July 17th, 2019

Amazing 1K Shooting — 1000-Yard Multi-Match Records Broken

6BRA Dasher Montana Deep Creek

The bar is raised yet again — the standards for long-range accuracy keep improving. Two talented Montana shooters have both gone sub-four inches for a 1K 10-Match Aggregate. What that means is that over TEN matches, these guys have averaged under 0.4 MOA at 1000 yards. Think about that. Most shooters will be happy with half-MOA at ONE HUNDRED yards. These guys are beating that by a significant margin at ONE THOUSAND yards, and they have done it for a whole season.

1000 Yard Multi-Match IBS Records Fall at Deep Creek
David Torgerson and Tom Mousel both broke the 10-match Light Gun Group Aggregate (Agg) record. Tom also broke the 6-Match Light Gun Group Agg record. Prior to these brilliant performances, the existing IBS 10-Match Agg record was 4.3155″. David crushed that with a 3.7946″, as did Tom with a 3.8734″. The existing IBS 6-Match Agg Record was 3.072″ and Tom shot a 2.954″, which will be a new record.

This is the first time in history that anyone has Agg’d in the threes for the 10-Match and in the twos for the 6-Match! For those not familiar with 1000-yard IBS matches, the Season Aggregate is based on ten matches. All ten are averaged for the 10-match Agg and the best six are averaged for the 6-Match Agg.

Shooters Established New Records with Multiple Guns and Multiple Barrels
David shot the majority of his targets with a Bat B action and Broughton 5C barrel. But he also shot his BAT SV and Borden BRM with Krieger and Lilja barrels. David’s 1K rifles feature Deep Creek Tracker stocks and March scopes. He shot Vapor Trail 103gr bullets in the all the rigs, and all his barrels are chambered in 6BRA — a 40° wildcat based on the 6mmBR Norma. The 6BRA retains the long neck of the parent case, but has more case capacity. Some people say the 6BRA is a bit easier to tune than the 6mm Dasher, but it still achieves that ultra-accurate 2920-2960 FPS velocity node.

6BRA Dasher Montana Deep Creek

Tom Mousel shot his 6- and 10-match Aggs with two rifles, splitting time between his BAT Neuvo LR and Borden BRM. Both are chambered in 6BRA and he shot multiple Krieger barrels. Tom told us: “Thanks everyone. David was pretty steady all year, while I took more of an up-and-down route. At one point early on I thought there’s no way this would be salvaged.”

6BRA Dasher Montana Deep Creek

The Neuvo-actioned gun (shown below) features a McMillan/Wheeler LRB stock, with a March scope on top. In that rifle, Tom shot 103gr Vapor Trails. Mousel’s Borden BRM gun features a Deep Creek Tracker stock and Sightron scope. In that 6BRA rifle he shot 103gr Roy Hunter bullets.

6BRA Dasher Montana Deep Creek
Tom Mousel Rifle with BAT Neuvo LR action. This action is a Left-loading Drop Port — cartridges eject out the bottom of the action.

COMMENT by Alex Wheeler
If this doesn’t make you give up the idea you need that one hummer barrel to win I don’t know what will. Yes, you need the best equipment, but you also need the best tune and knowledge to stay on top of it. These two guys are some of the most dedicated tuners and testers I know. Well done! And well deserved!

It IS noteworthy that multiple rigs were used. Posting on Facebook, Alex H. said: “Holy ****! Tom did it not only with multiple barrels, but with two rifles AND multiple barrels? That is some outstanding performance! And Glenn K observed: “It was an awesome season to watch unfold. Congrats guys!”

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September 5th, 2018

IBS 1000-Yard Nationals Match Report from Montana

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

Report by Boyd Allen, IBS Vice President
Photos by Gordie Gritters and Alex Wheeler
The 2018 IBS 1000-Yard Nationals event was hosted by the Montana NW 1000 Yard BR Club, which has an active and well-run 1K benchrest shooting program. Over eighty shooters from as far away as Indonesia participated, 82 in Light Gun, and 85 in Heavy Gun. By all accounts it was a very well-run match, that was enjoyed by all who attended.

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting
The Deep Creek Range is a beautiful place to shoot, with normally favorable conditions. But the winds were challenging at the 2018 IBS 1000-yard Nationals.

One man, Carroll Lance, dominated the match, taking the 2-Gun Overall Aggregate, while also winning HG Score Agg, HG Group Agg, and HG Overall Agg. It was a masterful performance — Carroll shot his Light Gun in both classes, beating dozens of bigger, heavier, and much more expensive rifles. Carroll’s name will be placed on four IBS perpetual trophies. Here’s Carroll with his line-up of trophies.

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

Winning Form — Carroll Lance Talks Technique
When asked for his advice to a new shooter, Big Winner Carroll Lance said: “Shooters should concentrate on being smooth, so as not to disturb the rifle in the bags. Speed will come naturally. The common mistake is to try to run the shots faster than can be done smoothly.”

Aerial Drone Video Shows Deep Creek Range outside Missoula, Montana. Worth Watching!

Challenging Conditions at Match
While Deep Creek is renown for often having good, “readable” conditions, this was a tough year according to Deep Creek veterans. As proof, there were five DQs on a single relay.

