August 28th, 2020

Kevin Nevius — Smallbore and LR Champion and Gun Builder

On the Shooting Sports USA website, there’s a great profile of Kevin Nevius, one of America’s leading competitive marksmen. Kevin is best known for his smallbore success — Kevin won smallbore National Championships in 2008, 2010, and 2014. Kevin also has also an impressive record in long-range centerfire competition. He won the NRA 2018 Long Range Championship, while in 2005 and 2006 he won the Sierra Trophy at Camp Perry in 1000-yard competition. This story, penned by gunwriter Hap Rocketto, covers Kevin’s career, which has included multiple championships and many records.

“My brother got me into long range varmint hunting and I started building my own guns very early,” Nevius told Dan Holmes in a Pronematch.com interview. “I had a hunting friend who shot indoor smallbore who started me in three position and I was hooked.”

NRA Long Range National Championship Kevin Nevius Lapua 6.5x47 .308 Win Palma Camp Atterbury Indiana David Tubb Bob Gill John Whidden

At the 2018 NRA Long Range Championships, Kevin Nevius went head to head against the nation’s top long-range aces this past week, and emerged on top. Besting the likes of past multi-time Long Range Champions David Tubb and John Whidden, Kevin Nevius shot superbly at Camp Atterbury to win his first NRA National Long Range Championship.Kevin built his own rifles for the match, using Kelbly centerfire actions in a Grunig & Elmiger smallbore stock. Here is Kevin’s first-hand report of his 2018 LR Championship victory.

Smallbore shooting is where I learned to build a good position, and so much of that carries forward to Long Range High Power. It was a huge shock though, the first time I looked at a 44” aiming black through aperture sights at 1000 yards! Smallbore aiming blacks are twice as big, at one tenth the distance — the fact that we can hit something at 1000 yards with that sight picture still amazes me!

» READ Kevin Nevius Profile in Shooting Sports USA

Here are highlights from Hap Rocketto’s Profile of Kevin Nevius:

Shooting Sports USAChampion shooter Kevin Nevius grew up in a household that did not allow firearms, an unlikely beginning for one of the United States’ premier prone rifleman and gunsmiths. Once out on his own he fell in with his brother who enjoyed long-range varmint hunting. His natural bent for things mechanical (he is a professional structural engineer) soon had him tinkering with rifles, which eventually led him to building his own.

Everything fell into line for him in smallbore during the 2008 season. After shooting a series of training matches in which he was most successful, he arrived at Camp Perry at the peak of performance and won his first National Smallbore Rifle Conventional Prone Championship. Kevin came back strong in 2010, winning the inaugural individual National Smallbore Rifle Metric Prone Championship, as well as the team title at Bristol, IN. [Kevin then won the Smallbore Conventional Prone Championship in 2014 with a practically perfect score of 4799-390X (LINK).]

Along the way, Nevius has won some impressive national records. In conventional competition he co-holds the 1200-shot metallic sight aggregate record of 1200-102X. He was just one shot short of perfection in the 480 aggregate, where he holds the civilian record of 4799-412X, just one point behind, and 11 Xs ahead of, Joe Hein’s 4800-401X open record.

Kevin Nevius hopes to build a smallbore rig capable of 3/8-MOA at 100 yards.
Kevin Nevius smallbore gunsmith

Building the Ultimate Rimfire Prone Rifle
Kevin is not just a great trigger-puller. He also smiths his own rifles. His current goal as a gunsmith is to build a rimfire rifle that will shoot 3/8″ groups at 100 yards. That’s a big challenge — 3/8-MOA represents very good accuracy for a centerfire rifle with handloaded ammo. But if any rimfire smith can build a rifle that will shoot that well at 100, it’s probably Kevin.

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July 21st, 2018

Kevin Nevius Wins 2018 NRA Long Range Championship

NRA Long Range National Championship Kevin Nevius Lapua 6.5x47 .308 Win Palma Camp Atterbury Indiana David Tubb Bob Gill John Whidden

Our friend Kevin Nevius, best known for his smallbore skills, went head to head against the nation’s top long-range aces this past week, and emerged on top. Besting the likes of past multi-time Long Range Champions David Tubb and John Whidden, Kevin Nevius shot superbly at Camp Atterbury to win his first NRA National Long Range Championship. Kevin finished with 1245-64X, one point ahead of Phillip Crowe, 1244-74X. Bob Gill, shooting a .223 Rem with iron sights, was third on X-Count, with 1244-68X. Kevin built his own rifles for the match, using Kelbly centerfire actions in a Grunig & Elmiger smallbore stock. Here is Kevin’s first-hand report of his 2018 LR Championship victory.

Click Here for 2018 NRA High Power Long Range Championship Full Results

2018 NRA Long Range Championship — Rising to the Challenge

by Kevin Nevius
NRA Long Range National Championship Kevin Nevius Lapua 6.5x47 .308 Win Palma Camp Atterbury Indiana David Tubb Bob Gill John WhiddenThis was my first opportunity to shoot the NRA Long Range Nationals since its relocation to Camp Atterbury, and it was great to see everyone and get back to the matches. It is always so humbling walking onto the range and seeing all of the people I read about and admire so much. I can’t think of another sport where people so accomplished will share so much and be so helpful.

Regarding the weather, we had generally great conditions with very mild winds in the mornings, building gradually as the days progressed. By the afternoon hours, there were certainly challenges as the air started moving. Obstructions to the wind on either side of this range vary, so you needed to pay attention for sure — it may be calm at the targets or firing line, only to show something to worry about on the mid-range flags. Mirage is my primary indicator shooting smallbore, but mirage over 5/8ths of a mile is a little less telling (and a lot more confusing, at least for me!). I think most competitors, including me, use some combination of mirage and flags to make corrections. At the start of the string, I try to gauge a predominant condition, and more importantly which indicator is the most reliable to look at to determine that condition.

NRA Long Range National Championship Kevin Nevius Lapua 6.5x47 .308 Win Palma Camp Atterbury Indiana David Tubb Bob Gill John Whidden

Smallbore shooting is where I learned to build a good position, and so much of that carries forward to Long Range High Power. It was a huge shock though, the first time I looked at a 44” aiming black through aperture sights at 1000 yards! Smallbore aiming blacks are twice as big, at one tenth the distance — the fact that we can hit something at 1000 yards with that sight picture still amazes me!

NRA Long Range National Championship Kevin Nevius Lapua 6.5x47 .308 Win Palma Camp Atterbury Indiana David Tubb Bob Gill John Whidden

Kevin’s Arsenal — 6.5×47 Lapua and .308 Win Barreled Actions in Smallbore Stock
I have always build my own rifles, and always struggled to get the individual rifles you need for the LR aggregate (Any and Palma) and smallbore to feel, balance and fit identically. This year for the first time, I machined bedding blocks that allowed me to put almost identical centefire barreled actions into my smallbore prone stock – effectively making the position and fit of all the rifles for all disciplines identical (it is, after all the same stock used for everything).

NRA Long Range National Championship Kevin Nevius Lapua 6.5x47 .308 Win Palma Camp Atterbury Indiana

I used two modified Kelbly Grizzly actions (one barreled in 6.5×47 for the any rifle matches, and one barreled in 308 for Palma) fitted to two identical aluminum bedding blocks. The bedding block footprint matches my smallbore barreled action – a Grunig & Elmiger Racer WC. The stock is a Grunig & Elmiger Hybrid, which is a composite aluminum skeleton and carbon fiber skin.

