January 10th, 2018

Blast from the Past — Angelina Beats Benchrest Hall of Famers

Angelina Benchrest girl phoenix

We first ran this story in 2014, when Angelina was just ten years old. A Forum member recently asked if she was still shooting benchrest, and we can say the answer is yes — under the guidance of her grandfather Lou Murdica. So we are repeating the story today, to inspire all the other granddads who might encourage a little lady to take up the sport…

Angelina Benchrest girl phoenixYou have to love this story, supplied by our friend Lou Murdica. It seems that a petite little 10-year-old school girl finished fourth in a 100-Yard Benchrest match in Phoenix, beating some of the best in the business, including many Benchrest Hall of Famers. That’s right, shooting a remarkable 0.1612 Aggregate, little Angelina G. put a whupping on some very big names in the Benchrest game, including Lou Murdica himself. Angelina finished just .008 behind Hall of Famer Gary Ocock, beating other Benchrest superstars such as Bob Brackney, Lester Bruno, and Tom Libby. Angelina also beat legendary bullet-maker Walt Berger, but we’ll cut Walt some slack. Now in his 80s, Walt deserves praise for doing so well at the opposite end of the age spectrum.

Congratulations to Angelina on some great shooting in the Unlimited Class. Her five groups measured: 0.186, 0.172, 0.173, 0.121, 0.155. That’s impressive consistency. You go girl!

Point to ponder: If Angelina was shooting a Rail Gun, her rifle probably weighed more than she did.

Check out the big names who finished behind little Angelina.

Angelina Benchrest girl phoenix

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
November 9th, 2017

British Shooter Wins Big at CMP Western Games

CMP 2017 Western Games

Ellis Wins Three-Gun and Four-Gun Titles at 2017 Western CMP Games
Story based on Report by Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer
In a masterful showing of marksmanship, William Ellis of Langley, England won both the Three-Gun and Four-Gun Aggregate rifle competitions during the CMP Western Games in Phoenix last month. 2017 was a great year for Ellis, who first traveled to the Western Games in 2009. William’s 2017 performances earned him the second Distinguished Rifleman Badge by a non-U.S. citizen this past year.

CMP Western Games Vintage Sniper rifle

Earning twin Aggregate Titles was a great accomplishment for Ellis, who had nearly won three years ago. In 2014, Ellis was the runner-up (second-place) in both 3-Gun and 4-Gun. But this was Ellis’s year — he was unstoppable. He shot superbly in the Arizona desert, taking the top spot in the Springfield Rifle Match along with second place in the Vintage Military Match. Those strong showings helped earn Ellis the 3-Gun and 4-Gun overall victories. To accompany his centerfire victories, Ellis shot great in the Rimfire Match, winning the Tactical Class. This was truly a masterful five days of shooting by Ellis.

CMP 2017 Western Games

Ellis Will Be Featured on Shooting USA
The media took notice of Ellis, who may have traveled farther than any other competitor at this year’s Western Games. Ellis will be featured in a Carbine Match video segment by Shooting USA TV, which filmed portions of the 2017 CMP Western Games for an upcoming episode.

CMP 2017 Western Games

Other Winners at CMP Western Games — Ben Avery Shooting Facility, October 13-17, 2017

Garand Match: Randall Dwornik, 287-3X
Vintage Military: William Fairless, 290-7X
Modern Military: Jeffrey Schneider, 293-6X

Vintage Sniper Team Match:
Manual Class: Michael Miller, Mike Barranco – 393-11X
Vintage Sniper Semi-Auto Class: SSG Steven Ophoff, Jeffrey Schneider – 364-8X

CLICK HERE for Complete Western Games Results | CLICK HERE for Western Games Photos

Training and Instruction at Western Games
Along with competitive events, Western Games also featured a Small Arms Firing School class, a Garand-Springfield-Military new competitor clinic, and a High Power Level II Range Officer class.

CMP 2017 Western Games

Hot Day-Time Temps and Wicked Night Winds at Ben Avery
2017 Western Games competitors experienced hot weather in Phoenix. Temperatures reached well into the 90s each day. The afternoon of the Sniper team match day saw temps topping out at 102° F. But the real weather problem was a gale-force wind that howled one night. The CMP’s 30 electronic targets were set up on the berm in front of the High Power rifle range pits wall. After the Small Arms Firing School was concluded, 40+ MPH overnight wind gusts toppled the entire target line. Thanks to the CMP staff and several competitors, the majority of the targets were reset, and all matches were fired upon them for the scheduled day and the remainder of the matches.

About the CMP Western Games at Ben Avery
The CMP Western Games include Garand, Springfield, Vintage Military, Modern Military, Rimfire Sporter, Carbine, and Vintage Sniper matches. The October Western Games event is the last of the CMP Travel Games events held each year. The other Travel Games, hosted in Oklahoma, North Carolina, and New England, feature both vintage and modern rifle and pistol events — recreational competition for both adults and juniors and all experience levels. The Western Games is the only Travel event for rifles only.

CMP 2017 Western Games

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August 27th, 2017

Berger Southwest Nationals 2018 — Registration Opens

Berger Bullets SWN SW Nationals Southwest Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona

Registration has opened for the 2018 Berger Southwest Nationals at the Ben Avery Range in Phoenix, Arizona. This is a GREAT match, the best in the West by far. The match runs February 5-11, 2018. By all means, attend if you can. The Grand Agg filled up last year, so we recommend you register soon.

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Berger’s SWN team reports: “Registrations for the 2018 Southwest Nationals open on Sunday, August 27th, at 6:00 am (PST). CLICK HERE for the Match Program (it is also available on the Desert Sharpshooters website and Berger Bullets website). We are also moving to an online registration this year, and entry fees will be paid online. Please note that due to our capacity limitations, each stage of the match is listed as a separate event. Please be sure to enter each of the stages you plan to participate in. This will allow us to include as many people as possible. If you have any questions, send email to michelle.gallagher [at] bergerbullets.com.”


2018 SWN Match Program PDF | 2018 SWN Online Registration

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Rekindle Old Friendships and Meet New Friends
Some shooters come to to the SW Nationals for the swag (the prize table is amazing). Others come for the sunshine (think warm 75-85° weather). And even more folks come to try out their shiny new toys and to test their skills against the nation’s best shooters.

But we’d say the number one reason most folks make the pilgrimage to Ben Avery every year is the camaraderie — the chance to connect with friends, rekindling connections that may go back decades. Fundamentally, then, the Berger SWN is about the people. For many of us, this is the only time of the year when we get a chance to meet fellow shooters from distant corners of the USA (and other nations).

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Compete Against the Best
If you want to test your mettle against some of the best shooters in the world, get yourself to Ben Avery in February. Here you can compete, shoulder to shoulder, against the best Sling and F-Class shooters on the planet. Guys like Derek Rodgers (newly-crowned F-TR World Champion), John Whidden (reigning Long Range National Champion), Nancy Tompkins (the first women to win the National High Power Championship), and Kenny Adams (past World F-Open Class Champion). If you want to play in the Big Leagues, Ben Avery is the place. Having said that, novice shooters will enjoy the experience as well, because you’ll find that these top shooters are (almost universally) happy to share their knowledge.

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Just to whet your appetite, here are videos from recent Berger SW Nationals. Yes, this match is as much fun as it looks!

Berger SW Nationals 2017

The North-by-Southwest team set new National Records in winning the 2017 F-TR team event.
Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Berger SW Nationals 2016

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Berger SW Nationals 2015

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

The Brain Trust — Experts Galore
The best minds of the shooting world come to Ben Avery every year. Got a question about ballistics? Well, Ballistics Guru Bryan Litz (photo below) will be happy to answer your questions between relays. Want some expert advice about wind reading? Seek out Mid Tompkins (usually found hanging around the club-house) or Emil Praslick, one of the most knowledgeable wind coaches on the planet. And if you have a gunsmithing question, you’ll find some of the top barrel-fitters and stock makers, including Doan Trevor and Gary Eliseo.

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

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February 13th, 2017

Berger Southwest Nationals — 2017 Match Wrap-Up

Berger SW Nationals Final Report Match Results

The 2017 Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN) are now history. This was a great match, with extremely close competition, and record-setting scores. For the first few days, conditions were very mild. That allowed the “top guns” to shoot “cleans” and even set a few new National records. In individual competition, there were familiar faces among the Top Ten, but also some rising stars. In the F-Open and Sling team events, two new squads topped some of the experienced “all-star” teams. Overall it was a great match — one of the most tightly contested ever. Even with 400 competitors, everything ran smoothly. For those who attended the 2017 Berger SW Nationals, this has been a truly memorable week at Ben Avery. F-Open and F-TR Final Results Posted HERE.


