September 5th, 2018

IBS 1000-Yard Nationals Match Report from Montana

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

Report by Boyd Allen, IBS Vice President
Photos by Gordie Gritters and Alex Wheeler
The 2018 IBS 1000-Yard Nationals event was hosted by the Montana NW 1000 Yard BR Club, which has an active and well-run 1K benchrest shooting program. Over eighty shooters from as far away as Indonesia participated, 82 in Light Gun, and 85 in Heavy Gun. By all accounts it was a very well-run match, that was enjoyed by all who attended.

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting
The Deep Creek Range is a beautiful place to shoot, with normally favorable conditions. But the winds were challenging at the 2018 IBS 1000-yard Nationals.

One man, Carroll Lance, dominated the match, taking the 2-Gun Overall Aggregate, while also winning HG Score Agg, HG Group Agg, and HG Overall Agg. It was a masterful performance — Carroll shot his Light Gun in both classes, beating dozens of bigger, heavier, and much more expensive rifles. Carroll’s name will be placed on four IBS perpetual trophies. Here’s Carroll with his line-up of trophies.

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

Winning Form — Carroll Lance Talks Technique
When asked for his advice to a new shooter, Big Winner Carroll Lance said: “Shooters should concentrate on being smooth, so as not to disturb the rifle in the bags. Speed will come naturally. The common mistake is to try to run the shots faster than can be done smoothly.”

Aerial Drone Video Shows Deep Creek Range outside Missoula, Montana. Worth Watching!

Challenging Conditions at Match
While Deep Creek is renown for often having good, “readable” conditions, this was a tough year according to Deep Creek veterans. As proof, there were five DQs on a single relay.

Tom Mosul (who ran the firing line for most of the event) noted that conditions were not extreme but could be tricky, with max wind speed s10-15 mph. It varied enough that being on some relays could effectively put a competitor out of the tournament. Tom also mentioned that indicators that he normally could depend on were not reliable this year.

Leo Anderson, who has been present at nearly all the 1000-yard matches ever held at Deep Creek, said this 2018 match had some of the trickiest conditions he has seen in 20 years of competition. Leo said you could not see the conditions causing POI changes. Alex Wheeler agreed, and added that although it was pretty calm at the benches, that the scorer who was running targets (from the pits to the firing line) said there was a strong cross wind half way down range that could not be felt at the pits or firing line…typical for Deep Creek, tough to read when it does decide to be nasty.

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

Summary of IBS 1000-Yard Nationals Match Results

For those who are unfamiliar with long range benchrest results, there are seven categories of winners, with seven corresponding traveling trophies (the big ones that bear the names of each year’s winners). For each of the two rifle classes (Light Gun and Heavy Guun) there are group, score, and overall aggregate winners (every target is both measured for group size and scored.) Finally, there is a 2-Gun winner for both rifle classes combined, based on group AND score.

With over eighty competitors, the PDF of the complete results, including those of every relay plus a very detailed list of the equipment used by every competitor for both classes, is a whopping 52 pages long. Links Below:

CLICK HERE for full Results PDF | CLICK HERE for Category Results Plus Equipment Lists

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

Equipment List Light Gun and Heavy Gun Classes
The seven travelling trophies went to just three shooters. Cody Finch won the LG Group aggregate. Tim Gonnerman won the LG Score aggregate and LG Overall aggregate. Carroll Lance won everything else — HG Score aggregate, HG Group aggregate, HG Overall aggregate, and the 2-Gun Overall.

Big winner Carroll Lance shot his 6mm Dasher Light Gun for both classes. The rifle, smithed by Jay Cutright, features a Borden BRM drop port action, Krieger barrel, Wheeler LRB stock, and Nightforce scope. Carroll’s match-winning load consisted of Vapor Trail bullets, in front of H4895 powder and CCI primers.

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

Cody Finch’s Light Gun was a 6BR Ackley (6BRA) with Lederer barrel, BAT action, Nightforce scope, and a DCT stock. His load consisted of Vapor Trail bullets, Hodgdon powder, and CCI primers. Alex Wheeler smithed the rifle.

Tim Gonnerman’s Light Gun, smithed by Mike Bigelow, featured a Krieger barrel (6mm Dasher), BAT action, Nightforce scope, and McMillan stock. The load consists of Vapor Trail bullets, H4895 powder, and CCI 450 primers.

Equipment List by Class Based on Two-Gun Overall Agg Rankings
Light Gun Equipment List (click to zoom):
IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

Heavy Gun Equipment List (click to zoom):
IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

CLICK HERE for Full Equipment List for All Classes

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

Top Guns Talk — What the Winners Revealed

I called the major Aggregate winners (Carroll Lance, Cody Finch, and Tim Gonnerman), and asked them about the 1K Nationals. My questions fell into five major categories: 1) how the wind compared to other matches (including other locations); 2) how each handles his rifle and equipment; 3) how they shot the match; 4) how they clean their barrels (and what their barrel accuracy life is); and 5) How they reload.

They all described the conditions as challenging. This was not a match to use for spotting small differences in accuracy between similar calibers. Even with the rotations of relays and benches, there was an inescapable luck factor, with some relays having significantly more challenging conditions than others. Changes could be rapid, with reversals that could be extreme.

