October 6th, 2018

Prize Rifle for IBS Shooters in the Southeast Region

IBS International Benchrest shooters 30 BR prize rifle Kelbly action Brux barrel Nightforce scope
If you’ve never been to a benchrest match, visit the IBS website to find an affiliated club in your area. You’ll find schedules for upcoming events where you can learn about the sport.

This article describes an impressive complete benchrest rifle that will be awarded next month to an IBS competitor in the IBS Southeastern Region. This premium benchrest rig was a collaborative effort, with components and build labor donated by many companies. The rifle and scope prize will be awarded at a Banquet on November 10, 2018. The winner will be chosen from shooters who have accumulated “tickets” (essentially prize credits) over the course of the year. Tickets are earned through match attendance and shooting performance: 1 ticket for each match attended in the SE region ranges listed above (AFTER attending five matches). Shooters get additional tickets for a perfect 2,500 score, plus 10 additional tickets for attending at least one match at each and every participating range.

A Magnificent Prize
by Boyd Allen, IBS Vice President
Coming up with prizes for shooting events is always a challenge, and results can vary considerably from match to match. This rifle is at the apex of the prize pyramid. Few complete rifles are seen on prize tables, because of their cost, and because they are generally built to order from select components, produced by multiple manufacturers. There are no off-the-shelf benchrest rifles, and if there were, the price of one, complete with a quality scope, would be too great to ask of a single source, given the size of the typical businesses that serve this sport.

IBS International Benchrest shooters 30 BR prize rifle Kelbly action Brux barrel Nightforce scope

Any score shooter would be glad to have this rifle and feel quite fortunate to win it. It is a fine example of its type, made of top components, and stocked with a “Indian Blanket” pattern Obeche laminate that will not be seen again once the supply runs out, because the factory that produced it burned down. As you would expect for this type of competition, it is chambered for the 30 BR.

This prize rifle was built to increase interest and participation in centerfire score shooting in the Southeast Region of the International Benchrest Shooters (IBS), as well as to encourage competitors to visit more ranges and attend more IBS matches. Ranges participating in this prize campaign are:

Bluegrass Sportsmen’s League (Wilmore, KY), Buck Creek Gun Club (Somerset, KY), Georgia Mountain Shooting Association (Eastanollee, GA), Mid-Carolina Gun Club (Orangeburg, SC), Piedmont Gun Club (Rutherfordton, NC), and Palmetto Gun Club (Ridgeville, SC).

Good luck to everyone for the remainder of the 2018 season. NOTE: There are more detailed rules than we can reproduce here (for space reasons). If you intend on taking a serious run at this prize, take the time to inquire about all of the specifics.

IBS International Benchrest shooters 30 BR prize rifle Kelbly action Brux barrel Nightforce scope
Left to Right: Jim Cline, Doyle Anglin, and Ronnie Milford.

Background of the IBS Rifle Prize
Ronnie Milford explained: “Near the completion of the Southeastern Regional, I [asked] some of our fellow shooters about increasing participation. One of them suggested that we have one big prize that would be participation-based. I ran the idea of building a complete rifle by my personal gunsmith Doyle Anglin. He warned me that he had seen others try to do the same thing, and that it would be hard to get people to donate products. That lit a fire. First phone call was to Jim Kelbly who offered to donate the action. For the trigger Jim recommended a Bix & Andy from Chris at Bullet Central. I then called Jim Cline, and he got Brux to donate the barrel. Then, I talked to my NightForce contacts, Allen Stillwell and Wayne Dayberry. They donated a competition scope.

My next phone call was back to Doyle Anglin and I told him what had been donated. He then talked about ‘fitting and chambering, pillar bedding, and stock by Dixie Guns’. When Dave Short heard what we were doing, he donated a trigger guard, chamber cleaning kit, and a barrel tuner. Jim called Linwood Harrell who donated our scope rings. We were almost complete, and I told them that I would spray the finish on the stock. When this news got out, it caused a great deal of excitement.”

IBS International Benchrest shooters 30 BR prize rifle Kelbly action Brux barrel Nightforce scope

Prize Rifle Eligibility and Award Procedures
This custom rifle will be given away at the awards banquet on November 10, 2018 in Orangeburg, SC. The winner will be chosen using tickets earned during the season. A shooter will “earn” 1 prize chance ticket for each match attended in the SE region ranges listed above, AFTER attending five (5) matches. (If you attend four matches or less you will receive 0 tickets for attendance.) You can get 5 additional tickets for a perfect 2,500 score and 10 additional tickets for attending one match minimum at each participating range. We will keep track of the tickets earned and they will be passed out at the banquet for you to personally place them in the container.

Prize Rifle Being Constructed at Doyle Anglin and Ronnie Milford shops:

IBS International Benchrest shooters 30 BR prize rifle Kelbly action Brux barrel Nightforce scope

IBS International Benchrest shooters 30 BR prize rifle Kelbly action Brux barrel Nightforce scope

IBS International Benchrest shooters 30 BR prize rifle Kelbly action Brux barrel Nightforce scope

Support the Sponsors — This is a very impressive prize. Keep the generosity of all who donated to the project in mind the next time that you are in the market for products they make or sell. In the future we may offer a follow-up story about the rifle winner and his/her first competition with this 30 BR benchrest rifle. In any case, on November 10, 2018, someone is going to be very happy with their valuable prize.

Built to Shoot — Remember this rifle was created by donations, to grow the sport, and promote shooting, not to sell for monetary gain. If you do not plan on shooting this rifle, please donate it to an upcoming shooter. Ronnie Milford, and Jim Cline worked hard to make this dream become a reality. Let’s not let down the sponsors who continue to support us.

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September 25th, 2018

IBS 1000-Yard Benchrest Nationals Featured on Shooting USA

IBS 1000 yard nationals national championship Whitehorse West Virginia

Get a video view of 1000-yard Benchrest competition tomorrow on Shooting USA television. This week’s Wednesday episode of Shooting USA features the 2017 IBS 1000-Yard National Championship held at the Whitehorse Shooting Center in Peeltree, West Virginia. This Shooting USA episode takes you to the Whitehorse 1K Range in September 2017. You can see the action on the firing line and the Shooting USA team also interviews many competitors. Watch this episode on the Outdoor Channel at these times: 9:00 PM Eastern and Pacific; 8:00 PM Central.

IBS 1000 yard nationals national championship Whitehorse West Virginia

If you want to learn about the 1000-yard Benchrest game, definitely tune in to Shooting USA on September 26, 2018 (tomorrow) to watch last year’s IBS action. There were nearly 120 shooters competing (118 in Light Gun, 107 in Heavy Gun).

IBS 1000 yard nationals national championship Whitehorse West Virginia

To learn more about on this event, read our detailed 2017 IBS 1K Nationals Match Report. At the 2017 Nationals, conditions were challenging to say the least, with rain storms, spiraling winds, and fog. In fact, rain and fog on Saturday (with cancelled relays) caused the Nationals to be extended by one day through Monday. What’s more, of the 107 shooters listed in the Two-Gun Overall results who actually shot both guns, there were dozens of DQs. (Yes, the wind was very tricky at this year’s Nationals.)

Read 2017 IBS 1000-Yard Nationals Match Report HERE »

Top Guns at the 2017 IBS 1000-Yard Nationals were Edward Kenzakoski (Two-Gun Overall Champion), Mike Gaizauskas (Light Gun Overall, plus LG Score Agg), and Mike Brennan (Heavy Gun Overall, plus HG Score Agg). Group Agg winners were Richard Schatz for LG, and Charlie Lentz for Heavy. Two ladies also deserve mention. Sally Bauer shot the smallest group of the match, a 1.923″ 5-shot group in LG — that’s 0.184 MOA! Ruth Edwards drilled a 2.104″, also mighty impressive. Here’s Sally below with her very patriotic Heavy Gun…

IBS Heavy Gun Sally Bauer benchrest HG 1000 yard

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September 21st, 2018

IBS Match Report: 2018 200/300-Yard Score Nationals

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

Report by Boyd Allen, IBS Vice President
Photos by Hillary Martinez
Many of the nation’s best Score Benchrest shooters came to Maryland last month for the IBS 200/300-Yard Score Nationals. This is a one-shot-per-bullseye discipline dominated by accurate 30-caliber cartridges such as the 30 BR. Over the weekend of the 4th and 5th of August, 42 shooters participated in the 2018 IBS 200/300-Yard Score Nationals, held at the Thurmont Conservaton & Sportsman’s Club, in Thurmont, Maryland. Forty-one competitors shot Varmint for Score (VFS). Between the two 6X disciplines there were six competitors, equally divided between Hunter (H) and Varmint Hunter (VH). Dewey Hancock was “Top Gun” for the match, winning the VFS 200/300 Grand Agg with 500-23X, a possible new record.

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

VIEW Complete Match Results on IBS WEBSITE »

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC
There are six bullseyes on an IBS Score target. Competitors take one shot per bull for five scored shots. The sixth (bottom right) bullseye is reserved for sighter shots.

Rising River After Rain
This match had some unique challenges — caused by a river that overflowed after a rain. Thankfully, the match proceeded without major problems once needed equipment was moved. It rained nearly half an inch the Friday night before the match, as it had for several days. Given the flooding, there was a slight delay Saturday morning. The scoring trailer had to be moved because it been parked (before the rain) in a low area adjacent to where Big Hunter Creek empties into the Monocacy River. (In the satellite view, the firing line cover is in the middle, about one-third up from the bottom.)

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

Hot and Humid in Maryland — The match director described the weather as very hot and humid. On Saturday, the temperature varied from 66 to 81 degrees, the humidity from 62 to 100 %, and the wind speed from 0 to 9 mph. On Sunday, things warmed up a bit, the humidity was reported as a little lower, as was the wind speed.

The Green Fields of Thurmont — With recent rains at Thurmont, lush green grass stretched from firing line to targets. This elicits envy from a shooter who has spent all of his time on ranges that do not have a single blade of green anywhere, except for a few weeks during a short rainy season. To my eyes, this range is beautiful.

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

Thurmont shooters are blessed with a truly outstanding facility that serves all types of shooting. There are fifteen covered benches of mixed construction under a sturdy cover, with plenty of parking both for vehicles and RVs. Learn more about the Thurmont Club at TCandSC.org.

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

TOP TEN Match Results, and Equipment List

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC
Can anyone identify that big gold-tone coaxial rest on the right?

