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March 15th, 2021

Benchrest is Back! Lester Bruno Wins Big at 2021 Cactus Classic

Cactus Classic 2021 COVID Benchrest NBRSA match Lester Bruno

Congrats to Lester Bruno, overall winner of the 2021 Cactus Classic Benchrest Match. This popular NBRSA match is held every year at the Ben Avery Range outside Phoenix, Arizona. Lester shot brilliantly, particularly at 200 yards, to win the Two-Gun convincingly with an 0.2099 Overall Aggregate. Ed Adams was second with a 0.2303 Two-Gun Agg, with Durward Wofford in third place with 0.2655. Along the way Lester nailed a remarkable 0.1742 200-yard Heavy Varmint Agg. That’s mighty impressive.

Click Image Below for full-screen Panorama Image:
Cactus Classic 2021 COVID Benchrest NBRSA match Lester Bruno

Paul Parosky reported: “So the Cactus Classic COVID Edition of 2021 has come to an end. Lester Bruno won with some amazing shooting at the LV and HV 200 yards. Myself? I need some more time behind the rifle and at 200 yards. We came across some nasty mirage that basically it was really hard to see the bullet hole. I still was able to finish in the middle of the pack 29th in the 2-Gun Aggregate, which is OK with me. But most of all had super great time, meeting new people and also putting faces to the FB friends from the group. The referees, Matthew Schwartzkopf and his crew [plus] the Wickenburg School volunteers did a wonderful job keeping the match going flawlessly.”

Cactus Classic 2021 COVID Benchrest NBRSA match Lester Bruno

2021 Cactus Classic Top 25 Two-Gun Overall Results:

Cactus Classic 2021 COVID Benchrest NBRSA match Lester Bruno

Cactus Classic 2021 COVID Benchrest NBRSA match Lester Bruno

In 100/200 yard Group Benchrest, most top competitors load at the range, tuning their loads for the conditions. Here you can see the portable powder measure (left) and a compact ARKCO Hood Press (right). That blue combo press can both size cases with a screw-in die and seat bullets using a Wilson Seater die (placed on left side). The vast majority of short-range benchrest-for-group competitors run the 6PPC cartridge with fast-burning powders such as Vihtavuori N133.

Cactus Classic 2021 COVID Benchrest NBRSA match Lester Bruno

Capstone Precision Group (Berger Bullets, Lapua, SK, Vihtavuori) provided many valuable prizes to competitors at the 2021 Cactus Classic.

Cactus Classic 2021 COVID Benchrest NBRSA match Lester Bruno

Permalink Competition, News 3 Comments »
May 30th, 2018

Tony Boyer Wins Kelbly’s Super Shoot Two-Gun Title

Tony Boyer SuperShoot Kelbly's 2018 ohio two-gun

Adding yet another big win to his unrivaled list of major Benchrest shooting accomplishments, legendary benchrest competitor Tony Boyer won the Two-Gun title at the 2018 Kelbly’s Super Shoot. Tony won the Two-Gun with an astounding 0.1885 Two-Gun combined Aggregate. We’re told this is Boyer’s seventh Super Shoot win. As James Mock says: “He is a phenomenon who seems to gets better with age.”

Boyer, who has three times as many Hall-of-Fame points as his closest rival, was in top form this past week in Ohio, winning the Two-Gun with a very strong performance. This was a tough field, with over 200 seasoned shooters including many talented foreigners. Finishing second in the Two-Gun was Jeff Summers (0.2075), followed by Christian Dippolito (0.2200). Summers also won the 3-Gun (0.2408), which includes the Unlimited (Railgun) Class.

2018 Super Shoot Complete Match Results | Super Shoot Top 20 Equipment List

Here are words of praise for Tony:

“This is what ‘1/4 minute all day long if I do my part’ really looks like!” — DamonCali

“Actually, that is what 3/16 all WEEK long looks like…” — Geo.Ul.

“As amazing as an 0.188 something Grand Agg is, having shot it at the [challenging] Kelbly’s range is even more so. Tough place to shoot small. Awesome job!” — Tim S.

