October 8th, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019 IBS 1000-Yard National Championships Top Competitors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Permalink - Articles, Competition, News 1 Comment »
July 27th, 2019

IBS Enlists Blake Wilson as New IBS Editor

IBS 1000-yard benchrest

IBS Brings New Editor Onboard
International Benchrest Shooters is pleased to announce that Blake Wilson of Macon, Georgia is the new IBS Editor. In that role, Blake will help prepare Match Reports and short features on gear and notable competitors.

IBS President Jeff Stover reports: “We welcome Blake to our management team. He is a young and energetic long-range shooter with benchrest interest across the board. Over the past several years, he has been shooting mostly 1000-yard IBS matches with a few 600-yard competitions mixed in. He has competed at IBS ranges across the country, and calls the Hawk’s Ridge Gun Club in Ferguson, NC his home range.”

In his role as IBS Editor, Blake will work closely with AccurateShooter.com, interviewing competitors from all disciplines, communicating with match organizers, receiving match reports and equipment lists, and managing digital images. Blake will also help with some special IBS features and equipment articles, providing insights about the Benchrest shooting sports.

Blake is married with two adult children. He is a huge University of Georgia football fan who also enjoys hunting and fishing.

IBS 1000-yard benchrest

IBS 1000-yard benchrest

IBS benchrest

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
November 18th, 2017

Water-Cooled Wondergun Set 1000-Yard IBS Record

Joel Pendergraft

We like “outside of the box” thinking. And in the world of competitive shooting, it doesn’t get more unconventional than this. But this radical liquid-cooled benchrest rig wasn’t just a crazy experiment — it actually delivered the goods. This IBS Heavy Gun, built by Joel Pendergraft, produced a superb 10-shot, 3.044″ group that stood as an International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) 1000-Yard Heavy Gun record for seven years, not being broken until 2016*.

Using this water-cooled 300 Ackley Improved, Joel shot the record-breaking group in April 2009 at Hawks Ridge, NC. This monster features a 12-twist, 4-groove Krieger barrel inside a water-filled sleeve (like on a liquid-cooled machine gun). Joel shot BIB 187gr flat-based bullets in Norma brass, pushed by a “generous amount” of Alliant Reloder 25 and Federal 210M primers.

Joel Pendergraft

This 3.044″ 10-shot group was a remarkable accomplishment, breaking one of the longest-standing, 1000-yard World Records.

Joel Pendergraft

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

Joel Pendergraft


*On July 24, 2016, Michael Gaizauskas shot a 2.871″ ten-shot group that bettered Pendergraft’s record by 0.171″ (less than a quarter inch). Michael’s group was also all in the 10 ring, for a perfect 100 score. CLICK HERE for IBS Long-Range Records

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 6 Comments »
October 19th, 2015

Water-Cooled Heavy Gun Set 1000-Yard World Record

Joel Pendergraft

Here’s something you’ve probably never seen before — a liquid-cooled benchrest rifle. No, this is not just a crazy experiment. This gun, built by Joel Pendergraft, produced a 10-shot, 3.044″ group that is still listed as the International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) 1000-Yard Heavy Gun record. Using this water-cooled 300 Ackley Improved, Joel shot the record group in April 2009 at Hawks Ridge, NC. This monster features a 12-twist, 4-groove Krieger barrel. Joel shot BIB 187gr flat-based bullets in Norma brass, pushed by a “generous amount” of Alliant Reloder 25 and Federal 210M primers.

Joel Pendergraft

This 3.044″ 10-shot group was a remarkable accomplishment, breaking one of the longest-standing, 1000-yard World Records.

Joel Pendergraft

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

Joel Pendergraft

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 6 Comments »
September 15th, 2015

Match Report: 2015 IBS 1000-Yard Nationals at Hawks Ridge

Hawks Ridge IBS Benchrest Shooters International 1000 Yard 1K Championship North Carolina 6mm Dasher

Report by David and Donna Matthews
The 2015 IBS 1000-Yard National Championships were held September 4-5 at the Hawks Ridge Gun Club in Ferguson, North Carolina. Attendance was great, with 103 Registered Light Gun shooters and 89 Heavy Gun competitors. After a practice day, the competitors tried on Friday and Saturday to master the unpredictable conditions at Hawks Ridge. The 1000-Yard National Match for 2015 featured a three-target Aggregate for each Division (i.e. six targets total for both classes).

The Hawks Ridge range is quite unique — it’s a very wide-open, over-the-hills range. Conditions constantly change (and change very quickly according to several competitors). The management and membership of this range put on a great event this year. Several shooters said this was one of the best-run National-level matches they had ever attended.

Hawks Ridge IBS Benchrest Shooters International 1000 Yard 1K Championship North Carolina 6mm Dasher

Jim Bauer Won the IBS 2015 Nationals shooting a 6mm Dasher in both Light Gun and Heavy Gun Classes. Here’s his match-winning Heavy Gun. Smithed by Gordy Gritters, Bauer’s Heavy Gun featured a BAT action, Kreiger barrel (in barrel block), Shehane stock, and Nightforce scope.

Hawks Ridge IBS Benchrest Shooters International 1000 Yard 1K Championship North Carolina 6mm Dasher

Bauer Drives Dashers to Victory
Hawks Ridge IBS Benchrest Shooters International 1000 Yard 1K Championship North Carolina 6mm DasherThe Two-Gun Champion and Overall winner was Jim Bauer with 24 rank points. In second place was Robert McMichael with 36 rank points. Bauer shot great in both Light Gun (LG) and Heavy Gun (HG) matches, posting Top 10 finishes in both classes. Bauer ran 6mm Dashers in both Divisions (LG and HG) with Vapor Trail bullets. By contrast, McMichael shot big cartridges — a .284 Shehane in LG and a .300 WSM in HG, using Berger Bullets for both calibers. Top lady shooter was Donna Matthews while Amber Brewer won the Junior Division. John Stecik won a BenchSource Annealing machine for shooting the Best Light Gun Target (50 score with a 3.758″ group). Steve Knight shot the Best Heavy Gun Target (100 with 4.407″ group), to win a Douglas barrel.

Hawks Ridge IBS Benchrest Shooters International 1000 Yard 1K Championship North Carolina 6mm Dasher

CLICK HERE for Complete Match Results and Equipment List

PDF File — scroll to bottom of document for EQUIPMENT LIST.

The Hawks Ridge Gun Club Range and Facility
The 1000-yard shooting facility is a covered pavilion that has 15 shooting benches located in the rolling hills of Wilkes County North Carolina. The Club has a great Barbeque grill on site, which the McNeil family employed to perfection, delivering an outstanding Barbeque chicken meal on Friday night.

Hawks Ridge IBS Benchrest Shooters International 1000 Yard 1K Championship North Carolina 6mm Dasher

One veteran shooter commented that when you can take 103 of the best shooters in the country and hold a event that had very little to any issues you have accomplished something. Range officials were quick to point out that it took a lot of hard work from Hawks Ridge Club members as well as support from the IBS, the sponsors, and the competitors.

Outstanding Prize Table
Over $20,000 worth of prizes were awarded at this year’s IBS 1000-Yard Nationals. Prizes included: Nightforce scopes, Sightron Scopes, BAT Action, Defiance Action, Baity Action, Shehane stocks, rests, reloading tools, Sierra and Berger bullets, and more. Many thanks should go to Stanley Taylor from Douglas Barrels for his time and energy in acquiring prizes for the match.

Hawks Ridge IBS Benchrest Shooters International 1000 Yard 1K Championship North Carolina 6mm Dasher

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »