October 16th, 2014

Match Report: IBS 2014 600-Yard National Championship

IBS Match Report by Jim Bauer
This year’s IBS 600-yard National Championship was held September 27-28 at the Memphis Sport Shooting Association (MSSA) range, a wonderful 185-acre shooting facility. The 600-yard Nationals event was well-attended with 70 shooters. This was tough field of talented trigger-pullers, including world record-holders and past 600-yard champions. One competitor commented, “You don’t have to make much of a mistake and you are in the middle of the pack. Make two mistakes and you are at the back.” This says a lot for the quality of shooters attending this year’s event.

Memphis Sport Shooting Association MSSA IBS 600-yard National Championship

To demonstrate the talent of the shooters, and the accuracy of their rifles, consider these numbers. During the event, the field of competitors shot a total of 1,128 targets. Amazingly, 210 targets, roughly one-fifth of the total, had 5-shot groups under 2.10 inches. And 62 were less than 1.5 inches. Eleven targets had 5-shot groups measuring under one inch! Yes, sub-inch at 600! The smallest group shot at the Nationals was a tiny 0.624″ by Ben Peters. Donna Matthews shot the best overall target of 0.859″ with a score of 50. Amazingly, Donna’s 0.859″/50 was just one of ninety (90) perfect, 50-point scores.

Memphis Sport Shooting Association MSSA IBS 600-yard National Championship

CLICK HERE for Complete Results from 2014 IBS 600-Yard Nationals
Scroll to Bottom of Document for Top 20 Equipment List

Astonishing Rifle Precision at 600 Yards
There were sixty-two groups under 1.5″ (i.e. sub-quarter MOA) shot during the IBS 600-yard Nationals. And there were eleven groups under 1 inch. (All groups are five shots.) What’s more, three shooters had 16-target Aggregates under 2 inches (i.e. under 1/3-MOA). That’s stunning — the level of precision in today’s 600-yard game is amazing.

Total Targets Shot – 1128
Sub-2″ Groups Fired – 210
Groups Fired Less than 1.500″ – 62
Sub-1″ Groups Fired – 11
Small Group – 0.624″ (Ben Peters)
Best Single Target – 0.859″/50 Score (Donna Matthews)
Perfect Scores of 50 – 90

These impressive numbers demonstrate how competitive the 600-yard game is these days, and how hard it is to win (even when Mother Nature cooperates).

Ryan Hunt Wins Championship in Tight Battle
When the smoke cleared, Ryan Hunt was the Two-Gun winner, earning the title of 2014 IBS 600-yard National Champion. Congrats to Ryan, who finally won the Championship after finishing near the top three years running. Closely following Ryan were Steve Wilson in second and Darrell Dacus in third. To prove how tough this year’s event was, consider this: Hunt’s 16-target Group Aggregate was a mere 1.8868″, while second place Steve Wilson had a 1.9524″, and third-place Darrell Dacus had a 1.9744″. Those three marksmen all shot stunning, sub-2″, 16-target Aggregates! And the difference between first and third place (with 16 targets shot over two days) was a mere 0.0876″. Think about that….

Memphis Sport Shooting Association MSSA IBS 600-yard National Championship

The top three shooters in Light Gun (LG) overall were Bo Wass, followed by Ryan Hunt and Steve Wilson. LG group winners were Ryan Hunt followed by Spencer Lamm and Johnny Powers. In LG score, Bo Wass was #1, followed by Justin Roberson and past champion Sam Hall. Heavy Gun Group was won by Steve Wilson with Ben Peters and Mike Moses in second and third. (NOTE: Bo Wass shot a standard 6mmBR, not a 6BR improved, showing the parent cartridge is still competitive at 600.)

