September 26th, 2018

Hail the Champions: 2018 F-Class Nationals at Raton, NM

F-Class NRA Nationals National championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico Ian Klemm Norm Harrold Team Grizzly Team Lapua
The winning Klemm clan. Ian Klemm won his Second Straight F-TR National Championship last week. Here he is with parents Karen and Ken Klemm. Father Ken also competed at the Nationals, shooting great in both individual and team events.

The 2018 F-Class Nationals recently concluded at Raton, NM. The event was well-attended, with excellent turn out for both the Mid-Range and Long-Range cycles. The weather was variable, with wet but very calm conditions to start the 1000-yard match, resulting in new F-TR and F-Open National Records being set for 20-shot strings.

Long-Range F-Nationals Results | Mid-Range F-Nationals Results

Congratulations to the new F-Class Champions. Ian Klemm shot great to win the F-TR National Championship. This was the second straight F-TR title for Ian, who also won at Lodi, Wisconsin in 2017.

F-Class NRA Nationals National championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico Ian Klemm Norm Harrold Team Grizzly Team LapuaIt was a family affair this year for the Klemm clan. Ian’s father, Ken Klemm, finished third among High Masters, and also nailed the highest score among ALL shooters in the 1000-Yard F-TR team match. Well done father and son! Mike Plunkett finished second, while also setting a new F-TR record, 200-16X, also matched by Ray Gross.

Winning F-TR Rifle and Load:
Ian Klemm’s winning .308 Win featured a Kelbly Panda action, 30″ Bartline 1:10″-twist barrel, and McMillan X-IT left-hand stock. Ian used a Vortex 15-60X52mm Golden Eagle scope (as did runner-up Ted Plunkett). Ian loaded Berger 200.20X Hybrid bullets in Lapua brass with Vihtavuori N140 powder and CCI BR4s. MV is 2680 FPS.

F-Class NRA Nationals National championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico Ian Klemm Norm Harrold Team Grizzly Team Lapua

Ian, who won his first title last year in Lodi, Wisconsin, said this year was tougher. To travel down to New Mexico and win at Raton was very satisfying — as I had to come from behind.” Ian told us: “This Championship was especially difficult as a particularly strong challenger [and new 1000-yard record-holder] Mike Plunkett had earned an early lead and I would have to make up 6 points in the final day to win. Fortunately, the Range at Raton saved some of its most challenging conditions for the final match of the championship. This gave me the right amount of wind to work with. The Vortex Golden Eagle HD scope showed the mirage I needed in order to make timely wind-hold decisions.”

F-Class NRA Nationals National championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico Ian Klemm Norm Harrold Team Grizzly Team Lapua

In the F-Open division, Norm Harrold of Team McMillan shot great from the start, topping the field to win the F-Open division. Tom was shooting a .284 Shehane cartrdige in the new McMillan Kestros stock. Our buddy Erik Cortina interviewed Norm in this video, starting at 00:15:

Interview with F-Open Champ Norm Harrold at 00:15:

Team Competition Champions

In Team competition, Team X-Men won the 1000-Yard F-TR Team Title, with a 1568-61X score. Members shown are: Alan Barhardt, Tracy Hogg, Ian Klemm, Ken Klemm, Matt Schwartzkopf, Phil Kelley (Captain), James E Crofts (Coach). In second place was Team McMillan with 1553-53X: Paul Phillips, Derek Rodgers, Jeff Rorer, Brad Sauve, John Droelle (Captain), Ray Gross (Coach).

F-Class NRA Nationals National championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico Ian Klemm Norm Harrold Team Grizzly Team Lapua

In F-Open Division, Team Grizzly won the 1000-Yard Team Championship with a 1580-81X score, edging runner up Team Lapua-Brux-Borden by two points (1578-81X). Here are the team members, with Grizzly President Shiraz Balolia top left and coach Trudie Fay in the middle.

F-Class NRA Nationals National championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico Ian Klemm Norm Harrold Team Grizzly Team Lapua
Team Grizzly: Shiraz Balolia, Emil Kovan, David Mann, John Myers, Trudie Fay (Coach).

Team Pierce Engineering won the F-TR Mid-Range Team event. Team members included: Doug Boyer, Josh Moore, Richard Nixon, John Roethlisberger, Coach Tom Majewski.