Tom Mosul (who ran the firing line for most of the event) noted that conditions were not extreme but could be tricky, with max wind speed s10-15 mph. It varied enough that being on some relays could effectively put a competitor out of the tournament. Tom also mentioned that indicators that he normally could depend on were not reliable this year.

Leo Anderson, who has been present at nearly all the 1000-yard matches ever held at Deep Creek, said this 2018 match had some of the trickiest conditions he has seen in 20 years of competition. Leo said you could not see the conditions causing POI changes. Alex Wheeler agreed, and added that although it was pretty calm at the benches, that the scorer who was running targets (from the pits to the firing line) said there was a strong cross wind half way down range that could not be felt at the pits or firing line…typical for Deep Creek, tough to read when it does decide to be nasty.

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

Summary of IBS 1000-Yard Nationals Match Results

For those who are unfamiliar with long range benchrest results, there are seven categories of winners, with seven corresponding traveling trophies (the big ones that bear the names of each year’s winners). For each of the two rifle classes (Light Gun and Heavy Guun) there are group, score, and overall aggregate winners (every target is both measured for group size and scored.) Finally, there is a 2-Gun winner for both rifle classes combined, based on group AND score.

With over eighty competitors, the PDF of the complete results, including those of every relay plus a very detailed list of the equipment used by every competitor for both classes, is a whopping 52 pages long. Links Below:

CLICK HERE for full Results PDF | CLICK HERE for Category Results Plus Equipment Lists

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

Equipment List Light Gun and Heavy Gun Classes
The seven travelling trophies went to just three shooters. Cody Finch won the LG Group aggregate. Tim Gonnerman won the LG Score aggregate and LG Overall aggregate. Carroll Lance won everything else — HG Score aggregate, HG Group aggregate, HG Overall aggregate, and the 2-Gun Overall.

Big winner Carroll Lance shot his 6mm Dasher Light Gun for both classes. The rifle, smithed by Jay Cutright, features a Borden BRM drop port action, Krieger barrel, Wheeler LRB stock, and Nightforce scope. Carroll’s match-winning load consisted of Vapor Trail bullets, in front of H4895 powder and CCI primers.

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

Cody Finch’s Light Gun was a 6BR Ackley (6BRA) with Lederer barrel, BAT action, Nightforce scope, and a DCT stock. His load consisted of Vapor Trail bullets, Hodgdon powder, and CCI primers. Alex Wheeler smithed the rifle.

Tim Gonnerman’s Light Gun, smithed by Mike Bigelow, featured a Krieger barrel (6mm Dasher), BAT action, Nightforce scope, and McMillan stock. The load consists of Vapor Trail bullets, H4895 powder, and CCI 450 primers.

Equipment List by Class Based on Two-Gun Overall Agg Rankings
Light Gun Equipment List (click to zoom):
IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

Heavy Gun Equipment List (click to zoom):
IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

CLICK HERE for Full Equipment List for All Classes

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

Top Guns Talk — What the Winners Revealed

I called the major Aggregate winners (Carroll Lance, Cody Finch, and Tim Gonnerman), and asked them about the 1K Nationals. My questions fell into five major categories: 1) how the wind compared to other matches (including other locations); 2) how each handles his rifle and equipment; 3) how they shot the match; 4) how they clean their barrels (and what their barrel accuracy life is); and 5) How they reload.

They all described the conditions as challenging. This was not a match to use for spotting small differences in accuracy between similar calibers. Even with the rotations of relays and benches, there was an inescapable luck factor, with some relays having significantly more challenging conditions than others. Changes could be rapid, with reversals that could be extreme.

Gun-Handling: On the subject of how the rifle is handled, Cody Finch shoots with only trigger contact, while Tim Gonnerman and Carroll Lance have light stock contact. Tim said that he is so focused on shooting that he is really not aware of the details of how he handles the rifle. Carroll said that he makes light contact with his trigger hand and has the butt touching his shoulder so lightly that he can barely feel it, but solidly enough that it only recoils about a quarter inch.

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

Shooting Strategies: Cody uses his sighter period to investigate how differences in mirage affect bullet impact location and then holds off shot by shot during his record string. Tim and Carroll do not, they adjust their scopes using the last sighter shot (which they can see because there is target service like an high power match with spotter disks) and then hold center for their record, trying to do as little with their rest adjustments as possible. Carroll mentioned that he only made one adjustment for the whole weekend and that his usual practice is to make small corrections with hand pressure.

Barrel Cleaning: Tim shot the whole weekend, without cleaning. When he does clean he uses Pro Shot Copper Solvent, patches, a nylon brush, and does a lot of soaking. Periodically he uses IOSSO with a patch on a nylon brush. He breaks in his barrels with the common one-shot-and-clean progressing to three and then five, and, sees a velocity increase at about 120 rounds from new. Tim cleans with patches and bronze brushes. I smiled when he told me what he cleans with, CLR, ThorroClean (Bullet Central) and IOSSO. CLR has been the topic of some discussion on the internet, and a friend found that it did a good job on carbon. It has been a controversial topic. Of note, Tim shot the smallest group for the tournament.

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

Barrel Life: All three Top Guns said that accurate barrel life varied from barrel to barrel. I got the general impression that most were done or close to done by 1,500 rounds, at least for the Dasher, with the BRA being too new to tell if it would stretch that far, but that it might.

