April 8th, 2014

James O’Hara — “Mr. Consistent”, Sets 1000-Yard Agg Records

James O'Hara IBS 1000 Yard Aggregate Record1000-yard Benchrest competitor James O’Hara set four (4) new IBS Records in 2013. These multi-match Light Gun Agg records were secured with O’Hara’s solid performance at the 2013 Virginia 1000-yard Benchrest State Championship. Here are the new records set by O’Hara in 2013:

10-Match Score Aggregate 47.5
6-Match Score Aggregate 49.5
6-Match Score Aggregate 49.83
6-Match group Aggregate 3.072”

During the VA state championships, O’Hara was on fire. All four groups were centered for 50s, with three groups under 3″ and the fourth a 3.715″. That’s consistency.

Target 1- Group 2.996” Score 50.2
Target 2- Group 2.433″, Score 50.1
Target 3- Group 3.715″, Score 50.4
Target 4- Group 2.188″, Score 50.1
Group Average 2.833″, Score Average 50.2

On 1000-yard benchrest targets, the 10-ring is just seven inches in diameter, while the X-Ring is a mere 3 inches in diameter. At the Virginia 1K Championships, James managed to keep all his shots within the seven-inch 10 Ring with eight of the shots inside the 3 inch X-Ring. That is amazing accuracy and consistency. David Goodridge says: “This is truly a remarkable example of superb marksmanship, rifle design, assembly, load development and equipment maintenance.” (O’Hara had previously set a 10-match Aggregate Light Gun World record of 4.5389″ in 2012).

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James O'Hara IBS 1000 Yard Aggregate Record

James O'Hara IBS 1000 Yard Aggregate Record

James O’Hara Talks About Record-Setting Rifles and Ultra-Accurate Long-Range Loads
James generously agreed to share his knowledge and experiences on the many facets of IBS 1000-yard benchrest preparation, reloading and shooting techniques in an intereview with Australian David Goodridge. This feature originally appeared in Australian Target Rifle Magazine. A few of O’Hara’s responses have been updated, based on a conversation with James on April 8, 2014.

Goodridge: James on behalf of the Australian LRBR community I would like to congratulate you on your achievements in 1000-yard Benchrest and thank you for [doing this] interview. To begin, could you provide an outline on your background and the reasons or factors that led you to becoming involved in 1000-yard BR at the Virginia Club.

O’Hara: I started short-range Benchrest in 1996 for a brief time and won my first 100-yard IBS match and I was hooked. Loss of eye-sight in one eye put a damper on it and I quit shooting for while, and I started shooting trap to try to switch over to left-handed. It worked and I started to pick up a gun left-handed so I went back to the rifle and built a tube gun.

I tried the local groundhog matches but the rules changed every match. I then found the Reade Range and 1000-yard matches. I restocked my gun with a long-range stock and started 1000-yard Benchrest. Finding I enjoyed the challenges associated with long range benchrest, I began 1000-yard Benchrest competition at Harry Jones Range and White Horse Range, two IBS ranges in West Virginia. I basically started after the year was under way in 2011 and I must say it was a very humbling experience. I soon learned that my previous short range [techniques] were not working.

New scales, a K&M arbor press with a force indicator, led to improvements. Then designing and obtaining reamers to my own specifications led to further substantial improvements, with the end result being that the same loads now seem to work from barrel to barrel.

James O’Hara Equipment Details

Gunsmithing: I do all the work myself, except barrel chambering/fitting is done by Dave Bruno.

Favored Caliber: I use a 6mm Dasher with a .266 neck and a .135 free bore. My load is a 103gr Spencer bullet trimmed and pointed with Hoover tools. Load is Alliant Reloder 15, 33.0+ grains weighed on a GD503 scale, with a CCI 450 primer. Right now I’m jumping the bullet about .006″. Previously, I shot them about .010” into the rifling but it was pulling the bullets or pushing them back.

Actions: For the IBS record groups I used a Bat 1.350” Bat B action in a Roy Hunter Stock. Other actions in use include a 1.530” Bat B and a Kelby F-Class Panda.
Barrels: The record barrel was a Brux Heavy Varmint, 1:7.83″ twist, finished at 28″, and fitted with a Harrell’s brake.
Stocks: I have two Roy hunter stocks and a PR&T and all track very well. They are balanced at two inches ahead of the receiver. All three stocks are glued with liquid Devcon and are pillared, so they are “glued and screwed”. I think this is the best system.
Scopes: The PR&T-stocked rifle has a March 10-60X and the two Hunter-stocked guns have Nightforce 12-42x56mm NXS scopes.
Rests: My front rest is a Sinclair Competition model that I modified with a cartridge holder that holds cartridges up by the port. I use the new super slick bag by Protektor and a rear Doctor Bag with leather ears.
Scope Mounts: Rings are Burris Signature Extra High (the ones with inserts).

Case Preparation and Reloading Techniques:
My cases are three years old, with close to 100 firings. They are all from the same lot. I anneal the cases dirty to save some work and I anneal every time to have consistent neck tension. I punch the primers out and clean the pockets and run the flash hole uniformer in to make sure there is no carbon build-up. You can use the same tool as you use to prep the new cases. Flash holes are uniformed to .0625″. (Flash holes, “out of the box”, are less consistent than you may think.)

I turn necks to .0102″ with a K&M tool. Some competitors don’t turn necks, but without uniform neck tension you will have vertical. I use a K&M VLD chamfering tool and a Wilson case trimmer for new cases and when I trim fired cases. I use a nylon brush for inside the necks and clean the cases outside with 0000 steel wool using a small power station or a drill to spin them. The cases are sized on a Forster Coax press with a Harrell’s full length bushing die. Priming is done by hand using a K&M priming tool. I throw a “close” charge with Harrell’s bench rest powder measure. That charge goes in the pan of my Sartorius GD503 scale and then I trickle up to weight with an Omega powder trickler.

James O'Hara IBS 1000 Yard Aggregate Record

For bullet seating, I now use the 21st Century Hydraulic arbor press with seating force indiciation. I previously used the K&M arbor press with force indicator — it was good, but the 21st Century unit is more sophisticated, more precise, and easier to read. I have a loading block that is color-coded in the pounds of force needed to seat the bullet. I try to keep rounds in sets of 3-lb seating force settings. Each loaded round is put in the appropriate column (based on measured seating force). All loaded rounds are color-coded to avoid mixing. Leftovers from matches are used at a later date.

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James O'Hara IBS 1000 Yard Aggregate Record

I have now made a tool from an old bearing surface comparator. It will contact the ogive of the loaded round and it will check the seating depth while it is sitting on a granite block. Relying completely on the force and feel of the dial indicator allows seating depths to be held to .0005″ (i.e. one-half-thousandth). Compared to others means, this seems a more accurate way to check seating depth.

Bullets are spun on a Juenke machine after they are trimmed on a Hoover trimmer and pointed on the Hoover tool. For the next step, a Tubb Bearing Surface Comparator is used to sort bullets to plus/minus .0005″. I don’t discard any bullets — if I have some small lots of bullets that have a shorter or longer measurement they are used for testing. With the Spencer and BIB bullets there are not many that are not within plus/minus .001”. I quit weighing cases because of the outside variations. I only do what makes a difference [on target] and I only test and do load development at 100 yards, where I can control the conditions.