“I heard someone at the Super Shoot ask Tony a couple years ago: ‘If you went over to the pond, could you walk on water?’ [Consider that] some of the best shooters who ever competed have just one-fourth the Hall-of-Fame points Tony has.” — Webster

Top All-Time Benchrest Hall-of-Fame Standings (Total through October 2017)
1. TONY BOYER 176
2. LESTER BRUNO 49
3. ALAN EUBER 47
4. WAYNE CAMPBELL 42
5. GENE BUKYS 35
6. GARY OCOCK 34
7. LARRY COSTA 31
8. ED WATSON (D) 28
9-10-11. DON GERACI 26 (tie)
9-10-11. RON HOEHN 26 (tie)
9-10-11. BOB SCARBROUGH, JR. 26 (tie)

Equipment List Super Shoot
CLICK Image for Top 10 Equipment list, 10.5-lb Class.

Super Shoot — A World-Class Event

May is Super Shoot Time at the Kelbly’s Rifle Range in North Lawrence, Ohio. This annual event, held May 21-26 this year, draws some of the best 100-yard and 200-yard benchrest shooters in the world. Recent Super Shoots have drawn 200+ competitors from the USA and more than a dozen other countries (about 15% of the competitors come from overseas).

Past Super Shoot Highlights Video (Watch This — It’s Very Well Done!)

If you’ve never attended the Super Shoot before, and don’t know what to expect, Capstone Precision Group President Bill Gravatt offers some insights into this great event:

Super Shoot — What It’s All About

The excitement and anticipation leading up to a Super Shoot can be hard to explain to those who haven’t been to one. Every year, some shooters arrive at the Super Shoot a week early to dial in their rifles, learn wind conditions for the range, and enjoy the camaraderie of their fellow shooters. As the match draws closer, campers and RVs fill the area behind the range, and shooters stake out turf all over the property with their reloading and cleaning equipment setups.

Many shooters choose to load cartridges in the main barn directly behind the 60-bench firing line, while others decide to work in pop-ups, campers and other outbuildings around the facility. Benchrest shooters tend to load in small batches, and some most load cartridges between each match. Many shooters clean their rifles after each match, while others sometimes go two or three matches between cleanings, depending on the number of rounds they fire.

Another part of high-level benchrest competition that will amaze first-time attendees is the quality and amount of equipment benchrest shooters use. Just in front of the shooting benches and the targets, range flags of all kinds sprout up, from the typical “daisy wheel” flags to very sophisticated velocity indicators that show varying wind intensity. Shooters adjust their flags to align with the particular target in front of a specific bench, just slightly below the path of the bullet but still partially visible in the high-powered scopes.

Kelbly Kelbly's Super Shoot Benchrest IBS Tony Boyer Light Varmint Heavy

The rifles represent a variety of actions, usually custom, with heavy benchrest barrels by various barrel makers. The most popular cartridge used is the 6mm PPC, but occasionally you will run into someone using a 6mm BR or a slightly modified 6mm BR, and as well as a few other cartridges. Rifle rests used are typically heavy tripods or plate rests. You see a lot of Sinclair rests, Farley rests, and a variety of others, including a few homemade rests. Bags are typically Edgewood or Protektor.

Super Shoot — Runners, Pickers and the Pursuit of Perfection
The techniques vary between shooters, and they are interesting to observe. Some shooters “run” their targets and will shoot a quick sighter and then run all 5 shots as fast as they can before conditions change. Others are “pickers” and shoot each shot carefully, going back and forth between the record target and the sighter target to verify wind conditions and bullet drift. These guys will sometimes shoot up to 10 sighters and use the full seven minutes. Both styles of shooting work and many shooters use both techniques depending on the match conditions[.]

Anyone who attends the Super Shoot will come away with a greater appreciation of precision benchrest shooting. Experienced benchresters already know there will be windy days that drive them crazy, and less experienced shooters can get completely lost when… holding off a shot in the wind. But the reward is worth it. It’s very satisfying to hold off a full inch at 100 yards because the wind changes during your string and drop your fifth shot into a sub 0.100″ group with only seconds remaining on the clock. And that’s what the Super Shoot is all about.