This is our final Berger SW Nationals video for 2017, with interviews with the three class winners: John Whidden (Sling), David Gosnell (F-Open), Donald Erpenbach (F-TR).

Top Five Competitors in Each Class
SLING
John Whidden, 1248-84X
Adrian Harris, 1243-74X
Allen Thomas, 1242-65X
Justin Skaret, 1242-59X
Erik Rhode, 1241-59X
F-OPEN
David Gosnell, 1247-84X
Jay Christopherson, 1246-74X
Keith Glasscock, 1245-79X
Pat Scully, 1243-71X
Dan Bramley, 1243-70X
F-TR
Donald Erpenbach, 1230-53X
James Crofts, 1225-43X
Alan Barnhart, 1224-32X
Ian Klemm, 1222-55X
Bryan Litz, 1222-49X

Bryan Litz congratulates Sling winner John Whidden. John is reigning National Long Range Rifle Champion.
North by Southwest

Below are SWN F-Open Champion David Gosnell (left) and F-TR Winner Donald Erpenbach (right).
North by Southwest

Record-Setting Performances in 2017
This year Ben Avery conditions were very good — calm mornings, and little wind in the afternoons for the first three days. With the very calm Day 1-3 conditions, we witnessed some spectacular individual and team performances. Lester Bruno shot a brilliant 200-23X at 600 Yards, setting a new National record. Ian Klemm set a new 60-shot, 600-yard National record of 599-38X. The Cluster Ducks set a new National F-Open Team Record for 800/900/1000 yards with their 1789-100X Score. And the talented North-by-Southwest F-TR squad set both a National Record and an overall SWN match record.

The North-by-Southwest team won the 2017 SWN F-TR team event in fine fashion, setting new National and range records in the process.

North by Southwest

And here is Team Longshots, winner of the F-Open Team Title. Individual F-Open Champ David Gosnell is at far right. The winning Sling Team was Scotland Thistle.

North by Southwest

Forum Admin Finishes a Very Close Second in F-Open
Hats off to AccurateShooter.com’s very own Systems Admin, Jay Christopherson. A talented tech expert, Jay runs our web servers and manages our Forum software. His skills and dedication keep the Forum running smoothly, even as we approach 35,000 members. Jay shot a brilliant match at Ben Avery this week, finishing second in F-Open, just one point behind F-Open winner David Gosnell. We’re proud of Jay, and we want to recognize his achievement. It’s interesting to note that Jay shot the entire match with the new SEB Mini rest, and he was using a Vortex 15-60x52mm Golden Eagle scope. Here’s a short video of Jay shooting his .284 Win rifle on Saturday.

Berger SW Nationals Final Report Match Results

The show’s over — it’s time to pack up the gear and head on home. We’re already looking forward to the 2018 Berger SWN. See you next year!

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

Big News for Berger Bullets

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

Big news in the Industry is that Berger Bullets is becoming part of the Nammo Group, parent of Lapua, Vihtavuori, SK and other companies. This major acquisition will combine Nammo’s resources and advanced engineering with Berger’s match-winning bullet designs and strong focus on competition. Yes, you can expect to see factory-loaded ammunition with Berger projectiles and premium Lapua brass. To learn more about the big Berger/Nammo deal, watch this interview with Berger President Erik Stecker.

Eric Stecker, Berger’s President, says the exact timing of the move has not yet been set, nor has the location been chosen. Arizona is high on the list of potential sites, but Berger is considering other states as well. Once the new factory location is determined, Eric says he expects the move to be completed “by December 2018 at the latest”.

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February 12th, 2017

Berger SW Nationals — Day 4 Report from Saturday

Arizona Berger SW Nationals Southwest Nationals F-Class Palma F-TR Phoenix travel

We saw a change in weather on Saturday. It dawned warm and relatively calm, but the winds picked up in the afternoon as clouds rolled in. There wasn’t any rain though, and for shooters who were sunburned after many days in the Arizona sunshine, the overcast was a bit of a relief. On Saturday, Ben Avery hosted both individual and team matches. All three classes (Sling, F-Open, F-TR) shot two 1000-yard individual matches. This was followed by 4-person Team Matches at 1K. Here are the top five performers in Saturday’s individual matches:

Top Five Competitors in Each Class
SLING
Kevan Hoffarth (P), 400-19X
Jerry Iliff (A), 400-18X
John Whidden (A), 399-23X
Peter Church (A), 399-22X
Gary Rasmussen (A), 399-16X
F-OPEN
Dan Bramley, 399-28X
Robert Hoppe, 399-27X
Pat Scully, 399-24X
Erik Cortina, 399-22X
John Meyers, 399-20X
F-TR
Ian Klemm, 394-16X
Bryan Litz, 393-16X
Nancy Tompkins, 392-19X
Peter Ricci 392-13X
Alan Barnhart, 392-9X

In a great individual performance, Kevan Hoffarth, shooting a Palma Rifle, shot clean to beat ALL sling shooters, including those in the “Any Rifle” sub-class. In fact, “Any” shooters took the next four sling places. In the F-Open Division, it was a very tight race, decided by X-Count for the top five places, with Dan Bramley edging Robert Hoppe for the win by one X.

Berger SW Nationals Sling

Watch Highlights of Day 4 at the Berger SW Nationals:

What the Berger SW Nationals is All About

When folks usually talk about shooting matches they focus on the obvious — scores and hardware. But the Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN) is about much more than putting holes in paper with bangsticks. We’d say this match has become so popular (with 400 entrants) because it offers the whole experience — fun, challenge, a warm-weather escape, and above all, camaraderie.

Berger SW Nationals Sling

Some shooters come to Ben Avery for the swag (the prize table is amazing). Others come for the sunshine (think warm 75-85° weather). And even more folks come to try out their shiny new toys and to test their skills against the nation’s best shooters.

But we’d say the number one reason most folks make the pilgrimage to Ben Avery every year is the camaraderie — the chance to connect with friends, rekindling connections that may go back decades. Fundamentally, then, the Berger SWN is about the people. For this Editor, the chance to meet good friends such as John Whidden, Gary Eliseo, Doan Trevor, Nancy Tompkins, Anette Wachter, Shiraz Balolia, Adam Braverman, Jay Christopherson, Erik Cortina, Scott Harris, and so many others, gives me plenty of motivation to make the 7-hour drive from California.

For many of us, this is the only time of the year when we get a chance to meet fellow shooters from distant corners of the USA. And where else will you find a past NRA President (John Sigler) on the firing line, and have a chance to chat with him during a lunch break. The SWN is very special.

Berger SW Nationals Competition

The Brain Trust — Experts Galore
The best minds of the shooting world come to Ben Avery every year. Got a question about ballistics? Well, Ballistics Guru Bryan Litz will be happy to answer your questions between relays. Want some expert advice about wind reading? Seek out Mid Tompkins (usually found hanging around the club-house) or Emil Praslick, one of the most knowledgeable wind coaches on the planet (Emil was shooting and coaching this year). And if you have a gunsmithing question, you’ll find some of the top barrel-fitters and stock makers, including Doan Trevor and Gary Eliseo.

Emil Praslick III heading out to the firing line…
Berger SW Nationals Emil Praslick

Tubegun Chassis-Maker Gary Eliseo was at the match
Berger SW Nationals Gary Eliseo

Berger SW Nationals

Compete against the Best
If you want to test your mettle against some of the best shooters in the world, get yourself to Ben Avery in February. Here you can compete, shoulder to shoulder, against the best Sling and F-Class shooters on the planet. Guys like John Whidden (reigning Long Range National Champion) and Kenny Adams (reigning World F-Open Class Champion). If you want to play with the “Big Boys”, Ben Avery is the place. Having said that, novice shooters will enjoy the experience as well, because you’ll find that these top shooters are (almost universally) happy to share their knowledge.

Berger SW Nationals through lens

Learn from Top Talents
If you want to improve your game, this is the place. Walk down the firing line and you’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with many national champions. There is no question that you can improve your techniques by watching top shooters, and you can get ideas about hardware by looking at the rigs campaigned by the best. Where else will you find a half-dozen national F-Class champs seated around a table. Or an 11-time National High Power Champion (David Tubb), hanging out at the Lapua trailer in the parking lot.