James O'Hara IBS 1000 Yard Aggregate RecordBarrel Freezing (Cryogenic treatment)
For the 2013 season, I cut barrels back to 28″ and had them “frozen” (cryo-treated) at Cryo Plus. I think that both barrels are average in the wind, but the first shot from a clean barrel is in the group. I shot around seven 100s with my other Light Gun. In Heavy Gun, I even won the group Aggregate at the Virginia State shoot. I have cryo-treated all of my barrels and I believe I have proof that it does produce benefits. I talked to George Kelbly about this before I did it. My results agreed with what George had indicated: fire cracking was less, chambering was easier and the major benefit was that the groups did not ‘walk’ as the barrels became heated.

Bench Set-up and Shooting Procedures
I use a spotting scope to help see the flags and the mirage. The mount is a Sinclair for the bench. This really helps because I can’t see the flags far out. I think the most important part of the set up is getting the gun to track, it has to come back in the box every time and shooting under the same condition every shot. I know everybody likes to run them — I do if the condition holds — but if it doesn’t you must pick them one at a time. This is where the direction and the speed of the wind come into play; you must shoot in the same condition you zero in.

When I set up to shoot, I line up the gun on my target and I move it back and forth till I can get it coming back in the ten ring and then I set my scope. I load my record rounds in my holder and I use my sighters out of the box. I now am watching and timing the conditions and I now make the decision of the one I will use and this is the only one I sight-in with. If I have some big guns beside me with brakes, I will wait till they are done or try to get in between their shots (this doesn’t always work).

Trigger control is a must and you have to be consistent. I will give up a perfect sight picture for a perfect trigger pull. I use free recoil and only my finger is on the trigger. After the rifle recoils back, I hold the fore-arm and open the bolt — you have to be careful not to upset the gun in the bags. After loading the next round, I close the bolt and push the gun forward with my right hand on the fore-arm. I am guiding [the stock] forward in between the bags. This gives me less chance to make a mistake, and maybe half of the shots need no or very little adjustment. I know it’s hard to get accustomed to, but try not to take your eye out of the scope so you are watching the mirage and not to get caught in a change. For the best part, I shoot free recoil and do all my testing at 100 yards in my backyard range. I zero dead on at 100 and come up 24 minutes for 1000 yards.

Bore Cleaning Procedures
I never try to get the gun super clean at a match, I like to see a little gray on a clean patch. I don’t want the barrel to be squeaky clean — I like to see a little haze on a patch. When it’s like that, after one fouling shot, the next shot usually goes right where it’s supposed to. When it’s squeaky clean, it may take five shots to foul in.

I used a product called WartHog 1134, and it has served me well for a long time but now that the Hazmat stopped the shipment of it, so I went to over-the-counter products and all are equally bad compared to what I had used but they do the job, it just takes longer. I never pull a patch or brush back through (across the crown), I go one way only (outward) out and then unscrew the brush or take the patch off at the muzzle. I use a 50/50 mix of Hoppies and Kroil after I clean. Just before I shoot I run a smaller patch down the bore to leave a very thing film of oil in the bore. I never want to shoot over a dry bore. If you shoot over a squeaky clean, dry bore, you’ll get copper every time.

What the Future Holds for O’Hara
My goal last season was to set the Agg records. Now I only have one more goal — that is the single target group, so I will back off shooting the Heavy Gun. I have three excellent Light Guns and a bunch of barrels to do it… so maybe! I think the greatest enjoyment is the people you shoot with, the common interest is the bond I guess but I wouldn’t change it for anything. — James O’Hara

Goodridge: James, on behalf of all Australian IBS 1000-yard BR competitors, I would like to thank you for your great patience and cooperation in preparation of this article, and for the valuable and interesting insight that you have provided into what is required to achieve success at the highest levels of 1000-yard BR competition. Not that you need it, but good luck for the 2014 shooting season.

Permalink Competition, Reloading 3 Comments »
April 7th, 2014

Best 10-Shot, 1000-Yard Group in History — Be Amazed

Ten shots… 1000 yards … 2.6872″. Think about that. Ten shots you could cover up with a coffee cup. That’s some amazing shooting. Is this a world record? Consider this — we believe this is the smallest 10-shot group ever shot at 1000 yards in any form of rifle competition, by anyone, anywhere, anytime. It is smaller than the existing Williamsport Light Gun and Heavy Gun 1K records. The IBS and NBRSA do not shoot 10 rounds for Light Gun, but this 2.6872″ group is smaller than the current IBS (3.044″) and NBRSA (4.322″) ten-shot HEAVY GUN records.

Jim Richards Montana Missoula Deep Creek Williamsport World Record

This amazing group was shot by Jim Richards at the Deep Creek Range outside Missoula, Montana during the 4th Light Gun Relay of a 1000-yard match. Jim was shooting the small 6mm Dasher cartridge with 105gr Berger bullets. Fellow Deep Creek Shooter Tom Mousel says this should be a new world record. The Deep Creek Range shoots under Williamsport rules, with ten shots for Light Gun. The current Williamsport Light Gun record (as listed) is 3.835″ by Cody Finch in 2006, but we’re told that Paul Martinez shot a 3.505″ at Williamsport last year. If approved at 2.6872″, Jim Richards’ new record is 23% smaller than the 3.505″ previous record. That’s remarkable — Jim Richards utterly demolished the previous mark. (As measured, Jim’s group is also smaller than the current Williamsport Heavy Gun record, 2.815″ by Matt Kline in 2010.)

Jim Richards Montana Missoula Deep Creek Williamsport World Record

The Record-setting rifle features a Borden action, Shehane ST 1000 fiberglass stock, and Nightforce Benchrest scope. The Krieger barrel was chambered by King Machine for the 6mm Dasher, with a 0.269″ neck and 0.103″ freebore. Jim Richards was running Berger 105gr Hybrid bullets.

The rifle was purchased used from Tim Claunch. We suspect Tim wishes he had not parted with it! Any gun that can put ten shots under three inches at 1000 yards is a “keeper”, that’s for sure.

Forum member Wayne B. says: “I am really happy for Jim. He has asked 1000 questions, slept in his pickup, upgraded his equipment, bought a rifle from another friend of mine and now he is a world record-holder. The men and women who shoot at Deep Creek in Missoula Montana are the best group of shooters in the world bar none! They will give you all the info you need to win and if you don’t have what you need they will loan it to ya, up to and including a rifle and ammo.”

Permalink Competition, News 9 Comments »
March 16th, 2014

Super-Wide Forearms Add Stability to Benchrest Rifles

Most long-range benchrest stocks are three inches wide because that used to be the max width under the rules for Light Gun Class. Many folks may not realize that the IBS, the NBRSA, and the Williamsport organizations have all modified their Light Gun rules to allow wider forearm widths in registered competition. A wider stock provides increased stability and resists rotation (torquing) as the gun is fired. If you’re building a new Light Gun, you may want to consider a 4″-wide or 5″-wide forearm. Do check the rules of your local club or regional organization to ensure the wider width is allowed in the matches you attend. And if you plan to shoot F-Class as well, stick to 3″. Under F-Class (Open) rules, “the width of the rifle’s forend shall not exceed 76mm (approximately 3 inches)”.