Reloading Methods: On the reloading side, none of them anneal regularly, if at all. Carroll’s cases had 15-20 firings on them, and had only been annealed once, early on, but they still felt good when he was seating bullets. Last year he tried to anneal after every event.

Most of his competition has been at 600 yards, where Varget did a good job, with bullets seated .010 to .012 into the lands, but it did not perform well at 1K so he switched to H4895, which likes its bullets .005 into the lands. The chamber has a .268 neck. Case necks were turned to .0105 for a loaded round clearance of about .003. He used a .263 bushing.

Starting with a fired case, he sizes in a FL bushing die, tumbles in corn cob media to remove the lube, and just before seating bullets applies graphite to the insides of case necks with a Q-Tip.

Course of Fire at 1K Nationals (as explained by Tom Mosul):
“Relays were rotated along with bench assignment within each relay. The match is a three-target Aggregate, so what we did was divide the total number of relays and benches by 3, and then rounded down. Due to the number of benches (13) and shooters there were seven relays per target. Saturday morning started with LG target #1, followed by HG target #1, finishing the day with LG target #2. Sunday morning began with HG target #2, then LG target #3, and finished with HG target #3. For each relay six minutes are allowed for sighter shots, followed by a cease fire, and within a minute after that, a ten-minute record period.”

True Treasure Trove of Prizes at Deep Creek

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting
There was a very rich prize table, including BAT, Borden, Curtis Custom, and Defiance actions; McMillan, McMillan/Wheeler and Shehane stocks; Kahles, Nightforce, Swarovski, and Vortex Scopes; SEB NEO Rest; Benchsource Annealing machine; Bartlein, Brux, Lilja, Krieger, and Rock Creek barrels; Zeiss Binoculars; many gift certificates (incl. Kelbly’s and McMillan) and much more.

The Top Guns got the pick of the prizes. Carroll Lance chose a Kahles 10-50 rifle scope, Tim Gonnerman chose a BAT Neuvo action, and Cody Finch chose a Borden BRM action.

NOTE: Prizes that manufacturers and vendors contribute are an important part of any successful match. I am sure that everyone who was connected with this event is grateful to all the generous sponsors who donated prizes and gift certificates. Sebastian Lambang (shown below), creator of SEB Rests, shot the match and donated a SEB NEO rest.

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

More Photos — Hundreds of Photos
Here are links to ALL pictures that Gordy Gritters and Alex Wheeler were kind enough to take at the 2018 IBS 1000-Yard Nationals. There are 359 images altogether:

Match Photos by Gordy Gritters (279 photos) | Match Photos by Alex Wheeler (80 photos)

Parting Shot — How to “Make Weight” in a hurry:

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting
This shows Tom Jacobs of Vapor Trail Bullets holding his match rifle while Gordy Gritters drills a couple of ounces out of the butt. We’re told Tom knew he was an ounce heavy when he got there.

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September 28th, 2017

Hard-Holders Set Records in Montana Long Range Tournament

Deep Creek Long Range Tournament
Deep Creek is a beautiful range, lined with tall timber on both sides.

Report by Jamey Williams
The second phase of the Northern Rockies Long Range Tournament was held at the Deep Creek Range outside Missoula, Montana last weekend. The F-Class portion was held two weekends before, under very different but also favorable conditions. The F-Class event was at the tail end of a very bad fire year, and the conditions were hot, dry, and at times, smoky. Nonetheless, great scores were fired, including a pending National Team Record by the Washington F-Open Team.

This past weekend was very different, with low temps, rain, and fog — a very dramatic shift in a very short time. The 1000-yard team matches on Friday took place under a light rain, and several cleans were fired — a prelude of thing to come. Saturday brought cold conditions and fresh snow on the surrounding mountains. While it was cold and cloudy, several shooters fired high scores with some only dropping only a handful of points or less over the Palma match and the 1000-yard match. This brought us into Sunday morning with a fog starting to settle over the range during the 800 yard stage of the last Palma match. As the day went on, the conditions gradually improved and with some outstanding shooting, a couple of pending NRA National Records were set.

This past weekend was time for the sling-shooters, the “hard-holders” who shoot prone with sling, coat, and glove. There were some very impressive performances — including two pending records, one by an All National Guard marksman SSG John Coggshall, and the other by Kerry Spurgin, who shot incredibly well, to break a long-standing Open Record.

Deep Creek Long Range Tournament
Note: The upper left image shows SSG Coggshall at Deep Creek in 2010.

SSG John Coggshall of the Connecticut Army National Guard and member of the All National Guard Rifle Team fired an outstanding 1093-61X (out of a possible 1100 points), earning him the NRA Silver medallion. This score should earn him the Service Category National Record for the Long Range Regional Aggregate by one point and a bunch of Xs over the previous record set by SGT Eric Smith, USAR. SSG Coggshall previously held this record, which was set several years ago at the Deep Creek Range in Montana. Along with Palma rifle, Coggshall has a lot of experience shooting smallbore as well as service rifle. His Team Coach described him as a hard-holder who can hold half the X-Ring with his iron-sighted Palma rifle.