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPCThe VFS Grand Aggregate Top Five were: Dewey Hancock (1st Place), John Bosley (2nd), Ronnie Milford (3rd), Brian Fitch (4th), and Jim Cline (5th). VFS winner Dewey Hancock shot a possible new 200/300 yard record with a 500-23X.

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC
Top shooters left to right: Dewey Hancock, Nick Breeden, Brian Fitch, Glen Olenick, Robert Brooks, Steve Cameron, Dean Breeden (arms raised), KL Miller, Jim Cline, Ronnie Milford, John Bosley.

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC
Wayne France — with the “I just won a Nightforce” smile!

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC
Steve Eller smiling — BIB Bullets from Randy Robinette are always a good choice.

Dean Breeden, Match Director and Competitor

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

Match directors do not get the appreciation they deserve. The match calendar would be blank without them. Score Nationals Match director Dean Breeden ran a great show here. In addition to rescuing a trailer from flood waters, and running the 200/300 Score Nationals, Dean also himself competed at the Nationals, shooting two rifles. He did well, with Top Ten finishes at both distances, in both VFS and Hunter classes (3rd in Hunter at 300 yards).

While Dean may be under-appreciated as a match director, Dean is widely recognized as one of the best IBS score shooters out there. Dean holds six (6) current IBS Score Shooting records.

In his Match Report, Dean acknowledged and thanked the generous match sponsors:

BIB Bullets
Brunos Shooter Supply
Brux Barrels
Dave Short Customs
Eddie Harren
Krieger Barrels
Nightforce
PMA Tool
Redding Reloading
ShadeTree Engineering
Wilson Dies

Parting Shot — Down by the Riverside…

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

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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.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
August 22nd, 2018

IBS Match Report: 2018 Group Nationals at Weikert, PA

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship

Many of the nation’s top 100/200-yard Benchrest Shooters came to central Pennsylvania this month for the IBS Group Nationals, held August 13-18 at the Union County Sportsmen’s Club. This major event encompassed six days of shooting, making this one of the lengthiest benchrest matches of the year. There were nearly 90 registered competitors, plus competitors’ spouses and kids were able to shoot in a fun match on Wednesday afternoon. This is a prestigious match — with National titles up for grabs in four classes: Sporter, Light Varmint, Heavy Varmint, and Heavy Bench. CLICK HERE for Full Results.

IBS Group Benchrest Nationals 2018

Report by Jeff Stover, IBS President
The Range and Conditions
This year’s venue was a return to one of the premier benchrest rifle ranges in the country. Union County Sportsmen’s Club is located near the center of Pennsylvania. It gets its name from the nearby village of Weikert. The range faces east, not ideal, but that is what the topography dealt the club. This week of competition had the usual prevailing conditions: mostly from the west, meaning from 4 o’clock to 8 o’clock. A switch green to orange and back again, with changing velocities. Sometimes readable. Many times, however, conditions are confounding.

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship

The Course of Fire
The IBS Group Nationals event is a bit of an endurance test as it spans six days for those shooting. The sequence of competition groups has 100-yard targets shot the first three days followed by three days at 200 yards. It is done this way to require only one change of wind flags. Nationals competition requires “full rotation”. That means that every time a shooter goes to the line for the next match target, he or she must move a requisite number of benches to the right. At the end of the day a shooter will shoot across the full width of the line. Some ranges offer unique properties that render some parts of the range harder or easier to shoot small groups. Bench rotation is important to even out those factors.

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship
Hall of Famer Jeff Gaidos taking aim. Note both eyes are open. Jeff picked up two more HOF points at Weikert this year.

Light Varmint, Heavy Varmint, Sporter, and Heavy Bench Equipment
It takes thirty targets of five shots each and ten targets of 10-shot groups to win a “4 Gun Nationals”. That would be the classes of Light Varmint, Heavy Varmint, Sporter, and Heavy Bench. For all practical purposes, the first three are known as “bag guns” while the Heavy Bench rifles are “rail guns”. In fact, most competitors shooting a bag gun opt for a single rifle, which has been the benchrest standard for decades: a 10.5-pound rifle chambered in 6 PPC.

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship

Peinhardt Wins 2-Gun & 3-Gun, Costa Wins 4-Gun, and Mitchell Smashes HB Record
Jeff Peinhardt won the 2-Gun and 3-Gun to dominate the “bag guns” (Light Varmint, Heavy Varmint, and Sporter). Larry Costa won the 4-Gun, with the top combined Agg for all four classes. Paul Mitchell turned in the notable railgun performance in the Heavy Bench division. Mitchell posted a 200-yard Agg of 0.1687 MOA. That should smash the old record of .2224 MOA set by Ed Watson way back in 1990! Note those figures are for MOA at 200 yards. Mitchell’s average 10-shot group size was 0.3374” (MOA x 2). That is only slightly larger than the Aggregate record for 5-shot groups with a rail gun. Mitchell said his rail has a superb Krieger barrel: “My rail gun was originally built by Bud Welch in the early ’90s. I took about ten years off from shooting from the late ’90s until 2008. When I got back I had Bruce LaChapelle take the action out of a sleeve and clamp the barrel in a Delrin sleeve. Dwight Scott chambered this Krieger barrel in January of 2017 and let me know that he thought it could be one of the hummers we all dream of and don’t waste it. This is the fourth 10-Shot teen Agg I have shot with it. It will be a sad day when it’s shot out!”

Click links below for Day-by-Day Results. Complete results may be found at the IBS Match Report Page.

Monday HB 100 | Tues LV/SP 100 | Wed HV 100 | Thurs LV/SP 200 | Friday HV 200| Saturday HB 200

Multi-Gun Results:
There are awards for combined results in multiple classes. Jeff Peinhardt won the both the 2-Gun (HV-LV) and 3-Gun (LV-HV-SP). Long time top shooter Larry Costa won the overall 4-Gun. Both Costa and Wayne Campbell (4-gun runner-up) are Hall of Famers. 4-Gun 3rd-place finisher Hugh Williamson, a Canadian, is also a barrel-maker.

The 3-Gun Top Three (from left): Jeff Peinhardt, Larry Costa, and Ronald Burdick:
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship

IBS Score Benchrest Nationals Multi-Gun Results
2-Gun Top Three 3-Gun Top Three 4-Gun Top Three
1. Jeff Peinhardt
2. Ronald Burdick
3. Larry Costa
.2104
.2138
.2148
1. Jeff Peinhardt
2. Larry Costa
3. Ronald Burdick
.2035
.2040
.2164
1. Larry Costa
2. Wayne Campbell
3. Hugh Williamson
.2191
.2238
.2331

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship
On Wednesday Afternoon first timers/novices (including spouses and children) were allowed to shot a group with the assistance of a coach. Here is PowderPuff winner Dena Wise with Coach David Halblom. Note Dena’s impressive 0.148 group. Dena is sister to Dale and Russ Boop.

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship

Benchrest State of the Art — Equipment

Want to know what the Top Guns were shooting at Weikert? Here is a complete Top Ten Equipment list for all four classes: Sporter, LV, HV, and Heavy Bench (Railgun):

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship

Thanks to the Hard Working Team at Weikert
The IBS is indebted to Nancy Scarbrough who did a fabulous job as match director. Mark Trutt, once again, devoted a full week as range officer and getting the range and grounds ready. The target crew was very efficient under the experienced direction of Steve Dodge.

Target Analysis from the “Wailing Wall”

This photo shows 200-yard targets for one of the relays in the Sporter Class (10.5-lb riles, all 6 PPC). At the match, the scored, 5-shot targets are put up on a board, euphemistically called the “Wailing Wall”. These groups are revealing. Note that almost all the groups are located below and to the right of the moth ball (the 10 Ring in the center). The second set of target rings denoted by an “S” are for sighters, and are not scored.

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship
Click photo to view large image

These targets were shot in a left to right drift (flags showing GREEN due to convention) drift. The targets show that most of the shooters sighted in during dead calm with point of impact at or below the 10 ring (mothball) for easier holding. So in a “green” condition the groups will move to the right of dead calm. These targets also demonstrate what modern benchrest bag guns can do at 200 yards! Some of those would be 100-yard ‘wallet groups’ for non-benchrest shooters. Remember these are 10.5-lb rifles, not heavy, “unlimited” rail guns. Mighty impressive precision.

IBS Shooter Profile — Bill Brawand

by Jeff Stover
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun ChampionshipThere are few “characters” left in the benchrest world, but Bill Brawand is one of them. He is still competing at age 84. He started in the game way back in 1973 and has been a stalwart on both the IBS and NBRSA circuits ever since.

He grew up on a dairy farm in north central PA near the town Wilcox. In the early days he earned $100 per week. That was not near enough to support a family and a competitive benchrest habit. That was one reason he got into bullet making. If he wanted to attend a match he had to do extra farm and dairy work to justify being gone for a weekend. Those chores were in addition to making bullets to both shoot and sell. He has worked hard his entire life and earned everything he has achieved.

Some time ago, oil and gas were discovered on the large Brawand farm. With production underway, many years ago the dairy was closed so Bill could focus on real estate and managing his wells. The oil/gas boom resulted in a dramatic change in his economic fortunes but Bill did not change at all. Before he finally got a small RV, he was known to sleep on a clubhouse couch.

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship

Benchrest is now a family affair for Bill. One of Bill’s daughters, Sam, usually meets him at the shoots to assist him as needed. His knee problems keep him in a motorized scooter to get around the range. Sam memorialized Bill’s shooting accomplishments by sewing his many patches earned in shooting onto both a quilt and his shooting jacket (above). Check it out — that represents many decades of trigger pulling!

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August 1st, 2018

2018 IBS New York State Group Benchrest Championship

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match

Report By Boyd Allen, IBS Vice President
Huge credit to Ken Frehm for all of the photos and most of the information.
On July 14th and 15th, at the Camillus Sportsmen’s Club, Camillus, NY, thirty-two shooters vied to win the Two Gun (and Class titles) at the NY State IBS Championship & 19th Annual Pro-Am Group Shoot. The Pro-Am is a cash match. Twenty-five of thirty-two shooters participated in the cash option — five dollars per gun per day. They were the Professionals. The remaining seven were the Amateurs.

GET N.Y. State Group Championship Results + Equipment Lists »

The weather was balmy and mild, the prize table and cash awards were generous, and the new range improvements were extensive, expensive, and well executed. Overall temperatures were seasonally moderate and the wind, while not difficult, was challenging enough that there were no Teen Aggregates shot in any class.