Kelbly Kelbly's Super Shoot Benchrest IBS Tony Boyer Light Varmint Heavy

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February 8th, 2017

Berger SW Nationals Report — Mid-Range (600-Yard) Match

600 yard mid range Ben Avery Berger Southwest Nationals

The competition phase of the Berger SW Nationals kicked off today with a 600-yard match for Palma, F-TR, and F-Open rifles. Today’s star was Lester Bruno, who drilled a 200-23X with a 6mm BRX F-Open rifle he built himself. This rifle features a BAT Action, Krieger barrel, and presentation-grade Bastogne Walnut stock. Loaded with Berger 105gr Hybrids, Varget Powder, and Federal 205m Primers, this rifle absolutely hammered at Ben Avery on Wednesday — Lester put 23 shots in a row in the half-MOA X-Ring at 600 yards. Under NRA rules, if you shoot all Xs through the designated string of fire (here 20 shots), you are allowed to keep shooting until one shot falls outside the X-Ring. Lester drilled three extra Xs after shooting all Xs for his designated 20-shot string.

Lester Bruno Sets Pending National 600-yard Record with 200-23X in F-Open Division
600 yard mid range lester bruno Ben Avery Berger Southwest Nationals

Lester was excited to set a pending National record, breaking the previous 600-yard record by one X: “Conditions were in my favor, and it was a lot of fun.” However, Lester revealed the record string was nerve-wracking: “I was nervous after I shot 20 and they told me I could keep shooting to try to break the record. I had no knowledge I was able to do that.” Lester took his time, watched the conditions, and shot carefully: “I held off probably at least half of my shots but never held out of the X-Ring. It depended on the condition. A left to right condition was pushing the bullet down so I was holding a little high but when it went right to left I held a little low. I was very patient.”

Lester was all smiles after his 200-23X performance this morning. He told us: “This will be my first record in this discipline though I’ve set records in short-range benchrest.” (Lester is a member of the Benchrest Hall of Fame).

How’d You Like a Rifle That Can Shoot 200-23X
NOTE: If you want a rifle that shoots like this, you may be lucky. Lester says this is a working prototype of a new line of match rifles he’ll be offering for sale through Bruno’s Shooter Supply. These will be high-end rifles for guys who want the very best. The Bastogne wood for Lester’s own gun cost over $1500.00 (that’s just for the blank), but it’s a beauty.

600 yard mid range lester bruno Ben Avery Berger Southwest Nationals

Calm Conditions — But You Needed to Watch the Mirage
Conditions were very good most of the day, with very little wind. However, there WERE subtle directional changes you need to monitor. Bryan Litz, who won both mid-range and long-range F-TR National Championships here at Ben Avery in 2015, said that he did have to hold one side or the other though the wind was very calm. With the mirage roiling and distorting the view through his scope, Bryan said the Bullseye looked like a Medusa head rather than a concentric circle.

F-TR competitor Ian Klemm also had a Mid-Range match for the ages, dropping just one point for the whole day, to finish at 599-38X, and win the F-TR class. We’re told this 599-38X was also a new National F-TR record. Ian was shooting a new McMillan XiT stock.

Here are the Top Five Competitors for Each Divsion:

SLING (Palma)
Allen Thomas, 600-40X
Benjamin Lucchesi, 600-37X
Erik Rhode, 599-49X
Anette Wachter, 599-45X
Trudie Fay, 599-39X
F-Open
Dwayne Draggoo, 600-44X
Danny Biggs, 600-43X
Dan Bramley, 600-35X
Todd Hendricks, 600-34X
Don Nagel, 599-37X
F-TR
Ian Klemm, 599-38X (New Record)
Phil Kelley, 599-32X
James Crofts, 598-41X
John Moreali, 598-28X
Bryan Litz, 597-33X

Note: Results are prelminary, subject to final tabulation.

Watch Highlights from the SWN Mid-Range Match:

Ben Avery Bling — Stunning Paint Job and New SEB Mini
Jay Christopherson, AccurateShooter’s Systems Manager, had a stunning metallic flame paint job on his F-Open rifle. Up front, that beautiful stock is resting on the new SEB Mini coaxial pedestal rest. This looked very stable and Jay said the joystick works perfect. Jay is very impressed with this new coaxial front rest. We expect to see more Minis on the line in future F-Open matches.

flame paint SEB mini pedestal rest Ben Avery Berger Southwest Nationals

Sling Shooters in Palma Division
There were many Eliseo tubeguns in the hands of the sling shooters. For the Palma division, the cartridge of choice is the .308 Winchester. This old cartridge is still capable of extreme accuracy. Never underestimate a skilled sling shooter with a good Palma rifle.