L to R: Todd Branin, Kerry Spurgin, SSG John Coggshall
Deep Creek Long Range Tournament

Also having a fantastic weekend was U.S. Palma Team member, Kerry Spurgin of Hillsboro, Oregon. Spurgin (above center) was an All-American Rifle Team shooter for Murray State University in Kentucky, and brother to Patricia Spurgin, 1984 Olympic air rifle Gold medalist. Spurgin started out day three of the tournament with an strong score fired in mildly foggy conditions at the 800-yard line, a 149-14X. He continued to fire very well, and ended the individual matches with the Gold Medallion and a pending Open and Civilian record score of 1097-75X. With less than perfect conditions, Spurgin managed to only drop three (3) points all weekend, breaking a National Record that had stood for 17 years.

Deep Creek Range
The Deep Creek Range in Missoula, MT is one of the nicest places to shoot in the Intermountain West region. The range is located in the mountains within a few minutes drive of Missoula, and there is camping on-site. When conditions are good at Deep Creek, records get broken. To learn more about shooting at Deep Creek, contact Jamey Williams at jameydan[at]gmail.com.

Here is an aerial view of the Deep Creek Range (Drone video by David Gosnell):

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May 13th, 2017

IBS Match Report: 1000-Yard Magic at Deep Creek in Montana

Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Report by Kristina Holden
Even with a bit of snow left on the ground, some great long range shooting took place up in Montana recently. March 25th, 2017 was opening day for the first 1000-yard IBS match of the year at Montana’s Deep Creek Shooting Range, just outside of Missoula, Montana. With temperatures during both matches at a consistent low to mid 40s and winds blowing at a slight 2-4 mph from the south, the weekend was sure to produce some excellent results.

Framed by forested hills, the Deep Creek Range is a beautiful place to shoot.
Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

CLICK HERE for Deep Creek IBS Match Results | CLICK HERE for LG and HG Equipment List

Jeff Read takes aim…
Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Fifteen (15) shooters braved the cool Montana spring weather for what would turn out to be a very competitive match. On Saturday, both Richard Schatz and David Torgerson made the first Light Gun (LG) shoot-off, posting two-inch groups, with Richard taking the win (check out his targets above). David and Richard made it into the Heavy Gun (HG) shoot-off as well, this time with David taking the win. Leo Anderson took the LG score crown with a 47, while Shawn Williams took the HG title with a perfect 100.

Here Scott Stanko sets up his Light Gun. Scott won Sunday’s LG shoot-off.
Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Sunday’s conditions were even better and the shooters took advantage of them. Once again, some truly excellent groups were shot by Tom Mousel and Scott Stanko, both making the LG shoot-off with 2 inch groups. Scott, shown above, prevailed in the shoot-off. Richard Schatz, once again, made his way into the shoot-offs and took the HG win from Tom Mousel with a 4.889″. Jeff Reed took the HG score win over Leo Anderson with a 96. In the LG Score shoot-off, Jim Williams nailed a real stunner of a group, taking the Score win with a 2.018” – 49. Check out the group below. That sure would have helped his Aggs if it happened in the relay!

Jim Williams with his 2.018″- 49 group. That works out to 0.19 MOA — amazing accuracy at 1000 yards.

Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

New Cartridge Debuts — the 6mmBR Ackley Improved (6mm BRA)
The 2017 season has brought some new gear/cartridge developments and many shooters were able to put them to good use in the first match of the year at Deep Creek. Leo Anderson and Tom Mousel were both shooting the new 6mm BRA (6mmBR AI), a 6mmBR Norma with a reduced body taper and a 40 degree (40°) shoulder. Fire-forming is as simple as turning the necks and shooting, as the factory 6mmBR case will headspace in the AI chamber. Sizing with a 6mm Dasher die with .080″ turned off the bottom is the ticket. Tom Mousel, reigning IBS 1K Champ, “believes this case to have a little wider tune window and far less throat wear”. That means this case might be easier on barrels. For Tom’s 6mm BRA with 28” Krieger barrel, the accuracy node is about 2980-2990 fps, so this gives up only 30-50 fps compared to typical Dasher velocities. Both of Tom’s HG groups held in the 3s for vertical, proving the 6mmBR Ackley’s accuracy potential.

Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Vapor Trail Bullets and Deep Creek Tracker Stock
Tom Jacobs at Vapor Trail Bullets has been working with a new die for his excellent 6mm 103gr Vapor Trail bullet. Four of the weekend’s competitors were shooting bullets off the new Vapor Trail die. The new die seems to be producing a bullet every bit as good as the old die, maybe even better. Several groups in the 2s (two inch) were shot this weekend. As well as Richard Shatz’s impressive 3.671″ 10-shot group in Heavy Gun (see top of this article).

Finally, the new Deep Creek Tracker 4″-wide stock is becoming a favored option, with half of the competitors at the match shooting these stocks from Wheeler Accuracy. That extra inch in the stock’s fore-end seems to be provide more stability and less rocking on the front rest when opening and closing the bolt. Also, the adjustable tracking rudder makes for perfectly parallel tracking surfaces, an absolute “must have”.

Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

The weekend ended with the sun finally breaking through the clouds. Competitors enjoyed some great grilled Polish dogs with all the fixings prepared by Mark and Angie Candau; who also shot in the match. There were plenty of smiling shooters with awards/prizes for their efforts. It was a great opening match of the season!