The top three shooters in Heavy Gun (HG) overall were Darrell Dacus, followed by Steve Wilson and Ryan Hunt. (Note: Darrell shot a straight 6mmBR with Berger 105s, not a Dasher.) HG score was won by Jim Bauer followed by Andy Ferguson and Darrell Dacus. Top Youth shooter was Rory Jacobs (5th Place Heavy Gun Overall). Among the lady shooters, Sally Bauer took top honors, finishing in 7th place in the Two Gun Overall. Donna Matthews also shot well finishing with 5th place in Light Gun score. To see all the standings, with complete match results, visit the IBS Long Range Results webpage.

Memphis Sport Shooting Association MSSA IBS 600-yard National Championship

Equipment: 6mm Dasher and Vapor Trail Bullets Dominate Memphis Match
The 6 Dasher was definitely the dominant cartridge shot this year, with the original 6mmBR a distant second. In the action department BAT was a runaway first with only two other manufacturers being listed. Barrels were a little more evenly distributed. Krieger and Brux had 8 entries each and Bartlein with 3. Nightforce scopes were well represented with 16 out of the Top 20 shooters (Top 10 LG and Top 10 HG). March, Leupold, and Sightron filled out the rest of that list. Lapua made a clean sweep with no other brass manufacturer listed. To our surprise, ALL Top 20 shooters used CCI 450 primers. Varget was the powder of choice with LRM (Long Range Match pull-down), IMR 8208 XBR, and Norma 203B each being mentioned once. Notably, in the bullet category, there was a new “most popular projectile” this year. Vapor Trail bullets were used by 10 out of the Top 20 competitors with Berger coming in second with 7 of the Top 20. Spencer and Fireform bullets each had one Top 20 selection.

Great Conditions in Memphis
We had great weather conditions to shoot this year. Mornings had temps in the mid 50s with minimal wind to start. The mirage showed up later in the morning but didn’t seem to affect the competition. The three full relays enjoyed temperatures in the mid-80s with mostly sunny skies. The afternoons were relatively calm and sunny to finish the shooting day. On both days, shooting finished around 2:00 and the rest of the day’s events were completed by 4:00 to 5:00 pm, leaving plenty of time to get cleaned up to go out for the evening.

Memphis Sport Shooting Association MSSA IBS 600-yard National Championship

Praise for the Match Organizers
We have to give lots of credit to the Range Official Malcom Koleas and the target crews for their flawless and determined execution of Relay changes, along with providing, clear, repetitive directions to the shooters. All competitors could easily see the results of the many hours of hard work that went into making this match run so well. Many thanks to Mike Moses, David Dorris, and the rest of the crew that made this shoot so special.

Memphis Sport Shooting Association MSSA IBS 600-yard National Championship

Thanks again to Memphis Sport Shooting Association and all other range owners for giving us a place to practice the shooting disciplines we enjoy. The MSSA range is open to their membership 7 days a week and can host almost every shooting discipline one can imagine. If you have get a chance, please take the time to visit this facility, a first rate club for sure.

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May 22nd, 2012

Potential 600-Yard IBS LG Aggregate Score Record Set in Memphis

Jerry Hurt IBS Light Gun RecordJerry Hurt set a pending new IBS 600-yard Light Gun Score Aggregate Record of 198 this weekend at the MSSA range in Memphis, Tennessee. If certified, this would beat the previous LG Record of 197 set by Sam Hall in 2011. The 198 score Four-Target Agg was well-centered with a 2.256″ Group Agg. One shot on Jerry’s third target appears to have just clipped the line for the 10. (See Target 3 Close-up Photo).

Forum member Tim Claunch reports: “Mr. Jerry Hurt had an exceptional Light Gun match and indeed scored a 198. I drew next bench to Jerry and was there watching him. You won’t find a nicer gentleman in our sport — congratulations Jerry Hurt!”. Match conditions were very good with partly sunny skies and 75° early temps with a light SW Tailwind.

Jerry was shooting a 16.86-lb, 6mm Dasher with a BAT two-lug Action and Shehane MBR stock in Obeche wood laminate. The 1.25″-straight contour 5C Broughton barrel is chambered with a 0.267″ neck for neck-turned brass with 0.265″ loaded necks. This barrel was purchased about a year ago, but only had about 150 rounds on it when Jerry shot the 198 score. Measuring 27.5″ long, this Broughton has proven exceptionally fast. Jerry’s chronographed velocities are significantly faster than other Dasher shooters — too fast to print. Let’s just say Jerry is running a very high speed node.