Wider Forearm Stock Options
Most stock-makers still only offer a 3″-wide forearm width with their Light Gun long-range benchrest stocks. However, there are some other options. On request, Joel Russo, Russo Rifle Stocks, can cut a stock with 4″-wide forearm, but that’s not a standard pattern.

If you want a 4″-5″ wide version of the popular MBR Tooley-style long-range stock, Bill Shehane offers a ‘Big Dawg’ version of his MBR Tracker stock. This features a longer, deeper, and wider fore-end for added stability and more resistance to torque with the heavy calibers. Along with having a wider forearm, the Big Dawg stock is cut 4″ longer than a standard Shehane ST-1000 Tracker. This provides a “longer wheelbase” for better balance with very long (30″+) barrels. (The ST-1000 itself is 3″ longer than most benchrest stocks.) The Big Dawg is available with a 4″-wide or 5″-wide forearm, and will handle barrels up to 40″ in length and 1.5″ in diameter. In the top photo, taken by Forum member Preacher, you see a 4″-wide Big Dawg next to a normal ST-1000 Tracker. (Both stocks are symmetrical; there is distortion caused by wide-angle lens.)

This color pattern is what Bill calls “Prairie Dog Camo”, a Rutland laminate in orange and dark gray, with olive ‘accent’ layers. The price for a ‘Big Dawg’ in Rutland laminate is $625. In African Obeche wood (any color choice), the price is $855.00. For more info, contact Bill Shehane at (704) 824-7511, or visit his website, www.ScopeUsOut.com.

Wide Stocks for Rimfire Benchrest
Ultra-wide stocks are also legal in many rimfire benchrest disciplines. Shown below is a rimfire rifle built with a 4″-wide Shehane Big Dawg stock. This gun is used in ARA Unlimited competition. Extra-wide stocks like this can also be used in the IR 50/50 Unlimited Class and RBA Unlimited Class.

Why use a wide stock for rimfire where recoil is not an issue? The extra width definitely provides more stability in the bags. This is noticeable when cycling the action during the loading process — the gun shows less “wiggle” when opening and closing the bolt. The larger mass of wood also, potentially, provides additional vibration damping. A wider stock design carries more weight (per inch of length) and more mass is distributed outboard. Initial testing shows that the wide stocks work well for rimfire shooters who like to grip their gun — the gun feels “planted” with less wobble when the stock is gripped or cheeked by the shooter.

Joe Friedrich Big Dawg rimfire rifle Shehane tracker

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
January 11th, 2014

IBS 2013 Shooters of the Year and New Benchrest Records

The International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) has announced the IBS 2013 Shooters of the Year (SOY). Congratulations to these talented IBS shooters who took top honors in their respective disciplines:

1000-Yard SOY – Mike Wilson | 600-Yard SOY – Mike Moses / Tom Jacobs (tie)
Score SOY – Herb Llewellyn | Group SOY – Russ Raines

IBS 2013 Shooter of Year BenchrestMany New Records Set in 2013
For IBS shooters, 2013 was a record-breaking year. Numerous records were broken at all distances from 100 yards out to 1000. Truly noteworthy was the new 600-yard, 5-shot group record set by Rodney Wagner. This has now been officially “sanctified” as a 0.336″ group. No, that’s not .336 MOA — the actual size of the group was 0.336 inches, measured center to center. Many folks would be happy with a group that size at 100 yards. Rodney did it at 600 yards! You can see Rodney with his astonishing 0.336″ (50 Score) five-shot group at right.

Also at 600 yards, Mike Hanes had a great year, posting two new Group Aggregate Records: 1.4901″ (Light Gun), and 1.7797″ (Two-Gun).

In the long-range game, James O’Hara set three new 1000-Yard Light Gun Aggregate records in 2013: Six-Match LG Group Agg, 3.072″; Six-Match LG Score Agg, 49.83; and Ten-Match LG Group Agg, 4.4374″.

IBS 2013 Shooter of Year Benchrest

In addition to the new records, two Non-Record 250-25X aggregates were logged this year in Score Matches. Kevin Donalds Jr., and Herb Llewellyn each shot a “perfect” 250-25X Agg in 2013.

IBS Annual Winter Meeting in Pennsylvania
This weekend, the IBS holds its Annual Meeting (better known as the “Winter Meeting”) in Harrisburg, PA. After Friday’s social, the business meeting convened at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday. All the officers and board members will be working together to set the goals the organization will pursue in 2014.

Report find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
October 28th, 2013

Mike Moses Wins IBS 600-Yard Nationals

This past weekend the IBS 600-yard Nationals were held at the Bench Rest Rifle Club of St. Louis. Attendance was strong, with 78 Light Gun shooters and 74 Heavy Gun competitors. Initial results are posted below. Forum member Mike Moses was the Two-Gun Overall winner, claiming the 2013 600-yard Title as National Champion. In the Two-Gun rankings, Johnny Powers finished second, followed by Dallas Johnson, Sam Hall, and Ryan Hunt. In the Light Gun Division Charlie Macke (shooting a big 7mm) finished first, ahead of second-place Mike Moses, and third place Ryan Hunt. In the Heavy Gun Class the top three were: Johnny Powers, Andy Ferguson, Dallas Johnson.

Past IBS 600-yard National Champ Sam Hall said conditions were brutal on the first day: “On Saturday, the wind was switching and gusting to 30 mph. Though there still were some crazy switches, Heavy Gun on Sunday was calmer thank The Lord! Day One was just about survival!”.

We will provide additional match details and photos as soon as they are available. Here are the unofficial standings for Two-Gun, Light Gun, and Heavy Gun. The order of finish is determined by combined rank points for Group Aggregate and Score Aggregate.

Two-Gun Overall Light Gun Division Heavy Gun Division
1. Mike Moses
2. Johnny Powers
3. Dallas Johnson
4. Sam Hall
5. Ryan Hunt
6. Andy Ferguson
7. David Dorris
8. Charlie Macke
9. Richard Schatz
10. Mike Hanes
JR Champion: Rory Jacobs
1. Charlie Macke
2. Michael Moses
3. Ryan Hunt
4. Rich Elijah
5. Samuel Hall
6. David Dorris
7. Dallas Johnson
8. Steven Hall
9. Johnny Powers
10. Richard Schatz
1. Johnny Powers
2. Andy Ferguson
3. Dallas Johnson
4. Mike Hanes
5. Danny Forehand
6. Sam Hall
7. Mike Moses
8. Jeff Godfrey
9. Ryan Hunt
10. Steve Hoskin
Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
October 7th, 2013

How to Win at 1000 Yards — IBS National Champ Tells All

Henry Pasquet IBS 1000 yard Nationals champion two gun overall .284 shehaneYes old dogs can learn new tricks. Just five years ago Forum member Henry Pasquet (aka “HenryP”) got started in 1000-yard benchrest shooting. He was 66 at the time. Henry worked hard, learned fast, and pursued accuracy with a vengence. That all paid off when Henry won the 2013 IBS 1000-yard Nationals this summer, finishing as the Two-Gun Overall National Champion. Henry was kind enough to talk about his rifle, his reloading methods, and his strategy for success. In fact, Henry was eager to share “everything he knows, so that other guys can fast-track their learning process”. Henry told us: “I want to share every lesson I’ve learned, so that other guys can improve their game and enjoy the sport more.” Henry also wants to encourage other senior shooters: “If you pay attention to details (when reloading), and get a good rifle with a good barrel, age is not a handicap. With a good set-up, older guys can compete with anyone out there. This is one sport where you can be a champion in later life.”