Team Lapua-Brux-Borden captured the F-Open Mid-Range Championship with a strong performance. Team “LBB” shot well, to earn a second straight Mid-Range National Title, and grab second (Silver) at Long Range. Team member Jay Christopherson praised his team-mates and also gave credit to his rivals: “Team Grizzly was outstanding for the LR Open Gold”.

F-Class NRA Nationals National championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico Ian Klemm Norm Harrold Team Grizzly Team Lapua
Team LBB: Jay Christopherson, Erik Cortina, Tom Hendricks, Pat Scully, Coach Bob Sebold.

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February 17th, 2018

Load Winning Ammo With Progressive — Whidden Shows How

John Whidden .243 Winchester Win National Championship Long Range Reloading Caliber Barnard Action Anschutz

After the Berger Southwest Nationals, we had a long chat with John Whidden, five-time NRA Long-Range National Champion, and a past SWN Sling Division winner. When the subject turned to reloading techniques, John reminded us that he uses a Dillon progressive presss to load much of his match ammo — with a system for much more precise control over powder charge weight. Yes John loaded his national-championship winning .243 Win ammo on a progressive. That may not work for the benchrest game, but John proved this method works well for his discipline — long range sling shooting.

John full-length sizes his match brass every time using a Whidden click-adjustable sizing die. The powder charge is dispensed with single-kernel precision using an Auto-Trickler and lab-grade force restoration scale. The process is completed on a Dillon XL 650 to produce more ammo in less time.

John Whidden .243 Winchester Win National Championship Long Range Reloading Caliber Barnard Action Anschutz

Whidden’s .243 Win Ammo is Loaded on a Dillon
John Whidden of Whidden Gunworks used the .243 Winchester cartridge to win the 2017 NRA Long Range Championship, his FIFTH LR title. John loaded his .243 Win ammo using a Dillon: “My loading process is different than many people expect. I load my ammo on a Dillon 650 progressive press using our own Whidden Gunworks dies. However powder charges are individually weighed with a stand-alone automated scale/trickler system from AutoTrickler.com (see below). Employing a high-end force restoration scale, this micro-processor controlled system offers single-kernel precision. The weighed charges are then dropped into the cases with a funnel mounted to the Dillon head.”

John Whidden .243 Winchester Win National Championship Long Range Reloading Caliber Barnard Action Anschutz

John Whidden Explains His Ammo-Loading Process

The Lapua .243 Win brass is full-length sized every time, and I run one of our custom-sized expanders in my sizer die. The expander measures .243″ which yields the desired .001″ neck tension. In my experience, the best way to get consistent neck tension is to run an expander in the case neck at some point. When sizing the case neck by a minimal amount such as is the case here, I don’t find any negative points in using an expander in the sizer die.

Championship-Winning Load: Berger Bullets, Lapua Brass, and Vihtavuori N160
For a load, currently I’m shooting Lapua brass, PMC primers (Russian, similar to Wolf), VihtaVuori N160 single-base powder, and Berger 105 grain Hybrid bullets. I switched to the Hybrid bullets at the beginning of the 2015 season. Previously I shot the 105gr Berger hunting VLDs, and in testing I found that the Hybrids were just as accurate without having to seat the bullet into the lands. The velocity of this combination when shot through the excellent Bartlein 5R barrels (32” length) is around 3275 FPS.

For my match ammo, I seat the Berger 105 Hybrids well off the lands — my bullets are “jumping” from .035″-.060″. I only use one seating depth for ammunition for multiple guns (I know some benchrest shooters will stop reading right here!) and the bullets jump further in the worn barrels than in the fresh barrels. The bullets are pointed up in our Bullet Pointing Die System and are moly-coated. The moly (molybdenum disulfide) does extend the cleaning interval a little bit, probably 20% or so. The Lapua .243 Win brass is all neck-turned to .0125″ thickness.

In my experience, the keys to accurate long range ammo are top quality bullets and the most consistent neck tension you can produce. From these starting points, the use of quality components and accurate powder measurement will finish out the magic.

Great Ballistics with 6mm 105s at 3275 FPS
Running at an impressive 3275 FPS, Berger 6mm 105 grain Hybrids deliver ballistics that are hard to beat, according to John Whidden:

“My .243 Win shoots inside a 6.5-284 with 142-grainers. Nothing out there is really ahead of [the .243], in 1000-yard ballistics unless you get into the short magnums or .284s and those carry a very significant recoil penalty. In the past I did shoot the 6.5-284. I went to the .243 Win because it had similar ballistics but had much less recoil. It doesn’t beat me up as much and is not as fatiguing.