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match

IBS Competitors Talk about their Sport
Definitely check out this video — it is excellent, and well worth your time. It shows the Camillus Club Range and features informative interviews with many shooters:

The Two-Gun Overall match winner was Bob Brushingham, with Don Francis in second place, and Bob White in third. Don, who finished with a .2600 Grand Agg, edged Bob (.2601) by a mere .0001! That’s close! (SEE Full Two-Gun Results).

Camillus IBS Match NY two gun winners
Two Gun top finishers (L to R): Bob White (3rd), Bob Brushingham (1st), Don Francis (2nd)

Camillus IBS Match NY two gun winners
Click image for large version.

Below are the LV and HV Class winners, Class Top Ten results, and respective equipment lists.

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match

Light Varmint top finishers were (above, L to R): Bob Brushingham (2nd LV 100), Henry Miller (1st LV 200), Don Francis (1st LV 100, 3rd LV Grand), Leonard Burdick (2nd LV 200, 2nd LV Grand), Don Jeffers (3rd LV 100, 1st LV Grand).


Click image for large version.

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match

Heavy Varmint top finishers were (above, L to R): Bruce Lachapelle (1st HV 100), Robert Blanchard (3rd HV 100), Bob Brushingham (2nd HV 200, 1st HV Grand), Don Francis (2nd HV 200), Ron Burdick (2nd HV 100, 3rd HV Grand), and Bob White ( 1st HV 100, 2nd HV Grand).


Click image for large version.

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match
Here is the winning Pro-Am Team: Jennaro (Jerry) Corigliano (1st Amateur), Bruce Lachapello (1st Pro).

IBS 100/200-Yard Benchrest Competition

As with all Registered IBS 100/200-yard Group Matches, the N.Y. Championships at Camillus employed moving backers. This system ensures that a completed group includes the requisite five shots. With extremely small groups in the “ones” and “zeros” it may be impossible to distinguish five holes.

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match

Although pre-loading is not uncommon, most 100/200-yard group shooters typically load at the match, often between relays. This enables them to tune their loads for the current conditions. Nearly all competitors in this short-range discipline shoot the 6mm PPC cartridge, or a PPC variant.

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match

With group sizes so small, and group dimensions listed to the thousandth of an inch, precise measurement is an important part of the process.

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match

The Camillus Sportsmen’s Club Range

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC matchThis is not just a benchrest club, but a complete, multi-discipline shooting sports facility. To my California eyes, the Camillus range is a thing of beauty, with a vast expanse of well-trimmed grass between the firing line and the berms, and a substantial wooded hill beyond. The club has just completed a host of brand new improvements that required a significant investment and, I am sure, a lot of hard work. I believe that this was the first time that an event was held after they were finished. The improvements include a new shooting pavilion (firing line cover), with the latest safety features, new all masonry benches, new berms, new target boards, and may others that are too numerous to mention.

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match

To see more images of the range, visit the Camillus Sportsmen’s Club website, and do a Google image search for “Camillus Club NY”.

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match

Backing up the range berm is a 120-foot high wooded hill. Behind the firing line, running northwest along the club’s western boundary, is the old, abandoned Erie Canal. The Club’s land is relatively flat, which has allowed it to be well-utilized for multiple shooting sports. See Google Map.

Parting Shot…
I had to smile at this picture of the target crew. Evidently the club has excellent relations with the Syracuse Police Department.

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match

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July 23rd, 2018

0.1 MOA at 1K — Amazing 1.068″ 50-5X Group at 1000 Yards

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches

Story based on report by Sam Hall
Look at that target by Mike Wilson. This is one of the most remarkable displays of accuracy (and precision) in the history of long range shooting. This past weekend, Mike (aka “GA. Dawg” in our Forum) drilled a truly spectacular 1.068-inch, 5-shot group at 1000 yards, all centered up in the X-Ring. Yes, you read that right, a group barely over an inch at 1000, shot in competition at an official IBS benchrest match on July 21, 2018.

How small is that in angular measurement? Well 1 MOA at 1000 yards is 10.47 inches, so Mike’s 50-5X masterpiece is 0.102 MOA! Yes that will be pending IBS group size (and score) World Records. This best-ever 1K group* was shot at an IBS registered 1000-yard match at Hawks Ridge Gun Club in North Carolina. Other records have been shot at Hawks Ridge in the past, but this is the most jaw-dropping.

Sam Hall, past IBS National Champion and IBS 600-Yard Shooter of the Year, was stunned by Wilson’s accomplishment: “This is a truely awesome marksmanship feat — one of the best in history. I think I would trade all 14 of my 600-yard records for that one!”. Mike’s amazing target will be submitted for approval as new Group Size and Score IBS World Records. Official approval is pretty much a certainty. The previous 5-shot, 1000-yard IBS record is 1.397″ (50 score) by Tom Sarver in 2007. (The NBRSA 1000-Yard 5-shot LG record is 1.473″ by Bill Schrader in 2002.)

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches

Posting on our Shooters’ Forum, Mike wrote: “Thanks everyone for the kind words. As humbling as this game is, when it comes together makes it all worthwhile! A very special THANK YOU to my traveling buddy, my son, Blake, and my wife Debra for allowing me to enjoy this crazy game.” Mike also wanted to thank his smiths and component suppliers.

Mike Wilson IBS 1000-Yard Light Gun Specifications

Action: BAT ‘B’ 1.550 Melonited Action with Jewell Trigger
Barrel: Brux HV 28″ Finished Length, 1:8″ Twist Rate
Chambering: 6BRAW (6mmBR Ackley Improved Wilson), Chambered by Darrell Jones
Chamber Specs: 0.272″ No-turn Neck with 0.135″ Freebore
Stock: Shehane ST 1000 Fiberglass Stock (with stock work by Larry “Bullet” Archer)
Optics: Nightforce 12-42x56mm Benchrest NP-2 DD

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches
Leonard Baity front rest with Protektor Bag. Italian Lenzi bag in rear.

World Record-Setting Cartridge and Load
Mike was shooting a 40-degree Improved version of the 6mmBR Norma cartridge. Long popular with Benchrest and 300M shooters, the 6mmBR was the original inspiration for this website. Yep, we started as www.6mmBR.com. The Improved version has extra capacity, allowing about 100 FPS more velocity when chambered with a long throat. For his record group, Mike shot Vapor Trail 103-grain bullets in Lapua brass. He loaded Hodgdon H4895 powder with CCI 450 (small rifle magnum) primers.

Praise from Fellow Competitors
Here are some reactions to Mike’s amazing group by our Forum members:

“Amazing target Mike Wilson! Your group might last forever as ‘the goal’ of 1000-yard Benchrest! Heck that’s a great target even at 600 yards.” — Mike J.

“Unbelievable!! Doing that under chosen prime conditions is an amazing feat but to do that in competition and to have everything to come together is just unbelievable. Amazing how far skill, precision, knowledge, and the products of this sport have come. Never thought we would see a group this small and well placed especially in the hills of North Carolina where the wind always blows. Congratulations. A true lifetime achievement.” — Yote Hunter

“I think that one will stand for a while. Hard work does pay off, but it don’t hurt to be one of the givers in the sport. Mike, you are ‘The Man’!” — Bill Shehane

“Awesome, awesome, awesome. Now the goal is to shoot UNDER an inch!” — Alex Wheeler

For more comments, read this AccurateShooter Forum Thread.

The 6mmBR Ackley Improved
Mike Wilson shot his spectacular group with a 40° Improved version of the 6mmBR cartridge with less body taper than a standard 6BR — the design is 0.463 at the body/shoulder junction (vs. 0.460 for standard 6BR). Mike calls his version of the 6BR Ackley a 6BRAW (“W” for Wilson). Sam Hall explained: “The 6BRAW is pretty much the same as a 6BRA or 6BR-AI (Ackley Improved). I sold the reamer to Mike last year. This has a 0.272 ‘No-Turn’ chamber with a 0.135 Freebore”.

6mmBR Ackley Improved 6BRA 6BRAI 6BRAW Mike wilson Tom Mousel

This photo shows a 40° 6mmBR Ackley Improved (6BRA), as used by Tom Mousel in Deep Creek, Montana. Mike Wilson’s 6BRAW may be very slightly different. For Mousel’s 6BRA 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. Mike Wilson’s load runs about 2980 fps also.

In the past couple of years, the 6BR Ackley-type cartridges have been hugely successful in 600-yard and 1000-yard Benchrest. Sam Hall notes: “This year the little 6BR-AI has shot the smallest groups ever fired in 600-yard and 1000-yard competition. Back in April 2018, Bart Sauter, using a 6BRA, shot a 0.282″ 5-Shot group at 600 yards.” Bart’s stunning 0.04 MOA group is a pending 600-yard IBS World Record. (Read Sauter Story). Now Mike Wilson has a pending 1000-yard World Record with his 6BRAW.

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches
Mike used an Italian Lenzi rear bag. Mike says the super-slick nylon on the ears of this high quality rear bag make for better tracking. The ears provide support but don’t “grab” the stock, reports Mike.


* There are two North American sanctioning bodies for 1000-Yard Benchrest, the IBS and the NBRSA. The previous 5-shot, 1000-yard IBS record is 1.397″ (50 score) by Tom Sarver in 2007. The existing NBRSA 1000-Yard 5-shot Light Gun record is 1.473″, shot by Bill Schrader in 2002.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, News, Shooting Skills 8 Comments »
July 15th, 2018

The Real Deal — Sources for Official Shooting Targets

Official Target Printer Vendor Source

NRA Target IBS Hunter Rifle Target

Sources for Official Shooting Competition Targets:

ALCO Target Company

American Target Company

Kruger Premium Targets

National Target Company

Pistoleer.com

U.S. Target Company

AccurateShooter.com offers dozens of FREE, printable targets for target practice, load development, and fun shooting. We also offer a few of the most popular NRA Bullseye targets. One or more of these printable targets should work for most training purposes. However, some readers have asked: “Where can we get the real targets… exactly like the ones used in NRA, IBS, and NBRSA shooting matches?”

All these vendors carry nearly all the NRA High Power and Smallbore targets, including the new, smaller F-Class targets. Germany’s Kruger Targets sells all the important NRA targets, and international (ISSF) air rifle and smallbore targets too.