Jerry Hurt IBS Light Gun Record

Jerry Hurt IBS Light Gun RecordBerger 105gr Hybrids .030″ Off Lands
Jerry’s load consisted of Berger 105gr Hybrid bullets, seated 0.030″ off the lands and pushed by 33.0 grains of “Long-Range Match” pull-down (surplus) powder. This powder, which is very similar to Reloder 15, has produced some great results recently. Ron Boyd used it in his Dasher to shoot a 1.462″ 1000-yard group last month.

Notably, Jerry shot his Berger 105 hybrids “right out of the box… with no sorting, no pointing.” Jerry did tell us that: “this is a new lot of 105 Hybrids… obviously they are very, very good.”

Jerry praised his equipment. Along with his very fast Broughton barrel, Jerry gave credit to his Shehane MBR. “It’s a looker, that’s for sure. Because the 1.25″ straight barrel is heavy, I haven’t added weight to the stock but it still tracks really well.” Jerry also said that his Sure Feed Vertical Ammo Caddy helps him get rounds downrange quickly: “These work really well with the 6BR, Dasher, BRX. And I also have a second Sure Feed for my .300 Ackley 1000-yard gun. These are custom-made by Tim Sellars in Texas. They are set up for a particular cartridge type, and Tim customizes the Caddy to fit the height of your rifle on the rest. You want the bottom round in the stack — the one you grab — to be real close to the loading port.”

Sure Feed Ammo Caddies
Tim Sellars – Sure Feed
4704 Redondo Street
North Richland Hills, TX 76180
(817) 581-7665.

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February 19th, 2012

Forum Member Averages 1.677″ for Six Targets at 600 Yards

Tim Claunch (aka tclaunch) recently put on an amazing display of precision shooting. At an MSSA 600-yard Benchrest Score match in Memphis, TN, Forum member Tim shot six targets in a row, with an average 5-shot group size of 1.677″. Tim’s stellar performance began with a two-target shoot-off for club Shooter of the Year honors (he won). Then Tim shot four more targets as part of the club’s regular 4-target score match. NOTE: this is NOT an official six-target match result. The actual match that day was four (4) targets only, and Tim’s Agg for those four was about 1.8″, still darn impressive. No one is claiming any records here. Still give credit where credit is due — Tim put together six targets in a row, in competition, averaging 0.267 MOA for all six. Tim’s small group (of the six) was 1.351″ and his large group was 2.088″. That shows amazing consistency. This is spectacular shooting by any measure*.

Tim Claunch 6BRX Agg

Tim tells us: “I can check off one of the items on my ‘bucket list’ now — shooting a sub-two-inch Agg. We shot our monthly match here in Memphis at our awesome MSSA range. Though this was a score match, and the first two targets were part of a club shoot-off, I wondered about the average group size of all six. We measured all six targets I shot in sequence on Sunday. I was some kind of happy when I saw it was a 1.677″ 6-target average. That Bartlein and the .140″ FB BRX reamer are a good match. I used Varget with Berger 105gr VLDs and CCI 450 primers. I had never Agged under two inches before in my life (the 4-target Agg was 1.8″). Sure was nice to do it at home the first time.”

Tim Claunch 6BRX Agg

Tim shoots a 6mm BRX Light Gun with Shehane ST1000 Tracker stock, Borden Rimrock BR action, and Bartlein 6mm cut-rifled barrel. He uses a Leupold 45X scope in Burris Signature Zee rings sitting on a +20 MOA rail. Tim jokes: “People might laugh at my cheapo Burris rings. Well I guess those Signatures hold zero just fine.” Tim tried a power-booster lens on his Leupold for a while, but this altered eye relief, producing the occasional smack in the forehead. Not surprisingly, Tim removed the booster.