Here are the Top Guns at the match: Dave Torgeson, Jim Williams, Jeff Read, Shawn Williams, Richard Schatz, Leo Anderson, Lonnie Anderson, and Tom Mousel.
Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Deep Creek is one of America’s best 1000-yard shooting centers — many records have been set here.
Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

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August 10th, 2015

IBS Range Spotlight: Deep Creek Rifle Range in Montana

Missoula Montana MT NW 1000 Yard Club IBS
Deep Creek 1000-yard line: 46°55’35.03” N 114°14’45.40” W, elevation 3355′.

The International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) welcomes the Montana NW 1000 Yard Benchrest Club as a newly-affiliated club hosting registered IBS matches. The Montana club’s origins go back to 1996 when the Whitefish (Montana) Rifle and Pistol Club affiliated with the Original Pennsylvania 1000-Yard Benchrest Club (Williamsport) to conduct 1000-yard matches. Early in 1998 the Northwest 1000-Yard Benchrest Association was formed to promote 1000-yard benchrest competition in affiliation with Williamsport. The Club now operates at the Deep Creek Range as the Montana NW 1000 Yard Benchrest Club (www.MT1000yd.com), an IBS-affilated organization.

Deep Creek Range Website Deep Creek Range YouTube Channel
Deep Creek Range Facebook Page Destination Missoula Travel Page

2015 Championships at Deep Creek
The 2015 Championships were held this past weekend, August 7-9. The video below features the winners from this year’s championships, Tom Mousel (Two-Gun Overall), Leo Anderson (Heavy Gun Overall), and Bill Johnson (Light Gun Overall). The three winners describe their equipment. Tom shot a pair of 17-lb 6mm Dashers, running Vapor Trail Bullets pushed by CCI 400 primers and Hodgdon H4895 powder. The brass is Lapua 6mmBR hydro-formed to Dasher with lightly-turned necks.

Here is one of Tom Mousel’s match-winning rifles, and an impressive 100-3X, 10-shot target:

Missoula Montana MT NW 1000 Yard Club IBS

The Club holds 12 shoots per year over six weekends that count towards the 6- and 10-shot Aggregates for the year. The Championship Shoot held in August is match number 11 and 12 and does not count for Aggs. More than $20,000 worth of prizes were donated by major sponsors this year. The prize table featured scopes from Nightforce and Vortex, actions from DeFrance, Borden, BAT, Kelbly, and Stiller, plus barrels from Bartlein, Benchmark, Brux, Caliber, Krieger, and McGowen.

Missoula Montana MT NW 1000 Yard Club IBS

The Deep Creek Rifle Range is located near Missoula, Montana. Club members are continually upgrading the 1000-Yard Range, which has become one of the best long-distance benchrest shooting facilities in the country. The Deep Creek Rifle Range invites shooters to visit this scenic shooting facility. Participation in club matches continues to grow, and club members hold several 1000-yard World Records for group, score, and Aggregates of both. For more information on club shoots and joining the club, contact Alex Wheeler: zfast_malibu [at] yahoo.com.

Here’s “Bunker Buster”, a metal-stocked Heavy Gun (HG):
Missoula Montana MT Iron Horse grill

At Deep Creek, competitors shoot three (3) classes: IBS Light Gun (LG), IBS Heavy Gun (HG), and a special 11-pound class. At registered matches, Light Gun shoots five shots per relay, Heavy Gun shoots 10 shots, while the 11-pound class shoots five shots. For more information on classes and courses of fire, visit MT1000yd.com or send email to: northwest1000ydbenchrest [at] gmail.com.

Missoula Montana MT NW 1000 Yard Club IBS

New World Records Set at July 2015 Match:
Important 1K records were set at the Club’s July 9-10 match earlier this summer. Tom Mousel broke the Light Gun 10-match score record and Heavy Gun 10-match group record. Jim Williams broke the HG 10-match score Agg record. In the video below, Tom Mousel talks about his record-breaking performances.

Missoula, Montana Travel Tips
The City of Missoula is nestled in the Northern Rockies of Montana, at the confluence of three rivers. Surrounded by seven wilderness areas, Missoula is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. You can kayak, raft or tube through downtown, or take a relaxing hike in 60,000 acres of wilderness minutes from your hotel. Missoula is known for blue-ribbon trout fishing (made famous by the movie A River Runs Through It) and spectacular natural beauty.

Missoula Montana MT Iron Horse grill
Missoula Sunset, photo courtesy Iron Horse Bar & Grill, IronHorseBrewPub.com.

Missoula is a popular destination for shopping and dining, featuring three shopping districts and an abundance of restaurants, cafes, and brew-pubs with something to fit all budgets and palates. Known for its eclectic culture, Missoula offers a wide variety of entertainment including theater, film festivals, college sports, ballet, and even roller derby.

