November 13th, 2017

IBS Match Report: 2017 600-Yard Nationals in Memphis

IBS 600 Yard nationals benchrest Memphis Range wind 6mmBR 6BR

Report by Boyd Allen, IBS Executive VP
The 2017 IBS 600-Yard Nationals were held October 20-21 at the Memphis Sport Shooting Association (MSSA) Range. There was a good turn-out for the event, with 80 shooters. Conditions were challenging Saturday afternoon — strong winds that put some shooters right off the target. But those who mastered the conditions earned glory. The “Top Gun” at this year’s Nationals, earning the title of IBS 600-yard National Champion, was Andy Ferguson. In winning the Two-Gun Overall, Andy turned in a truly dominant performance, recording First Place Score in both Light Gun and Heavy Gun classes, along with second in HG group and fourth in LG Group. Finishing second Overall was Gaylan Breyans, while Jim Bauer was third.

IBS 600 Yard nationals benchrest Memphis Range wind 6mmBR 6BR

Top Shooters (L to R): Steve Wilson, Scotty Powell, Seth Wooten, Gene Ford, Lindsey Talley, Andy ”Who” Ferguson, Gaylon Breans, Jim Bauer, Justin Dale, Darrell Jones, James Lederer, Robby Miles, Jeff Godfrey, Jason Wolfe, Mike Hanes. NOTE: CLICK PHOTO for large image of top shooters.

Top Ten Competitors
IBS 600 Yard nationals benchrest Memphis Range wind 6mmBR 6BR


CLICK HERE for Complete 600-Yard IBS Nationals Results »

Today’s 600-yard benchrest rigs are capable of remarkable accuracy. Even with tough conditions in the afternoons, there was some pretty impressive shooting. Out of 640 targets that were shot by 80 competitors there were 27 scores of 50, 56 groups of 2” or less, 14 of 1.50” or less, 3 groups of 1.25″ or less, and one of 1” or less. See the FULL Results for more details.

Demonstration of Winning Form — Smooth and Fast
How do you win a 600-Yard National Benchrest Championship? Here’s a video answer to that question. To see how a top shooter handles his rifle on the bench, watch the short clip below of Two-Gun Winner Andy Ferguson shooting one of his targets with his 6BR Light Gun. Andy demonstrates smooth “table manners”. He keeps his head down, running off five shots in under 15 seconds. Note how well the gun tracks, returning to Point of Aim.

Match Winner Andy Ferguson Drills Five Shots in Under 15 seconds with his Light Gun

Notably, Andy won the match shooting the “plain vanilla” 6mmBR Norma — not a Dasher, not a 6 BRX, not a 6 BR Ackley. The parent 6mmBR cartridge can still do the job, particularly in the hands of a smooth shooter like Andy Ferguson. At the Memphis range, the usual strategy is to shoot on the sighter gong just before the switch to the record and then fire all shots on the record target as rapidly as possible to stay in the same wind condition.

600-Yard Benchrest Competition — The Basics

Two Classes — Light Gun and Heavy Gun
For those that are not familiar with this 600-yard Benchrest competition, the equipment rules are the same as for 1,000-yard Benchrest. There are two classes of rifles. The Light Gun (LG) rifles are limited to 17 pounds with no stock width or buttstock angle restrictions. The front and rear of these rifles must rest on sand bags. The rear bag may not have any provision for aiming the rifle.
Heavy Gun (HG) rifles have no weight limit. Like the LGs their stocks are not limited as to width or butt stock shape. HG rear sand bags may be supported by “mechanical” rests. Return to battery rests are not allowed for either class. Both HG and LG classes may use muzzle brakes.

Match Procedures at Memphis
In 600-yard IBS Benchrest competition, targets are measured for group size and there is also a score value based on shot placement in the target rings. Prizes are awarded for group, score, and combined. Before the first record target of an Aggregate, the sighter period is six minutes. For subsequent targets in that Agg, it is reduced to two minutes. At the end of sighter period, upon command, shooters have 10 minutes to complete their record target. Aggregates consist of eight targets. Shots that do not print on the target result in that target being disqualified (DQ), as well as the applicable Aggregate.