Borden Action with Dwight Scott Bolt and Firing Pin Upgrade
The action is a Borden Rimrock BR dual-port. “This action is smooth, and it allows me to rip ‘em when the conditions are good. For these six targets I shot fast.” The Borden action has some interesting mods: “The firing pin and bolt body were re-worked by Dwight Scott. He has a weight of pin to power of spring he worked out with Tony Boyer. I could tell a significant difference in performance.”


For better target resolution, click the gear-shaped icon and select 480p playback.

The stock is a Shehane fiberglass ST1000 Tracker bedded by TM Stockworks (Tom Meredith). The metalwork was done by Stephen Hall of Dyersburg, Tennessee. Tim reports: “I can’t say enough about this highly-talented guy. He’s a great smith and a great point-blank benchrest shooter himself. I’ve had four chambers cut by him and couldn’t be happier”. The barrel is a 1.250″ straight contour, finished at 26″. That’s a bit shorter than you’ll find on most 600-yard rigs these days, but Tim wanted some weight off the nose so he could add weight to the butt to balance the gun better (and still make weight). Tim raves about this Bartlein barrel: “Readers should not give up on maybe that next barrel being the one barrel a guy gets in a lifetime. I have tried all the cut-rifling barrel-makers, but I’ve recently gone to Bartlein. Based on my ratio of great-shooting barrels to average barrels I am there to stay.”

Tim’s Accurate Reloading Methods
Tim’s reloading procedures could rightly be described as the “relentless pursuit of perfection”. After two firings, once “the brass has settled down and conformed to the chamber”, Tim anneals his cases. He then re-anneals after EVERY subsequent firing. The brass he shot at the MSSA match had eight firings, so it had been annealed many times. Tim uses current-generation (blue box) Lapua 6mmBR brass, and he lightly turns his necks for an 0.269″-necked chamber. Tim points his bullets, but does not trim them: “These were pointed, no trimming, just point and shoot. I have shot a few of the new Berger hybrids, but I keep going back to the Berger VLDs.”

Superior accuracy, Tim believes, requires ultra-consistent neck tension. Tim uses a K&M arbor press with a force gauge. If the needle shows any notable variance in seating force, Tim will pull the round apart, run a mandrel in the neck, resize the neck, and re-seat the bullet. If the bullet still doesn’t seat smoothly, he won’t shoot the round for record. Tim is also particular about seating depth: “I measure every loaded round base to ogive using a comparator. All my match ammo is held to plus/minus .0005″ (i.e. one thousandth total spread) in base to ogive length. Yes, this is possible if you anneal regularly and monitor bullet-seating force carefully. If you can’t hold .001″ [base-to-ogive] tolerances with good bullets, that’s probably because of inconsistent neck tension.”

Secret of Success — Improved ‘Bench Manners’ and Gun Handling
Tim had a personal break-through not so long ago that improved his accuracy dramatically. Previously he got down on the gun, and would use some cheek pressure. But he noticed some erratic horizontal in his groups. Tim changed his shooting position, getting his head completely off the stock. The change worked: “After cleaning up my ‘bench manners’ and getting my head off the gun, my groups started shrinking. It was a real eye-opener.” Tim shoots with minimal hand contact (“just touching”) on the stock, and he doesn’t pin the gun to the stop. Tim explained: “I run the gun up to touch the stop before each shot, but I don’t use any shoulder pressure. I don’t push on the gun at all.”

Tim Claunch 6BRX Agg

You can learn more about Tim’s amazing six-target display of accuracy in this Forum thread. Registered Forum members can post questions about Tim’s rifle and the shooting conditions, and Tim will answer them when he has the opportunity.

* Just for comparison sake, the NBRSA official Light Gun 600-yard, 6-Target (30-shot) Agg record is 2.092″ (Robert Hoppe, 2006). The IBS official Light Gun 600-yard, 4-Target (20-shot) record is 1.6068″ (Sam Hall, 2011). The IBS does not list a LG 6-target Agg record for 600 yards.

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