Available Official Competition Targets
Vendor NRA High Power F-Class NRA Smallbore Air Rifle/Pistol IBS NBRSA Other
ALCO Target
Company
Yes, All No Yes Yes No No Archery, IDPA, IPSC, Police, Realistic, Shoot-N-C, Silhouette, Fun Targets, Pasters.
American Target
Company
Yes, All Yes Yes, All Yes No No USBR, Sight-in, Muzzle-Loading, Police Silhouette
Kruger Premium
Targets
Yes, All Yes Yes, All Yes No No IDPA, IPSC, Animal Shapes, ISSF, Sight-in, Fun Targets
National Target
Company
Yes, Nearly All Yes Yes, All Yes Yes* No IDPA, IPSC, FBI, Police Silhouette, Sight-in, Target Backers, Pasters
Pistoleer.com Yes Yes Yes, most and color training Yes Yes No Bianchi, FBI, IBS, IDPA, IPSC, Silhouette, Archery, Pasters
U.S. Target, Inc. Yes Yes Yes, All Yes No No Bianchi, FBI, Police Silhouette, IPSC, Realistic Silhouette, Varmint

Orrville Printing currently sells IBS targets for rimfire (50 yard) benchrest, short-range centerfire Benchrest (100, 200, 300 yards), Hunter BR Rifle (100, 200, 300 yards), plus the official 600-yard and 1000-yard IBS targets. National Target Company also has most of the IBS targets. NBRSA short-range, 600-yard, and 1000-yard benchrest targets are available directly from the NBRSA Business Office. Call (307) 655-7415 to order for the season.

CMP Western games target source
At Western CMP Games, veteran rifle competitors Leon Rutherford, left, and Don Rutherford, demonstrate how to score targets at the GSM new shooter clinic. Note the use of a separate Target Center, which is available from many of the vendors listed above.

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June 7th, 2018

IBS Seeks Tech Talent — Webmaster Job Opening

International Benchrest shooters IBS bench web developer cms webmaster

Do you enjoy working with computers? Have some experience designing and/or maintaining websites? Then here is an opportunity for you — the IBS needs a Webmaster. If you enjoy precision shooting, all the better. Through this part-time webmaster position, you’ll have a chance to work with one of the world’s top competitive shooting organizations, the International Benchrest Shooters (IBS).

The IBS organizes benchrest competition for short-range, mid-range, and long-range disciplines. Affialiated clubs are active through the nation. It’s an excellent organization, with a rich history, and a fine set of officers, lead by IBS President Jeff Stover.

IBS Webmaster Job Opening — Part-Time
The International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) is seeking a webmaster. This is a part-time position. Principal duties are to maintain the IBS website by posting submitted match reports, news items, match schedules, and other items. The IBS is launching a new site within 30 days built upon the PYRO CMS website management tool. The ideal candidate should have some experience maintaining websites. Knowledge of PYRO CMS or similar and html is a plus. Additionally, knowledge of IBS shooting disciplines is preferred. Salary is negotiable. Submit resumes to Jeff Stover, IBS President, at jstover33@comcast.net or call 570-660-6102.

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April 30th, 2018

Amazing Accuracy — Sauter Shoots 0.282″ Group at 600 Yards

Bart Sauter IBS .282 World Record Group benchrest H4895 600 yards heavy gun
World Record group shot by Bart Sauter in IBS 600-yard Match on April 21, 2018 in Memphis, TN.

0.282 inches, 0.04 MOA… at 600 Yards. Simply amazing…

What can we say… this 0.282″ 5-shot group 600 yards represents one of the most impressive feats of rifle accuracy in history. Shot in competition, this five-shot group at 600 yards easily fits inside a dime with plenty of room to spare!

Bullet-maker Bart Sauter recently shot this 0.282″ five-shot group at a 600-yard IBS match. Yep, you read that right — 0.282″ at 600. Most shooters would be happy with that group at 100 yards. At 200 it would be remarkable. But at 600 — it is truly amazing. Readers, 0.282″ at 600 works out to 0.04 Minutes of Angle (MOA). Not point four MOA, but point ZERO four MOA, and it was all in the TEN RING for a 50 score. Even measured outside edge to outside edge, that group is just 0.525″, so Bart’s group will easily fit inside a dime (0.705″ diameter).

Bart Sauter IBS .282 World Record Group benchrest H4895 600 yards heavy gun

Bart Sauter IBS .282 World Record Group benchrest H4895 600 yards heavy gun

Sauter’s amazing 0.282″ 50 group smashes the existing IBS Heavy Gun 600-yard record, a 0.404″ shot by John Lewis way back in 2008. It also happens to beat the existing IBS Light Gun group record — the stunning 0.336″ by Rodney Wagner in 2013. (A group many said could never be bettered). Bart’s group will be a new score record too — many 50s have been shot before, but the group size is the tie-breaker, and no one has ever shot smaller at 600 than Bart.

Sauter Smashes IBS World Records with Stunning 600-Yard Group

Report by Boyd Allen, IBS Vice President
On the 21st of April, at the beautiful Memphis Sport Shooting Assn. 600-yard benchrest range, bullet-maker Bart Sauter made history. About 11:00 O’clock with 12-15 MPH switchy winds, Bart Sauter waited for his chosen condition and then ran five shots into an incredible 0.282″ record-breaking group, with a score of 50. Shot in Heavy Gun Class (with his Light Gun), this combination of group and score bettered the previous HG group and score records with sufficient margins that their records in both categories are virtually guaranteed. The previous group record, a 0.404″, belonged to John Lewis and stood for ten years. The previous score record was 50/.513 (group size being the tie breaker) shot by B.J. Francis last year. Bart’s target was 50/.282.

CLICK HERE for More Photos | CLICK for Related Forum Thread

To put it in perspective Bart’s record has the equivalent angular dispersion (MOA) of a .04″ group shot at 100 yards. (Bart’s exact MOA is 0.0448) But consider that crosswinds have roughly 36 times more effect at 600 yards than at 100 yards (by the “Rule of the Square”).

Record-Setting Cartridge and Load with Bart’s Own 105gr Bullets
Bart shot a 6mmBR Ackley Improved (6BRA) wildcat cartridge with an 0.272″ neck. This is basically the 6mmBR Norma with a 40° shoulder. The neck is long like the parent cartridge, not short like a 6mm Dasher. Bart was shooting his own 105 grain, 13 Ogive VLD bullets. He calls this new bullet design “The Hammer” (for good reason). Bart’s Hammer 105s were loaded in Lapua brass with Hodgdon H4895 powder and Wolf primers. Bullet tips were trimmed on a Giraud bullet point trimmer, but not pointed. Bart feels that there is too much potential for damaging bullets during pointing, so he does not point his match bullets. Bart had his LabRadar chrono on the bench during the match. Velocities were 2970-2975 fps with single-digit ES.

Record-Setting Rifle — IBS Light Gun Shot in Heavy Gun Class
Bart’s rifle features a melonited BAT B action, with a 26″, 1:8″-twist, HV contour James Lederer barrel, fitted with a Mike Ezell tuner. The Jewell trigger was set to 1.5 ounces. On top was a March 40X in BAT rings. The initial build was by Mike Moses, with chambering by Dean Stroud, and final (glue and screw) bedding by Billy Stevens. The handsome wood JB 1000 stock (3″-wide fore-end) boasts an aluminum keel added by Alex Wheeler after the initial build. Bart said that it only took him 15 minutes to adjust the keel so that the cross hairs did not wiggle on the target when the gun was pulled back a full 2 ½ inches. Bart is definitely a fan of the adjustable keel.

Bart Sauter IBS .282 World Record Group benchrest H4895 600 yards heavy gun

Bench Equipment and How Rifle Was Shot
Bart used a Farley Coaxial front rest with soft leather Edgewood front back sprinkled with baby powder. In the back was a Protektor Model DR rear bag with Cordura ears and no added lube (not needed with aluminum keel) borrowed from Mike Moses. Bart shot the rifle lightly pinned between his shoulder and the fore-end stop. Interestingly, Bart kept his Labradar chronograph on his bench throughout the day, and recorded velocities during the record group: 2970-2975 fps with single-digit ES.

Bart Sauter IBS .282 World Record Group benchrest H4895 600 yards heavy gunReloading Equipment and Methods
After firing, cases are annealed with a Benchsource flame annealer. The inside of the case-necks are brushed with a nylon brush (no lubricant is used). Cases are sized with a custom Whidden Full-length sizing die (with bushings), and a cut-down Wilson micrometer seater that was originally made for the Dasher.

Bullets are seated with a 21st Century Shooting Hydro Bullet Seater, used with the Wilson cut-down Wilson seating die. This state-of-the-art arbor press boasts a hydraulic seating pressure cylinder and gauge. During seating, the force gauge reads about 27.

The powder charge is first thrown from a manual measure and usually trickled onto an A&D 120 FXi magnetic force restoration scale using an Adams automatic trickler, but this time Bart had to settle for his old RCBS trickler because the drive band of the Adams auto-trickler wore out.

Brass Prep — The chamber is a 0.272″ no turn. Bart lightly skims the necks AFTER the first firing just enough to achieve batch to batch uniformity in neck thickness. He uses a .266 bushing which gives him .003 neck tension.

Pre-Loading vs. Loading at the Range
I asked Bart if he pre-loads, or loads at the range. Unexpectedly his answer was “Both…depending”. Bart will identify his “in tune” velocity at his home range and then pre-load that load before the match. However, Bart takes all of his reloading equipment to the match, and if the conditions are such that his pre-loaded ammunition does not give the velocity he wants (as revealed by the LabRadar), he will load at the match.

Another test that he feels is important is to be able to pass a bullet all the way through the neck of his fired cases. Bart thinks that even if the shank of a seated bullet does not directly contact a doughnut, that doughnut can have a negative effect on accuracy.

Bart Sauter IBS .282 World Record Group benchrest H4895 600 yards heavy gun

Bart has brought short range benchrest know-how to 600-yard competition. He uses a full set of short range flags, shown above. At last year’s Nationals, at the same Memphis range, Bart was one of the only shooters with a set of flags. Now other 600-yard competitors are following suit.

Final Throughts — The 6BR Ackley vs. 6mm Dasher
Given its prominence, it is inevitable that comparisons be made between the 6mmBR Ackley Improved and the Dasher. On this subject Bart told me that, based on his experience, he is a “Dasher basher”. He believes the Dasher can be finicky, and has a tendency to flip shots out of the group. For Bart, the 6BR Ackley has been a lot easier to work with and more predictable.

Below is a test target Bart shot at 100 yards. The load yielding the smallest 3-shot group, measuring 0.092″, was the load Bart took to the match. As you can see, the positions of the various load adjustments did not change on the targets. Bart said that that is the kind of positive compensation that he likes to see.