2015 F-TR National Mid-Range and Long-Range Champion Bryan Litz helps a Junior shooter
Berger SW Nationals Bryan Litz

Mid Tompkins at Shooters’ Clinic
Berger SW Nationals Mid Tompkins

Gun Gear Candy Store
If you are thinking about upgrading your match rifle, you’ll find plenty of inspiration at Ben Avery. On the firing line you’ll fine the newest actions from Barnard, BAT, and Borden, the latest/greatest optics (see Vortex Golden Eagle below), and the newest most advanced stocks. F-TR guys will find a wide variety of exotic bipods plus the latest generation of sandwich-construction bipod “mats”. (NOTE: These are becoming rigid, elevated platforms with low-friction tops — will the rules be tightened?).

Arizona Vortex Seb Rest Borden Action SW Nationals Phoenix travel

Arizona Vortex Seb Rest Borden Action SW Nationals Phoenix travel

Warm Arizona Weather
When we arrived in Phoenix on Tuesday it was a relatively mild 76°. By Friday it had warmed to a balmy 84°. We didn’t hear any complaints from the Canadians who fled ice and snow to shoot the match. Even while California was getting soaked with rain it was sunny and warm in Arizona. And you can even have a balloon ride right over the Ben Avery range.

Arizona Sedona SW Nationals Phoenix travel

Enjoy a Desert Escape
The Ben Avery Shooting Facility is located in a scenic corner of Arizona, north of Phoenix. Get here early in the morning and watch the balloons take off. Head northwest and you can visit the historic town of Prescott. Two hours north is Sedona, famed for its stunning Red Rock scenery. A few hours south you can visit Tombstone and the OK Corral. There’s a lot to see and do in the Phoenix area that makes the trip worthwhile in addition to the gun fun at the range.

Arizona Sedona SW Nationals Phoenix travel

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February 11th, 2017

Berger SWN Day 3 Report — Individual 800, 900, 1000 Yards

Berger SWN 2017  match palma

Friday at the Ben Avery Range in Phoenix, hundreds of competitors shot the individual Palma Match, a three-yardage (800/900/1000) day-long event. Competition was tough. The first four F-Open competitors didn’t drop a single point, all finishing with 450-point “cleans”. In F-TR it was equally close. Phil Kelley won with 447-23X, but the next three finishers were just one point behind at 446. In the sling division, John Whidden topped a very strong field with his 449-31X score, showing why he is the reigning National Long-Range Champion. But the next four Sling competitors were just one point behind at 448 points.

Top Five Competitors in Each Class
SLING
John Whidden, 449-31X
Anette Wachter, 448-26X
Randy Teissedre, 448-24X
Robert Stekette, 448-23X
Allen Thomas, 448-22X
F-OPEN
David Gosnell, 450-38X
Keith Glasscock, 450-34X
Danny J. Biggs, 450-32X
Jay Christopherson, 450-25X
Gilber Lucero, 449-27X
F-TR
Philip Kelley, 447-23X
Donald Erpenbach, 446-21X
Richard Dixon, 446-20X
Alan Barnhart, 446-16X
Daniel Lentz, 445-16X

Berger SW Nationals DAY THREE Highlights Video:

The match can’t happen without the dedicated folks doing pit duty — it’s all part of the experience.
Berger SWN 2017 Litz Dawn Kestrel

Aussie Tim Lawrence’s stock was custom-built from Rosewood in New South Wales, Australia.
Berger SWN 2017 Australia F-TR

The state of the art in F-Open rifles is very high indeed. Check out this handsome F-Open rig with a Speedy-designed Shurley Brothers ARK series wood stock.
Berger SWN 2017 F-Open

Four F-Open Competitors All Shot Clean
Remarkably, the four top F-Open Competitors all shot “clean” 450s, not dropping a single point. That’s mighty impressive for a 45-shot match at three yardages. AccurateShooter’s Systems Manager Jay Christopherson, who finished fourth, said: “Shooting clean today doesn’t suck. Shooting clean and still taking 4th place is a little harder to accept. Extremely tough crowd of competitors, as always.”

Checking the wind at the beginning of the day. Dawn at Ben Avery is beautiful. (Photo by Steve Fiorenzo).
Berger SWN 2017 Litz Dawn Kestrel

Interview with Multi-Time Champions David Tubb and John Whidden
We had a chance to chat with David Tubb and John Whidden. Between the two of them, David and John have won 21 National Rifle Championships. David has 11 National High Power titles plus 6 Long-Range titles. Reigning National Long Range Champion John Whidden holds 4 Long-Range titles, having won his latest LR championship in 2016. David is truly a living legend in the world of competitive shooting and John is one of the best sling shooters in the game today, a man capable of winning any match he enters. In fact he did win Friday’s match in the Sling division, topping the field with a 449-21X.

Berger SW Nationals Gallery of Competitors

At the Berger SW Nationals we have the opportunity to meet old friends from all over the country and make new friends. Here are some folks we saw at yesterday’s match.

Here’s Friday’s Sling Class winner John Whidden (449-31X) buckling up right before his relay.

Berger SWN 2017 Noma Mayo palma

Noma Mayo, one of our great senior shooters. She’s always smiling and helping others…

Berger SWN 2017 Noma Mayo palma

Tom Whitaker (left) chats with Emil Praslick III (right), one of the best wind coaches in the world.

Berger SWN Praslick

Like father, like daughter. This smiling twosome is from Texas. Father David, an Accurateshooter Forum member, tells us: “Claudette turned 15 on the day we drove out, Tuesday, and this is her first Berger SWN match. She and my son Royse (17) have won Texas junior championships, but this match is the largest we’ve attended.”

Berger SWN Praslick

We caught past F-Open National Champion (and past SWN winner) Larry Bartholome logging his score at the 900-yard line. Larry is one of the greatest F-Open shooters ever. Larry posts in our Forum as “LBart”.

Berger SWN father daughter

And here’s the man who started it all, Walt Berger himself. Without his dream to build better bullets, and his hard work over many decades, there wouldn’t be this wonderful match each year. The popularity of this event is testimony to Walt’s dedication and passion for the sport. Walt still competes in Benchrest matches.

Berger SWN Walt Berger

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February 10th, 2017

Team Match Day at the Berger Southwest Nationals

Team competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

Thursday was TEAM DAY at the Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN). In the Sling, F-TR, and F-Open classes, dozens of 4-person teams shot under coaches at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. The key difference between the team game and individual competition is that (for the most part) shooters function as trigger pullers only. Wind and elevation calls are typically made by the coaches, who sometimes even dial clicks for the shooters. In the above photo Bryan Litz is just about to click his shooter’s elevation turret.

This year the Scottish Thistle Team won the Sling division, lead by a strong 449-27X performance by Angus McLeod. The Hayes Rays of Sunshine Team finished second, six points back. In the highly competitive F-TR class, North by Southwest took the team title, with Da Bulls in second.

In the F-Open class, the Cluster Ducks (clever name) took the win, edging out second place The Longshots by a single point. Third in F-Open was Tex-Mex #1. Kudos to AccurateShooter’s own Jay Christopherson, our site systems manager, who lead 4th Place Team Lapua/Brux with a strong 448-25X. Jay keeps our servers running smoothly — and he’s a great shooter in his own right.

Here’s Team Krieger (foreground) getting ready on the 1000-yard line.
Team competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

Anette Wachter (in chair) shot a 450-36X in the Team Match — not dropping a single point. Outstanding!
Team competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

TEAM EVENT TOP THREE in SLING, F-OPEN, and F-TR
SLING
1st Place — Scotland Thistle 1786-100X
Angus McLeod, 449-29X
Sandy Walker, 447-27X
Ian Shaw, 445-24X
Michael Barlow, 445-21X

2nd Place — Hayes Rays of Sunshine 1780-97X

3rd Place — Sabine 1775-88X

NOTABLES: Annette Wachter, 450-36X (4th Place Team High)

F-OPEN
1st Place — The Cluster Ducks 1789-100X
James Laney, 450-27X
Kevin Shepherd, 448-24X
Norman Harrold, 448-21X
Joe Meyer, 443-28X

2nd Place — The Longshots 1788-103X

3rd Place — Tex-Mex #1 1781-93X

NOTABLES: Jay Christopherson, 448-25X (4th Place Team High)

F-TR
1st Place — North by Southwest 1773-74X
Daniel Lentz, 445-22X
Ian Klemm, 445-17X
Daniel Pohlabel, 443-18X
Ken Klemm, 440-17X

2nd Place — Da Bulls 1770-81X

3rd Place — Michigan F-TR Team 1764-85X

NOTABLES: Mike Plunkett 447-16X (4th Place Team High)

NEW F-OPEN TEAM Record: The Cluster Ducks set a new National Team Record for 800/900/1000 yards with their 1789-100X Score. In fact, the second-place Longshots also broke the previous 1786-104X record, set by Team Grizzly in 2014. Because the Cluster Ducks edged The Longshots by one point the Ducks will go down in the record books. But both teams can rightfully say they broke the then-current 1786-point F-Open record. Well done shooters!