John Whidden .243 Winchester Win National Championship Long Range Reloading Caliber Barnard Action Anshutz

With the .243 Win, there’s no tensing-up, no anticipating. With the reduced recoil (compared to a 7mm or big .308), I can break and shoot very good quality shots. I find I just shoot better shots with the .243 than I ever did with the 6.5-284.”

John Whidden National Long Range Championship Camp Perry 2016 Wind Reading

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September 11th, 2016

F-Class Nationals September 23 – October 1 in Lodi, Wisconsin

F-Class national Championship Lodi Wisconsin

Yes, F-Classers, it’s time for the Nationals. Is your ammo loaded? Scope zeroed? The 2016 NRA F-Class Nationals will be held in Lodi, Wisconsin at the Winnequah Gun Club from September 23 through October 1, 2016. This will be a combined Mid-Range and Long Range event, with the Mid-Range activities running September 23-27, followed immediately by the Long-Range Nationals which conclude October 1, 2016. F-TR and F-Open shooters will compete for both individual and team honors. Here is the schedule:

F-Class national Championship Lodi Wisconsin

Electronic Scoring at F-Class Championships
F-Class national Championship Lodi WisconsinThis is big news. For the first time ever in the USA, electronic (sonic-sensor) targets will be used for both the Mid-Range and Long Range F-Class National Championships. NOTE: These are NOT like the self-contained Kongsberg target systems at the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park.

At Lodi, Competitors will still aim at conventional paper target faces but sonic sensors on the target frames will allow instant shot plotting and scoring. This target system was developed by Silver Mountain Targets of Canada. The Silver Mountain system uses sonic sensors (essentially high-tech microphones) to triangulate shots with great precision. Monitors will be positioned at each firing station. The Silver Mountain system has been extensively tested and the match directors have hard-wired the target “brains” back to the scoring center to ensure reliable communications. Before the championship, match officials will be conducting a mandatory class on the operation of the electronic target monitors.

Looking downrange at Winnequah Gun Club in Lodi, WI:
F-Class Nationals Lodi, Wisconsin F-TR

2016 NRA F-Class National Championships FEE Schedule:

Mid-Range – Individual entries all individual matches – $230
Mid-Range – Each Team match (pay at range) – $80
Long Range – Individual entries all individual matches – $230
Long Range – Each Team match (pay at range) – $80
Combined Individual entry Mid-Range and Long Range – $400

STATE of the ART — F-TR and F-OPEN

Here is the sleek .308 Win rig Bryan Litz used to win the 2015 Mid-Range AND Long-Range F-TR Championship at the Ben Avery Range in Phoenix.

And here is the 7mm RSAUM F-Open rifle belonging to Kenny Adams. The reigning F-Open World Champion, Kenny will be one of the favorites in Lodi…

U.S. F-Class Nationals Kenny Adams Lodi Wisconsin

Kenny’s World-Beating 7mm RSAUM Load
For his 7mm RSAUMs Kenny loads Hodgdon H4350 powder and Federal 215m primers into Nosler or Norma RSAUM brass. In the RSAUM he runs Berger 180gr Hybrid bullets seated “just touching” the lands. Kenny is very precise with his charge weights. Using a Sartorius Magnetic Force Restoration scale, Kenny tries to hold his powder charges to within 1-2 kernels charge-weight consistency.

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August 9th, 2016

Hail the 2016 High Power and Long Range National Champions

Norman Norm Houle High Power John Whidden 2016 National Long Range High Power Championship Camp Perry Barnard Action

We congratulate Norman Houle, the 2016 National High Power Champion, and John Whidden, the 2016 National Long Range Champion. Norm secured his win with an impressive 2384-130X score. Along with the title of National Champion, Norm received a Mumma Trophy Plaque, a National Champion Medallion, Krieger Barrels Certificate, Trijicon Scope, and Geissele Certificate. In second place was last year’s champion, SFC Brandon Green of the USAMU. Brandon, who won the 2015 and 2013 High Power Championships, finished with a score of 2381-120X. In third place was SGT Nick Mowrer with 2381-114X, a very impressive score with a Service Rifle. (SGT Mowrer won the Service Rifle Championship.)