While Bart does most of load testing at short range, he can shoot out to 500 yards near his home. He says his record-setting gun has produced multiple 500-yard, 3-shot groups in the “three-quarter inch range” when testing in calm conditions. That’s 0.14 MOA for three shots. At 500…

Bart Sauter IBS 600 yard record bullets benchrest 0.282 600-yard best ever

Congratulations to Bart on His Great Shooting
Finally, I would like to add my congratulations to Bart Sauter for this spectacular group. I also want to thank Bart for generously taking the time to share the details of his load, reloading methods, and rifle components. Bart has shown that applying some short-range benchrest techniques to the mid-range game can produce remarkable results.

Bart Sauter IBS .282 World Record Group benchrest H4895 600 yards heavy gun

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Reloading 10 Comments »
March 3rd, 2018

Thunder for Down-Under — Twin 30 BR Score Benchrest Rigs

30BR Hunter Class Rifle
This story, from our Gun of the Week Archives, offers a good intro to the 30 BR cartridge, which is still the leading chambering for short-range Score Benchrest.

What’s better than one custom-built 30 BR with gorgeous wood and top-shelf components? A matching pair of course. Just ask Australian shooter Greg Roche (“Caduceus” in our Forum). A decade ago, Greg spent two years living and working in the USA. While in America, he commissioned two matched custom rifles to bring back to Australia for Hunter Class BR matches. Though the look-alike rigs are both chambered in 30 BR, one is designed for the Australian “Traditional” centerfire Hunter Class (10-lb limit), while the other is purpose-built for the “Custom” centerfire Hunter Class (14-lb limit). The 10-lb Traditional rifle features a fully-functioning two-round magazine and a 6-power scope. In contrast the Custom Class rifle is a single-shot action, with a 45X Leupold scope. The Custom weighs 13.5 pounds so it can also be used in traditional Heavy Varmint Benchrest matches if desired.

30BR Hunter Class Rifle

Tale of Two Rifles
Story and Photos by Greg Roche (“Caduceus”)

The USA boasts some of the finest precision rifle-builders and Benchrest parts suppliers in the world. Before returning to Australia after two years in the States, I decided to have two special BR rifles built using American components and skilled labor. I wanted a matched pair–twin guns that would be as handsome as they were accurate. The heavier gun of the pair, the 13.5-lb Custom Class rifle, features top-of-the-line (but well-proven) technologies and components. With the 10.5-lb Traditional Class rifle, we had to develop new solutions to allow the 30 BR cartridge to feed from a functional two-round magazine. Here is my saga of how my twin 30 BRs were conceived and built, and how they have performed in competition.

30BR Hunter Class Rifle

BACKGROUND — The 30 BR for Score Competition

The 30 BR is a wildcat cartridge based on a necked-up version of the 6mmBR Norma case. It originated in U.S. Benchrest circles where it found its niche in Varmint For Score (VFS) matches. Unlike traditional Benchrest, where group size determines the winner, VFS matches are shot on a target with multiple, concentric-ringed bullseyes. Point total is based on “best edge” shot location (one shot per bull). In score competition, the 30 BR’s “supersized” .308-diameter hole offers an advantage over the 6mm hole created by a 6 PPC, the dominant group BR chambering.

30 BR cartridge

The starting point for loading the 30 BR wildcat is Lapua 6mmBR brass. These are necked up as a single-step operation using a .30 caliber tapered expander ball (or dedicated expander mandrel). This will leave a bulge in the neck, so the expanded case neck is normally turned to bring the thickness down to the correct dimension for the chamber. I turned these necks down to .010″ wall thickness using a Stiller neck-turning tool. It features an eccentric mandrel similar to the Nielson “Pumpkin”. Loaded rounds measure .328″ neck diameter. This gives minimum clearance in my .330″ neck chamber, so very little neck resizing is needed after firing. Cases are trimmed to 1.500″ prior to turning to ensure consistency since the Stiller tool indexes the length of cut off the case mouth. Other than that, cases are just chamfered, loaded and made ready to shoot. No special fire-forming is required.

17-Twist Barrels for Both Rifles
Texan gunsmith Mike Bryant chambered both barrels. Mike also polished both barrels to a high-gloss to match the receivers. In this game, barrels are consumables, much like powder and primers, so most owners wouldn’t bother to polish their barrels. However a 30 BR barrel can provide up to 5000 rounds of accurate life (unlike a 6PPC barrel which might be tossed after 800-1000 rounds.) So, these barrels are likely to be on the rifles for many seasons. Given the high-gloss finish of the Grizzly actions and the beauty of the Red Cedar stocks, it would have been an injustice to leave a dull finish on the barrels.

The chambers were both cut with the same reamer supplied by Dave Kiff of Pacific Tool and Gauge. Randy Robinett, one of the originators of the 30 BR wildcat, specified the reamer dimensions. Randy’s 118gr, 10-ogive custom BIB bullets and the 30 BR cartridge enjoy a winning track record in the USA. The 30 BR Robinette reamer has zero free-bore and a .330″ neck, and is optimized for the BIB 118s. The bullets perform best when seated far enough out to jam firmly into the rifling as the bolt is closed. The long ogive means the bullet’s bearing surface is very short.

Slow Twists for Maximum Accuracy
You may note the unusually slow twist rate of both barrels. In most .30-caliber chamberings, the barrel twist rate is 1:11 or 1:12 to stabilize 150gr to 200gr bullets. The 30 BR is optimized for 115gr to 118gr flat-base bullets and 1:17 provides sufficient stability at muzzle velocities around 2900-3000 fps. In competitive Benchrest, where every thousandth of an inch counts, over-stabilization of projectiles can hurt accuracy, so “just stable enough” is the goal; hence the 1:17 twist.

Case Forming, Case Prep, and Reloading Methods

Sinclair Neck Micrometer, 30 BR Neck Turning
A Sinclair case neck micrometer indicates neck thickness of 0.010″ after neck turning.

Sinclair Neck Micrometer, 30 BR Neck Turning30 BR dies are readily available from a number of manufacturers. I personally use Wilson neck and seating dies with a Sinclair Arbor press, but Redding and Forster both supply high-quality threaded dies for use in a conventional press. For under $100.00 US, custom full-length dies can be obtained from Hornady and CH Tool & Die by sending them reamer prints or a couple of fired cases. Harrell’s Precision offers “semi-custom” dies. Just send them some fired cases and they select a pre-made CNC-cut die that ideally fits your chamber. You can ask the Harrell brothers for a die that’s tighter at the shoulder or base, or otherwise customized to your preferences.

Load Development and Accuracy Testing
With cases formed and bullets selected, load development is simply a matter of choosing the right primer, powder and charge weight, and loading the most consistent ammunition possible. The Lapua BR cases use a small rifle primer. The choice here was Federal 205 Match primers vs. CCI BR4 Benchrest primers. Some shooters have also had success using CCI 450 Magnum primers but it is very unlikely the small case needs this much spark to light off regular extruded powders. In my case, I selected Federal primers because availability tends to be better in Australia.

The relatively large bore-to-capacity ratio of the 30 BR case means that fast burning powders are the order of the day. Once again, US experience suggests H4198 (the Hodgdon equivalent of ADI AR2207) is the choice of match winners. The fact that H4198/AR2207 is an Australian-made product is an added bonus. So, I loaded up test rounds with AR2207 from 32.5 grains to 35.0 grains in approximately 0.3 grain increments. All bullets were seated to jam +0.010″ into the lands. This places the bullet base about two-thirds of the way down the neck and well short of the neck-shoulder junction.

READ FULL Story on AccurateShooter.com Main Site »

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition No Comments »
December 14th, 2017

Tuning Barrels for Enhanced Precision and Accuracy

Anschutz Tuner

When a shot is fired through it, a barrel will exhibit harmonics. Tuning these harmonics (the “waves” that propagate through the barrel) can alter point of impact and, if you’re lucky, reduce group size. Barrel tuners have been used successfully in rimfire benchrest for many years (see photo above). While there are competing theories as to how and why barrel tuners work on rimfire rifles, there is no question that the accuracy of some rimfire barrels can be improved with the addition of a tuner. By changing the position of weights at the end of the barrel, we’ve seen shooters shrink their average group size as well as adjust the “sweet spot” for different lots of rimfire ammo. On the other hand, tuners can be the source of great frustration; some installations may yield little or no benefit. A shooter may have to experiment with a variety of different tuner designs (and weights) to find the optimal configuration.

Gene Bukys Barrel Tuner 333smittyCenterfire Tuners–Still a Work in Progress
In centerfire benchrest competition, the vast majority of competitors do not use tuners, though a few short-range shooters such as Gene Bukys and Jackie Schmidt have enjoyed considerable success. Gene has won major championships with tuned rifles. In 2011 Gene won both the Super Shoot and World Benchrest Championship (WBC), and Gene recently set a new NBRSA Sporter Class Grand Agg Record.

Centerfire benchrest guns typically employ shorter barrels with a much fatter contour (larger diameter) than rimfire rifles. Because centerfire rounds produce much higher pressures and velocities that a 22LR, a centerfire barrel also exhibits much different vibration characteristics than a typical rimfire barrel. Nonetheless, there are pioneers working with centerfire tuners who believe that tuning may be the “next leap forward” in centerfire accuracy.

Shown below is a switch-barrel benchrest rifle built by Forum member Eddie W. of Texas. It features a dual-port Hall “M” action with a ShadeTree Engineering Tuner crafted by Butch Lambert. The gun is designed to take both a 6PPC barrel for group shooting and a 30BR barrel for score shooting. The gun was barreled by Wayne Shaw, and Eddie did the stock work himself. Eddie reports: “It is a very accurate rifle.”

Lambert Tuner

Will we see more tuners on centerfire rifles? Only time will tell. Some folks believe that, since one can easily adjust the loads shot by centerfire guns (by tinkering with the powder charge and seating depth), tuners have limited utility. On the other hand, tuner advocates such as Gene Beggs believe tuners can help keep your group sizes small even as conditions (temperature, humidity) change. Gene believes that, with an appropriate tuner, you can spend less time fiddling with the load specs (changing your powder charge) and instead “dial in” your sweet spot using the tuner.