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April 21st, 2015

Deep Creek Drone — High Definition Bird’s Eye View Movie

The Deep Creek Range near Missoula, Montana, is one of the best 1000-yard ranges in the country. Many long-range benchrest records have been set in this scenic, tree-lined facility. Now, thanks to Forum member David Gosnell (aka “Zilla”), you can see Deep Creek from the air. David attached a High-Def video camera to a quad-rotor drone. He then flew the drone over the Deep Creek Range, soaring from firing line to the target bay and back again. We think you’ll like this video. It gives you a “birds-eye view” of one of America’s elite ranges. Enjoy.

deep creek range Missoula Montana

(more…)

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June 23rd, 2013

Duane Capehart, Noted 1000-Yard Shooter, Has Left the Range

Dawn Patrol Duane Capehart Missoula Deep Creek MontanaWe are sad to announce the passing of Duane Capehart, a leading figure in the long-range shooting community. Duane passed away in early June, and is survived by his wife Pat. Duane was one of the game-changing Montana marksmen who smashed records at the Missoula Deep Creek range.

Duane was always ready to share his knowledge with fellow shooters, and he helped this website with many projects. His friend Tom Mousel tells us: “Duane was among a handful of guys that started 1000-yard benchrest here in Montana. The man was breaking records before most of us knew what ‘MOA’ was, and he remained competitive to the very end. He and his wife Pat were the backbone of our club for many years. I will miss you my friend.”

We are much diminished by Duane’s passing. Those who knew Duane are very saddened by this loss. Here are some remembrances from our Forum members:

Duane Capehart was a truly great Hall of Fame shooter and a noble man. I am grateful for the wisdom he shared with me. He was a great fellow shooter at the range, that he helped build, especially on those frosty mornings. He never hesitated to help a new shooter. He was a good friend and neighbor here in the Bitterroot. He will be long remembered. My condolences, Pat. — Greg R.

Duane and I shot together many times and always had lots of fun before, during, and after the shoots. He will be missed for sure by the 1000-yard community and especially by the Missoula bunch. God bless you Pat, our thoughts and prayers are with you. — Diane & Bill Shehane

I had the honor and privilege to shoot against and converse with Duane on three occasions, and also by phone[.] Duane was funny, witty, sincere, and a friend to everyone. He was one of the best 1000-yard shooters in the business. My heart and prayers go out to Pat, and all his family. — Donovan M.

I met Duane just four years ago. He welcomed me at Deep Creek and he and I spent many a morning before the shoots visiting about shooting, hunting, work and everything in between. People there always seemed to look up to Duane, and once you got to know him you understood why. I will never forget some of the shoots with him, he was an amazing shooter, several times while pulling his targets he would not even be on target with his sighters. But then the record target would go up and he would pull off a 98 or a 99, or even a 100. This did not just happen once either — Duane [was] simply an amazing guy! I helped him and Pat hook up their camper at the end of the August final shoot last year, shook his hand goodbye and he said “I will see ya in the spring young man”. Well that didn’t happen but I will always remember Duane and always be grateful that he was my friend. Happy shooting in Heaven Duane, and God Bless you Pat. — Wayne B.

Duane’s Dawn Patrol
Duane took this photo at the Deep Creek Range in March a few years back during one of his “Dawn Patrol” missions. Temperature? Duane said it was about 17 degrees! Now that’s dedication. Duane truly loved the shooting sports. He will be missed.

Dawn Patrol Duane Capehart Missoula Deep Creek Montana

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October 27th, 2012

Four Pending NRA Records Set at Missoula’s Deep Creek Range

Last month, the Montana Rifle and Pistol Association (MRPA) hosted the 3rd Annual Northern Rockies Long Range and F-Class Regional at the Deep Creek Range near Missoula, Montana. The match was a sell-out for the third straight year, and three competitors set pending NRA Long Range and F-Class National Records. If the pending records are recognized by the NRA, that will make a total of eight (8) NRA National records set at Deep Creek over the last three years.

MRPA Deep Creek Montana Regional

This year, the forest fires and resultant smoke conditions in the Intermountain West cast a ominous haze over the event. However, the haze did not prevent outstanding performances by many shooters in both F-class and sling divisions.

MRPA Deep Creek Montana Regional
All National Guard Shooter, SSG John Coggshall
SSG Coggshall is a member of the Connecticut Army National Guard’s 1-102 Infantry battalion and a member of the All National Guard marksmanship unit. Coggshall used an Eliseo Tubegun set up as a Palma rifle and used factory-loaded ammunition. Coggshall shot great, finishing with a 1091-59X out of a possible 1100 points. This should be a new national record for the Long Range Regional Aggregate in the Service Category. The previous record was set in Missoula by Allen Spiker, former member of the All National Guard team. While Coggshall is new to the Palma game, he has a lot of experience shooting smallbore as well as service rifle. He has been on a winning Whistler Boy team, and has been the High Junior during the President’s 100 at Camp Perry. His Team Coach described him as a hard-holder who can hold half the X-Ring with his iron-sighted Palma rifle.

MRPA Deep Creek Montana RegionalKen Nelson
Ken Nelson also had a record setting performance. Nelson fired a very impressive 1096-71X, as he dropped only four points to smash previous national record in the Senior Category. With this score he not only established a new NRA national record, he squeezed out the tournament win over second place finisher Allen Spiker. Both shooters fired 1096s, but Nelson surpassed Spiker by X-count. Nelson reported that he received some advice from his friend, German Salazar, before the match, and Nelson took that advice to heart. He noted that his thought process between shots really helped him on the line. Nelson splits his time between his native British Columbia and Phoenix, AZ where he shoots at Ben Avery. Nelson only began shooting long range four years ago, after many seasons as a smallbore shooter.