Eliseo Tube gun chassis tubegun Ben Avery Berger Southwest Nationals

Wickenburg High School Rifle Team
While most of the competitors at this match shooters were middle-aged or older, it was nice to see a youth contingent from Wickenburg High School in Arizona. These young folks shot well — Ben Avery is their “home range”, so they felt confident with the conditions.

Wickenburg High School Ben Avery Berger Southwest Nationals

Disaster Averted by British Ingenuity
British competitor Tom Rylands had his rear sight break during the middle of a string. Undaunted, Tom secured the sight with some electrical tape and finished the string with a good score. We applaud Tom’s “never say die” attitude. Have tape, will travel…

Tom Rylands Tape Fix Berger Southwest Nationals

Ladies Love Ben Avery…
The T-Shirt says it all — there were many female competitors at the mid-range match, including some “all-girl” teams. There were some great lady shooters competing on Wednesday, including Nancy Tompkins and Trudie Fay.

Ben Avery Berger Southwest Nationals

First Lady of Shooting — Nancy Tompkins
It was great to see Nancy Tompkins on the firing line. A strong argument can be made that Nancy is the greatest female long-range competitive shooter in the history of the sport. We chatted with Nancy between relays. She revealed she had not shot sling “in quite a while” so she need to readjust some items on her gun. So… even the great ones need to tweak their gear now and then.

Nancy Tompkins Berger Southwest Nationals

The True Spirit of Competition
The team at the Berger SW Nationals encourages all participants, even those with disabilities. Here competitor Bob Depp shoots from a bench because he cannot hold his rifle normally, due to injuries sustained while serving as a U.S. Marine Corps Scout Sniper in Vietnam. It’s all about participating.

Mid-Range 600 Disable Shooters Berger Southwest Nationals

The Smell of Victory…
With the wind flags hanging straight down most of the day, perhaps the best wind indicator of all was the smoke coming from the Barbeque pit. You have to love the Berger SW Nationals at Ben Avery — where else can you get delicious, hot BBQ on the 600-yard line?

Mid-Range 600 bbq cooking wind flags smoke Berger Southwest Nationals

Long-Range Matches Run Thursday through Sunday
All the relays Wednesday were held at 600 yards. Starting Thursday, the shooters will compete at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. If conditions hold similar to today (with very little wind), we could see some impressive performances at the longer yardages. But as with any shooting venue, things can change quickly at Ben Avery. We’ve seen morning calms followed by afternoon gales. Good luck to all the competitors.

Mid-Range 600 bbq cooking wind flags smoke Berger Southwest Nationals

Permalink Competition, News 6 Comments »
January 10th, 2016

Get 5% Off (Plus Free Shipping) at Bruno Shooters Supply

Brunos Shooters Supply Sale Free Shipping

There are two more days to save. We recently talked to Lester Bruno, owner of Bruno Shooters Supply. Lester explained that he has extended Bruno’s Holiday Season Sale through Monday, January 11, 2016 at 5:00 pm MST. Lester told us “This has been really popular with our customers. Right now you can get 5% off plus free shipping [to the lower 48]. Tell your Bulletin readers that this sale will run through Monday but that’s it…” Note: This offer is limited to one shipped box per customer per day. Hazmat fee will be charged on Hazmat items, though the Free Shipping otherwise applies to all items.

Here is Lester Bruno with some of his large inventory of bullets from Berger, Sierra and other brands. And yes, Bruno’s has premium barrels in stock.
Brunos Shooters Supply Sale Free ShippingBrunos Shooters Supply Sale Free Shipping

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February 5th, 2014

Meeting Forum Friends at Ben Avery — World’s Smallest Range Kit

Ben Avery Shooting Facility.A while back, while in Arizona, we headed out to the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, located about 27 miles north of downtown Phoenix on I-17. We were impressed by Ben Avery’s vast range complex, which includes a Clay Target (shotgun) center, 1000-yard High Power range, 100-300 yard Benchrest range, rifle and pistol silhouette ranges, handgun ranges, smallbore range, Running Boar range, and a large, 53-bay, 200-yard main range.