Gun-Handling: On the subject of how the rifle is handled, Cody Finch shoots with only trigger contact, while Tim Gonnerman and Carroll Lance have light stock contact. Tim said that he is so focused on shooting that he is really not aware of the details of how he handles the rifle. Carroll said that he makes light contact with his trigger hand and has the butt touching his shoulder so lightly that he can barely feel it, but solidly enough that it only recoils about a quarter inch.

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

Shooting Strategies: Cody uses his sighter period to investigate how differences in mirage affect bullet impact location and then holds off shot by shot during his record string. Tim and Carroll do not, they adjust their scopes using the last sighter shot (which they can see because there is target service like an high power match with spotter disks) and then hold center for their record, trying to do as little with their rest adjustments as possible. Carroll mentioned that he only made one adjustment for the whole weekend and that his usual practice is to make small corrections with hand pressure.

Barrel Cleaning: Tim shot the whole weekend, without cleaning. When he does clean he uses Pro Shot Copper Solvent, patches, a nylon brush, and does a lot of soaking. Periodically he uses IOSSO with a patch on a nylon brush. He breaks in his barrels with the common one-shot-and-clean progressing to three and then five, and, sees a velocity increase at about 120 rounds from new. Tim cleans with patches and bronze brushes. I smiled when he told me what he cleans with, CLR, ThorroClean (Bullet Central) and IOSSO. CLR has been the topic of some discussion on the internet, and a friend found that it did a good job on carbon. It has been a controversial topic. Of note, Tim shot the smallest group for the tournament.

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

Barrel Life: All three Top Guns said that accurate barrel life varied from barrel to barrel. I got the general impression that most were done or close to done by 1,500 rounds, at least for the Dasher, with the BRA being too new to tell if it would stretch that far, but that it might.

Reloading Methods: On the reloading side, none of them anneal regularly, if at all. Carroll’s cases had 15-20 firings on them, and had only been annealed once, early on, but they still felt good when he was seating bullets. Last year he tried to anneal after every event.

Most of his competition has been at 600 yards, where Varget did a good job, with bullets seated .010 to .012 into the lands, but it did not perform well at 1K so he switched to H4895, which likes its bullets .005 into the lands. The chamber has a .268 neck. Case necks were turned to .0105 for a loaded round clearance of about .003. He used a .263 bushing.

Starting with a fired case, he sizes in a FL bushing die, tumbles in corn cob media to remove the lube, and just before seating bullets applies graphite to the insides of case necks with a Q-Tip.

Course of Fire at 1K Nationals (as explained by Tom Mosul):
“Relays were rotated along with bench assignment within each relay. The match is a three-target Aggregate, so what we did was divide the total number of relays and benches by 3, and then rounded down. Due to the number of benches (13) and shooters there were seven relays per target. Saturday morning started with LG target #1, followed by HG target #1, finishing the day with LG target #2. Sunday morning began with HG target #2, then LG target #3, and finished with HG target #3. For each relay six minutes are allowed for sighter shots, followed by a cease fire, and within a minute after that, a ten-minute record period.”

True Treasure Trove of Prizes at Deep Creek

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting
There was a very rich prize table, including BAT, Borden, Curtis Custom, and Defiance actions; McMillan, McMillan/Wheeler and Shehane stocks; Kahles, Nightforce, Swarovski, and Vortex Scopes; SEB NEO Rest; Benchsource Annealing machine; Bartlein, Brux, Lilja, Krieger, and Rock Creek barrels; Zeiss Binoculars; many gift certificates (incl. Kelbly’s and McMillan) and much more.

The Top Guns got the pick of the prizes. Carroll Lance chose a Kahles 10-50 rifle scope, Tim Gonnerman chose a BAT Neuvo action, and Cody Finch chose a Borden BRM action.

NOTE: Prizes that manufacturers and vendors contribute are an important part of any successful match. I am sure that everyone who was connected with this event is grateful to all the generous sponsors who donated prizes and gift certificates. Sebastian Lambang (shown below), creator of SEB Rests, shot the match and donated a SEB NEO rest.

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting

More Photos — Hundreds of Photos
Here are links to ALL pictures that Gordy Gritters and Alex Wheeler were kind enough to take at the 2018 IBS 1000-Yard Nationals. There are 359 images altogether:

Match Photos by Gordy Gritters (279 photos) | Match Photos by Alex Wheeler (80 photos)

Parting Shot — How to “Make Weight” in a hurry:

IBS 1000 One Thousand 1000-yard Nationals National Championship Missoula Montana MT Deep Creek benchrest precision shooting
This shows Tom Jacobs of Vapor Trail Bullets holding his match rifle while Gordy Gritters drills a couple of ounces out of the butt. We’re told Tom knew he was an ounce heavy when he got there.

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June 11th, 2018

Amazing 1K Video: 10 Shots in 4.554″ at 1000 Yards (100-6X)

6mm DasherHow well can the little 6mm Dasher perform at 1000 yards when the conditions are good, and the shooter is riding a hot streak? Well here’s a shot-by-shot record of Scott Nix’s 4.554″ ten-shot group shot at Missoula, Montana at the Northwest 1000-yard Championship a few years back. All 10 shots were centered for a 100-6X score. That’s about as good as it gets. If Scott had stopped after 5 shots, his group would have been under three inches.