Norman Norm Houle High Power John Whidden 2016 National Long Range High Power Championship Camp Perry Barnard Action

John Whidden is always strong at Camp Perry (file photo from past event).
John Whidden 2016 National High Power Championship Camp Perry Barnard Action

Whidden Wins Long Range Championship
In the Long Range Competition (Tompkins Trophy Match), John Whidden of Whidden Gunworks topped the field with a very strong 1240-77X performance. This victory secured John’s fourth Long Range National title. As in the High Power Championship, in the Long Range event SFC Brandon Green also finished in second place (1238-67X). Rounding out the Long Range podium was William Gelet with a 1238-57X tally. With his Long Range Championship win, Whidden took home a Tompkins Trophy Plaque, a Gold Championship Medallion, and a $500 Berger Bullets Certificate.

John campaigned three rifles he smithed himself. These feature Barnard actions in modified Anschutz smallbore stocks. For the open-caliber events, John shot .243 Win-chambered rifles with 6mm 105gr Berger Hybrids. For the Palma matches he shot a .308 Win with 155gr Berger Hybrids. John’s ammo was loaded on Whidden dies of course. During the Long Range cycle, matches were shot with both iron sights and scopes. John had two different .243 Win rifles, one fitted with iron sights, the other with a scope.

Norman Norm Houle High Power John Whidden 2016 National Long Range High Power Championship Camp Perry Barnard Action

High Power Hardware: The Guns of Perry

We thought our readers would like to see some of the ultra-accurate rifles campaigned by High Power competitors at Camp Perry. Both bolt-action and self-loading rifles are popular. Among bolt guns, Tubb 2000s and Eliseo tubeguns are popular. Semi-auto AR platform “Space Guns” offer some advantages (particularly during rapid-fire and for standing position), and are favored by many of the top marksmen. Many Camp Perry High Power competitors are also shooting less exotic AR service rifles.

Tubb 2000 with a shortened handguard, and custom hand support bracket forward of mag well.
Camp Perry AR15 Tubegun High Power Space Gun Tubb 2000 Rifle Standing

The modern AR Space Gun, scoped version. Note the side charging handle, and absence of forward assist. A block fitted under the handguard helps with the standing position. The scope is mounted on a “piggy-back” rail that extends forward of upper receiver’s built-in rail.
Camp Perry AR15 Tubegun High Power Space Gun Tubb 2000 Rifle Standing

Photos Courtesy NRABlog.com.

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January 27th, 2016

Win $50,000 in New American Marksman Competition

American Marksman challenge Television outdoor channel

Here’s your chance to win $50,000 and become a TV star. The Outdoor Channel’s new television show, American Marksman, showcases a series of shooting competitions leading to a big-money National Championship. American Marksman gives amateur shooters the chance to win cash, gear and fame. The top shooter will win $50,000 and earn the title of “American Marksman”.

The competition begins with local qualifiers starting in March 2016 at locations across the country. There will be three stages: local qualifying matches, regional championships, and a National Championship. The entire process will be filmed for later broadcast on the Outdoor Channel beginning in December 2016. The nine regional championships will be revealed as locations are finalized.

American Marksman FAQ — Get Your Questions Answered

“If you ever wanted to enter a shooting competition and thought it was too intimidating or too expensive – then this is your chance to show the world what you’ve got,” said producer Michael Bane, Outdoor Channel. “For only $20 at the local level, you get the chance to try to qualify with other amateurs in a relaxed, safe environment and the best of you will meet in a … National Championship with TV cameras rolling. The person who earns the title of ‘American Marksman’ walks away with $50,000.”

How to Participate: To get involved in the American Marksman competition, you can Register Now at AmericanMarksman.com. You need to have your own .22 LR gun and 50 rounds of ammo for the local qualifier (you can rent a gun from the local range if needed). American Marksman will provide firearms and ammo for the Regional and National championships, should you advance. NOTE: American Marksman is an amateur-only event series with strict eligibility guidelines.

American Marksman challenge Television outdoor channel

Where to Compete: The local qualifying rounds begin in March, 2016 at nearly 200 ranges in 47 states. CLICK HERE for a list of Participating Ranges, which can be sorted by state.

“The local qualifying level is designed not only to appeal to more seasoned shooters, but also to attract new people into the shooting sports by offering a low-cost and less intimidating way to get involved in competition,” explained show Producer Michael Bane.