Championship-Winning 6.5×47 Lapua and .308 Win Loads
I was using a 6.5×47 Lapua in the “Any Rifle” matches. The barrel is a 1:8″-twist Benchmark medium Palma contour finished at 35 inches, throated +0.060″. My 6.5×47 load was Lapua brass, CCI 450 primers, VV N160 powder, and 140 grain Berger Hybrid bullets. For the Palma match, a .308 Win barreled action was fitted in the same Grunig & Elmiger smallbore stock. The .308 barrel was another Benchmark 35″ medium Palma, using the current Fullbore chamber throated +0.120″. I was using Lapua .308 Palma small primer brass, Federal 205M primers, VV N140, and 155 grain Lapua Scenar L bullets.

Shooting Between Champions — Tubb on the Left, Whidden on the Right
On the final day (the Palma Individual), we were squadded based on seed position, so David Tubb was on my left, and John Whidden on my right. I am not sure if a more intimidating position on the firing line exists, but it was so clear to me especially on that last day how blessed I was to be there. In every match, there is an element of luck — regarding weather, squadding assignment, target service, firing point condition, even equipment malfunction. A host of things can go wrong…

I lost my very first shot at 900 mostly due to elevation (I was coming a little unhinged with the realization I might be in the lead – just being completely honest!), and settled down to clean the remainder of the string. The wind had built by then, and would run both right and left with the small boils in between. At 1000 I lost two, and was pretty happy with that. It was getting pretty dicey, and I resigned myself to the fact that it was becoming one of those days where 10s were enough (and Xs were pure luxury!). John shot well at 1000, but he always does — I don’t think there is a better long range shooter in the country and it’s been that way for a bunch of years. I can’t say enough about him – he is a dear friend and everything a champion should be. (Editor: Whidden finished fourth overall, at 1243-78X, with high X-count for the event.)

To put it all together takes so many things — preparation, tuning, load development, position practice. And yes, it takes some divine intervention for sure. I will never forget this experience, and am so grateful to have been successful this year.

John Whidden of Whidden Gunworks congratulated Kevin: “I was really proud of my friend Kevin Nevius and his fine shooting over the match. Kevin is respected both for his shooting and his character. The match went well and a number of improvements were made over last year. The targets were better, the number boards better, and the match ran very efficiently. Kudos to those who made these positive changes happen.”

Tough Time for Tubb on Last Day
Kevin noted that it was intimidating to be squadded between David Tubb and John Whidden, two multi-time Champions. Unfortunately Tubb, who had shot brilliantly (800-50X) throughout the Long Range event, had issues with his .308 Palma rifle on the final day. Kevin noted: “Yes David had some problems with his .308. When we arrived at the range on the last day, for the Palma Individual, David was in the lead with 800-50X, having shot ‘clean’ (not dropping a point). Bob Gill was second with 798-43X, and I was in third place with 798-42X. As we started the 800-yard string, there was some commotion going on to my left, and all I know is that as we finished and started moving to 900 yards, David was not happy. I believe he had lost 4 points at 800. We went to the pits, and he said his rifle was not shooting well, and he was pretty unhappy to say the least. He tried to adjust the seating depth of his ammunition before heading back out to the 900-yard line, in the hopes the gun would shoot better”. But it ended up a very tough day for David, as his chances for another LR Championship vanished.

Editor: With a 800-50X total, David Tubb was the Winner of the Canadian Cup Trophy, earned before the last day.

Bob Gill Proves the .223 Remington (and Iron Sights) Can Be Competitive
There were many interesting stories at this year’s Long Range Championship. The .223 Rem Eliseo Tubegun belonging to Californian Bob Gill proved to be “the little rifle that could”. Gill shot his .223 Rem Palma rifle for the entire Long Range Championship cycle. And yes Bob shot irons the whole way, even during the Remington and Wimbledon “Any Sight” matches where scopes are allowed. Kevin observed: “Bob Gill was amazing, and that rifle must be pretty awesome too. I don’t think I have ever seen someone shoot a .223 Rem at 1000 yards that well — ever. I believe Bob was shooting 80 grain bullets. As I pulled for Gill on the third day, I can testify that his bullets were still plenty supersonic!”