Team Thunder-Struck from the Land Down Under brought along an inflatable mascot.
Team competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

GUNS and GEAR HIGHLIGHTS

Interesting Competition Hardware at Ben Avery

Eliseo F-Class Chassis with Two-Piece Barrel Block
Christine Harris was shooting a new prototype Eliseo F-Class stock with a two-part barrel block. This is similar to the Eliseo F1 stock but the bolt-together barrel block allows easier exchange of barreled actions.

Eliseo F1 Stock Team competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

Stunning F-Open Rig from Cerus Rifleworks
Cerus Rifleworks showed us a jaw-dropping new F-Open rifle. This is an amazing combination of beauty and advanced performance. The CNC-milled stock is stiff and straight, with tolerances that put most wood stocks to shame.

Cerus Rifleworks Team competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

A Lady Soldier’s Coat and Rifle
This Monard shooting coat belongs to SSG Amanda Elsenboss, a shooter with the USAMU Team. The rifle features a Barnard action in what appears to be a classic Robertston Composites H&H-style prone stock. Nice hardware for a talented lady soldier.

CEBRUS Team competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

USAMU Amanda Robertson stock competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

Pair of ‘Pods
We saw many SEB Joy-Pods on the front end of F-TR rifles. These light-weight bipods offer quick and easy aiming via a joystick-controlled coaxial head. The large flat feet allow the rifle to move back smoothly on recoil, and then slide right back on target.

SEB coax coaxial JoyPod Joy-PodTeam competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

Gear-Hauler for Many Seasons
This cart has seen countless matches over the years. Those stickers are markers in time, recording decades of shooting matches in many venues. How many stickers can you identify?

Cart Ben AveryTeam competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

Distinguished Rifleman’s Spotting Scope
The stories this old spotting scope could tell — how many targets has it seen over the years? The most important sticker, “Distinguished Rifleman”, bears witness to its owner’s skill and commitment to the sport.

Spotting Scope Team competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

Nightforce Optics Competition Scopes
Nightforce, a major sponsor of the Berger SW Nationals, had a variety of scopes mounted on viewing rigs. You could quickly compare one scope vs. another. We’d like to see more optics makers demo their scopes at major matches.

Spotting Scope Team competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

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February 8th, 2017

Berger SW Nationals Report — Mid-Range (600-Yard) Match

600 yard mid range Ben Avery Berger Southwest Nationals

The competition phase of the Berger SW Nationals kicked off today with a 600-yard match for Palma, F-TR, and F-Open rifles. Today’s star was Lester Bruno, who drilled a 200-23X with a 6mm BRX F-Open rifle he built himself. This rifle features a BAT Action, Krieger barrel, and presentation-grade Bastogne Walnut stock. Loaded with Berger 105gr Hybrids, Varget Powder, and Federal 205m Primers, this rifle absolutely hammered at Ben Avery on Wednesday — Lester put 23 shots in a row in the half-MOA X-Ring at 600 yards. Under NRA rules, if you shoot all Xs through the designated string of fire (here 20 shots), you are allowed to keep shooting until one shot falls outside the X-Ring. Lester drilled three extra Xs after shooting all Xs for his designated 20-shot string.

Lester Bruno Sets Pending National 600-yard Record with 200-23X in F-Open Division
600 yard mid range lester bruno Ben Avery Berger Southwest Nationals

Lester was excited to set a pending National record, breaking the previous 600-yard record by one X: “Conditions were in my favor, and it was a lot of fun.” However, Lester revealed the record string was nerve-wracking: “I was nervous after I shot 20 and they told me I could keep shooting to try to break the record. I had no knowledge I was able to do that.” Lester took his time, watched the conditions, and shot carefully: “I held off probably at least half of my shots but never held out of the X-Ring. It depended on the condition. A left to right condition was pushing the bullet down so I was holding a little high but when it went right to left I held a little low. I was very patient.”

Lester was all smiles after his 200-23X performance this morning. He told us: “This will be my first record in this discipline though I’ve set records in short-range benchrest.” (Lester is a member of the Benchrest Hall of Fame).

How’d You Like a Rifle That Can Shoot 200-23X
NOTE: If you want a rifle that shoots like this, you may be lucky. Lester says this is a working prototype of a new line of match rifles he’ll be offering for sale through Bruno’s Shooter Supply. These will be high-end rifles for guys who want the very best. The Bastogne wood for Lester’s own gun cost over $1500.00 (that’s just for the blank), but it’s a beauty.

600 yard mid range lester bruno Ben Avery Berger Southwest Nationals

Calm Conditions — But You Needed to Watch the Mirage
Conditions were very good most of the day, with very little wind. However, there WERE subtle directional changes you need to monitor. Bryan Litz, who won both mid-range and long-range F-TR National Championships here at Ben Avery in 2015, said that he did have to hold one side or the other though the wind was very calm. With the mirage roiling and distorting the view through his scope, Bryan said the Bullseye looked like a Medusa head rather than a concentric circle.

F-TR competitor Ian Klemm also had a Mid-Range match for the ages, dropping just one point for the whole day, to finish at 599-38X, and win the F-TR class. We’re told this 599-38X was also a new National F-TR record. Ian was shooting a new McMillan XiT stock.

Here are the Top Five Competitors for Each Divsion:

SLING (Palma)
Allen Thomas, 600-40X
Benjamin Lucchesi, 600-37X
Erik Rhode, 599-49X
Anette Wachter, 599-45X
Trudie Fay, 599-39X
F-Open
Dwayne Draggoo, 600-44X
Danny Biggs, 600-43X
Dan Bramley, 600-35X
Todd Hendricks, 600-34X
Don Nagel, 599-37X
F-TR
Ian Klemm, 599-38X (New Record)
Phil Kelley, 599-32X
James Crofts, 598-41X
John Moreali, 598-28X
Bryan Litz, 597-33X

Note: Results are prelminary, subject to final tabulation.

Watch Highlights from the SWN Mid-Range Match:

Ben Avery Bling — Stunning Paint Job and New SEB Mini
Jay Christopherson, AccurateShooter’s Systems Manager, had a stunning metallic flame paint job on his F-Open rifle. Up front, that beautiful stock is resting on the new SEB Mini coaxial pedestal rest. This looked very stable and Jay said the joystick works perfect. Jay is very impressed with this new coaxial front rest. We expect to see more Minis on the line in future F-Open matches.

flame paint SEB mini pedestal rest Ben Avery Berger Southwest Nationals

Sling Shooters in Palma Division
There were many Eliseo tubeguns in the hands of the sling shooters. For the Palma division, the cartridge of choice is the .308 Winchester. This old cartridge is still capable of extreme accuracy. Never underestimate a skilled sling shooter with a good Palma rifle.

Eliseo Tube gun chassis tubegun Ben Avery Berger Southwest Nationals

Wickenburg High School Rifle Team
While most of the competitors at this match shooters were middle-aged or older, it was nice to see a youth contingent from Wickenburg High School in Arizona. These young folks shot well — Ben Avery is their “home range”, so they felt confident with the conditions.

Wickenburg High School Ben Avery Berger Southwest Nationals

Disaster Averted by British Ingenuity
British competitor Tom Rylands had his rear sight break during the middle of a string. Undaunted, Tom secured the sight with some electrical tape and finished the string with a good score. We applaud Tom’s “never say die” attitude. Have tape, will travel…

Tom Rylands Tape Fix Berger Southwest Nationals

Ladies Love Ben Avery…
The T-Shirt says it all — there were many female competitors at the mid-range match, including some “all-girl” teams. There were some great lady shooters competing on Wednesday, including Nancy Tompkins and Trudie Fay.