Competition Categories: American Marksman offers four categories of competition: Men’s Open, Women’s Open, Junior (12-16) and Military/Law Enforcement. Pick the category that fits you. At the National Championship, the best shooters from each of the categories will be pitted against each other to compete for $50K and the “American Marksman” title.

Course of Fire: Each round will feature .22 LR rimfire courses of fire. As the competitors progress, they will be challenged with different calibers, targets and courses of fire. Advancing shooters will go to one of nine regional championships, which begin in June and proceed through August with the National Championship taking place in early 2017.

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October 25th, 2015

F-Class Nationals Kick Off at Ben Avery in Phoenix

2015 F-Class Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona James Crofts

The 2015 United States F-Class National Championships are underway now at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix. There’s a “hybrid” format this year. For 2015, the Nationals combine both Mid-Range and Long-Range competitions in one week-long mega-match. The Mid Range F-Class Nationals take place 24-27 October 2015, with shooting at 300, 500, and 600 yards. The Long Range National Championships then run October 28 through 31, with all targets at 1000 yards. The competition consists of two different divisions: F-Open and F-TR (Target Rifle).

The wind arrived early on Saturday…
2015 F-Class Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona James Crofts

It started off somewhat windy on Saturday, October 24 for the 300-yard and 500-yard matches. Bryan Litz mastered the conditions to end up leading the F-TR division. (Guess that knowing a thing or two about ballistics helps when the wind is blowing). James Crofts, 2014 F-TR National Champion, shoot well at 500 yards, but struggled at 300 yards (the X-Ring is just 1.5″ at 300 yards). He observed: “Not a bad day today — overall 13th. Bryan Litz has the overall F-TR lead. I’m down 20 for the day but there are lots of shots left to go.”

2015 F-Class Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona James Crofts

All the shooting today (Sunday, October 25th), will be at 600 yards. Jim posted from Phoenix: “It’s time to start Day Two of the F-Class Mid-Range Nationals. All 600 yards today and I’m ready. Looks like it could be a tricky day with gusty winds but it will be the same for everyone.”

James Crofts at the 500-yard line. He had a tougher time at 300 yards.
2015 F-Class Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona James Crofts

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July 31st, 2015

Long Shots — Images from the Long Range Championships

This week, many of the world’s top marksmen have been competing at the National Long Range High Power Rifle Championships, held 29-31 July, 2015 at Camp Perry. The distances are great (1000 yards maximum) as are the challenges — the fickle winds blowing off Lake Erie can be unpredictable.

This year is extra special. The USA hosts the World Fullbore Long Range Championships next week at Camp Perry. The World Championships are held every four years, but any country may only host the event every 25 years. That means the next Fullbore Worlds in the USA could not take place before 2040. This year, teams from 11 countries will compete for national honors (and serious bragging rights). Many top international shooters have already arrived, and they are using the NRA Long Range High Power Championships as a “prelim” for the Fullbore Worlds next week.

Ace ISSF 300m shooter Reya Kempley shoots a hybrid rig with a Stolle Panda Action in an Anschütz smallbore-type metal stock.

Reya Kempley long range high power

Here’s the same rifle, as fitted with hand rest for position shooting. CLICK to Zoom:
Reya Kempley long range high power

British Palma Shooter David Luckman hung tough after suffering a dissappointing 8 (low right) on his first record shot. After serving up that 8 at 4 o’clock, David fought back, shooting all tens and Xs for the rest of his 10-shot string. (Orange stickers show record shots — the yellow dots mark sighters.) David doesn’t crack under pressure — he won the 2012 Long Range Championship at Camp Perry, and he is the reigning ICFRA World Long Range Fullbore (Palma) Rifle Champion.

Palma David Luckman UK Camp Perry long range high power

Those targets are placed a long way off. Now imagine trying to shoot half-MOA with iron sights.

Camp Perry 2015 long range high power

Past Long-Range Champion John Whidden shows good form. John runs a centerfire action in an Anschütz metal smallbore stock. He smithed this rig himself. John favors the ergonomics and adjustability of the Anschütz stock. He also really likes the small-diameter, rounded forearm on this design. “This stock suits me really well”, John told us.

John Whidden Anchutz Camp Perry long range high power

This competitor has an Eliseo (Competition Machine) Tubegun in Patriotic Stars and Stripes Livery.