Scott Nix Dasher Record

Video Demonstrates Amazing 1000-Yard Accuracy
Watch the video. You can see the group form up, shot by shot. It’s pretty amazing. Scott’s first shot (at the 45-second mark of the video) was right in the X-Ring, and four of Scott’s first five shots were Xs. That’s drilling them! This video was recorded from the pits at the 1000-yard line, during record fire.

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June 27th, 2016

The Amazing 6mm Dasher: 10 Shots in 4.554″ at 1000 Yards

Scott Nix Dasher Record

6mm DasherHow well can the 6mm Dasher perform at 1000 yards when conditions are good, and the shooter is riding a hot streak? Well here’s a shot-by-shot record of Scott Nix’s 4.554″ 10-shot group shot at Missoula, Montana at the Northwest 1000-yard Championship a few years back. All 10 shots were centered for a 100-6X score. That’s about as good as it gets. If Scott had stopped after 5 shots, his group would have been under 3 inches!

Video Demonstrates Amazing 1000-Yard Accuracy
Watch the video. You can see the group form up, shot by shot. It’s pretty amazing. Scott’s first shot (at the 45-second mark of the video) was right in the X-Ring, and four of Scott’s first five shots were Xs. That’s drilling them! This video was recorded from the pits at the 1000-yard line, during record fire.

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August 10th, 2015

IBS Range Spotlight: Deep Creek Rifle Range in Montana

Missoula Montana MT NW 1000 Yard Club IBS
Deep Creek 1000-yard line: 46°55’35.03” N 114°14’45.40” W, elevation 3355′.

The International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) welcomes the Montana NW 1000 Yard Benchrest Club as a newly-affiliated club hosting registered IBS matches. The Montana club’s origins go back to 1996 when the Whitefish (Montana) Rifle and Pistol Club affiliated with the Original Pennsylvania 1000-Yard Benchrest Club (Williamsport) to conduct 1000-yard matches. Early in 1998 the Northwest 1000-Yard Benchrest Association was formed to promote 1000-yard benchrest competition in affiliation with Williamsport. The Club now operates at the Deep Creek Range as the Montana NW 1000 Yard Benchrest Club (www.MT1000yd.com), an IBS-affilated organization.

Deep Creek Range Website Deep Creek Range YouTube Channel
Deep Creek Range Facebook Page Destination Missoula Travel Page

2015 Championships at Deep Creek
The 2015 Championships were held this past weekend, August 7-9. The video below features the winners from this year’s championships, Tom Mousel (Two-Gun Overall), Leo Anderson (Heavy Gun Overall), and Bill Johnson (Light Gun Overall). The three winners describe their equipment. Tom shot a pair of 17-lb 6mm Dashers, running Vapor Trail Bullets pushed by CCI 400 primers and Hodgdon H4895 powder. The brass is Lapua 6mmBR hydro-formed to Dasher with lightly-turned necks.

Here is one of Tom Mousel’s match-winning rifles, and an impressive 100-3X, 10-shot target:

Missoula Montana MT NW 1000 Yard Club IBS

The Club holds 12 shoots per year over six weekends that count towards the 6- and 10-shot Aggregates for the year. The Championship Shoot held in August is match number 11 and 12 and does not count for Aggs. More than $20,000 worth of prizes were donated by major sponsors this year. The prize table featured scopes from Nightforce and Vortex, actions from DeFrance, Borden, BAT, Kelbly, and Stiller, plus barrels from Bartlein, Benchmark, Brux, Caliber, Krieger, and McGowen.

Missoula Montana MT NW 1000 Yard Club IBS

The Deep Creek Rifle Range is located near Missoula, Montana. Club members are continually upgrading the 1000-Yard Range, which has become one of the best long-distance benchrest shooting facilities in the country. The Deep Creek Rifle Range invites shooters to visit this scenic shooting facility. Participation in club matches continues to grow, and club members hold several 1000-yard World Records for group, score, and Aggregates of both. For more information on club shoots and joining the club, contact Alex Wheeler: zfast_malibu [at] yahoo.com.

Here’s “Bunker Buster”, a metal-stocked Heavy Gun (HG):
Missoula Montana MT Iron Horse grill

At Deep Creek, competitors shoot three (3) classes: IBS Light Gun (LG), IBS Heavy Gun (HG), and a special 11-pound class. At registered matches, Light Gun shoots five shots per relay, Heavy Gun shoots 10 shots, while the 11-pound class shoots five shots. For more information on classes and courses of fire, visit MT1000yd.com or send email to: northwest1000ydbenchrest [at] gmail.com.

Missoula Montana MT NW 1000 Yard Club IBS

New World Records Set at July 2015 Match:
Important 1K records were set at the Club’s July 9-10 match earlier this summer. Tom Mousel broke the Light Gun 10-match score record and Heavy Gun 10-match group record. Jim Williams broke the HG 10-match score Agg record. In the video below, Tom Mousel talks about his record-breaking performances.