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Protektor bag benchrest rifle Light gun IBS 1000 yard Nationals champion two gun overall .284 shehane

Q&A with Henry Pasquet, IBS 1000-Yard National Champion

Q: First, do you have any advice for older shooters getting started in their golden years?

Henry: You’re never too old. In this sport, you can excel even in your 60s, 70s and beyond. At this stage in life, we now have the time and money to get good equipment and rifles. Plus, our years of work experience help us to think, analyze, and thereby make progress. In this game, we older guys can definitely compete on a par with younger shooters.

HARDWARE

Q: Tell us about your Nationals-winning rifle and bench gear. Is there anything unique about your hardware that gave you an edge?

Henry: At the Nationals, I used my 17-lb Light Gun for both Light and Heavy Class. This rifle has a 1.55″, round BAT LP/RE action, fitted with a Bartlein barrel chambered for the .284 Shehane (an improved version of the .284 Winchester). The barrel was near-new; this was the first time I had used it this year. A great barrel and great batch of Berger 180gr VLDs all made a difference. Jay Cutright chambers my barrels. Jay’s metal-work is so precise that I can screw any barrel he’s chambered to any BAT action I own. The laminated stock was modified by Tommy Shurley from a standard 3″-wide fore-end to a 5″-wide True-Trac with an adjustable 3″-wide rear plate. It’s not pretty but it tracks like a Heavy Gun stock. Tommy made my other stocks as well.

Protektor bag benchrest rifle Light gun IBS 1000 yard Nationals champion two gun overall .284 shehane

Protektor sand bag 3M material IBS 1000 yard Nationals champion two gun overall .284 shehaneOn top is a Nightforce 12-42x52mm Benchrest scope with CH-3 reticle. I used a Fulghum (Randolph Machine) front rest with an Edgewood bag made with the low-friction 3M material. In the rear I use a special-order Protekor rear “Doctor” bag with ears spaced 3 inches apart. The rear bag also has the new 3M material on contact surfaces (photo at right).

Q: During the Nationals, at the last minute you switched guns. Why did you go from a 6mm Dasher to a 7mm Shehane?

Henry: I had planned to use my Light and Heavy Dashers, but after placing the Dasher on the ready line, decided to switch to the .284 Shehane. It was still early in the morning and I felt that the heavier bullets would be easier to see against the berm. The Dasher had actually been giving tighter groups under perfect conditions, but seeing the impact is important.

Q: Tell us about the combined tuner/muzzle brake on some of your barrels. How does this improve rifle performance and how do you set the “tune”? Do you tune the barrel to the load?

Henry: I use a tuner or tuner/brake on every barrel. I started with Time Precision tuners. Art Cocchia advised getting a load with a good known accuracy node with minimum extreme spread, which controls vertical. Do not go for the hottest loads, which just reduces brass life. Then use the tuner and tune the barrel to the load. The .284 Light Gun needed a muzzle brake and tuner. I had a local gunsmith cut a thread on the muzzle brake for a tuner I got from Sid Goodling. (Eric Bostrom developed an almost identical unit at the same time. I use Eric’s tuner/brakes on all my new barrels.) Just before Nationals, I tried going up and down one marker. Down one mark cut the group in half! Think how much range time (and barrel life) that saved me. Using a tuner is easier than messing around changing loads and tweaking seating depths. Tuners definitely can work. Last year I shot a 3.348″ 10-shot group at 1000 with my .284 Win Heavy Gun fitted with a Time Precision Tuner.

IBS 1000 yard Nationals champion two gun overall muzzle brake tuner .284 shehane

Q: What are the advantages of your stock’s 5″-wide fore-end and 3″-wide rear plate? Is there a big difference in tracking and/or stability? Does the extra width make the rifle easier to shoot?

Henry: I had true Heavy Guns with 5-inch fronts and 3-inch rears. They tracked well. I felt the same result could be had with a Light Gun. I talked two stock makers into making them. I initially had the standard rear stock until Tommy Shurley and Mike Hearn came out with an adjustable rear plate. The stocks track perfectly. You can see your scope’s crosshairs stay on the target the whole time and push the rifle back for the next shot. There is no torquing (gun wobbling) when cycling the bolt. Us old guys need all the help we can get. I am getting rid of my 45-pound Heavy Guns and replacing them with Light Guns with heavy barrels.

Protektor bag benchrest rifle Light gun IBS 1000 yard Nationals champion two gun overall .284 shehane

Q: Some people say the .284 Shehane is not as accurate as the straight .284 Winchester. You’ve proved them wrong. Why do you like the .284 Shehane? More speed, less pressure?

Henry: The reason I rechambered my 7mm barrels to .284 Shehane was not velocity, pressure, or brass life. It was all about bolt lift. My straight .284 almost required me to stand up to eject brass. I damaged an extractor and had to send the bolt back to BAT. With the .284 Shehane, my bolt cycles like there is no case to eject.

Reloading Methods

Q: People want to know about your load and your loading methods. What can you reveal?

Henry: For my .284 Shehane at the Nationals, I loaded 52.5 grains of Hodgdon H4350 and Federal BR-2 primers behind Berger 180gr VLDs. I usually anneal the brass each winter. I have used the same brass for years. I use Redding bushing dies, apply Imperial sizing wax, resize, wipe off wax, clean and uniform the primers pockets using the RCBS Trim Mate Case prep center, then apply Imperial dry neck lube with a bore mop.

K & M arbor seating force dial gaugeTo dispense powder, I use a RCBS ChargeMaster set 0.1 grain below my desired load and then weigh them on a Sartorius GD-503 magnetic force restoration scale to get identical charges. I use a K&M Arbor Press with seating force gauge when seating the bullets with a Wilson inline die. My “target” seating force on the K&M dial is 20-23 units for Dashers and 35-40 units for the .284 Shehane. I put any variables aside for sighters. I do not weigh brass, bullets, or primers. My bullets were so consistent that I did not sort by bearing surface. I did trim the Berger VLDs to the shortest bullet length with a Hoover Trimmer, and then pointed the meplats just enough to close them with a Whidden pointer. I sort my bullets to 0.005″ overall length, rejecting about five percent.

Q: What kind of precision are you looking for in your reloads? Do you trickle to the kernel? Does this really help reduce extreme spread?