Ben Avery Berger Southwest Nationals

First Lady of Shooting — Nancy Tompkins
It was great to see Nancy Tompkins on the firing line. A strong argument can be made that Nancy is the greatest female long-range competitive shooter in the history of the sport. We chatted with Nancy between relays. She revealed she had not shot sling “in quite a while” so she need to readjust some items on her gun. So… even the great ones need to tweak their gear now and then.

Nancy Tompkins Berger Southwest Nationals

The True Spirit of Competition
The team at the Berger SW Nationals encourages all participants, even those with disabilities. Here competitor Bob Depp shoots from a bench because he cannot hold his rifle normally, due to injuries sustained while serving as a U.S. Marine Corps Scout Sniper in Vietnam. It’s all about participating.

Mid-Range 600 Disable Shooters Berger Southwest Nationals

The Smell of Victory…
With the wind flags hanging straight down most of the day, perhaps the best wind indicator of all was the smoke coming from the Barbeque pit. You have to love the Berger SW Nationals at Ben Avery — where else can you get delicious, hot BBQ on the 600-yard line?

Mid-Range 600 bbq cooking wind flags smoke Berger Southwest Nationals

Long-Range Matches Run Thursday through Sunday
All the relays Wednesday were held at 600 yards. Starting Thursday, the shooters will compete at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. If conditions hold similar to today (with very little wind), we could see some impressive performances at the longer yardages. But as with any shooting venue, things can change quickly at Ben Avery. We’ve seen morning calms followed by afternoon gales. Good luck to all the competitors.

Mid-Range 600 bbq cooking wind flags smoke Berger Southwest Nationals

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February 7th, 2017

Berger Southwest Nationals Event Starts with Shooting Clinic

The Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN) kicked off with a two-day shooting clinic held Monday and Tuesday, February 6-7, 2017. Competition at the Ben Avery range begins with a 600-yard Mid-Range Match on Wednesday, followed by long-range matches Thursday through Sunday. Three classes of competitors will be on the firing line: Palma (.308 Win sling), F-TR, and F-Open. This is one of the most popular matches of the year, drawing competitors from around the nation (and a few foreign countries).

The Berger SW Nationals event has become the premier long-range match of the year in the Western United States. This prestigious rifle competition, hosted at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, outside Phoenix, Arizona, draws the nation’s top F-Class and sling shooters. Over 360 shooters have already registered for the SWN.

CLICK HERE to Download Berger Southwest Nationals Program

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Arizona

2017 Berger Southwest Nationals Schedule of Events

Monday, 6 – Tuesday, 7 February 2017, 9:00 AM
Shooting Clinic: Two-Day clinic includes instruction in both classroom and live fire settings. Instruction will start at 9:00 AM.

Berger Shooting Clinic SW Nationals

Wednesday, 8 February 2017, 9:00 AM
Mid-Range Match – Three, 20-shot matches at 600 yards.
Divisions: Palma, Any Rifle/Any Sight, F-Open, F-TR

Thursday, 9 February 2017, 9:00 AM
4-Man Palma Team Match – 15 shots for record at 800, 900 and 1000 yards.
Divisions: Palma, F-Open, F-TR
Practice available to those not shooting with a team.

Friday, 10 February 2017, 8:30 AM – Start of Grand Agg
Individual Palma Match – 15 shots for record at 800, 900 and 1000 yards.
Divisions: Palma, F-Open, F-TR
Swap Meet – after conclusion of fire at 1000-yard line.

Saturday, 11 February 2017, 8:30 AM
Individual 1000-Yard Matches – Two 20 shots matches at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Iron Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Iron Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
4 Man Team Match – 20 shots at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Iron Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Iron Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
Banquet Dinner – Approximately 5:00 pm at Indoor Range.

Sunday, 12 February 2017, 8:30 AM
Individual 1000-Yard Matches – Two 20 shots matches at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Any Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Any Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
Awards Ceremony at the Indoor Range.

Click image to see full-screen panorama.

CLICK HERE for Phoenix Travel and Lodging Information.


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Competition Tips from Bryan Litz

To help you prepare for the Berger SW Nationals, here are some competition tips from Bryan Litz. Bryan knows the Ben Avery range well. He won the Mid-Range and Long-Range F-TR National Championships there in 2015. And twice he has won the sling division at the Southwest Nationals. Here are wise words from Bryan:

Competition TIP ONE. Improving your scores in long range competition is a constant process of self-assessment. After each match, carefully analyze how you lost points and make a plan to improve. Beginning shooters will lose a lot of points to fundamental things like sight alignment and trigger control. Veteran shooters will lose far fewer points to a smaller list of mistakes. At every step along the way, always ask yourself why you’re losing points and address the issues. Sometimes the weak links that you need to work on aren’t your favorite thing to do, and success will take work in these areas as well.

Competition TIP TWO. Select your wind shooting strategy carefully. For beginners and veterans, most points are typically lost to wind. Successful shooters put a lot of thought into their approach to wind shooting. Sometimes it’s best to shoot fast and minimize the changes you’ll have to navigate. Other times it’s best to wait out a condition which may take several minutes. Develop a comfortable rest position so you have an easier time waiting when you should be waiting.

Competition TIP THREE. Actively avoid major train wrecks. Sounds obvious but it happens a lot. Select equipment that is reliable, get comfortable with it and have back-ups for important things. Don’t load on the verge of max pressure, don’t go to an important match with a barrel that’s near shot out, physically check tightness of all important screws prior to shooting each string. Observe what train wrecks you and others experience, and put measures in place to avoid them.

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January 29th, 2017

Wenatchee White-Out Doesn’t Deter Monte…

Monte Milanuk snow southwest berger Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery Range Arizona

Our friend Monte Milanuk needed to get in a little practice for the upcoming Berger Southwest Nationals. Monte didn’t let a little white stuff get in the way of his training session at the NCW Gun Club range in East Wenatchee, WA. Monte says: “For all you southerners and snowbirds… this is how the rest of us get ready for the Berger SWN!” Oh man that does look cold…

Monte Milanuk snow southwest berger Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery Range Arizona

Monte’s F-TR competition rig features a fully-adjustable McMillan XIT stock resting on a SEB JoyPod up front with an Edgewood bag in the rear. On top is a Nightforce Competition scope. Monte shoots Berger bullets, measuring their velocity with a LabRadar chronograph. The LabRadar sits on a Manfrotto tripod, which can adjust super-low, as you can see. With this set-up, Monte tells us “life is good” — even on a chilly morning in Wenatchee.

We wish Monte (and all competitors) good luck at the Berger SW Nationals. The popular event runs February 6-12, 2017 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, AZ. See you on the firing line!

CLICK HERE for Phoenix Travel and Lodging Information.


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January 21st, 2017

Six by Litz — Tips for Shooting Long-Range

Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals Ben Avery Bryan Litz

Berger SW Nationals Bryan LitzWith the Berger Southwest Nationals coming up soon (Feb. 6-12), we thought we would share some tips from a past Champion who really knows the Ben Avery range in Phoenix. In 2015, Bryan won the F-TR Mid-Range AND Long-Range National Championships hosted at Ben Avery. And at the 2014 Berger SW Nationals (SWN), Bryan took top honors among all sling shooters. If you only know Bryan Litz from his Applied Ballistics Books and DVDs, you may not realize that this guy is a great marksman (along with being an actual rocket scientist). This guy can shoot.

Given his impressive track record at Ben Avery, we asked Bryan if he had any advice for other long-range competitors. First Bryan provided three tips concerning Ballistics, his special area of expertise. Next Bryan offered three more general tips about long-range competition — how to analyze your shooting, how to choose your ‘wind strategy’, and how to avoid the most costly mistakes, i.e. how to avoid the “train-wrecks”.

Here is the sleek F-TR Rig Bryan Litz used to win the 2015 F-TR Mid-Range and Long-Range Championships at Ben Avery:
Bryan Litz F-TR Ben Avery Berger SW Nationals

Litz Ballistics Tips

Ballistics TIP ONE. If you’re having trouble getting your ballistic software to match actual drops, you need to look at a number of possible reasons. Here are some common issues that can cause problems.

Click Values Are Not Exact. Scopes and iron sights don’t always produce accurate adjustments. In other words, if your ballistics program predicts 30 MOA of drop, and you dial 30 MOA but hit low, it might be that your sight actually only moved 28 MOA (for example). To see if your sight is adjusting accurately, shoot a tall target at 100 yards and measure group separation when dialing your sight.