Missoula, Montana Travel Tips
The City of Missoula is nestled in the Northern Rockies of Montana, at the confluence of three rivers. Surrounded by seven wilderness areas, Missoula is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. You can kayak, raft or tube through downtown, or take a relaxing hike in 60,000 acres of wilderness minutes from your hotel. Missoula is known for blue-ribbon trout fishing (made famous by the movie A River Runs Through It) and spectacular natural beauty.

Missoula Montana MT Iron Horse grill
Missoula Sunset, photo courtesy Iron Horse Bar & Grill, IronHorseBrewPub.com.

Missoula is a popular destination for shopping and dining, featuring three shopping districts and an abundance of restaurants, cafes, and brew-pubs with something to fit all budgets and palates. Known for its eclectic culture, Missoula offers a wide variety of entertainment including theater, film festivals, college sports, ballet, and even roller derby.

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April 21st, 2015

Deep Creek Drone — High Definition Bird’s Eye View Movie

The Deep Creek Range near Missoula, Montana, is one of the best 1000-yard ranges in the country. Many long-range benchrest records have been set in this scenic, tree-lined facility. Now, thanks to Forum member David Gosnell (aka “Zilla”), you can see Deep Creek from the air. David attached a High-Def video camera to a quad-rotor drone. He then flew the drone over the Deep Creek Range, soaring from firing line to the target bay and back again. We think you’ll like this video. It gives you a “birds-eye view” of one of America’s elite ranges. Enjoy.

deep creek range Missoula Montana

(more…)

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June 23rd, 2013

Duane Capehart, Noted 1000-Yard Shooter, Has Left the Range

Dawn Patrol Duane Capehart Missoula Deep Creek MontanaWe are sad to announce the passing of Duane Capehart, a leading figure in the long-range shooting community. Duane passed away in early June, and is survived by his wife Pat. Duane was one of the game-changing Montana marksmen who smashed records at the Missoula Deep Creek range.

Duane was always ready to share his knowledge with fellow shooters, and he helped this website with many projects. His friend Tom Mousel tells us: “Duane was among a handful of guys that started 1000-yard benchrest here in Montana. The man was breaking records before most of us knew what ‘MOA’ was, and he remained competitive to the very end. He and his wife Pat were the backbone of our club for many years. I will miss you my friend.”

We are much diminished by Duane’s passing. Those who knew Duane are very saddened by this loss. Here are some remembrances from our Forum members:

Duane Capehart was a truly great Hall of Fame shooter and a noble man. I am grateful for the wisdom he shared with me. He was a great fellow shooter at the range, that he helped build, especially on those frosty mornings. He never hesitated to help a new shooter. He was a good friend and neighbor here in the Bitterroot. He will be long remembered. My condolences, Pat. — Greg R.

Duane and I shot together many times and always had lots of fun before, during, and after the shoots. He will be missed for sure by the 1000-yard community and especially by the Missoula bunch. God bless you Pat, our thoughts and prayers are with you. — Diane & Bill Shehane

I had the honor and privilege to shoot against and converse with Duane on three occasions, and also by phone[.] Duane was funny, witty, sincere, and a friend to everyone. He was one of the best 1000-yard shooters in the business. My heart and prayers go out to Pat, and all his family. — Donovan M.

I met Duane just four years ago. He welcomed me at Deep Creek and he and I spent many a morning before the shoots visiting about shooting, hunting, work and everything in between. People there always seemed to look up to Duane, and once you got to know him you understood why. I will never forget some of the shoots with him, he was an amazing shooter, several times while pulling his targets he would not even be on target with his sighters. But then the record target would go up and he would pull off a 98 or a 99, or even a 100. This did not just happen once either — Duane [was] simply an amazing guy! I helped him and Pat hook up their camper at the end of the August final shoot last year, shook his hand goodbye and he said “I will see ya in the spring young man”. Well that didn’t happen but I will always remember Duane and always be grateful that he was my friend. Happy shooting in Heaven Duane, and God Bless you Pat. — Wayne B.

Duane’s Dawn Patrol
Duane took this photo at the Deep Creek Range in March a few years back during one of his “Dawn Patrol” missions. Temperature? Duane said it was about 17 degrees! Now that’s dedication. Duane truly loved the shooting sports. He will be missed.

Dawn Patrol Duane Capehart Missoula Deep Creek Montana

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October 21st, 2011

Regional at Deep Creek — Montana’s Home of World Records

Match Report by Jamey Williams
In late September, the Deep Creek Range in Missoula, MT hosted its Second Annual Montana Long Range and F-Class Regional. Like last year, the match was a sell-out with 51 shooters. Competitors cames from all over the nation, from Pennsylvania to Oregon. The conditions at the range were some of the best ever and the scores of the shooters reflected this. Many folks shot personal bests at this match — some are likely to move up in their NRA classifications.

Missoula Deep Creek Range Montana

This year the match sponsors included US Tactical Supply and Bryan Litz’s AppliedBallistics.com. Both sponsors generously donated terrific prizes that were given out at the awards ceremony. The attendance at the two-day event was nearly an even split of sling shooters and F-Class shooters. Newcomers are always encouraged to sign up and try their hand at long-range shooting, and there were a handful of first-time competitors. The Army National Guard was well-represented with 19 soldiers, spread between the F-TR rifle Division and the Match Rifle/Palma Rifle Divisions. Most of the soldiers competing in the F-TR division were using their issued M24s and M110s.