Henry: I try to keep my charge weights consistent to one kernel of powder. I use the Omega powder trickler with a Sartorius GD-503 lab-grade balance to achieve that. For accurate dispensing, put very little powder into the Omega so you can drop one kernel at a time. Single digit ES (Extreme Spread) is the goal. This does make a difference at 1000 yards. If you get the same push on the same bullet with the same neck tension, good things are going to happen.

Q: You believe consistent neck tension (i.e. grip on the bullet) is really important. What methods are you using to ensure consistent bullet release?

Henry: I apply Imperial dry neck lube to the inside of my case-necks with a bore mop. The K&M arbor with seating force gauge shows the need to do this. If you put a bullet into a clean case, it will be jerky when seating the bullet. You may see 40 units (on the K&M dial) dropping to 20, then slowly increasing pressure. I explained to a friend that not lubing the neck is like overhauling an engine without lubing the cylinders. Smooth entry gives the bullets a smooth release.

Barrel Cleaning

Henry Pasquet IBS 1000 yard Nationals champion Carb out Carb-out WipeOut .284 shehaneQ: You go 60-80 rounds between cleaning and the results speak for themselves. What is your barrel cleaning procedure? Do you think some guys clean too often or too aggressively?

Henry: I cringe when I see people wearing out their barrels with bronze brushes between relays. I clean my barrels at the end of each day when I get home. I shot my best-ever 1K Heavy Gun group (3.348″) at day’s end after 60 to 80 rounds. After trying other solvents, I have gone back to Wipe-out’s Carb-Out and Patch-Out products. I use about four patches of Carb-Out, let it sit a few minutes, then use one stroke of a nylon brush followed by Patch-Out until the barrel is clean. I use a bore mop to clean inside the chamber, then some Break Free LP on the bolt followed by bolt grease on the lugs and cocking part. I use a bore guide when anything goes down the barrel.

Shooting Skills and the Learning Process

Q: Henry, you can shoot long-distance on your own property in Missouri. How important is practice, and what do you do during a typical practice session?

Henry: I can shoot 1000 yards on my farm. I have a concrete bench using a slab from a yard furniture place on concrete blocks. Two 4 x 8 sheets of plywood hold four IBS targets. I never practice. I only test, keeping a notebook with all the info. I do most of my testing at 300 to 500 yards, shooting off my deck so I can see my shots immediately.

Protektor bag benchrest rifle Light gun IBS 1000 yard Nationals champion two gun overall .284 shehane

Q: How much of your success do you credit to really accurate rifles, versus superior shooting skills?

Henry: I do not consider myself another Carlos Hathcock or some master marksman. I am an average 1000-yard shooter, but I do work hard getting the most out of my rifles. Four other people have shot their first 1000-yard matches with my rifles, including my wife, and all of them won relays! I loaned my Dasher to another shooter two years ago and he got second at the 600-yard Nationals. Others will tell you that the rifle must be “on” to win. If your barrel or bullets are average, don’t expect to perform above average in competition.

Q: What you do enjoy most about long-range benchrest shooting? What are the attractions of this sport?

Henry: The sport offers good people and a real challenge. 1000-yard shooting keeps us all humble, but we still keep trying to see how good we can do. I am thankful for Robert Ross providing the only match location that I can shoot regularly.

Q: Henry, you have been a Forum member for many years. Have you learned important techniques from other Forum members and other shooters?

Henry: I have followed the AccurateShooter Forum since 2008. At my age I am not good at computers. I copied and analyzed many articles, especially on the .284 and the Dashers. Without AccurateShooter.com, I would probably still be shooting double-digit (10″+) groups at 1000 yards, and I sure wouldn’t have my name on a National Championship trophy.

Q: You are in your 70s now and have only been shooting competitively for a few years. How did you get so good so fast? How did you manage to beat shooters who are decades younger?

Henry: I had 20/10 vision when I was young, but am down to only 20/20. I have been interested in long range shooting for a long time including ground hog hunting. I went to some VHA jamborees also. In 2008, I went to the Williamsport Benchrest School with a friend from Pennsylvania, John Haas. We would compare notes frequently. I bought a BAT three lug from Tom Mousel in Montana. We also compared notes and made each other better. At IBS matches I studied other shooters’ equipment and techniques. I tried some, accepting some and rejecting some.

Here’s my advice:
Always be ready to learn something new. If it makes sense, try it. I would also encourage other older shooters not to quit. Stick to it. You can make enormous progress in a few seasons.

Henry Pasquet IBS 1000 yard Nationals champion two gun overall .284 shehane

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September 22nd, 2013

Match Report: IBS 1000-Yard Nationals in Yukon, Missouri

IBS 1000-yard National Championships Midwest Yukon Missouri benchrest long range

Report for International Benchrest Shooters (IBS)
IBS 1000-yard National Championships Midwest Yukon Missouri benchrest long rangeOn August 30-31, 2013, Robert and Chrissy Ross hosted this year’s 2013 IBS 1000-Yard National Championships at their Midwest Benchrest range in Yukon, Missouri.

This year’s format was run with all the Light Gun (LG) relays shot on Friday, followed by all the Heavy Gun (HG) relays on Saturday. The competition was very tight as the Two Gun Overall Champion, Henry Pasquet from Elsinore, Missouri, didn’t even realize he had won until his name was called out at the award ceremony. Henry, an active AccurateShooter Forum member, secured a well-deserved National Championship with strong performances in both classes. Henry registered a fifth place in LG Group along with tenth place in LG Score. Henry then finished first in HG Score along with eleventh in HG Group to earn the 2013 Two-Gun Overall Title.

IBS 2013 1000-Yard National Championships Results (PDF)

Matthew Kline traveled from Pennsylvania to take second place in the Two Gun competition. He garnered that honor with an eighth Place in LG Group and a fourth place in LG Score. Matthew followed up these with a ninth place in HG Group and eleventh place in HG Score.

IBS 1000-yard National Championships Midwest Yukon Missouri benchrest long range

IBS 1000-yard National Championships Midwest Yukon Missouri benchrest long range

Kansas’ Jim Bauer came in a close third in the Two Gun rankings, by finishing first in LG Score and 21st in HG Group, then adding a second place in HG Group and 16th place in HG Score. Jim’s wife Sally, last year’s IBS long-range Shooter of the Year winner, was the Top Female Shooter. Rory Jacobs, from Vapor Trail Valley Shooting Club in Spickard, MO was the Top Junior Shooter.

IBS 1000-yard National Championships Midwest Yukon Missouri benchrest long range

Hot Temperatures and Fickle Winds Challenge Shooters
The Midwest Benchrest range is literally in the Ross’ back yard and is cut right out of the middle of a Missouri forest, which gave the shooters new to the range a false sense of confidence, thinking the trees would block the winds. The shooters had to deal with temperatures in the upper 90s (and the shade trees offered little relief). With the incredible humidity present, it felt it was even hotter. Although the winds weren’t very high, they weren’t very cooperative either, as they were never consistent throughout both days. One minute it was directly behind the shooters and the next it was quartering to the right. A moment later it was to the left.

