 600yd

Two Gun Group Results | Heavy Gun Group Results | Light Gun Group Results

Here are the Class Winners at the 2016 IBS 600-yard Nationals in Missouri
Big Piney 600 yard ibs nationals Missouri 600yd

The opening morning for Light Gun class proved to be challenging, as the start time was pushed back one hour due to the fog settling in the firing line. By the second half of the eight targets to be shot, shooters began to settle in and take control of the conditions. The Missouri shooters stayed on top with Ben Peters winning light gun score with a 385. Jason Walker took the group win with a 2.008” through 8 targets. With Tom Jacobs, Darrel Dacus, Jim Bauer, and Carrol Lance rounding out the top 5 in Light Gun overall it was going to be a hard fight to the finish.

Click Image to View Larger Equipment List
Big Piney 600 yard ibs nationals Missouri 600yd
Look at the Caliber Column — Every Top 10 shooter in Light Gun Class shot either a 6mm BR Norma or a 6mm Dasher, an “Improved” version of the 6mm BR. In Heavy Gun it was 9 of 10 (with one unidentified 6.5mm). Hard to beat the 6mm BR and the Dasher for pure accuracy at 600 yards.

This competitor shot the match with a Labradar chronograph on his bench.
Big Piney 600 yard ibs nationals Missouri 600yd

On Sunday the Heavy Gun class started right on time with the clouds keeping Saturday’s fog in check. Relay 3 started the day off strong, putting it on top shelf for everyone to follow. The conditions seemed to stay pretty steady and helped create opportunities for competitors to shoot some amazing groups. Tom Jacobs came through with a 1.685 Heavy Gun group Aggregate. Rookie shooters Jim Kowske and TJ Stroop put on great Heavy Gun performances. Jim was second in Heavy gun group with 1.996” and TJ shot his way to second in score with a 384. Jason Walker hung on winning Heavy Gun score with a 389. This set up Jason as the Heavy Gun overall winner.

The Big Piney Range is a pretty facility surrounded by trees.
Big Piney 600 yard ibs nationals Missouri 600yd

Jason dominated the weekend landing himself a 2-Gun Overall Championship. The top Rookie honors went to T.J. Stroop. Sally Bauer won the Overall top female. Rory Jacobs was able to seal the top Junior spot. The Big Piney crew would like to thank everyone for being great friends and great competitors! We could not have done it without everyone!

The match organizers provided tasty BBQ banquets for hungry shooters.
Big Piney 600 yard ibs nationals Missouri 600yd

Here competitors relax between relays at the Big Piney facility.
Big Piney 600 yard ibs nationals Missouri 600yd

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
September 23rd, 2014

IBS 600-Yard Benchrest Nationals in Memphis September 26-27

IBS 600 yard nationals memphis tennessee tn

The 2014 IBS 600-Yard Benchrest Nationals will take place this upcoming weekend in Memphis, Tennessee at the Memphis Sport Shooting Assn. (MSSA) Range. The match runs Friday, September 26th through Saturday, September 27th. Set-up and practice sessions will be held on Wednesday and Thursday. The for-record matches will commence with the Light Gun division at 8:05 am on Friday. Heavy Gun matches will be held on Saturday.

IMPORTANT — You can still join in the fun. It’s not too late to register for this event. You can register at the range up to 6:00 pm on Thursday, September 25th. Mike Moses is the Match director. The MSSA Range is located about 25 miles northeast of Memphis, TN. Click here for directions and hotel links.

IBS 600 yard nationalsIBS 600-YARD NATIONALS – 2014
Memphis Sport Shooting Association
9428 Old Brownsville Road
Lakeland, TN 38002

Light Gun Competition – Friday, Sept. 26th.
Sign in by 7:30 A.M. Firing will begin 8:05 A.M.
Relays will fire in sequential order #1, #2, #3 & #4.

Heavy Gun Competition – Saturday, Sept. 27th.
Sign in by 7:30 A.M. Firing will begin 8:05 A.M.
Relays will fire in the order of #3, #4, #1 & #2.

Practice and Set-Up Sessions:
Wednesday Sept. 24th – 12:00 Noon until 6:00 pm
Thursday, Sept. 25th – 8:05 am until 6:00 pm

Registration and Fees
The current Match Registration fee is $200. (This includes lunch for both days). Registration deadline is 6:00 pm, Thursday, September 25th.

If you will register on site, fees may be paid to Mike Moses (Match Director). The organizers say: “If a competitor is delayed en route and is not pre-registered, please let us know as early as possible! We’ll make every effort to allow a late entry.”

Mike Moses, Match Director
Phone: 901-493-1687
Email: ashlinmetalworks [at] bellsouth.net
4224 Coleman Rd.
Memphis, TN 38128

10-year-old Rory Jacobs competed at last year’s IBS 600-yard Nationals in St. Louis, Missouri.
600 yard nationals IBS

Event tip by Samuel Hall. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
October 5th, 2012

Rory Jacobs — 10-Year-Old Benchrest Phenom

We all know that young people are the future of our sport. Well here’s a tale of a talented young shooter who is already “running with the Big Dogs” at the ripe old age of 10 years. Rory Jacobs, son of Forum member Tom Jacobs, recently competed at the IBS 600-yard Nationals in St. Louis. Rory won the Junior Nationals title and placed 14th in the Two-Gun Overall, finishing ahead of dozens of highly skilled adult shooters with decades of experience. Among all shooters (of any age) at the Nationals, Rory had the sixth-best Heavy Gun score and placed seventh overall in Heavy Gun. This kid has talent, that’s for sure. Of course, it helps to have a father who runs a shooting range. The Jacobs family owns and operates the Vapor Trail Valley Shooting Range, www.vaportrailvalleyllc.com, near Trenton, Missouri.

That handsome rifle was smithed by Jay Cutright, and stocked by Tom Meredith (the stock is one of Tom’s). The rifle features a BAT action and Benchmark barrel chambered in 6mm Dasher (.270″ neck) . At the Nationals, Rory shot Berger bullets pushed by Alliant Reloder 15 powder and CCI 450 primers. The front rest is from Randolph Machine.

Rory Began Shooting at Age Three
Rory started shooting and hunting at a very young age. He got his first .22LR rimfire rifle when he was three years old, and he started going on hunting trips with his father at the same young age. Within a few years he was a skilled hunter, harvesting a turkey and a couple of deer at age 6. When he was very young, his father took him prairie dog shooting several times. That’s when Rory got “hooked” on long-range shooting. He got involved in competitive shooting at age 9 at some rimfire “fun matches”. He moved up to the big leagues a year later, entering his first IBS match this spring (2012). Amazingly, at his first-ever IBS 600-yard match, Rory won Light Gun class overall and he posted the best LG group aggregate. Not bad for a 10-year-old! And how many folks, young or old, can boast that they won their first-ever benchrest match? This kid’s a natural. Not surprisingly, he is currently leading the IBS in the race for Junior 600-yard Shooter of the Year.

A well-rounded young man, Rory has a variety of interests. Along with shooting, Rory enjoys woodworking and he plays in a summer baseball league. He’s a modest, church-going youngster, whose character impressed all those who met him in St. Louis at the Nationals. When asked what he liked most about the National Championship experience, Rory replied: “I liked spending time with my dad, and I really liked helping other people.” Rory added: “The ride home in Gene Ford’s motorhome was cool.” The video shows Rory shooting at 600 yards.

Permalink - Videos, Competition 1 Comment »