Last year, SSG Allen Spiker, SFC Bob Evans and Nicole Hagedorn all established NRA National Records (in their respective categories) for their performances at the Montana LR and F-Class Regional (report from 2010: Record Broken at Deep Creek Range). This year, SSG Allen Spiker raised the bar, eclipsing his previous record with a pending new record. In the Palma Rifle division, Spiker fired a 1088 – 48X (1100 – 110X possible), beating his previous record mark by one X.

Missoula, MT High Power

The Deep Creek Range is located within 30 minutes of the heart of Missoula. The range complex is surrounded by mountains and pine trees, with great western scenery. Deep Creek also has some unique qualities. Most of the ranges in the Northern Rockies are noted for their challenging conditions, but traditionally, the Deep Creek range affords the shooter some of the best conditions they are likely to encounter anywhere. In addition to the NRA High Power records that continue to be established there, the Montana Northwest 1000-Yard Bench Rest Club is frequently in the shooting news — records seem to be broken every season. If you are interested in attending any of the F-Class or High Power matches there in 2012, contact Jamey Williams at jameydan [at] gmail.com, or visit HellgateCSA.org.

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August 18th, 2011

Big Turn-Out at Montana Northwest 1000-Yard Championships

The Montana Northwest 1000-Yard Benchrest Association held its annual Championship match last weekend at the Deep Creek Range near Missoula, Montana. The match drew talent from across the nation. 57 shooters attended the two-day event, and many states were represented: California, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington — even Pennsylvania.

Dashers Dominate Two-Gun Results
Dashers ruled the roost for the most part, with four of the top five in the Two-Gun shooting 6mm Dashers. Leo Anderson (Dasher) finished first in Two-Gun, followed by Robert Hoppe (Dasher), Mike Thomas (Dasher), Richard Schatz (Dasher), and Don Nielson (6.5×47 Lapua). Leo Anderson also won the Heavy Gun Overall, followed by Dennis Peterson, and Robert Hoppe. Cody Finch topped the 17-pound class, ahead of runner-up Robert Hoppe, with Leo Anderson coming in third. Lonnie Anderson won the 11-Pound Sporter Class, ahead of Scott Nix and Kevin Watson.

Montana NW 1000-yard Association

Conditions Were Hot But Relatively Calm
Montana shooter Tom Mousel, who finished 6th in the two-gun overall, reports that: “It was a very calm, high pressure weekend, so much of the home field advantage wasn’t there. There was some mirage in the 90° heat, but mirage was really quite manageable. The stable conditions made for a very close match, with competitors from outside Montana giving the locals a run for their money.” As usual, the club had a rich prize table — there were over $27,000.00 worth of prizes and give-aways.

Highlights for the weekend included Barry Bluhm’s 3.624″/99 in Heavy Gun class on Saturday. Barry, who shots a 6-6.5×47 Lapua, proved you don’t have to run a Dasher to shoot small. Three perfect 100 scores were shot at the match. In Light Gun, Roger Hoppe fired a 100/5.947″ on Saturday, while Mike Thomas got his first perfect score with a 100/6.664″ on Sunday with his Light Gun. Deep Creek Ace Leo Anderson nailed a 100/5.432″ in the Heavy Gun class on Sunday.

Two-Gun Overall
1. Leo Anderson 15
2. Robert Hoppe 17
3. Mike Thomas 20
4. Richard Schatz 22
5. Don Nielson 23
6. Tom Mousel 26
7. Cody Finch 28
8. Bud Williams 28
9. Jack Peterson 30
10. Monte Foust 31
Heavy Gun Overall
1. Leo Anderson 6
2. Dennis Peterson 9 (5.876″)
3. Robert Hoppe 9 (8.3155″)
4. Mike Hern 9 (8.419″)
5. Tom Mousel 10 (7.083″)
6. Mike Thomas 10 (9.0685″)
7. Richard Schatz 10 (9.8235″)
8. Don Nielson 11
9. Vince Kruse 13
10. Lonnie Anderson 14
17-Pound Gun Overall
1. Cody Finch 7
2. Robert Hoppe 8
3. Leo Anderson 9
4. Mike Thomas 10 (7.1765″)
5. Bud Williams 10 (7.566″)
6. Jack Peterson 10 (7.609″)
7. Monte Foust 12 (8.690″)
8. Don Nielson 12 (8.787″)
9. Richard Schatz 12 (9.165″)
10. Ray Huffman 12 (9.294″)
11-Pound Sporter Class
1. Lonnie Anderson 6
2. Scott Nix 7
3. Kevin Watson 9
4. Cody Finch 10
5. Terry Hettich 13
6. Richard Schatz 13
7. Dirk Bluhm 15
8. Jack Peterson 17
9. Gary Christian 17
10. Bruce Bangeman 17

Leo Anderson Equipment:
Light Gun: 6mm Dasher, Stiller Viper drop port, Lawrence rifle barrel, Nightforce scope, Shehane stock, metal smithing by King Machine.
Heavy Gun: 6mm Dasher, Stiller Viper drop port, Lawrence rifle barrel, Nightforce scope, Bangeman stock, metal smithing by King Machine.