IBS 1000-yard National Championships Midwest Yukon Missouri benchrest long range

The early relay winners seemed to favor the end benches, while later in the day, they seemed to favor the middle benches. There was was nothing but bright sunshine for the two-day event. Cloud cover and cooler temps, which were earlier forecast for the shoot, finally showed up the day after the tournament. Needless to say, the “heat monkeys” were making small groups difficult at this year’s shoot. Most small groups that were shot, were followed up with larger groups, in both the LG and HG events.

IBS 1000-yard National Championships Midwest Yukon Missouri benchrest long range

All in all, everyone still had a great time competing, seeing friends and fellow shooters from other parts of the country, and enjoying the Ross’ hospitality. It wasn’t long after the shoot was over before everyone started talking about where the 2014 Nationals would be. Perhaps, Robert Ross said it best: “Ultimately, the competition yields to the resulting friendships, which are fostered as part of a common goal: Raising the bar in long range precision shooting.”

The two-day competition was run as smoothly as any monthly shoot is run. The weekend’s shoot really started off on Thursday night though. Jim and Sally Bauer, Hornady, and Midwest Benchrest, sponsored a fantastic fish fry for all the competitors and their spouses. This provided some neutral ground to meet up and catch up with both new and old friends alike before the actual shooting began. If possible we will add equipment lists and individual relay results to this story on Accurate Shooter.com.


Featured Hardware at the 1K Nationals (Click Photos to Zoom)

IBS 1000-yard National Championships Midwest Yukon Missouri benchrest long range

IBS 1000-yard National Championships Midwest Yukon Missouri benchrest long range

IBS 1000-yard National Championships Midwest Yukon Missouri benchrest long range

IBS 1000-yard National Championships Midwest Yukon Missouri benchrest long range

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September 5th, 2013

IBS Match Report: 2013 Score Nationals at Weikert, PA

IBS Report and photographs by Dick Grosbier
Over Labor Day weekend the Union County Sportsmans Club (Weikert, PA) hosted the 43rd annual IBS 100/200 Score Nationals. This club has a reputation for hosting fine events, and this match certainly lived up to that reputation. With 63 guns on the line, this year’s Score Nationals was well-attended. All in all this was as good a Score Nationals as I have attended in quite a while. I tip my hat to the Union County crew for running an excellent match. Weather was warm and a little muggy both days. I do not believe we ever had a drop of rain (despite a 30% chance of rain forecast). Mirage was very minimal as it was overcast both days. Winds started out very calm and slowly increased all day long both days.

2013 IBS Score Nationals Results (PDF) | 2013 IBS Score Nationals Results (XLS)

View IBS Score Nationals Full Photo Gallery (100 pictures)

IBS Score Nationals IBS Score 2-Gun Winner Dean Breeden  Varmint For Score grand agg. winner Herb Llewellyn Hunter class Grand aggregate winner Gary Long
Left to Right: IBS Score 2-Gun Winner Dean Breeden, Varmint For Score Grand Agg Winner Herb Llewellyn, Hunter Class Grand Agg Winner Gary Long.

IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

On Saturday, Herb Llewellyn started out on a tear in Varmint For Score (VFS) class and stayed hot, finishing the 100-yard event with a 250-25X score. We witnessed some really fine shooting in less-than-perfect conditions. Junior Shooter Kevin Donalds Jr. (photo below) laid down a fine 250-24X to finish second. Kevin, who turns a ripe old 13 years of age in a few days, shot a remarkable 250-25X Aggregate a few months back. To the best of my memory those are the only two 250-25X scores in IBS this year. A.R. Edwards was third with 23X.

IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

In Hunter Class Dean Breeden shot 250-17X beating more than 50% of the VFS shooters, and for those of you who do not fully understand Hunter Class, the big thing to remember is they shoot 6-power scopes. Peter Hills from Maine also shot a 250 in HTR with 9X.

IBS Score Nationals Hal Drake Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

Sunday the shooters lined up for the 200-yard event. Shooting his 6 PPC, Hal Drake shot a 250-14X, proving that a PPC can still win in a Score match (at least at the longer ranges). Second place (as at 100 yards) went to a Kevin Donalds, but this time it was Kevin Donalds Senior who was the runner-up, posting a 250-13X. Third place honors went to Dean Breeden also with 250-13X. In Hunter Class, veteran shooter Gary Long shot 248-5X to beat K.L. Miller under Creedmoor tie-breaker rules. Dave Thomas was third with 247-7X.

You may have noticed that nobody in the top three on Saturday was in the top three on Sunday. This led to some interesting results in the VFS Grand Aggregate. Top Man was Herb Llewellyn, with a 500-36X. Herb’s victory at the Nationals pretty much puts the last nail in the coffin of anybody trying to catch Herb in the Score Shooter Of the Year race.

Second in the Grand was Herb’s lovely wife Kim with a 500-34X. Third place went to Randy Jarvais who learned the hard way to not drop the first X! Randy tied with Kim for total score all weekend but Kim shot a 5X on the first target and Randy got a 4X. Fourth in the Grand went to 200-yard winner Hal Drake with 500-33X, and Ricky Read rounded out the Top Five with 500-32X.

Gary Long won the Hunter Grand division with 497-22X, Dean Breeden was second with 496-20X, and third was Dave Thomas with 496-14X. It was great to see Dave back shooting again. Dean Breeden put in a repeat performance as IBS Score 2-Gun winner with a 996-51X score, Larry Feusse was second with 990-46X and Dudley Pierce was third with 987-44X.

IBS 43rd Annual 100 / 200 Yard Score Nationals
Union County Sportsman’s Club — August 31st to September 1st, 2013

IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

CLICK Equipment Lists Below to See LARGE Versions

IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint
IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

Praise for the Match Crew and Kitchen Crew
I cannot say enough good things about the target crew and range officer Mark Trutt. They ran a very efficient match. I do not recall a single delay all weekend from loose- or erroneously-hung targets. We started promptly at 9:00 am and finished around 2:00 pm both days. Range officer Mark Trutt did an outstanding job when confronted with a tricky situation regarding IBS Score 2-Gun shooters. The range has 40 benches and we had a very nice turnout of 63 guns on the line but it simply was not justified to run a third relay so Mark judiciously added around 10 minutes between each relay to allow 2-gun shooters some time to reload. I don’t think the time would even have been noticed but the target crew was speedy and efficient, so we ended up with a little extra time on the line. I personally felt it made for a very nice, laid-back pace for competitors shooting only one gun. Scoring was fast and efficient for the most part.

The Kitchen crew deserves praise for the fine breakfasts and lunches. In good Weikert tradition, we were treated to “Mama Trutt’s” fresh-baked cookies each afternoon. — Dick Grosbier

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August 2nd, 2013

Mike Stinnett Breaks ‘Unbreakable Record’ with .0077″ Group

.0077 World record benchrest groupOne of the most remarkable shooting records — and one that has stood for four decades — is the 0.009″ five-shot group credited to Mac McMillan. The NBRSA Light Varmint Record of .009″ for five shots (at 100 yards) was set on 9/23/1973, forty years ago. Experts have considered that record “untouchable”, “unassailable” — in other words “unbreakable.”