Barometric vs. Station Pressure. This is a commonly misunderstood input to ballistics programs. You can avoid this pitfall by remembering the following: station pressure is the actual measured pressure at your location, and you don’t need to tell the program your altitude when using station pressure. Barometric pressure is corrected for sea level. If you’re using barometric pressure, you also have to input your altitude.

Muzzle Velocity. Chronographs are not always as accurate as shooters think they are — your true MV may be off by 10-20 fps (or more). If your drop is different than predicted at long range, it might be because your muzzle velocity input is wrong.

Mixing Up BC (G1 vs. G7). Knowledgeable long range shooters know that the G7 standard is a more representative standard for modern LR bullets. However, using G7 BCs isn’t just a matter of clicking the ‘G7′ option in the program. The numeric value of the BC is different for G1 and G7. For example, the G1 BC of the Berger 155.5 grain Fullbore bullet is .464 but the G7 BC is .237. If you were to enter .464 but click on G7, the results would be way off.

Ballistics TIP TWO. A properly installed level is absolutely essential for long range shooting. Without a good level reference, your long range wind zero will be off due to minor canting of the rifle from side to side. You can verify that your level is installed correctly on a 100-yard ‘tall target’. Draw a plumb line straight up the target and verify that your groups track straight up this line as you go up in elevation.

Ballistics TIP THREE. If your long range ballistic predictions aren’t tracking, always come back and verify your 100-yard zero. Sometimes a simple zero shift can be misconstrued as errors in long range ballistics predictions.

Bryan Litz Tips

Litz Competition Shooting Tips

Competition TIP ONE. Improving your scores in long range competition is a constant process of self-assessment. After each match, carefully analyze how you lost points and make a plan to improve. Beginning shooters will lose a lot of points to fundamental things like sight alignment and trigger control. Veteran shooters will lose far fewer points to a smaller list of mistakes. At every step along the way, always ask yourself why you’re losing points and address the issues. Sometimes the weak links that you need to work on aren’t your favorite thing to do, and success will take work in these areas as well.

Competition TIP TWO. Select your wind shooting strategy carefully. For beginners and veterans, most points are typically lost to wind. Successful shooters put a lot of thought into their approach to wind shooting. Sometimes it’s best to shoot fast and minimize the changes you’ll have to navigate. Other times it’s best to wait out a condition which may take several minutes. Develop a comfortable rest position so you have an easier time waiting when you should be waiting.

Competition TIP THREE. Actively avoid major train wrecks. Sounds obvious but it happens a lot. Select equipment that is reliable, get comfortable with it and have back-ups for important things. Don’t load on the verge of max pressure, don’t go to an important match with a barrel that’s near shot out, physically check tightness of all important screws prior to shooting each string. Observe what train wrecks you and others experience, and put measures in place to avoid them.

“Must-Watch” SWN Video has aerial view of Ben Avery plus highlights from Saturday

Bryan Litz Tips

Photos by Steve Fiorenzo

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November 17th, 2016

Henry 1000-Man Shoot Is Big Success in Arizona

Henry Repeating Arms 1000-man shoot Ben Avery Arizona NRA

One week after the November Election, Henry Repeating Arms and the NRA pulled off a remarkable display of support for the Second Amendment at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Arizona.

On Monday, November 14th, 1000 proud shooters from 16 states stood side-by-side in a line spanning a mile and a half long. Under the supervision of NRA Rangemasters, the 1000 shooters simultaneously fired two shots from Henry Silver Boy .22 LR lever-action rifles.

Henry Repeating Arms 1000-man shoot Ben Avery Arizona NRA

Anthony Imperato (shown above), President of Henry Repeating Arms, said: “The Henry 1000-Man Shoot was all that I had hoped it would be and more. Looking out at a sea of 1000 participants, their families, and 400 volunteers, was very emotional. There was a tremendous sense of patriotism and I’ll never forget it.”

The record-breaking event was a combined effort between Henry Repeating Arms and the NRA. Henry donated the 1000 commemorative .22 LR rifles. One million dollars is expected to be raised. All proceeds will support NRA initiatives, including Firearms Safety, Youth Shooting Sports, Disabled Shooting programs, Child Safety programs, and NRA efforts to protect Second Amendment rights.

Henry Repeating Arms 1000-man shoot Ben Avery Arizona NRA

Pete Brownell, first VP of the NRA and CEO of Brownells Inc., said the 1000-Man Shoot served as a statement that Americans would stand up for their freedoms: “As some of you may know, we made history last week,” Brownell told the crowd. Then he encouraged participants to go out and make their own history with the record-setting shoot.

Another 1000-Man Shoot in the Future?
Will there be another 1000-man shoot? Perhaps, but there are few other shooting facilities that can hold 1000 shooters in a single line. According to the NRA’s American Rifleman: “Henry’s Anthony Imperato wasn’t ready to look ahead to a repeat of such a massive undertaking, [but] the shoot was so well-received that it wouldn’t surprise him if follow-up events occur, first because of the fact that the 1,000 slots filled so quickly, and second because he has received so many requests for a similar event in other parts of the country.”

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September 28th, 2016

Western CMP Games & Creedmoor Cup Matches Coming Soon

CMP Western Games Games Creedmoor Cup Ben Avery

Ready for some action in Arizona? The 13th Annual Western CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup Matches will be held at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Arizona. The CMP Games run 7-11 October while the Creedmoor Cup Matches take place 12-16 October. All interested shooters are invited to participate in these prestigious, national-level competitions. NOTE: Registration for the Creedmoor Cup matches must be done online via www.creedmoorsports.com.

The CMP Western Games will include the Garand, Springfield, Vintage Military, Modern Military, Rimfire Sporter, Carbine, and Vintage Sniper matches. Along with the shooting matches, the CMP will offer a special CMP Games Match Clinic plus a Small Arms Firing School (Rifle). These training programs can benefit novices as well as experienced shooters. If you need to buy ammo or hardware, the CMP will operate a Sales Booth at Ben Avery all 4 days of Western Games.

Western CMP Games Entry Form | Western CMP Games Online Registration
Western CMP Games & Creedmoor Cup Program | Directions to Ben Avery Range

Creedmoor Cup Schedule and Events
The Creedmoor Cup Matches will begin on October 12th and conclude on October 16th. A great Bar-B-Q on Saturday is included with entry. This year’s Creedmoor Cup schedule includes the following events: High Power Rifle Clinic, Creedmoor Cup Match (2400 point aggregate), 4-Man Team Match, and Creedmoor EIC Match. The Special High Power Shooting Clinic will include lectures, demonstrations and dry-fire training by some of the world’s most talented service rifle marksmen.

CMP Games Creedmoor Cup Ben Avery

Western CMP Games Matches

  • Garand & Springfield Match Clinic
  • John C. Garand Match
  • Springfield Match
  • Vintage Military Rifle Match
  • Small Arms Firing School/M16 Match
  • Rimfire Sporter Match
  • Carbine Match
  • Vintage Sniper Match
  • Modern Military Rifle Match
  • Western Creedmoor Cup Events

  • High Power Rifle Clinic
  • Creedmoor Cup (2400 point aggregate)
  • 4-Man Team Match
  • Creedmoor EIC Match
  • To see a real pro shooting Service Rifle, check out the above video. That’s former National Champion (now Creedmoor Sports G.M.) Dennis DeMille, shooting 300-yard Rapids from the prone position. This was filmed at the 2010 Berger Southwest Nationals at Ben Avery. You’ll see Dennis adjusts his sights while looking through the spotter. Then watch how calm and steady Dennis stays from shot to shot. That comes with years of practice and training.

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    March 29th, 2016

    Cactus Classic in Phoenix Draws Top Benchrest Talent

    Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery
    Click to view full-screen size image.

    The Cactus Classic is a prestigious benchrest competition held every year in Phoenix, Arizona. On March 16-20, many of the nation’s top short-range benchresters came to Ben Avery to vie for glory and prizes. There were some impressive performances at this year’s Cactus Classic, hosted by the Arizona Benchrest Shooters. Top Gun was Larry Costa who won the Two-Gun Grand Aggregate as well as the Light Varmint (LV) 200-yard Agg. Lou Murdica (shown below) won the Heavy Varmint (HV) 200-yard Aggregate. At the shorter range, Larry Baggett won the Heavy Varmint 100-yard Aggregate and Gary Bristow won the Light Varmint 100-yard Agg. For full results, click the link below. To see hundreds of high-rez photos from the match, visit the Berger Bullets Flickr Photo Gallery.

    CLICK HERE for Complete Cactus Classic Match Results.