Dennis Peterson Equipment:
Light Gun + Heavy Gun (Dennis shoots one 17-pounder in both): 6mm Dasher, Defiance action, Lawrence rifle barrel, Nightforce scope, Shehane stock, smithing by Jeff Lawrence.

Match Sponsors Included: Bartlein Barrels, BAT Machine, Berger Bullets, Brownells, Burris, D&B Supply, Defiance, Dewey Mfg., Forster Products, Hodgdon Powder, Ron Hoehn, Lee Precision, Leica, Krieger Barrels, Lilja Barrels, Don Nielson, Nikon, Pacific Tool & Gauge, Pro-Shot, Sierra Bullets, Sure-Fire, Swarovski, Vortex Optics and Zeiss.

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July 18th, 2011

Leo Anderson Smashes 1000-Yard Score Aggregate Records

Leo Anderson 1000 yard recordMontana 1K benchrest shooter Leo Anderson has set a pair of astounding multi-match Light Gun Score Agg records. These are “records for the ages”. This season, Leo’s 6-match Score Aggregate was 99.5 (99,99,99,100,100,100), while his 10-match Score Aggregate was 96.8 (84,94,95,98,99,99,99,100,100,100). That’s amazing consistency. Given how hard it is to shoot a single 100 score at 1000 yards, Leo’s Aggs are jaw-dropping. It will be a long time before these Agg records are broken (if they ever are). Leo set his 99.5 (6-match) and 96.8 (10-match) records shooting a 17-lb rifle chambered for the 6mm Dasher. The Lawrence barrel was chambered by Montana gunsmith John King and Leo did the stock work himself (starting with a Shehane MBR Tracker).

Leo Anderson 1000 yard record

99.5 Six-Match Agg and 96.5 Ten-Match Agg at 1000 Yards
Leo set these multi-match Agg records at the Deep Creek Range near Missoula, Montana. Tom Mousel, another record-holding Montana shooter reports: “Our Agg season is now complete here in Montana. Leo ‘Legend’ Anderson has broken both the 6-match and 10-match score aggregate records. He hasn’t just broken them, he has smashed them, with a couple Aggs that are truly remarkable. As a fellow 1000-yard competitor, I fully understand what it takes to grind out a quality Aggregate. What Leo has done this year is the most impressive thing I think we might ever see in the 1000-yard benchrest game. Leo is one of the best of the ‘good guys’, and also, in my opinion, Leo is the best 1000-yard shooter to ever grace our sport. You’d have to check with Leo, but I believe these are his 14th and 15th world records in his career. Leo also holds our Club record for Light Gun group and score, when he drilled a 3.476″/100 back in August of 2008″. (See photo below)

Leo Anderson 1000 yard record

Record-Breaking 6mm Dasher Light Gun Specs
There’s nothing really exotic about the 17-lb Light Gun with which Leo set his score records. The stock is a laminated Shehane MBR Tracker with some modifications by Leo to make it track better. Leo altered the angle of the toe to match the forearm and modified the taper of the sides of the buttstock to ride better in the bags. Pillar-bedded into the stock is a Stiller Viper Drop Port. Leo loves this action. He says it is very fast to operate and the flat bottom makes it easy to install in the stock. In addition, the Viper action works well with his preferred CCI 400 primers: “I can run stout loads of H4895 with the Viper without cratering the primers. Some guys with other factory and custom actions have problems with the CCI 400s which are not as hard as the 450s.”

The 29.5″, 5-groove, 0.237″ land, HV-counter barrel was crafted by Lawrence Barrels. Based in Lewiston, Montana, Lawrence Barrels currently makes mostly AR barrels, but Leo says they make great cut-rifled tubes: “I currently have Lawrence barrels on both my Light Gun and my Heavy Gun. These Lawrence barrels both shoot great. I think they are the equal of the best examples from top barrel-makers such as Krieger and Bartlein.” Leo has tried straight-contour barrels, but he prefers some taper (similar to a Krieger #17 contour): “In my experience, tapered barrels seem to shoot better, at least in a 17-pounder. The gun is less nose-heavy and tracks better.” The barrel on Leo’s record-setting Light Gun currently has about 900 rounds through it.

For optics, Leo runs a 12-42x56mm Nightforce BR model with NP2DD reticle. Leo tells us: “the NP2DD reticle is my favorite and I have great confidence in the Nightforce. We tried it side-by-side with a big name European-made high magnification scope, and the Nightforce was visibly better. At 1000 yards it had better clarity, better sharpness, better resolution.”

Record Setting Dasher Recipe: Berger 105gr VLD, Hodgdon H4895, CCI 400, Lapua Brass
While many top 6mmBR and Dasher shooters use Varget or Reloder 15, Leo prefers Hodgdon H4895, which has a slightly faster burn rate. Leo tells us: “Right now, the H4895 and CCI combo is giving the best accuracy, and it’s a clean combination. I’ve shot a lot of Reloder 15, but the H4895 burns so much cleaner.” Leo’s load is running around 3050 fps, but “he’s not too concerned with what the chronograph says — when we tune our loads we go by what shows up on the target.” Leo is loading a bit more than 32 grains of H4895. (Editor’s NOTE: This load is for fully fire-formed Dasher cases ONLY. It is NOT safe to use in a 6mmbr with 105s.) Leo’s favorite projectiles are the “thin-jacket” Berger 105gr VLDs, pointed with a Whidden pointing tool. Leo turns his necks with a K&M neck turner.