Editor: Gill finished 3rd overall, just one point down from Kevin, and six Xs behind runner-up Phillip Crowe. Gill also won the Sierra Trophy.

CLICK HERE for all NRA 2018 National Championships Results

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May 22nd, 2017

Kevin Nevius — Smallbore Champion and Master Rifle-Builder

On the Shooting Sports USA website, there’s a great profile of Kevin Nevius, one of America’s leading competitive marksmen. Kevin is best known for his smallbore success but he has also an impressive record in long-range centerfire competition — In 2005 and 2006 he won the Sierra Trophy at Camp Perry in 1000-yard competition. This was followed by smallbore National Championships in 2008, 2010, and 2014. This story, penned by gunwriter Hap Rocketto, covers Kevin’s career, which has included multiple championships and many records.

“My brother got me into long range varmint hunting and I started building my own guns very early,” Nevius told Dan Holmes in a Pronematch.com interview. “I had a hunting friend who shot indoor smallbore who started me in three position and I was hooked.”

» READ Kevin Nevius Profile in Shooting Sports USA

Here are highlights from Hap Rocketto’s Profile of Kevin Nevius:

Shooting Sports USAChampion shooter Kevin Nevius grew up in a household that did not allow firearms, an unlikely beginning for one of the United States’ premier prone rifleman and gunsmiths. Once out on his own he fell in with his brother who enjoyed long-range varmint hunting. His natural bent for things mechanical (he is a professional structural engineer) soon had him tinkering with rifles, which eventually led him to building his own.

Everything fell into line for him in smallbore during the 2008 season. After shooting a series of training matches in which he was most successful, he arrived at Camp Perry at the peak of performance and won his first National Smallbore Rifle Conventional Prone Championship. Kevin came back strong in 2010, winning the inaugural individual National Smallbore Rifle Metric Prone Championship, as well as the team title at Bristol, IN. [Kevin then won the Smallbore Conventional Prone Championship in 2014 with a practically perfect score of 4799-390X (LINK).]

Along the way, Nevius has won some impressive national records. In conventional competition he co-holds the 1200-shot metallic sight aggregate record of 1200-102X. He was just one shot short of perfection in the 480 aggregate, where he holds the civilian record of 4799-412X, just one point behind, and 11 Xs ahead of, Joe Hein’s 4800-401X open record.

Kevin Nevius hopes to build a smallbore rig capable of 3/8-MOA at 100 yards.
Kevin Nevius smallbore gunsmith

Building the Ultimate Rimfire Prone Rifle
Kevin is not just a great trigger-puller. He also smiths his own rifles. His current goal as a gunsmith is to build a rimfire rifle that will shoot 3/8″ groups at 100 yards. That’s a big challenge — 3/8-MOA represents very good accuracy for a centerfire rifle with handloaded ammo. But if any rimfire smith can build a rifle that will shoot that well at 100, it’s probably Kevin.

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July 24th, 2014

Kevin Nevius of Team Lapua Wins Smallbore Prone Championship

Story based on report by Lars Dalseide for NRABlog.com
Kevin Nevius is the 2014 NRA smallbore prone National Champion. It’s not the first time Nevius has won the NRA Smallbore Prone Rifle crown. A phenomenal prone shooter, Nevius has now secured multiple National Titles. That may be surprising notion given Kevin’s relatively late start in the sport of competitive shooting.

kevin nevius Lapua rimfire, smallbore championship

“My brother got me into long range varmint hunting and I started building my own guns very early,” Nevius told Dan Holmes in an earlier Pronematch.com interview. “I had a hunting friend who shot indoor smallbore who started me in three position and I was hooked.”