At this year’s Nationals, shooters rotated four benches to the right after every pair of targets was shot, continuing that rotation through both days. LG was shot on Friday, HG on Saturday. Thanks to an efficient target crew and recorded match commands, shooting was over by 2:25 pm both days.

Equipment List for Top Ten Shooters

The Top Ten Shooters all ran 6mm cartridges (6BRs and Dashers) loaded with similar components. All of the Top Ten who listed their components ran Varget powder and CCI 450 primers in Lapua brass. BAT Actions were predominant, and both Nightforce and Sightron scopes were popular. The top projectiles were Vapor Trail 103s and Berger 105s.

Top Ten Equipment List
IBS 600 Yard nationals benchrest Memphis Range wind 6mmBR 6BR
CLICK HERE for longer Equipment List.

A Well-Run Match
According to all reports the entire event ran like a well-oiled machine. The target crew was quick and skilled and all of the other details were handled efficiently. Prizes and trophies were in abundance. There was even some originality. Much to everyone’s amusement, instead of the usual (boring) plaque or trophy for the Two-Gun winner, a professional wrestling-style Prize Belt was awarded. Great idea! Showing off the Champ’s Belt is Two-Gun winner Andy Ferguson (Right) with past Shooter-of-the-Year Richard Schatz.

IBS 600 Yard nationals benchrest Andy Ferguson Prize Belt Two Gun Winner

Wicked Winds Challenge Shooters on Saturday
The conditions were variously described as “horrible”, the “worst for any match on this range this year”, and so on. Conditions were worse on Saturday than Friday, blowing like stink by the end of the day. Friday morning it was cool, humid and breezy, with a wind speed of a little over 3 mph. By mid-afternoon, when the match finished, it was 20 degrees warmer and the wind had increased significantly to about 9 mph. Saturday morning was warmer, less humid, and the wind speed was about the same as Friday afternoon. But by mid-afternoon, at the end of the match, the wind was blowing 15 mph having peaked an hour earlier at 17 mph!

IBS 600 Yard nationals benchrest Memphis Range wind 6mmBR 6BR

Doing a little research on the Berger Bullets website, with a 105gr VLD running 2950 fps, and a 15 mph wind coming from 5 O’Clock, the bullet deflection at 600 yards would be over 17.5 inches. There were a fair number of shooters with good records that missed targets.

Good Deed by Match Director Mike Moses
Match Director Mike Moses “paid it forward” this year in Memphis. Mike learned that his friend, bullet-maker Bart Sauter, had invited a young barrel-maker, James Lederer, to the Nationals. As this would be Lederer’s first 600-yard experience, Bart was going to lend Lederer one of Bart’s rifles. But it had another maker’s barrel installed. Mike decided Lederer should, fittingly, use a barrel Lederer made himself. So Mike then chambered up one of two Lederer barrels Mike had recently purchased, and fitted it to one of his own rifles. Mike then fire-formed cases, worked up a load, and assembled ammo for the match.

Mike prepared three complete rifles (and ammo) for the match — one for himself, one for his daughter (Lindsey Talley, ace photographer), and one for James Lederer. It’s hard enough to prepare a Nationals rig for one shooter. Mike did it for three people, PLUS he ran the match.

How did it work out? James Lederer finished mid-pack on Friday, and put what he had learned to good use on Saturday, taking a solid fourth place in Heavy Gun.

Both Bart and Mike have been impressed with the quality of Lederer barrels. James has several years’ experience working for a well-known barrel-maker before designing his own computer-controlled cut-rifling machine, and opening his own one-man shop.

Bauer Power — Jim and Sally Bauer at IBS 600-Yard Nationals

Bauer heavy gun 600 Yard nationals van truck transport slide-out wood caddy

Jim Bauer sends 5 record rounds down range with his “Eagle” HG in Maxi-Tracker stock.

Sally Bauer shoots sighter rounds with her Stars & Stripes HG Maxi-Tracker.

Bauer heavy gun 600 Yard nationals van truck transport slide-out wood caddy

The Bauers have a great transport set-up, with custom, slide-out rifle carriers fitted to their van. You can see the two Heavy Guns featured in the videos in the lower drawer.