To save on barrel life, Leo fire-forms his brass using a separate barrel. He prepares the brass with a false shoulder, then fires the cases loaded with pistol powder, cream of wheat and low-density plug in the end. He tried forming case with pistol powder alone, but that required much more powder and didn’t produce results as good as the cream of wheat method.

Shooting Fast — the Importance of Smooth Tracking
Leo tells us that you need a great-tracking rig to be competitive in the 1K game these days: “Some guys are getting 10 shots downrange in 20 seconds or less. It takes me about 30 seconds.” To shoot that fast, the gun needs to track perfectly so you can just slide it back and stay on target. “If you want to shoot fast, everything’s got to be working right — and your stock really needs to track well. If you’re chasing the knobs on your rest, you’re not getting [your bullets] down range.” Leo says the stock’s geometry must be “near perfect” in order for the gun to come back to the same spot shot after shot.

Leo Anderson’s Advice for New Long-Range Shooters.

We asked Leo if he had any advice for shooters new to the long-range benchrest game. Here are some of his thoughts:

1. Pick a Winning Cartridge – Leo thinks the Dasher is just about perfect for a 17-lb rifle: “Any more cartridge than that, you have too much gun movement. Something in the Dasher range is the perfect size. We shoot the Dashers around the 3050 fps node. Even with the 6-6.5×47 you’re just burning more powder, and at the higher node, the gun starts rocking and things start getting away from you.”

2. Get Good Equipment Right from the Start – “Go ahead and bite the bullet and buy good stuff right off. Too many guys try to get off cheap in the beginning. They end up buying two or three guns as they upgrade. You save money in the long run by buying good stuff in the beginning.”

3. Practice, Practice, Practice – “We get a lot of practice in the process of tuning and load development. We put in the time — on things like bullet sorting, case prep, load tuning.”

4. Keep Pushing for Perfection – “A lot of guys get a load that seems pretty good, and then they get lazy. Don’t be content when you get a 6-inch group at 1000, because the gun might shoot a LOT better. I’ve got Aggs in the five-inch range.”

Leo Anderson 1000 yard record
Leo reports: “Here’s our ‘secret’ 1000-yard range out in the sticks where we do some spring tuning”.

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February 24th, 2011

Match Schedules Set by 1000-Yard Shooting Clubs

NC BR 1000 Yard Association

Both the North Carolina 1000-Yard Benchrest Shooters Assn. and the Montana NW 1000-Yard Benchrest Club have released their 2011 match schedules. You can access the schedules via the links below:

NC 1000-Yard BRSA Schedule

2011 Matches
Match | Date
1 & 2: 4-9-11
3 & 4: 4-30-11
5 & 6: 5-14-11
7 & 8: 6-4-11
Makeup: 7-16-11*
9 & 10: 9-10-11
Makeup: 10-8-11*

*Shot only if regularly scheduled matches are postponed due to inclement weather.

Montana NW 1000-Yard BR Club Schedule

2011 Match Dates
March 26-27
April 23-24
May 14-15
June 11-12
July 9-10.
August 12-14 Championship Shoot

Extra practice days are: March 13th, April 10th, March 26-27, April 23-24, May 14-15, June 11-12, July 9-10.

The 1000 Yard Range is available for practice on Mondays and Fridays, March 1st to August 31st, from 8:00 AM until Noon. We will have the range all day on Friday before each shoot.

NC BR 1000 Yard Association

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August 22nd, 2010

Dashers Rule at NW 1000-Yard Championship in Montana

The Montana NW 1000-Yard Benchrest Club held its annual Championship at the Deep Creek Range near Missoula, Montana last weekend August 13-15. A record number of shooters attended. The winds were strong and shifty at times, and were “not typical Deep Creek conditions” according to Tom Mousel, the overall Two-Gun Winner. Despite the challenging conditions (some shooters had trouble staying on paper), competitors went home happy as match organizers gave out over $21,500.00 worth of prizes. All 56 shooters left with a prize, and many of the top competitors came home with a brand new Nightforce scope. Top shooters included: 2-Gun Champion – Tom Mousel (Kalispell, MT); Heavy Gun Winner – Ed Janikowsky (Kalispell, MT); 17 lb. Class Winner – Leo Anderson (Kalispell, MT); and 11 lb. Class Winner – Duane Capehart (Sula, MT).

Montana 1000-yard Championship

Montana 1000-yard Championship

Saturday Match Results & Equipment List (MS Word)| Sunday Match Results & Equipment List (MS Word)

Over the course of the weekend, despite the difficult winds, some great groups and scores were shot. Richard Schatz of Bismark, ND, nailed a 100 score/5.502″ group on Saturday, and Scott Nix of Whitefish, MT, shot a remarkable 100 score/4.556″ group on Sunday. Both men were shooting 6mm Dashers. Schatz got his 100 in a Heavy Gun Relay (though his rifle is not a true Heavy), while Nix shot his century score in 17-lb. Relay. Two-Gun Overall Champ Tom Mousel shot a 6mm Dasher in both 17-lb and Heavy Gun Classes. Tom’s match-winning and record-setting Dasher features a Stiller Viper Drop-port action, Krieger 8-twist barrel, Nightforce scope, and Shehane Tracker stock. Tom’s gun was smithed by Montana gunsmith John King (King Machine). Tom shoots Berger 105gr VLDs, pushed by a stout load of H4895, with CCI 400 primers. Tom has at least 12 firings on his Lapua cases, which he anneals every 3-4 firings with a Bench-Source annealing machine.