At the main range we ran into Forum Member Troy D., who had a brand-spanking new 6mmBR rifle built by Lester Bruno of Bruno Shooters Supply. While breaking-in his new 28″ Krieger barrel, Troy was using Sierra 70gr Blitz-Kings. Accuracy was impressive — the 70 grainers ripped tight, little knots in the high 2s, low 3s. Though his rifle has an 8-twist barrel, Troy was testing the 70s in preparation for a prairie dog trip next week. From what we saw, those p-dogs should be worried. Troy’s gun was a tack-driver with the Sierra Blitz-Kings.

Bruno 6BR

YouTube Preview Image

Troy’s Compact Storage Box (Just $1.50!)

While Troy was cleaning between groups, we noticed he was using a compact little box to hold his jags, brushes and patches. The box was the perfect size for these items. Troy explained: “If you’re just taking one rifle to the range, you don’t need to take a big gear box with stuff for all your guns. Apart from solvent, bore guide, and cleaning rod, this little box holds all I really need to clean my rifle.” Troy sourced the box at Cabela’s for $1.50.

shooters storage box

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
May 6th, 2012

Visit to Bruno Shooters Supply and a Chat with Lester Bruno

Nightforce Bruno ShootersWhen visiting Phoenix last week we dropped in at Bruno Shooters Supply (“Bruno’s”). This place is truly a treasure trove for anyone interested in precision shooting. Barrels, custom actions, stocks, scopes, loading presses, dies, and accessories — you name it, Bruno’s has it. We were amazed to see one bin with literally hundreds of new Krieger barrel blanks. This Editor was tempted to purchase a couple just to avoid delays in the future.

Lester Bruno has been running Bruno Shooters Supply for nearly four decades. A very successful benchrest shooter himsef, Lester knows about accuracy. He prides himself on carrying the best products made, and he shoots what he sells. He’s also a very talented gunsmith. In the video below, Lester talks about building accurate rifles.

Bruno’s also maintains a vast inventory of premium reloading components: Lapua brass, Hodgdon/IMR, Alliant, and Vihtavuori powders, and all the major primer brands. You want bullets? Berger, Sierra, Lapua, and Nosler bullets are stacked floor to ceiling!

Lester Bruno has been selling rifle components and reloading supplies for 37 years. He now has a very good idea of what precision shooters want most, and his staff works hard to keep the most popular items in stock. Bruno’s has a large inventory of Nightforce scopes, and Lester recently placed an order for 1000+ Krieger barrels — that number was a new high for the Wisconsin barrel-maker.

Nightforce Bruno Shooters

Bruno’s has huge inventories of high-demand items, such as Krieger barrels, BAT actions, and McMillan stocks. Lester’s company, now the largest distributor of BAT actions in the nation, usually has 100 or so BATs in stock. Right now Bruno’s has over 500 custom barrels in stock in a wide range of calibers, from .17 up to .416. There’s a very good selection of the most popular calibers, twist rates, and contours. Bruno’s also has 100 or so McMillan stocks in inventory currently.

Gunsmithing Services
After touring the warehouse, we had a chance to chat with Lester about precision gunsmithing and component selection. In addition to running the business, Lester Bruno somehow finds the time to build custom rifles — very accurate custom rifles, we should add. Forum member Terry Balding recently won the NBRSA 600-yard Nationals using a Lester Bruno-smithed 6mm Dasher. (Terry also finished third in the NBRSA 1000-yard Nationals with the same rifle.)

In our interview, Lester pointed out that he builds more than point-blank benchrest rigs these days. Lester also crafts long-range benchrest, F-Class, and even hunting rifles. Because Lester has plenty of actions, premium barrels, and stocks already on his shelves, he can normally offer a very good turn-around time on custom builds. Keep in mind however, that Lester is not your guy if you’re looking for a fancy wood project. Lester prefers to use fiberglass stocks, such as McMillan. Lester also noted that he will start carrying H-S Precision stocks very soon.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing 4 Comments »