The Memphis Sport Shooting Association Facility
The Memphis Sport Shooting Association operates an impressive facility with ranges for rifle, pistol, and shotgun. The 600-yard benchrest range, with covered firing line, is nicely sited, with thick stands of trees left and right. There are 24 very solid concrete-top benches. Plentiful rain and sunshine provide ideal conditions for trees and grass. For those of us in the arid West, the Memphis range seems green and lush. The trees on either side offer some (but obviously not complete) protection from wind.

Bauer heavy gun 600 Yard nationals van truck transport slide-out wood caddy

Bauer heavy gun 600 Yard nationals van truck transport slide-out wood caddy
2012 Photo by Birdog for VarmintHunters.com.

The range was built on land that had been an across-the-course High Power range, and the raised berms for intermediate firing lines are still present. That makes the wind bit more “interesting” when head- or tail-wind angles prevail. There are no pits. For each bench, at 600 yards, two record targets are posted one above the other with a 20” square steel sighter gong directly below. The sighter plates are repainted throughout the day during target changes. CLICK HERE for a 360-degree video view of the range from the covered firing line.

To the IBS Membership — Thanks for Helping with Match Reports
Putting together these match reports for the IBS page on Accurateshooter.com is challenging and enjoyable work. The hard part is coming up with pictures and videos. This time I have been lucky and I am thankful for that. The best part is that I get to talk to some very fine people. Thank you all for taking the time to make my work possible. I appreciate it. — Boyd Allen

Credit Randy Dawson (Birdog) for most of the images and videos used here.

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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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March 20th, 2012

Wow — Claunch Shoots 0.156 MOA, 0.981" Group at 600 Yards

Tim Claunch 6BRX“Holy Mother of Mercy…” was this Editor’s reaction when I saw the “screamer” group shot by Forum member Tim Claunch this weekend in Memphis, at the inaugural MSSA 600-yard IBS match. Shooting his amazingly accurate 6BRX Light Gun, Tim nailed a 0.981″ group, centered up for an impressive 50-2X score. Conditions were favorable, with a light 3-5 mph wind and 70° temps. Shooting on the first target, first relay, Tim took his final sighter with 10 seconds to go, then drilled five shots “right down the middle” in about 20-25 seconds. The results were spectacular. Tim’s 0.981″ group works out to 0.156 MOA, and three of the shots clustered in about half an inch! This isn’t a new IBS small group record (Sam Hall holds that record with a mind-blowing 0.699″/50 shot in 2010), but it is still one of the best centered-up groups ever shot in IBS 600-yard competition.

Tim was shooting the same 6BRX we featured last month in the Daily Bulletin. It has a 26″ Bartlein 1.250″ straight contour barrel fitted to a Borden action in a Shehane fiberglass Tracker stock. Tim was running Varget powder with CCI 450 primers and pointed Berger 105gr VLD bullets. Tim anneals his Lapua brass after every firing though he does NOT uniform his primer pockets or ream flash-holes.


Just how impressive was Tim’s 0.981″, 50-score-value group?
Well, consider this comment from Forum member JeffG
:

A .981″ group at 600 yards = .981/6.2832 = (H#LY $H*T) = .156 MOA…

Try doing that at 600 yards with wind and mirage and who knows how many little flying insects that might potentially disrupt the bullet… pulling the trigger when the crosshairs are at EXACTLY the same spot (give or take 1/10th the thickness of the crosshairs) EVERY TIME.

CLICK Buttons to HEAR Tim Claunch Talk about Shooting his 0.981″ group.
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With his 0.981″ small group, Tim did take top honors for Light Gun Group. However, he had one shot go wide on another target that raised his Light Gun Group Agg to 2.335″. You’d think that would be good enough to win, but a shooter from Birmingham, Alabama posted a 2.299″ Agg to claim the best Light Gun Agg for the day. Charlie Macke won Heavy Gun group and HG score. The Two-Gun Overall winner was Forum member Stephen Hall. Congrats to all the great shooters at the inaugural MSSA event.

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