Tom Mousel 6mm Dasher Record

6mm Dashers Dominate 2010 Montana 1000-Yard Championship
Missoula’s Deep Creek Range is definitely “Dasher Country” and the diminutive 6mmBR Improved cartridge totally dominated the event. Consider this, four out of the top five places in the two-gun overall were shot with Dashers (Barry Bluhm was 5th overall with a 6-6.5×47). All of the top five places in Heavy Gun were Dashers, and in the 17-lb Class, again Dashers were first through fourth, with Bluhm’s 6-6.5×47 in fifth. After the match Barry told us: “You know, my 6-6.5×47 is shooting well, but I’m thinking of going to the Dasher when it’s time to re-barrel. I’m tired of getting beat by them.” The performance of the little cartridge is pretty remarkable, when you consider this entire match is shot at 1000 yards. Check out the equipment list for Saturday’s Heavy Gun Relays 1 & 2 (below). The fact that the “top guns” are running the little Dashers, even in an unlimited weight class, speaks volumes. While other larger cartridges offer superior ballistics at 1K, the Dasher is “inherently accurate”, and its low recoil allows the best shooters to fire ten rounds in well under 30 seconds. When you can nail ten shots all in the same condition, the Dasher is hard to beat.

Montana 1000-yard Championship

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July 16th, 2010

Mousel Breaks 1K Multi-Match Records At Missoula, Montana

Tom Mousel of Kalispell, Montana, has set two new multi-match Aggregate 1000-yard World Records. Shooting at the Deep Creek Range in Missoula, Montana, Mousel set a new 10-Match Light Gun World Record with a 5.8954″ Aggregate. That’s an average group under 6 inches for 10 matches! Mousel also set a new Light Gun 6-Match World Record with a 4.8813″ Aggregate. That 4.8813″ Agg bettered the existing 5.251″ Light Gun 6-Match Record Agg set by Mousel himself last season (2009). Congratulations to Tom for a lot of hard work and some real fine shooting! Tom set these Aggregate records over the course of the 2010 season of the Montana NW 1000-yard Benchrest Club, which is affiliated with the Original Pennsylvania 1000 Yard Benchrest Club (Williamsport).

Tom Mousel Dasher 1000 yard records

Tom’s record-breaking Light Gun is chambered as a 6mm Dasher (see photo above), which is an “improved” version of the 6mmBR Norma case. Tom uses a Stiller drop-port (bottom-eject) Viper action, set up in a Shehane laminated Tracker stock. Duane Capehart, who competes with Tom at the Deep Creek range, says that bottom-eject action helps Tom “shoot like a house on fire. Tom can get all ten shots off in under 25 seconds. He’s speedy, that’s for sure.” The barrel is a Krieger 1:8″ twist, 4 groove with about 1200 rounds through it so far. Tom has at least 12 firings on his Lapua cases, which he anneals every 3-4 firings with a Bench-Source annealing machine. He currently shoots Berger 105gr VLDs, pushed by a stout load of H4895, with CCI 400 primers. Over the course of the season he has chased the lands to maintain a seating depth about .003-.009 off the lands. Tom explains: “Seating depth is very critical with the VLDs. A few thousandths can make the difference between a fat ugly group, and something to brag about.”

Tom Mousel Dasher 1000 yard records

Noted stock-maker and past 1000-yard Shooter of the Year Bill Shehane observed: “If I am not mistaken, [Mousel’s 10-match Agg] is better than the existing Heavy Gun 10-shot Aggregate group records. I don’t think you or I will live long enough to see either of Tom’s records broken. Think about it — 10 matches over 10 different days in extremely different conditions. That’s 100 shots in under six inches. That’s remarkable for any gun — much less a Light Gun. A 6-match or 10-match Agg is never a fluke. This is an Aggregate record we may never see the likes of again. Tom’s a modest guy and someone needs to give him some credit. I’ve been at this game a long time and know the effort one has to make to accomplish something like this.”

Annual 1000-Yard Championship In August
Missoula Montana rangeIf you want to compete with Tom Mousel and the whole Deep Creek gang, head up to Missoula in August. The Montana NW 1000-yard Benchrest Club will host its 1000-yard Championship Shoot on August 13, 14 and 15. The Montana Club’s current rules allow IBS and NBRSA guns in the 17-lb and Heavy Gun Classes. In addition there is an 11-lb Sporter class. All guns shoot 10-shot groups at 1000 yards.

Entry fees are $30 per gun, per day. Camping is available at the Deep Creek range, and there will be a Catfish Fry on Friday and a Steak Dinner on Sunday after the last match. Tom says: “Come to Montana and shoot with us. We have over $16,000 worth of prizes this year.” For more info, or to request entry forms, contact Tom Mousel at 406-450-0917, or Pat Capehart at 406-821-3737.

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