Lambert Tuner

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 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 »
November 13th, 2017

IBS Match Report: 2017 600-Yard Nationals in Memphis

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

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

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

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

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


CLICK HERE for Complete 600-Yard IBS Nationals Results »

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

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

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

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

600-Yard Benchrest Competition — The Basics

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

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

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

Equipment List for Top Ten Shooters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
October 29th, 2017

Rise of the Railguns — Potential Records Set at IBS Match

Visalia Heavy Benchrest Unlimited Railgun record Visalia CA California
Gary Ocock let the event’s youngest competitor, 12-year-old Gavin Lichtenwalter, shoot Gary’s new Railgun for the last three matches on Sunday afternoon. The day before Gary shot what should be a new IBS 100-yard, five-shot HB group record. Photo credit: Ben Zentner

Heavy Benchrest (Unlimited) rifles, also known as “Railguns”, are the most accurate competition firearms ever invented. And these amazing examples of shooting technology showed their capability recently, with potentially four (4) new records being set at an IBS Heavy Benchrest Invitational match in Visalia, California. If you are curious about the most accurate rifles on the planet, then read on…

2017 Visalia Invitational — IBS Heavy Benchrest Match

Report by Boyd Allen, IBS Exec. Vice President
There was some amazing shooting at a recent Invitational Heavy Benchrest match* held in Visalia, California on October 21-22, 2017. No less than FOUR new Heavy Benchrest (HB) records may have been set. Three individual targets were submitted for the 100-yard HB five-shot group record, a .039 by Gary Ocock (photo below), along with two targets by Jim Nicolas, a .040 and .041.

Visalia Heavy Benchrest Unlimited Railgun record Visalia CA California

Multiple Aggregate records (at both 100 and 200 yards) may also have been set. Larry Boers shot a 100-yard, five-target 0.1232 Aggregate that will be submitted for the IBS HB 100-yard, five-shot group Agg record. And Gary Ocock may have set two additional HB Agg records. Gary’s five-target 200-yard Agg (0.1310) is a potential new five-shot-per-target record, as is his ten-target Grand Agg (0.1480) (that covers 100 AND 200 yards, five targets per yardage, ten targets total).


CLICK HERE for Complete Match Results (PDF) »

Visalia Heavy Benchrest Unlimited Railgun record Visalia CA California

Top Guns Come to IBS Match in California
This California match attracted some of the best Railgun pilots in the game today. On the firing line were three current NBRSA Unlimited record holders: Larry Boers (one record), Steve Kostanich (two records), and Gary Ocock (three current NBRSA UNL records, plus one HV). All three shot well enough in this match that their targets are being submitted to the IBS for consideration as Group, Aggregate, or Grand Aggregate records. NOTE: The “Heavy Benchrest” IBS category is equivalent to “Unlimited” under NBRSA rules. CLICK HERE for Complete Match Results.

Top Shooters for the Match included: Larry Boers (Two Gun, HB GrAgg1, HB 100-yd); Gary Ocock (HB 200-yd and HB GrAgg2); Francis Lee (HB 200-yd).

Two-Gun Overall Results
Visalia Heavy Benchrest Unlimited Railgun record Visalia CA California
Note: The computer software shows the results for one Grand Agg as “Heavy Varmint”. In fact the SAME HB Railguns were used for both Grand Aggs, so the “Two-Gun Agg” is actually a pair of HB Aggs.

Top Equipment List
Visalia Heavy Benchrest Unlimited Railgun record Visalia CA California

Visalia Heavy Benchrest Unlimited Railgun record Visalia CA California
Saturday Winners: George Lozano, Larry Boers, Lawrence Weisdorn, Gary Ocock, Joe Stanovich, and Jim Nicolas. Photo by: Dan Lutke.

Conditions: It rained on Friday, but Saturday and Sunday were sunny and slightly cool at first and perfect after that. Saturday at 10:00 am it was 62°, 64%, and the wind was light, increasing slightly later in the day. Sunday’s conditions were similar with a slightly higher wind speed, but still light. The wind was from the West at 3-10 mph, generally stronger closer to the firing line than down range. This normally is more of a picker’s range than a runner’s venue. However, there was some “running” of groups this weekend since rail guns are particularly suited for that style of shooting.

Hall of Famer Helps Young Novice
Along with the seasoned veterans, there was a new competitor, a 12-year-old shooting his very first match. As with life, there were highs and lows. Young Gavin started out with an equipment failure — the rifle he brought wasn’t working, so shooter Bob Hatley let Gavin borrow Bob’s bag gun. Then Gavin got some expert assistance from one of the world’s best — Hall of Famer Gary Ocock. Gary let Gavin shoot the last three 200-yard matches with Gary’s new integral block, Jay Young-built Railgun, one of the most accurate firearms on the planet. Gary shot this rig on relay #1 and let Gavin shoot it in relay #2. How many of us will ever get this kind of opportunity, much less a first time 12-year-old competitor? It’s like a school kid getting to drive an Indy-winning race car.

Visalia Heavy Benchrest Unlimited Railgun record Visalia CA California
This photo shows Gavin with family and friends: Grandmother Mary Oulrey, father Mark Lichtenwalter (second from left), grandfather Gary Oulrey (far right). Bob Hatley (extreme left) stepped up to share his bag rifle with Gavin, and Gary Ocock (right of Gavin) let Gavin shoot his Railgun. Note Gavin is wearing Gary’s Hall-of-Fame jacket.

The Facility at Visala — Dale Wimp Rifle and Pistol Range
The Visalia Range has a covered firing line with 28 fixed, monolithic steel-reinforced concrete benches. The direction of fire is north. The cover extends well past the front of the benches as does the concrete. There are covered loading areas both at the level of the benches, directly behind them, and one level up farther to the rear. The firing line and range are below the level of the surrounding land, having been excavated in flat ground with the material from the excavation surrounding the range on three sides, higher in the back, forming an impact berm. A major construction project is about to be finished that will extend the range to 300 yards, and provide a new 10-station, 25-yard pistol range.

Surrounded by fields, the Visalia Range is located in California’s Central Valley, a rich agricultural area.
visalia benchrest shooting range unlimited benchrest railgun heavy gun

Notables on the Visalia Firing Line

Three of the competitors at the match deserve special mention because of their recent accomplishments in the world of Benchrest shooting and the interesting equipment they had on display.

Visalia Heavy Benchrest Unlimited Railgun record Visalia CA California

Jim Nicholas was on fire on Saturday. During Saturday morning’s 100-yard Aggregate he shot a .040 in the fourth match, and a .041 in the fifth. Both targets and the .039 that Gary Ocock shot were sent in to be measured for a record. All are substantially smaller than the current record, Hap Zeiser’s .063. In the photo above, note the tuner. Jim adjusted a little less than 8 degrees just before he shot .040 in the fourth match and .041 in the fifth. That must have been the “sweet spot”. Jim’s blue Railgun, built by Craig Kinsler, features a barrel block that is integral with the rig top. This is like the new Jay Young Railgun Ocock shoots.

Visalia Heavy Benchrest Unlimited Railgun record Visalia CA California

Larry Boers owns the NBRSA Unlimited, 100-yard 10-shot group record (.097). This makes the fourth time that he has won the Two-Gun Overall for this match. Larry is not just a trigger-puller — he makes his own bullets and chambers his own barrels. This year he shot a bullet he still lists under his bullet-making mentor’s name (Del Bishop) a 65 grain, double radius 5/9 FB made from J4 .790 jackets, out of a Nemi point die. Del originally made the bullet and the story is that Nemi at first refused to make the die because he was sure that it wouldn’t shoot well. Later, after some cajoling by Del, he made it, tried a few and excitedly called Dell to tell him just how good the bullets shot. Larry set his record shooting a .750 jacket short BT (.040) bullet from the same die.

Visalia Heavy Benchrest Unlimited Railgun record Visalia CA California

Steve Kostanich, a long-time competitor and highly-respected gunsmith from Washington State, recently received official confirmation that he will go in the record books with a pair of 10-shot Unlimited NBRSA world records. The first record is a 10-shot 200-yard 0.1839 Aggregate, while the second is Steve’s 100-200 yard 0.1951 Grand Aggregate.

Parting Shot — This is what happens when you set your Wind Flag stand too high.

Visalia Heavy Benchrest Unlimited Railgun record Visalia CA California


* Course of Fire: This was a two-day Heavy Benchrest (aka HB or “Unlimited”) weekend match with targets at 100 and 200 yards, five shots per target. Saturday all shooting was at 100 yards. Sunday all shooting was at 200 yards. There were two (2) Grand Aggregates. One Grand Agg combined Saturday morning (100) with Sunday afternoon (200). The Second Grand Agg combined Saturday afternoon (100) and Sunday morning (200). The match had two HB Grand Aggs because only one class of gun (Heavy Benchrest or “Unlimited”) was shot. The computer software shows the results for one Grand Agg as “Heavy Varmint”, but all matches were for Heavy Benchrest (Unlimited) guns. NOTE: Some competitors did shoot bag guns as these are allowed under HB/Unlimited rules.

Permalink Competition, News 2 Comments »
October 17th, 2017

IBS Chooses Boyd Allen as New Executive Vice President

IBS Benchrest Shooters Boyd Allen Executive Vice President VP

The International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) is pleased to announce the hiring of Boyd Allen as its new Executive Vice President/IBS Editor. Boyd will be responsible for guiding the IBS’s marketing and Public Relations efforts. He will handle all articles on IBS’s web partner, Accurateshooter.com, the leading rifle accuracy site on the Internet. He will also coordinate and contribute to preparation of match reports on Accurateshooter.com for IBS National Championships and other featured matches. Boyd will also work with the IBS Executive Board and discipline committees on rulebook and other administrative activities. Boyd Allen can be reached at: boydallen [at] live.com.

A long-time competitive shooter, Boyd has competed in registered benchrest matches near his home in Fresno, CA. He has written for both Precision Shooting magazine and Shooter’s News. Most recently, Boyd has been a regular contributor to Accurateshooter.com and an active Forum member. Boyd will help the IBS reach a broader audience through AccurateShooter.com and social media. He expects to enhance match reports and also do regular articles on benchrest equipment and trends. He will spearhead a proposed 300-yard exhibition match in 2018 that can bring together shooters from multiple precision rifle disciplines. (Editor: We like this idea — this 300-yard showdown could be the ultimate “bragging rights” match with “point-blank” PPC shooters dueling with Dasher pilots and F-Class aces.)

The IBS is a leading organization for group and score benchrest competition, including the 100/200/300 benchrest games, along with 600-yard and 1000-yard benchrest disciplines.