    HV 200-yard Aggregate winner Lou Murdica.
    Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery

    Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery

    Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery

    Most short-range benchrest shooters load at the range.
    Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery

    Now in his late 80s, Berger Bullets founder Walt Berger is still competing…
    Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery

    Impressive hardware was on display at the Cactus Classic.
    Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery

    Cleaning is part of the routine in the short-range benchrest game.
    Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery

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    February 25th, 2016

    Legendary Shooter Mid Tompkins Profiled in Shooting Sports USA

    Middleton Tompkins SSUSA High Power Interview video

    On the Shooting Sports USA website, legendary shooter Middleton (“Mid”) Tompkins is profiled this week. One of the great figures in American rifle shooting, Mid is also the patriarch of the greatest family of shooters in American history. Mid’s wife Nancy Tompkins, and daughters Michelle Gallagher and Sherri Jo Gallagher, have all been National Champions. Mid himself is a six-time, across-the-course national High Power rifle champion. He’s also been on 18 Palma teams as captain, coach or shooter. Mid started shooting smallbore rifle over 60 years ago, competing in that discipline at Camp Perry in 1954. But he committed to High Power in 1955 and never looked back: “I liked High Power’s diversification of standing, sitting, rapid fire and long range shooting.”

    READ Complete Mid Tompkins Profile in Shooting Sports USA

    Berger Nightforce Ben Avery Building 1000-yard range Middleton Tompkins MidHighlights of the SSUSA Story:

    Practice Ammo: Mid does not use practice ammo, saying: “If it isn’t the best ammo he owns, the shooter learns absolutely nothing because they don’t know—when they shoot an 8, if they shot it, the ammo shot it or the gun shot it.”

    On Scorebooks: “I totally, totally do not believe in scorebooks. It takes away your concentration from what you should be doing, which is doping the wind and pointing the rifle downrange. Shooting is not about book-keeping. Shooting is about putting a bullet in the middle of the target.”

    Practice Makes Perfect: For decades, Mid shot every Saturday and Sunday, whether for practice or in a match. Mid shot with four different clubs, each hosting their own match on a different weekend. He shot them all, as well as practicing the day before each match. That’s in addition to competing in Sanctioned and Registered matches.

    Middleton Tompkins Interview from 2015:

    In the video above, Mid talks candidly about his storied career as a shooter and a shooting coach. He explains what it takes to win, and offers advice on how new shooters can improve their skill sets. Mid also talks about advancements in rifle hardware and bullet design. Mid also offers invaluable advice on how to dope the wind at Ben Avery. Last year, the 1000-yard Range at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix was officially dedicated as the “Middleton Tompkins Range”.

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    February 14th, 2016

    Valentine’s Day Showdown — Berger SW Nationals Report

    Today’s the final day of the Berger Southwest Nationals, with individual Sling, F-TR, and F-Open matches on tap. The competition remains tight, with many shooters within striking distance for podium positions. Predictions are for light and variable winds for the day. We’re sad to see the fun come to a close. This is a special event, drawing top shooters from around the nation. As James Crofts told is: “It’s always great to see good friends and fellow shooters from far and near….”

    One shot left… will that last bullet end up in the X-ring? We hope so…

    If you’ve never shot this match, you should. You’ll squad alongside the nation’s best long-range shooters, and you’ll enjoy a superb facility. The desert range at Ben Avery is something special — check out a “birds-eye view” with our latest video from the match. This video also includes an interview with Derek Rodgers, the only man who who has earned both F-Open AND F-TR National titles. We strongly recommend you watch this video.

    “Must-Watch” SWN Video has aerial view of Ben Avery plus highlights from Saturday

    Yesterday, Saturday, marked the conclusion of the Team events. In the F-TR division, Michigan extended its lead to win Gold while the U.S. Rifle Team (USRT) held on for silver for the overall team title. Notably, ten of the twelve shooters making up the top three squads are members of the USRT, as are the top two coaches. Congrats to all.

    Phil Kelley reports that Saturday’s F-TR team match went down to the wire: “It was a fun 1000-yard team day at SW Nationals. Good to use a teammate’s backup gun to finally be competitive at something. Congrats to Team Michigan for the big win, both for the day and overall. There was great competition today with Michigan winning by 1 point (and some Xs) over X-men and X-men getting Team Virginia/USA by 1 point and some Xs. Great shooting by all.”

    Phil added that: “Dan Lentz continues to perform well with another great day and maintains the overall lead going into the final day. Derek Rodgers, Bryan Litz, and Jim Crofts are on his heels but Dan looks confident.” Tomorrow, here on the Daily Bulletin, we will provide final individual results from the match, along with all the final team results.

    Snapshots from the Berger Southwest Nationals

    Here’s one of the new Borden wide-body actions in a Shurley Brothers stock. The timing on this action is insanely good, making it very smoooooth to operate.

    This Scottish shooter showed some style on the range, with his traditional Scottish tweed cap. That’s classy. No floppy boonie hat for this dapper lad.

    Take a look at the very useful information card. Note that it shows mirage patterns and provides suggested windage and elevation corrections for all yardages.

    Check out the handsome, 3D-effect Stars and Stripes finish applied to this F-TR Rifle. Note that the right-handed shooter is running a Left-Bolt, Left Port action, with a SEB Joy-Pod up front.

    Here’s the brand-new F-Class front rest from Competition Machine. This 38-lb beast features a belt-drive elevation adjustment, joy-stick windage, and rotary pivoting head to align with your target.

    Rewards for Berger SWN Participants

    The Berger SW Nationals has one of the richest prize tables in the shooting sports. This Saturday night, nearly 400 participants received a variety of participation prizes and raffle awards. In addition, winners were announced for some of the events which concluded earlier in the week. Gunsmith John Pierce came up a big winner with a kiss from his lady and a Team Trophy for the Michigan F-TR Squad.

    Berger SW Nationals prizes

    Berger SW Nationals prizes

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    February 13th, 2016

    Individual Palma Competition on Day 3 of Berger SW Nationals

    2016 Berger Southwest Nationals SW

    The Individual Palma Match kicked off Friday at the Berger Southwest Nationals. While still mostly calm, conditions were more variable and tricky. James Crofts told us that you had to watch both the mirage AND the flags, because sometimes a change appeared on the flags before you could see anything in the mirage. The top shooters were scanning the range constantly for any velocity or angle change. If you don’t pay attention to the flags, James said, “you’ll be out in the nine ring”.

    Watch Video with Highlights from Day 3 of Berger SWN, including James Crofts Interview:

    Our good friend John Whidden, a past National Long-Range Champion, brought his “A Game” Friday, topping the Sling Division with 449-33X. Competition was fierce with five sling shooters finishing with the same 449 points, separated only by X-Count: Whidden (33X), Oliver Milanovic (31X), Rick Hunt (25X), Michael Barlow (25X), and Steven Powell (22X).

    2016 Berger Southwest Nationals SW
    John Whidden file photo from 2015

    In F-Open, the top three shooters for the day were: Ken Padilla (448-25X), John Myers (447-32X), and Kenny Adams (447-24X). In F-TR Dan Lentz topped the Field with 447-24X, followed by Derek Rodgers and Justin Bertino (both at 445-23X). Ryan Pierce noted that Dan Lentz’s performance for the day beat all but three of the F-Open shooters: “Extremely impressive is Dan Lentz 447-24X F-TR score [which] tied Kenny Adams’s third-place F-Open Aggregate. Shooting .308 Win off a bipod and keeping up with the 7mms and 30 Cal magnums is outstanding. Good shooting Dan.”

    2016 Berger Southwest Nationals SW

    2016 Berger Southwest Nationals SW

    Interesting Hardware

    New Speedy F-Open Stock (Jeff Reed, owner)

    Speed Gonzalez F-Open Stock

    Speed Gonzalez F-Open Stock

    F-Open competitor Jeff Reed has a new F-Open rig with the brand new Speedy Gonzales laminated stock. Jeff says he loves the stock, saying it “tracks like a dream”. Jeff also likes the recoil-reduction system fitted at the rear of the stock. This really makes a difference for the big calibers says Jeff. If you’re curious, that’s an IOR Valdada 12-52x56mm scope with a 40mm main tube on top of Jeff’s rifle. It features 25 MOA of elevation in one rotation of the turret.