MRPA Deep Creek Montana RegionalLTC Donald Erpenbach – Montana ARNG
LTC Erpenbach set two pending F-TR records at the match. Erpenbach shot exceedingly well on day one of the tournament. In the first day’s Palma course Erpenbach shot a 442-14X besting the previous record held by USAMU shooter Sherri Gallagher. Erpenbach was on a roll and in the separate 1000-yard match he fired a 194-7X, edging ahead of the previous record. Erpenbach really put things together well for this match.

SGT Micheal Palagi – Montana ARNG
SGT Palagi received the MRPA’s new “Top M-24” shooter award. This award recognizes Montana Soldiers who shoot an issued sniper rifle with issued M118LR ammo. Palagi’s recent performance was outstanding and he is deserving recipient of the first Top M-24 award.

Deep Creek Range
The Deep Creek Range in Missoula, MT is one of the nicest places to shoot in the Intermountain West region. The range is located in the mountains within a few minutes drive of Missoula, and there is camping on-site. When conditions are good at Deep Creek, records get broken. The MRPA host 3 weekends of shooting there every year. To learn more about shooting at Deep Creek, contact Jamey Williams at jameydan[at]gmail.com.

The MRPA wishes to thank the 2012 Northern Rockies Sponsors:

Barnes Bullets
Berger Bullets
Sierra Bullets
BAT Actions
Bruno’s Shooter Supply
Carl Boettger Scope Mounts
Creedmoor Sports
Competition Machine – Gary Eliseo
USTacticalSupply.com

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October 23rd, 2011

All National Guard Team Leads Marksmanship Clinics in Montana

This year at the Deep Creek Rifle Range, near Missoula, Montana, the All National Guard Team conducted two very popular (and effective) marksmanship clinics. First, in the spring, All Guard Team members ran an Across the Course (XTC) clinic with individual instruction and live fire at the 200, 300 and 600 yards. Instruction covered shooting positions and techniques /strategy for the various distances involved in XTC matches.

All national guard Team Marksmanship Clinics Montana

All national guard Team Marksmanship Clinics Montana

This fall, in conjunction with the sold-out Long Range and F-Class Regional, the All National Guard Team held a long range clinic — which was sold-out as well. In attendance were competitive shooters, Army National Guard sniper teams ,and long-range hunters. With over 50 civilian and military shooters present, the program included basic instruction followed by coached shooting at the 800-yard and 1000-yard lines. Before the shooting began, instructors explained the positions used in sling shooting and F-Class, and also explained the hardware competitors need for these disciplines. The clinic continued with discussions of ballistics and wind reading strategies. For the live-fire portion of the clinic, students were grouped into pairs, with one All Guard Team member assigned to each pair. This worked well — while one student was shooting the other could observe the coach’s instructions.

All national guard Team Marksmanship Clinics Montana

The All Guard Team provides this service as part of its mission to improve marksmanship among the civilian population. The Remington-Bushmaster Team headed by Ken Roxburgh, and the USMC Rifle Team, can also provide instruction for shooting clinics.

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October 21st, 2011

Regional at Deep Creek — Montana’s Home of World Records

Match Report by Jamey Williams
In late September, the Deep Creek Range in Missoula, MT hosted its Second Annual Montana Long Range and F-Class Regional. Like last year, the match was a sell-out with 51 shooters. Competitors cames from all over the nation, from Pennsylvania to Oregon. The conditions at the range were some of the best ever and the scores of the shooters reflected this. Many folks shot personal bests at this match — some are likely to move up in their NRA classifications.

Missoula Deep Creek Range Montana

This year the match sponsors included US Tactical Supply and Bryan Litz’s AppliedBallistics.com. Both sponsors generously donated terrific prizes that were given out at the awards ceremony. The attendance at the two-day event was nearly an even split of sling shooters and F-Class shooters. Newcomers are always encouraged to sign up and try their hand at long-range shooting, and there were a handful of first-time competitors. The Army National Guard was well-represented with 19 soldiers, spread between the F-TR rifle Division and the Match Rifle/Palma Rifle Divisions. Most of the soldiers competing in the F-TR division were using their issued M24s and M110s.

Last year, SSG Allen Spiker, SFC Bob Evans and Nicole Hagedorn all established NRA National Records (in their respective categories) for their performances at the Montana LR and F-Class Regional (report from 2010: Record Broken at Deep Creek Range). This year, SSG Allen Spiker raised the bar, eclipsing his previous record with a pending new record. In the Palma Rifle division, Spiker fired a 1088 – 48X (1100 – 110X possible), beating his previous record mark by one X.

Missoula, MT High Power

The Deep Creek Range is located within 30 minutes of the heart of Missoula. The range complex is surrounded by mountains and pine trees, with great western scenery. Deep Creek also has some unique qualities. Most of the ranges in the Northern Rockies are noted for their challenging conditions, but traditionally, the Deep Creek range affords the shooter some of the best conditions they are likely to encounter anywhere. In addition to the NRA High Power records that continue to be established there, the Montana Northwest 1000-Yard Bench Rest Club is frequently in the shooting news — records seem to be broken every season. If you are interested in attending any of the F-Class or High Power matches there in 2012, contact Jamey Williams at jameydan [at] gmail.com, or visit HellgateCSA.org.