IBS Benchrest Shooters Boyd Allen Executive Vice President VP

IBS Benchrest Shooters Boyd Allen Executive Vice President VP

IBS Benchrest Shooters Boyd Allen Executive Vice President VP

IBS Benchrest Shooters Boyd Allen Executive Vice President VP

IBS Benchrest Shooters Boyd Allen Executive Vice President VP

IBS Benchrest Shooters Boyd Allen Executive Vice President VP

News Tip from Edlongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Competition, News 3 Comments »
October 4th, 2017

IBS Match Report: 2017 1000-Yard Nationals in West Virginia

IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia

2017 IBS 1000-Yard Benchrest Nationals
Report By Boyd Allen
On September 1-4, the IBS held its 2017 1000-yard Benchrest Nationals at the Whitehorse Shooting Center in Peeltree, West Virginia. There was a great turn-out this year, with 118 entries in Light Gun Class (17-lb limit, 5 shots per target) class and 107 shooters in Heavy Gun Class (Unlimited weight, 10 shots per target). The conditions this year were challenging to say the least, with rain storms, spiraling winds, and fog. In fact, rain and fog on Saturday (with cancelled relays) caused the Nationals to be extended by one day through Monday, September 4th. What’s more, of the 107 shooters listed in the Two-Gun Overall results who actually shot both guns, there were dozens of DQs. (Yes, the wind was a bit tricky at this year’s Nationals.)

IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia
Sam Hall, past IBS Shooter of the Year, provided this image and most of the photos in this report.

Congratulations to the “top guns” at the Nationals: Edward Kenzakoski (Two-Gun Overall Champion), Mike Gaizauskas (Light Gun Overall, plus LG Score Agg), and Mike Brennan (Heavy Gun Overall, plus HG Score Agg). Group Agg winners were Richard Schatz for LG, and Charlie Lentz for Heavy. Two ladies also deserve mention. Sally Bauer shot the smallest group of the match, a 1.923″ 5-shot group in LG — that’s 0.184 MOA! Ruth Edwards drilled a 2.104″, also mighty impressive. Nice shootin’ ladies…


CLICK HERE for Complete 1000-Yard Nationals RESULTS »

Top Shooters — Overall, Light Gun, and Heavy Gun:
IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia
CLICK HERE for Larger Chart

White Horse Wind and Weather Factors — and Topography
The firing line for the 1000-yard range has a covered structure with 14 well-spaced masonry benches with block bases and cast concrete tops. Facing southwest, the firing line is above the land between it and the target butts, which are at the head of a canyon. There is a low area with trees on the left with an elevated flat area on the right.

IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia

This topography create unpredictable wind patterns that can change rapidly with no warning. Those changes can wreak havoc with competitors’ groups and scores. The wind direction at the targets can be opposite that at the firing line, with the result that a let-off down range not only carries the penalty of making a hold-off incorrect, but because the wind at the firing line can continue, adding the additional penalty of a reversal. This was the common cause of disqualifications, which were numerous at this year’s Nationals.

Light Gun and Heavy Gun Equipment Lists (Partial Sample):
IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia

Barrel-Block Heavy Gun with a handsome wood stock. Wide fore-ends enhance stability.
IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia

Delay Caused by Fog and Rain
On Saturday, rain and fog delays, caused the match to be extended through Monday. The rules dictate that if a full match cannot be finished because of weather, then all of the day’s results are discarded. This meant that even those shooters who completed their relays on Saturday had to shoot them over — hence another day was added to the event. Because of the prospect of worsening conditions on Saturday afternoon, even though there was daylight left, the decision was made to extend the match through Monday.

Profile of 2017 IBS 1000-Yard National Champion Edward Kenzakoski

Commenting on his performance at the Nationals, Ed said modestly:
“I didn’t shoot really good. I just shot better than them other guys.”

IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia

Winning Hardware (with a 110-lb Heavy Gun)
Notably, Ed does all of his own gunsmithing, and he built his Championship-winning rifles. Both guns featured 1:11″-twist, 30″ Krieger barrels. (LG: 1.250″ shank and .950 muzzle; HG: 2″ contour untapered). Ed’s Light Gun has a BAT action, no barrel block, Jewell trigger, and McMillan Tooley MBR stock. His Heavy Gun boasts a 10″-long BAT action in a two-piece aluminum stock with barrel block. That HG beast weighs 110 pounds! Both of Ed’s rifles (light and heavy) wore Nightforce 12-42x56mm BR scopes.

Winning Numbers
To win the Two Gun Overall, Ed posted 137 LG Score, 262 HG Score, and 399 Two-Gun Score Agg. His Group numbers were: LG Group 5.659, HG Group 7.483, Two-Gun Agg: 6.571.

Winning Loads and Reloading Methods
Both rifles are chambered in 300 WSM. Ed shoots 210gr Berger VLDs (sorted every way possible), with Norma brass, Hodgdon H4350 powder, and CCI BR2 primers. For the two guns he used very different seating depths — barely touching for the HG, 0.100″ jump for the LG. He said that it takes him a full four days to load the ammunition for both rifles for a match. Yes, he weighs primers, and he even passes his bullets through a .309 bushing.

No Dark Horse at White Horse — Kenzakoski is a Proven Winner
One shouldn’t be surprised at Edward Kenzakoski’s success. Ed really cleaned up at Williamsport this year, winning one 6-match Aggregate and two 10-match score and group Aggregates. He also established a new Williamsport club Light Gun record of 3.2″.

Last year’s winner Tom Mousel sitting at the bench on Sunday. Tom finished third overall this year.
IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia

IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia

Record-Setting Asymmetry
In 2016 Michael Gaizauskas set the current 1000-yard IBS Heavy Gun (10 shot) group and score records. He set those records with the rifle on the left (below), then chambered in 6.5×47 Lapua. In this match, Mike won LG Group and LG Overall with the rifle on the right as chambered in his own 7mm short magnum wildcat. Mike designed and built both these distinctive assymetric stocks.

IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia

Prizes and Gift Certificates Galore at White Horse
The prize table at the IBS 1000-yard Nationals was impressive, with many scopes and stocks as prizes, plus a treasure trove of gift certificates:

IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia

White Horse Shooting Center Facilities, Organization, and Location
The 1000-yard range used at the IBS 2017 Nationals is part of a large shooting facility run by Whitehorse Firearms Outdoor Education Center in cooperation with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. White Horse is located off of Route 20 near the small community of Peeltree, WV. The nearest town of any size, ten miles to the south, is Buckhannon, WV, which has about 5600 residents.

IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia

White Horse Geography and Climate
The White Horse range is set in wooded hill country, with lots of creeks and some smaller rivers all kept green and running by an annual rainfall of about 48 inches and about the same for snowfall. To my eyes it is beautiful county, pleasingly rural and lush, in marked contrast to where I live where every plant must be served by some sort of irrigation.

Permalink - Articles, Competition 6 Comments »
September 21st, 2017

Where to Buy Official Competition Targets

Official Target Printer Vendor Source

Need targets — not just any old targets, but the correctly-sized targets for specific shooting disciplines (such as NRA Smallbore, F-Class, and 1K Benchrest)? Well you won’t find them at your neighborhood Wally World store. Precise, dimensionally-correct competition targets are producted by a half-dozen specialty printers. In this article we provide links to the leading target sellers, with a chart showing “who’s got what”. Look for your particular discipline and the vendors will be specified.

Sources for Official Shooting Competition Targets:

ALCO Target Company

American Target Company

Kruger Premium Targets

National Target Company

Pistoleer.com

U.S. Target Company

AccurateShooter.com offers dozens of FREE, printable targets for target practice, load development, and fun shooting. We also offer a few of the most popular NRA Bullseye targets. One or more of these printable targets should work for most training purposes. However, some readers have asked: “Where can we get the real targets… exactly like the ones used in NRA, IBS, and NBRSA shooting matches?”

Official targets NRA IBS NBRSA

All these vendors carry nearly all the NRA High Power and Smallbore targets, including the new, smaller F-Class targets. National Target has the F-Class and High Power targets, including 100-yard reductions of the 200, 300, and 600-yard military targets. Germany’s Kruger Targets sells all the important NRA targets, and international (ISSF) air rifle and smallbore targets too.

NRA Target IBS Hunter Rifle Target

Orrville Printing currently sells IBS targets for rimfire (50 yard) benchrest, short-range centerfire Benchrest (100, 200, 300 yards), Hunter BR Rifle (100, 200, 300 yards), plus the official 600-yard and 1000-yard IBS targets. National Target Company also has most of the IBS targets. NBRSA short-range, 600-yard, and 1000-yard benchrest targets are available directly from the NBRSA Business Office. Call (307) 655-7415 to order for the season.

Available Official Competition Targets
Vendor NRA High Power F-Class NRA Smallbore Air Rifle/Pistol IBS NBRSA Other
ALCO Target
Company
Yes, All No Yes Yes No No Archery, IDPA, IPSC, Police, Realistic, Shoot-N-C, Silhouette, Fun Targets, Pasters.
American Target
Company
Yes, All Yes Yes, All Yes No No USBR, Sight-in, Muzzle-Loading, Police Silhouette
Kruger Premium
Targets
Yes, All Yes Yes, All Yes No No IDPA, IPSC, Animal Shapes, ISSF, Sight-in, Fun Targets
National Target
Company
Yes, Nearly All Yes Yes, All Yes Yes* No IDPA, IPSC, FBI, Police Silhouette, Sight-in, Target Backers, Pasters
Pistoleer.com Yes Yes Yes, most and color training Yes Yes No Bianchi, FBI, IBS, IDPA, IPSC, Silhouette, Archery, Pasters
U.S. Target, Inc. Yes Yes Yes, All Yes No No Bianchi, FBI, Police Silhouette, IPSC, Realistic Silhouette, Varmint

Kruger Targets

Permalink Competition, Gear Review No Comments »
September 16th, 2017

IBS Match Report: Visalia 3-Gun California Championship

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Visalia CA california match Boyd Allen
The Visalia Sportsman’s Association Dale Wimp Shooting Range — a great place to shoot.

Report by Boyd Allen | Photos and video by Pete Kitrinos
The IBS is in the West! The first International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) match at the Visalia, CA range was held over the recent Labor Day Weekend. Despite scorching 106° heat, many of the West’s top short-range benchrest shooters assembled for the first IBS-sanctioned match (after a 30-year history with the NBRSA) at the Visalia range. The mix of shooters included at least one Benchrest Hall of Fame member, as well as NBRSA record holders. Competitors were happy to return to Visalia, which had been closed for seven months while range improvements were made (some parts of the East berm were still under construction). With only two ranges in the entire state holding short range group matches, the temporary loss of Visalia had a significant impact. It was time to get back to business — the business of shooting tiny groups.