    Spotting Scope Mounted to Front Rest

    Speed Gonzalez F-Open Stock

    Gunsmith Richard King of Texas has mounted his spotting scope directly to his Farley front rest. Very clever. This puts the spotter eyepiece just a few inches from his riflescope eyepiece so he can move easily from one optic to the other. This set-up also reduces the amount of gear Richard carries to the line. No separate spotting scope base, stand or horizontal mounting arm is required. This is a simple, elegant solution. We bet, with a little tinkering and design work, a similar system could be mounted to a SEB or Bald Eagle front rest. Note, it may appear that the lens is obscured by the front clamp, but that’s just the camera angle. We looked through the spotting scope and everything is clear.

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    February 10th, 2016

    2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Commence in Arizona

    2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Arizona AZ
    Checking conditions at break of day. This week Phoenix will offer cool nights and warm days, with daytime temps in the mid- to high 80s (F).

    2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Arizona AZThe Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN), is the biggest, most prestigious long-range shooting match west of the Mississipi. The SW Nationals, which run February 9-14, 2016, kicked off on Tuesday the 9th with a shooting clinic at the Ben Avery 1000-yard Range. This gave competitors a chance to confirm their zeros, study the conditions at Ben Avery, and prep their “mental game” for the upcoming competition. This will be a huge event, with over 370 shooters from all over the USA and many foreign countries. The SW Nationals attracts top F-Class and Sling shooters, lured by the quality of the competition and a huge prize table. This is truly a “world-class” event.

    Tuesday’s shooting clinic started with a class on Exterior Ballistics hosted by Bryan Litz. Following the ballistics class, shooters made their way to the firing line for one-on-one instruction with experienced shooters in each discipline (sling, F-TR and F-Open). During this segment of the clinic, champion shooters worked directly with novice and intermediate shooters. Bryan said: “It was great to see the ‘top guns’ sharing their knowledge.”

    2015 Berger Southwest Nationals Clinic Applied Ballistics High Power F-Class Phoenix Ben Avery
    File photo from 2015.

    Nat’l Mid-Range and Long-Range F-TR Champion Bryan Litz instructs during Tuesday’s Clinic at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility.
    2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Arizona AZ

    Eliseo Tubegun with Nightforce Competition scope. These versatile rifle chassis systems are produced by Competition Machine in Cottonwood, Arizona.
    2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Arizona AZ

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    Photos by Steven Fiorenzo.

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    January 28th, 2016

    Get Ready for Berger SW Nationals February 9-14, 2016

    Berger Southwest Nationals

    The Berger Southwest Nationals event is less than two weeks away… so get your bags packed and ammo loaded boys and girls. The SW Nationals run February 9-14, 2016, kicking off on Tuesday the 9th with a shooting clinic.


    Photo by Phil Kelley at Ben Avery Range.

    This prestigious rifle competition, hosted at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, outside Phoenix, Arizona, draws top F-Class and sling shooters from around the country. The Berger SW Nationals event is the premier long-range match of the year in the Western United States. Over 360 shooters have already registered for the SWN. NOTE: there are a few spots left. To register, go to the Berger SWN Entry Page.

    CLICK HERE to Download Berger Soutwest Nationals Program and Entry Form.

    Watch Highlights from Last Year’s Team Match at 2015 Berger SW Nationals:

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    berger southwest nationals 2016 Ben Avery Phoenix

    Competition Tips from Bryan Litz

    To help you prepare for the Berger SW Nationals, here are some competition tips from Bryan Litz. Bryan knows the Ben Avery range well. He won the Mid-Range and Long-Range F-TR National Championships there last year. And twice he has won the sling division at the Southwest Nationals. Here are wise words from Bryan:

    Competition TIP ONE. Improving your scores in long range competition is a constant process of self-assessment. After each match, carefully analyze how you lost points and make a plan to improve. Beginning shooters will lose a lot of points to fundamental things like sight alignment and trigger control. Veteran shooters will lose far fewer points to a smaller list of mistakes. At every step along the way, always ask yourself why you’re losing points and address the issues. Sometimes the weak links that you need to work on aren’t your favorite thing to do, and success will take work in these areas as well.

    Competition TIP TWO. Select your wind shooting strategy carefully. For beginners and veterans, most points are typically lost to wind. Successful shooters put a lot of thought into their approach to wind shooting. Sometimes it’s best to shoot fast and minimize the changes you’ll have to navigate. Other times it’s best to wait out a condition which may take several minutes. Develop a comfortable rest position so you have an easier time waiting when you should be waiting.

    Competition TIP THREE. Actively avoid major train wrecks. Sounds obvious but it happens a lot. Select equipment that is reliable, get comfortable with it and have back-ups for important things. Don’t load on the verge of max pressure, don’t go to an important match with a barrel that’s near shot out, physically check tightness of all important screws prior to shooting each string. Observe what train wrecks you and others experience, and put measures in place to avoid them.

    Competition TIP FOUR. If your long range ballistic predictions aren’t tracking, always come back and verify your 100-yard zero. Sometimes a simple zero shift can be misconstrued as errors in long range ballistics predictions.

    Bryan Litz Tips

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    October 31st, 2015

    X-Men and Team Grizzly Win F-Class National Championships

    2015 F-Class national championship X-Men Team Grizzly ben avery

    We have two new National Champion F-Class Teams. At the 2015 Long-Range Team Championships in Phoenix yesterday, Team Grizzly won the F-Open Division while the X-Men team secured the F-TR Title. The teams had to deal with tough conditions, requiring wind coaches to bring their “A Game”. James Crofts of the X-Men said: “The highest level of winds in recent nationals memory greeted all on the line today.” And Shiraz Balolia, who finished with the highest score (395-17X) among all shooters, observed: “High winds in the second match really made a huge difference in scores.”

    Team Grizzly Wins 2015 F-Open Long-Range National Championship
    Team Grizzly finished first in the F-Open Division with a 1560-49X score. In second, nine points back with 1551-49X, was the Tex-Mex Squad, while local favorites the Wide Nines team finished third with 1548-45X. Team Grizzly’s 9-point winning margin was impressive — Leo Ahern joked that: “9 points is more like a spanking than a win!”

    Team Grizzly Captain Shiraz Balolia had the top score (395-17X) of all shooters participating in the team event. (This is a file photo from previous match).
    2015 F-Class national championship X-Men Team Grizzly ben avery

    Team Grizzly’s Captain Shiraz Balolia said: “My hat is off to our coach, Trudie Fay, who has coached and won us the last three consecutive Team matches at the National Championships. I have been fortunate to have been a shooter and Captain of all three gold medal wins, three years in a row, one with Team USA and two with Team Grizzly. Trudie did a great job and my Team gun just hammered!” Along with Faye and Balolia, Team members included Kenny Adams, Emil Kovan, and John Myers.

    2015 F-Class national championship X-Men Team Grizzly ben avery

    X-Men Team Tops F-TR Field
    Hail the Orange and Green invaders. The X-Men are the 2015 US Long Range National F-TR Champions. The Team included shooters Tracy Hogg, Phil Kelley, Ian Klemm, and Dan Lentz, along with Wind Coach James Crofts and Captain Ken Klemm. Crofts said: “Big thanks to our remaining X-men teammates Joseph Conley, Mike Hardy, and Radoslaw Czupryna. Special thanks to Ray Bowman as we were all shooting PR&T hammers. We have great respect for Team Sinclair (that has motivated us for a long time) and Team Michigan, our friends from up North. Today was a good day!”

    All four X-Men rifles featured Precision Rifle & Tool (PR&T) Low Boy stocks. PR&T’s Ray Bowman observed: “Ian Klem built his rifle on our stock, PR&T stocked Dan Lentz’s rifle and we built Phil Kelley’s and Tracy Hogg’s “HAMMER” rifles.” Gunsmith Ryan Pierce chambered two of the X-Men barrels.

    It was sunny but quite windy on Friday for the Team Match (Sherri Judd Photo).
    2015 F-Class national championship X-Men Team Grizzly ben avery

    Finishing second in the F-TR division was the Michigan Rifle Team, winners of the Mid-Range F-TR National Championship. The Team was coached by newly-crowned, Mid-Range F-TR Nat’l Champ Bryan Litz. Shooters include Doug Boyer, Jim Grissom, Bill Litz (Bryan’s father), and gunsmith John Pierce. Grissom shot a great match, finishing with 385-12X, but it was not enough to carry the Michiganders to victory. The squad finished with 1524-29X, six points behind the winning X-Men (1530-33X). Team Sinclair placed third with 1512-35X.

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