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February 24th, 2011

Match Schedules Set by 1000-Yard Shooting Clubs

NC BR 1000 Yard Association

Both the North Carolina 1000-Yard Benchrest Shooters Assn. and the Montana NW 1000-Yard Benchrest Club have released their 2011 match schedules. You can access the schedules via the links below:

NC 1000-Yard BRSA Schedule

2011 Matches
Match | Date
1 & 2: 4-9-11
3 & 4: 4-30-11
5 & 6: 5-14-11
7 & 8: 6-4-11
Makeup: 7-16-11*
9 & 10: 9-10-11
Makeup: 10-8-11*

*Shot only if regularly scheduled matches are postponed due to inclement weather.

Montana NW 1000-Yard BR Club Schedule

2011 Match Dates
March 26-27
April 23-24
May 14-15
June 11-12
July 9-10.
August 12-14 Championship Shoot

Extra practice days are: March 13th, April 10th, March 26-27, April 23-24, May 14-15, June 11-12, July 9-10.

The 1000 Yard Range is available for practice on Mondays and Fridays, March 1st to August 31st, from 8:00 AM until Noon. We will have the range all day on Friday before each shoot.

NC BR 1000 Yard Association

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August 22nd, 2010

Dashers Rule at NW 1000-Yard Championship in Montana

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

Montana 1000-yard Championship

Montana 1000-yard Championship

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

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

Tom Mousel 6mm Dasher Record

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

Montana 1000-yard Championship

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July 16th, 2010

Mousel Breaks 1K Multi-Match Records At Missoula, Montana

Tom Mousel of Kalispell, Montana, has set two new multi-match Aggregate 1000-yard World Records. Shooting at the Deep Creek Range in Missoula, Montana, Mousel set a new 10-Match Light Gun World Record with a 5.8954″ Aggregate. That’s an average group under 6 inches for 10 matches! Mousel also set a new Light Gun 6-Match World Record with a 4.8813″ Aggregate. That 4.8813″ Agg bettered the existing 5.251″ Light Gun 6-Match Record Agg set by Mousel himself last season (2009). Congratulations to Tom for a lot of hard work and some real fine shooting! Tom set these Aggregate records over the course of the 2010 season of the Montana NW 1000-yard Benchrest Club, which is affiliated with the Original Pennsylvania 1000 Yard Benchrest Club (Williamsport).

Tom Mousel Dasher 1000 yard records

Tom’s record-breaking Light Gun is chambered as a 6mm Dasher (see photo above), which is an “improved” version of the 6mmBR Norma case. Tom uses a Stiller drop-port (bottom-eject) Viper action, set up in a Shehane laminated Tracker stock. Duane Capehart, who competes with Tom at the Deep Creek range, says that bottom-eject action helps Tom “shoot like a house on fire. Tom can get all ten shots off in under 25 seconds. He’s speedy, that’s for sure.” The barrel is a Krieger 1:8″ twist, 4 groove with about 1200 rounds through it so far. Tom has at least 12 firings on his Lapua cases, which he anneals every 3-4 firings with a Bench-Source annealing machine. He currently shoots Berger 105gr VLDs, pushed by a stout load of H4895, with CCI 400 primers. Over the course of the season he has chased the lands to maintain a seating depth about .003-.009 off the lands. Tom explains: “Seating depth is very critical with the VLDs. A few thousandths can make the difference between a fat ugly group, and something to brag about.”

Tom Mousel Dasher 1000 yard records

Noted stock-maker and past 1000-yard Shooter of the Year Bill Shehane observed: “If I am not mistaken, [Mousel’s 10-match Agg] is better than the existing Heavy Gun 10-shot Aggregate group records. I don’t think you or I will live long enough to see either of Tom’s records broken. Think about it — 10 matches over 10 different days in extremely different conditions. That’s 100 shots in under six inches. That’s remarkable for any gun — much less a Light Gun. A 6-match or 10-match Agg is never a fluke. This is an Aggregate record we may never see the likes of again. Tom’s a modest guy and someone needs to give him some credit. I’ve been at this game a long time and know the effort one has to make to accomplish something like this.”

Annual 1000-Yard Championship In August
Missoula Montana rangeIf you want to compete with Tom Mousel and the whole Deep Creek gang, head up to Missoula in August. The Montana NW 1000-yard Benchrest Club will host its 1000-yard Championship Shoot on August 13, 14 and 15. The Montana Club’s current rules allow IBS and NBRSA guns in the 17-lb and Heavy Gun Classes. In addition there is an 11-lb Sporter class. All guns shoot 10-shot groups at 1000 yards.

Entry fees are $30 per gun, per day. Camping is available at the Deep Creek range, and there will be a Catfish Fry on Friday and a Steak Dinner on Sunday after the last match. Tom says: “Come to Montana and shoot with us. We have over $16,000 worth of prizes this year.” For more info, or to request entry forms, contact Tom Mousel at 406-450-0917, or Pat Capehart at 406-821-3737.

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