Well records are meant to be broken. It appears that Texan Mike Stinnett has broken the “unbreakable” .009″ NBRSA record. Mike shot a .0077″ five-shot group at 100 yards in a registered short-range benchrest match at Denton, Texas. This will be a new NBRSA record (and all-time world record) if approved. Mike was shooting a .30-caliber cartridge, listed as a 30 PPC, but there’s some talk that the cases were formed from a Lapua 6.5 Grendel case. No matter — this is a mind-blowing accomplishment, particularly considering that Stinnett was shooting a .30-caliber gun, which has considerably more recoil than a 22 PPC or 6 PPC.

Forum member Wes J. (aka “P1ZombieKiller”) reports: “My buddy Mike Stinnett was just confirmed as having beat the world record LV group at 100 yards in a registered match. His group measured .0077″ and he did it with his 30 caliber.”

Wes adds: “Mike shoots thousands of rounds a year… I have sat on the bench right next to him several times, and he has rattled off five shots down range in a matter of 2-3 seconds, and the groups have measured in the .1s. The guy can flat shoot. His wind reading abilities are mind-blowing. When he gets the right condition, he is fast. REALLY FAST.”

NOTE: We will publish photos of Mike Stinnett and his target as soon as they are available.

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July 14th, 2013

IBS 600-Yard Competitors Set Multi-Target Records at Piedmont

Report by Samuel Hall (AccurateShooter.com Field Editor)
July 13th was a great day for breaking records. Three shooters have potentially broken four IBS 600-yard records (pending final approval) at the Piedmont Range in Rutherfordton, NC. Conditions were excellent and three shooters had outstanding multi-target performances. Mike Hanes, Chad Jenkins, and Randy Peele were tuned in and took advantage of the great weather. The entire day was overcast with a slight 3-5 MPH breeze, misting rain at times. It was one of the only days I can remember we could see bullet holes all day!

Chad Jenkins Shoots a 199 Four-target Score at 600 Yards
In Light Gun, Chad Jenkins posted a 199 Score Agg, just one point shy of a perfect 200 score for four targets. Consider this — at 600 yards, Chad put 19 out of 20 shots into a circle 2.8″ in diameter, dropping just one shot out of the 10-Ring on four consecutive targets. That’s impressive. We believe this is the highest 4-target Score Agg ever shot with any rifle. (In Light Gun, Stephen Hall posted a 198 in 2012, and in Heavy Gun class Eric Wilson had a 198 in 2011). Chad took advantage of the good conditions to post his 199 score (with 1.954″ group size tie breaker). Chad was shooting a standard (not improved) 6mmBR with no-turn necks. Chad’s Light Gun features a BAT MB dual-port action, Shehane ST-1000 stock, Krieger 1:8″ twist barrel, and Leupold 45X scope. Chad has several hundred rounds on this rifle and has one other record with it. Chad has done a lot of winning the last couple of years with his 6BR. He shoots Berger 105gr Target VLDs in blue box Lapua brass, pushed by 30.3 grains of Varget and CCI 450 primers. Chad shoots with a modestly-priced Caldwell joystick front rest. Chad proved that you don’t need the most exotic equipment to set records.

Chad Jenkins IBS Heavy Gun Piedmont

Mike Hanes Sets New Light Gun and Two-Gun Group Agg Records
Mike potentially broke the Light Gun (LG) four-target group aggregate record with a 1.496 Agg, bettering the old record of 1.5009 shot by Chad Jenkins in 2012. Mike also potentially broke the eight-target, Two-Gun (LG and HG) Group Agg record with a 1.7885 Aggregate. The old record was 1.8120 shot by Charlie Macke in 2012. In LG Mike was shooting a no-turn-neck 6 Dasher with a Brux 1:8″ twist barrel and Shehane ST-1000 stock. On his Light Gun, Mike was using one of the new Nightforce 15-55x52mm Competition scopes. I looked through it and I will have to say it is great glass! Mike’s load was: Berger 105 VLDs, with 32.7 grains of Reloder 15 powder sparked by CCI 450s. In Heavy Gun class, Mike shot a 6mm Dasher in a true heavy chassis — a 55-pound aluminum Gary Alvey stock formerly owned by Mike Davis. (See this beast below. This same stock had set a record in the hands of Mike Davis.)

Mike Hanes IBS Heavy Gun Piedmont

Randy Peele Ties Heavy Gun 4-Target Score Record
Later in the afternoon in the Heavy Gun division, Randy Peele was on fire. Randy posted a first in group (1.894″) and a first in 4-target score (198) against some fierce competition. This ties the HG score record and is just off the tie-breaker group by a few thousandths. It will be submitted to the IBS Record Committee also. Congratulations of some fine shooting guys!

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June 29th, 2013

IBS Approves New 2-Piece Scoring Reticle (Shot Template)

A new, optional scoring device has been approved by the IBS. Over the last couple of months, the IBS Score Committee and the Executive Board have been field testing a new Scoring Reticle for use on targets that have score values. The new two-piece device was designed by IBS Score Shooter Frank Danisienka who felt the current device could be improved. Since April, match scorers in the Northeast have been testing out the new reticle at several State Championship matches. It was tested at the Bud Pryor match, Delaware State match, Maine State match, Pennsylvania State match, and several smaller shoots. There were some minor issues with the earlier prototype which Frank quickly corrected.

The photos below show the original prototype. The main difference between the final unit and the original prototype is in the location of circles. Based on Executive Board recommendations, the laser-etched circles were rearranged on the final design. Now the three most used circles (.224, .243, and .308) are separated slightly from the rest of the group and grouped together on one end of the plate. On the final design, these three circles (.224, .243, and .308) will also be lightly colored Red for easier use.

score benchrest scoring reticle IBS accurateshooter.com

No pictures of the final unit are available but the only change is layout of plate shown above at right. As noted, .224, .308, and .243 circles are now grouped together and are also tinted red. The new scoring reticle is now available for $35.00 — roughly half the cost of the current reticle. It is hoped the “rock-bottom” price will encourage clubs to acquire one of the new units (though they are NOT mandatory).

score benchrest scoring reticle IBS accurateshooter.com

Both New and Older Scoring Reticles Are Approved for Use
Use of the new reticle is OPTIONAL. No club is required to purchase the new scoring reticle. The IBS believes the new device is easier to use to get a true reading. However, the current reticle remains fully approved and can continue to be used. New IBS Scoring Reticles can be ordered from Joan Borden for $35.00 (shipping including):

Joan Borden
1231 Sheldon Hill Rd.
Springville, PA 18844

Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions
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June 27th, 2013

IBS Match Report: Piedmont 600-Yard Benchrest Match

In the spring of 2004, IBS 600-yard benchrest competition was born. Piedmont Gun Club in Rutherfordton, NC was one of the three initial ranges across the country to host this new competition. Bridgeville (DE) and the Bench Rest Rifle Club of St. Louis (MO) were the other two. 600-yard benchrest was the brainchild of several IBS and club officers, Dave Tooley and Joe Goforth among them. The idea was to have a new competition at a distance far enough that short-range cartridges would not dominate, but not so far that the new mid-range discipline would duplicate 1000-yard competition. After initial “test matches” at 500 yards, in late 2003, officers at Piedmont Gun Club decided to push the targets out another 100 yards. That was the beginning of the 600-yard benchrest game.