With a practically perfect score of 4799-390X, Nevius beat out second and third place shooters by two points … on the final day of the Conventional Championships. The 2014 NRA National Smallbore Rifle Championships wrap up this weekend with Metric Prone. Will we have another new 2014 smallbore champion or will there finally be a repeat? Stay Tuned.

kevin nevius Lapua rimfire, smallbore championship

Kevin Nevius, 2014 Smallbore Prone National Champion

“He showed his steel,” said Assistant Match Director Victoria Croft. “On the last day, the final relay, when it really counted, he didn’t miss a shot.”

kevin nevius Lapua rimfire, smallbore championship

Kevin Nevius file photo from Southeastern Michigan Northern Ohio High Masters Shooting Club.

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July 19th, 2012

Team Lapua’s Nancy Tompkins wins Metric Smallbore Nationals

Already respected for her High Power and Long-Range shooting, Nancy Tompkins added the 2012 NRA National Metric Prone Smallbore Rifle National Championship to her impressive shooting resume.

The weather was very hot and breezy for the 2012 Metric Prone National Championships conducted at the Wa-Ke’-De Rifle Range, Bristol, Indiana. Forty-two competitors were on hand for this third Annual Metric Prone Nationals. On Monday the 1200-point Iron Sights Aggregate was held, followed by the Any Sight Aggregate on Tuesday. Winds began mild and built throughout the day. The range is sheltered by high trees, but as the wind increases, it swirls, making this range a very difficult place to shoot (especially given the use of the more difficult Olympic metric targets). The 100-yard stage of each day was the determining factor!

Metric Nationals Nancy Tompkins

Tompkins won the Iron Sight Aggregate with a score of 1172-55X to beat young Garrett Spurgeon by four points and Katie Bridges by 13. Kevin Nevius said: “Nancy was amazing — her 100-yard performance was some of the best shooting I have ever seen.”

Fellow Team Lapua member Kevin was shooting great himself. In the Any Sight competition, Kevin captured the National Title with an aggregate score of 1176-56X. Runner-up was Ron Wigger with 1169-54X, while Tompkins was High Woman at 1165-46X.

Tompkins’ consistency paid off as she captured the National Title with a total score of 2337-101X to narrowly defeat Spurgeon (2333-115X) and Nevius (2328-96X). “I was able to visit the new Lapua Service Center in Mesa, AZ about two weeks ago and found the perfect Lapua ammunition for my rifle,” reported Tompkins. Nancy was shooting Lapua Midas+ ammo, while Kevin Nevius competed using Lapua’s X-ACT ammunition. For additional information on the NRA Metric Smallbore Rifle National Championship visit http://www.nrahq.org/compete/nm_metric-prone.asp. To learn more about Lapua products and the Lapua Service Center contact Adam Braverman at abraverman [at] lapua.us.

Kevin Nevius metric championship

National Metric Smallbore Championships Results

GRAND AGGREGATE
Nancy Tompkins: Winner, 2337-101X
Garrett Spurgeon: Second, 2333-115X
Kevin Nevius: Third, 2328-96X
Joe Farmer: High Senior, 2318-112X
Michelle Bohren: High Lady, 2310-91X
Katie Bridges: High Junior, 2320-108X
Virginia McLemore: High Senior Lady, 2306-91X

IRON AGGREGATE
Nancy Tompkins: Winner. 1172-55X
Garrett Spurgeon: 1168-60X
Dempster Christenson: 1156-50X
Katie Bridges: High Lady, 1159-55X
Joe Farmer: High Sr., 1153-47X
Amanda Luoma: High Jr., 1138-43X
Virginia McLemore: High Sr., 1148-41X
Sarah Nakata: High Jr. Lady, 1139-36X
Samantha Peterson: High School Jr., 1123-31X

ANY SIGHT AGGREGATE
Kevin Nevius: Winner, 1176-56X
Ron Wigger: Second, 1169-54X
Garrett Spurgeon: Third, 1165-55X
Nancy Tompkins: High Lady, 1165-46X
Joe Farmer: High Sr., 1165-51X
Katie Bridges: High Jr., 1161-53X
Virginia McLemore: High Sr. Lady, 1158-50X

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