This video includes Aerial Drone footage of the range — worth watching!

Surrounded by fields, the Visalia Range is located in California’s Central Valley, a rich agricultural area.
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Visalia CA california match Boyd Allen

For about thirty years the California 3-Gun Benchrest Championship match has been held at the Visalia Sportsman’s Association Dale Wimp Range over Labor Day weekend. For all those years, the matches have been put on by local shooter and current club president Dennis Thornbury. During a good part of that time, he has also managed to keep his name in the NBRSA record book, and pick up four Benchrest Hall of Fame points, as well as having recently done a tour as NBRSA president. This year’s match is sanctioned by the IBS, a first at Visalia.

Don “The Pumpkin” Nielson used an action he fabricated, a “fat bolt” aluminum 3-lug with steel insert.
Visalia IBS Benchrest Rest

Dennis Thornbury has been putting on registered matches at the Visalia range for 30 years. He holds an NBRSA record, and has 4 Hall of Fame points.
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Visalia CA california match Boyd Allen

The format: On Saturday competitors shot 100 yards all day, Sporter in the morning, Light Varmint in the afternoon. The following day the morning competition was Heavy Varmint at 100 and at lunch the targets were moved to 200 yards with Heavy Varmint being shot that afternoon. On Monday, Labor Day, at 200 yards, Light Varmint was shot in the morning and Sporter in the afternoon. All three days consisted of five, 5-shot matches in the morning and five more in the afternoon.

Morning, Day 1 — Very few “daisy wheels”. This has been the trend for many years at this range.
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Visalia CA california match Boyd Allen

Getting down to business. Shown, from right to left: Henry Pinkney, Joe Stanovich, Steve Epstein, Keith Cottrell (face obscured), Jim Nicolas (standing).
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Visalia CA california match Boyd Allen

Sunday Top Shots: Jack Childers, Keith Cottrell, John Pierce, Lester Bruno, Dennis Thornbury, and Don Nielson. (Yes that’s a corn field in the background):
Visalia IBS Benchrest Rest

With the big temp changes between morning and afternoon, competitors were chasing powder loads all weekend. Small groups were hard to find, so only three “screamers” were recorded all weekend, and no teen Aggs. With the oppressive heat, attrition was also a factor: “We started with 30 shooters, and ended with just 21 competitors”.

Temperatures were in the triple digits for Saturday and Sunday, backing off to the high 90s on Monday. High humidity made it feel even hotter — heat stress was a definite issue. Even the rifles seemed to be at less than their best, causing very light wind conditions to produce Aggregates that were larger than the observed wind conditions would lead one to expect. Wind was generally light and switchy. Lighter mornings with wind increasing slightly through the days. Sunday saw more wind than the other two days after ten o’clock or so.

Loading benches with the usual clutter. Note the LabRadar chronograph on a bench at the firing line. Lawrence Weisdorn tracked his velocities during the match to know when a powder charge adjustment was needed.
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Visalia CA california match Boyd Allen

Top Shooters: The Top Five in the 3-Gun (HV, LV, and Sporter) Championship were: Keith Cottrell (.2534), John Pierce (.2695), Dennis Thornbury (.2714), Art Kawai (.2885), and Rich Shaw (.3016). Winners of the Class Grand Aggs were Dennis Thornbury (HV .2424), Lester Bruno (LV .2400), and Keith Cottrell (Sporter .2395). CLICK HERE for full Match Results.

Visalia IBS Benchrest Rest

Equipment List for Top Five Shooters
Visalia IBS Benchrest Rest

You can use a LabRadar during competition. This was Lawrence Weisdorn’s set-up at Visalia.
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Visalia CA california match Boyd Allen

Benchrest Technique — How to Shoot at Visalia
This range is built a bit like a large bathtub, dug into a flat field with the excavated earth thrown up in steep berms on three sides. This configuration and the usual lack of strong winds creates a lot of thermal-generated switchiness with flags changing direction often and very little agreement within any shooter’s set. This places a high premium on visual memory and the ability to judge equivalent conditions, because duplicates are almost never seen. Although the opportunity to run groups can happen, this is mostly a “pickers” range, which places a high premium on visual memory.

Visalia IBS Benchrest Rest

Facilities at Visalia Sportsman’s Association Range
There are 28 monolithic, steel-reinforced, concrete benches (poured in place, base and top all one pour). The reloading area is behind the benches with most of it on the same level as the benches. There are permanent (fixed position) tables that have laminate tops, except for where the range house sits, mid-range, with a “wailing wall” along its east and north sides. The direction of fire is north. The benches are under a slightly pitched metal roof that has recently been extended so that it has a good amount of overhang in front of the benches. Electricity is available in the reloading area and there are a few electrical outlets in the parking lot for RVs. There are both steps and a wheelchair ramp connecting parking lot to the reloading level and the shooting level.

Visalia IBS Benchrest Rest

Field of (Benchrest) Dreams — Precision Shooting Among the California Corn Fields.
Visalia IBS Benchrest Rest

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing, Shooting Skills 4 Comments »
September 5th, 2017

Thinking Outside the Box — Stan Ware’s Wicked No-Neck Wolfpup

Stan Ware Wolfpup SGR Custom Rifles

Think you need a relatively long case-neck for good accuracy? Think again. Stan Ware broke all the rules with his radical Wolfpup cartridge, proving that a near-no-neck design can deliver match-winning accuracy. Read on to learn how the Wolfpup works…

Stan Ware SGR Custom RiflesRetired gunsmith Stan Ware is a talented shooter who’s not afraid to think “outside the box”. Stan competes in both Hunter Benchrest (HBR) and Varmint for Score (VFS) disciplines. In his quest to build the ultimate Hunter Benchrest cartridge, Stan created the radical “Wolfpup” wildcat, based on a 6mmBR parent case. Noting the dominance of 30 BRs in VFS matches, Stan wondered if a stretched 30 BR could work in HBR competition. The challenge was case capacity. Under HBR rules the cartridge must hold at least 45.0 grains of water, equal to the capacity of the classic 30/30 case.

To get the requisite HBR case capacity, Stan figured he needed to boost the volume of a 30 BR case significantly, so he would have to move the shoulder forward — a lot. He did this by running a 30 BR reamer deeper and deeper, test-firing brass along the way. After three reamer passes, he ended up with the capacity he needed (the Wolfpup holds 45.3 grains of water). But then he looked at the finished product — a case with almost no neck, and he wondered “how could this possibly work?”.

Stan Ware SGR Custom RiflesFrom Trashbin to Winner’s Circle
Ware’s prototype Wolfpup ended up so short-necked, so unlike any “normal” cartridge, that Stan figured it was “dead on arrival”. Stan told us: “I said ‘this ain’t going to work’ and I threw the brass in the trash can. Honest. But later I thought I better shoot it and see what it does.” There was one problem — Stan didn’t have a seating die. He noticed the short neck provided a bit of tension after fire-forming, so he literally seated some bullets, BIB 118s and 125s, with his fingers. For powder he used H4198 and started with 35 grains, one grain more than a 30 BR load. Stan then did a pressure work-up: “I actually went up to 41.0 grains and didn’t have a sticky bolt. I ended up at 37.9 grains of Hodgdon 4198 — that gave 3150 fps, where the sweet spot is.” (Later testing revealed a second accuracy node at about 3020 fps, using 36.4 grains of H4198).

Stan’s radical short-necked Wolfpup shot great from the get-go. Once he found the right velocity node, the gun shot in the ones and zeros with both 7-ogive and 10-ogive bullets, both 118s and 125s. The Wolfpup proved easy to tune — it’s not finicky at all. And it’s a winner. Stan began shooting the Wolfpup in 2006 in both VFS and HBR matches and the ‘Pup’ started winning matches right away. In 2007, Stan won the Wisconsin State VFS Championship shooting the Wolfpup. In June 2010 at a Webster City, Iowa VFS match, Stan won the Grand Agg and posted high X-Count for the match, while placing first at 100 yards and second at 200 yards. How’s that for a cartridge that almost ended up in the trash bin?

Does Stan deserve an award for “most innovative benchrest cartridge design”? Stan chuckles at that notion: “I’m not a hero, not a genius. I really didn’t do anything. The fun part is thinking outside the box — for me anyway. Shooting is an age-old process of experimentation. You never learn it all.”

Stan Ware Wolfpup HBR SGR Custom Rifles

Stan Ware Wolfpup HBR SGR Custom RiflesWhy Does It Work?
How can such a radical case design perform so well? “That’s a good question,” Stan admitted. He then explained: “The 30 BR is inherently accurate, so I figured something based on the 30 BR should be accurate too. My personal belief is that the short neck doesn’t hurt you. Plus if the throat in the barrel is straight, the bullet can self-align. If the chamber is good, the bullet will self-center in the throat. In a regular case there’s not much room to do that, so a bullet can start off-center, and you don’t get the same results every time. A bullet in a conventional case is stopped from self-centering by the stiffer neck, particularly in a tight-clearance BR gun.”

Reloading the .30 Wolfpup
Stan’s Wolfpup chamber has a neck dimension of 0.330″. He turns his necks for a 0.327″ loaded round. Bullets are jammed .020″ forward of first contact with the lands. When he closes the bolt it pushes the bullet back in the case — almost a soft seat. Stan notes: “To start with I normally bump the shoulder .0005-.001″ so they go in easy. Just by doing that I get a little neck tension. I also use a bushing. Right now I’m running a .322, but it’s not particularly sensitive. I’ve tried one-thousandths increments up to a .325 bushing and couldn’t tell a lot of difference.” For bullet seating, Stan uses a Wilson 30 BR seater die into which he ran the chamber reamer. This gives perfect case fit during seating operations.

Stan Ware Wolfpup SGR Custom Rifles

About the Illustrated Gunstock
You’ll notice Stan’s stock contains scenes from Vietnam and a quotation. Here’s the story. A Vietnam combat veteran, Stan served “in-country” with the Army’s 509th Non-Divisional Combat Unit (out of Fort Riley) from 1965-1966. Shortly before he left Vietnam, Stan went to a shop to have a souvenir lighter engraved. He asked the vendor for an appropriate inscription. The shop’s metal-worker engraved: “War is a tragedy. It takes mans’ best to do mans’ worst.” That message, along with the combat scenes, were hand-painted on Stan’s rifle by his wife Susan, a talented artist. She spent more than 20 hours painting the rifle stock.

Photos courtesy Ryan Ware and Stan Ware.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Reloading No Comments »