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

IBS 600-Yard Match at Piedmont Gun Club (June 8, 2013)
Report for IBS by Sam Hall
Piedmont Gun Club is a legendary venue in the 600-yard Benchrest game because so many records have been set at this range. Throughout the 600-yard seasons at Piedmont Gun Club, June has been one of the best months for shooting small groups and high scores. Most all records have been shot there in the summer months of June, July, and August. And speaking of records, more records have been set, broken, and re-broken at Piedmont than all other IBS 600-yard ranges combined! I know of 29 separate records that have been set by just three shooters. Joel Kendrick, Terry Brady, and myself, Sam Hall. Many, many more records have been broken there also.

After a couple of rainy days, the weather cleared up for our June 8, 2013 match. It was to be one of Piedmont’s IBS 600 Yard “Shooter of the Year” points matches also. 35 seasoned veterans showed up… plus a new shooter, Jimmy Norman. There were high expectations for more records to fall. Although the weather was fair with sun and the occasional cloud, a light wind, switching from right to left, kept any records from being set this day. Many small groups were shot in the morning in the Heavy Gun session, but the switching wind picked up in the afternoon during the Light Gun competition and the groups showed it.

Piedmont Match Results 6/8/13 (.XLS, 133kb) | Piedmont Results with Photo (.XLS 1.9 MB)

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

Thomas Parker Wins HG with a Rem-Actioned Rifle
The day started with Heavy Gun shooting first at 09:00 sharp. The wind was very light from left to right at 2-3mph with temps about 70 degrees. Thomas Parker showed us that a Remington actioned benchrest rifle can still whip the all-out custom “Race Guns” in the hands of a good shooter. Thomas won the Heavy Gun overall placing first in score (193) and second in group (1.965″) for four targets. Note: a group Agg (or aggregate) is the 4 target groups added together and averaged (divided by four). Sam Hall snuck in the small group of the day 0.986″ to help him win the HG Group Aggregate with a 1.820″. This was the only first place that Thomas did not capture. Thomas shot the standard 6mmBR cartridge, pushing Berger 105gr Hybrid bullets. His rifle featured a Remington 700 action, Brux barrel, and a custom wood benchrest stock.

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

Watch Heavy Gun Winner Thomas Parker Shoot at Piedmont

Mike Hanes Captures Light Gun and Sam Hall Takes the Two-Gun
After the Heavy Gun segment concluded, as always, a great lunch was served by a local church group. Lunch is held in Piedmont’s new club located just beside the 600-yard range.The club house also has bathroom facilities for men and women, a kitchen and large banquet room. Light Gun (LG) started just after the break for lunch. The winds had picked up to 5-8 mph and switching left to right now. Temps were 80-84 degrees for the rest of the day. Groups were sure not as good as they were in the morning for Heavy Gun. Mike Hanes (2012 IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year) had small single target group of 1.423″ in LG to help him win LG Group Agg with a 2.371. Mike had second place in score with a 184 to help give him the “Overall” LG win. Mike was shooting a custom 6mm Dasher “Race Gun”. It featured a BAT dual port action, Shehane fiberglass ST-1000 stock, Jewell 2 oz. trigger, Brux barrel.

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

Sam Hall won the Two-Gun Overall with 8 rank points. Thomas Parker finished second in the Two-Gun with 29 rank points with Steve Jordan finishing a close third with 30 rank points. Sam said the match was great, and he invites readers to join the fun: “Come on out to Piedmont with us and give 600-yard benchrest a try. I guarantee you will be welcomed and will have a great time!”

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

Piedmont Gun Club — Home of the Record-Breakers
Piedmont has seven IBS 600-yard matches a year from March though September. Five matches are IBS “Shooter of the Year” matches where IBS points can be accumulated. Piedmont also has its own Shooter of the Year. All Piedmont’s 600-yard matches count toward it. They give a very nice standing trophy to the winner at the end of the year. Attendance at Piedmont for 600-yard competition is usually 30 to over 40 shooters. Most guys are regulars and have been at the 600-yard game for years. The competition is tough! I have heard many shooters say that shooting at Piedmont is like shooting at the Nationals every match. The atmosphere is very friendly though. We welcome new shooters. There is always someone there to help you when needed, whether it be a fellow shooter or range officer. On many occasions I have witnessed a fellow shooter lend his own rifle to a new shooter who wants to give it a try, someone who forgot ammo, or had equipment failures.

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

Not only does Piedmont Gun Club have IBS 600-yard competition, but the Club also hosts several other shooting disciplines. Piedmont has a 50-yard pistol range, trap and skeet range, 25-50-75-100 meter small bore silhouette rifle range and 50-600 yard rifle range. Piedmont hosts NRA Smallbore Rifle and 22 Cowboy Silhouette matches in March and ending in October. Piedmont also hosts three IBS 100/200 yard VFS (Varmint For Score) Benchrest matches a year including a NC State match in September 2013. They have 16 covered benches at their VFS range and 16 separate covered benches for their 600 yard range. Tommy Williams is the Club President and also is match director of the 600-yard matches to boot! Piedmont Gun Club is located in the beautiful foothills of western North Carolina.

Hardware Choices — Sam Hall Talks about 600-Yard Rigs
Over the years, 600-yard equipment has evolved. We now have a good idea of what works the best in 600-yard competition. Several varieties of long-range stocks work well so long as the geometry of the key surfaces in the fore-end and butt are parallel (or very close). Custom actions are desirable, with dual port (right bolt, left load port, right eject) or drop-port for faster shooting. The standard 6mm BR or any of its improved versions seem to be equally competitive and accurate at 600 yards. You’ll want a match-grade, stainless barrel, 26-30 inches in length, with a 1:8″ to 1:8.5″ twist rate (depending on your bullet and velocity).

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

Do you really need a true Heavy Gun? Both Mike Davis and I experimented with true Heavy Guns in 2007. Mine was a 61-pound, 6 Dasher built with a Shehane Aluminum Maxi-Tracker stock. Mike shot a 50-pound, 6 BRX in a massive, aluminum Bruce Baer stock. Both these “true heavies” (Mike’s and mine) had dual-port BAT actions and Brux 1:8″-twist barrels. Mike set the HG 4-target group aggregate record that year with a 1.467″ Agg and I set the HG 4-target score record with a 197. These true Heavy Guns shined when the mirage and/or wind were really bad. If they are tracking back on target well, you can rip off 5 shots in mere seconds! That said, I don’t think a “true heavy” is needed to be competitive.

Folks have certainly experimented with exotic equipment in the 600-yard game. But, for a new shooter it is good to know that fancy, ultra-expensive rifles are not necessary to win at 600 yards. You can shoot one rifle and do just as well as the man with several long-range rifles. You don’t need a separate rifle for Light Gun and Heavy Gun. Just look at what Richard Schatz has done over the years with one rifle. As the saying goes, beware of the man with one gun! To boot, matches are still being won with affordable, factory-actioned rifles. Never count out a skilled shooter with an accurate Remington- or Savage-actioned benchrest rifle — he may beat you! That was the case at our most recent match at Piedmont.

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