Gary Eliseo Tubegun Camp Perry long range high power

This U.S. Marine Corps shooter campaigned a classic “Battle Rifle” in the LR Championship, firing a semi-auto version of the M14. It looks like he named the rifle “Lucy”.

Reya Kempley long range high power

Photos from 2015 NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Championships courtesy NRABlog.com.

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October 28th, 2013

Mike Moses Wins IBS 600-Yard Nationals

This past weekend the IBS 600-yard Nationals were held at the Bench Rest Rifle Club of St. Louis. Attendance was strong, with 78 Light Gun shooters and 74 Heavy Gun competitors. Initial results are posted below. Forum member Mike Moses was the Two-Gun Overall winner, claiming the 2013 600-yard Title as National Champion. In the Two-Gun rankings, Johnny Powers finished second, followed by Dallas Johnson, Sam Hall, and Ryan Hunt. In the Light Gun Division Charlie Macke (shooting a big 7mm) finished first, ahead of second-place Mike Moses, and third place Ryan Hunt. In the Heavy Gun Class the top three were: Johnny Powers, Andy Ferguson, Dallas Johnson.

Past IBS 600-yard National Champ Sam Hall said conditions were brutal on the first day: “On Saturday, the wind was switching and gusting to 30 mph. Though there still were some crazy switches, Heavy Gun on Sunday was calmer thank The Lord! Day One was just about survival!”.

We will provide additional match details and photos as soon as they are available. Here are the unofficial standings for Two-Gun, Light Gun, and Heavy Gun. The order of finish is determined by combined rank points for Group Aggregate and Score Aggregate.

Two-Gun Overall Light Gun Division Heavy Gun Division
1. Mike Moses
2. Johnny Powers
3. Dallas Johnson
4. Sam Hall
5. Ryan Hunt
6. Andy Ferguson
7. David Dorris
8. Charlie Macke
9. Richard Schatz
10. Mike Hanes
JR Champion: Rory Jacobs
1. Charlie Macke
2. Michael Moses
3. Ryan Hunt
4. Rich Elijah
5. Samuel Hall
6. David Dorris
7. Dallas Johnson
8. Steven Hall
9. Johnny Powers
10. Richard Schatz
1. Johnny Powers
2. Andy Ferguson
3. Dallas Johnson
4. Mike Hanes
5. Danny Forehand
6. Sam Hall
7. Mike Moses
8. Jeff Godfrey
9. Ryan Hunt
10. Steve Hoskin
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May 9th, 2013

Register Online Now for NRA National Matches at Camp Perry

NRA National Championships Camp PerryIf you plan to compete at the 2013 NRA National Rifle and Pistol Championships, you can now register online. To sign up, visit www.NMEntry.com. Returning shooters should enter their Camp Perry Competition ID (from a previous year). New shooters should enter NRA member ID, if available. Choose one (or more) of the five championship events: Pistol Championship, Smallbore Rifle Championship, High Power Rifle Championship, Mid-Range Rifle Championship, Long Range Championship.

VIEW 2013 NRA National Matches Program

Competing at Perry is special: “For over 100 years, shooters in the United States have made the pilgrimage to Camp Perry for the NRA National Matches, and the honor to shoot shoulder-to-shoulder with the best.” (NRABlog)

NRA National Championships Camp Perry

NRA National Championships Camp Perry

Watch Slide Show from 2012 NRA Long Range Championship

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September 23rd, 2012

IBS 600-Yard Nationals in St. Louis September 28-30, 2012

Mark your calendars, gents. The IBS 600-yard Nationals are slated for next weekend — September 28th through 30th. The event will be held in St. Louis, Missouri at the Bench Rest Rifle Club of St. Louis (BRRC). The 2012 600-yard Nationals consist of an 8-target Aggregate match in Light Gun (LG), plus an 8-target Aggregate match in Heavy Gun (HG). There will be a total (LG + HG) of 16 record targets (5 record shots each [80 total]). After a safety meeting, the match begins at 9:00 am on FRIDAY September 28th, and continues on SATURDAY, September 29th at 8:00 am. Sunday, September 30th is a make-up day if needed due to weather delays.

Bench Rest Rifle club of St. Louis Missouri

Sight-In and Practice Times on Thursday
Sign-up begins at 10:00 am, Thursday September 27th at the Club House. The range is also open on Thursday for sight-in and set-up. NOTE: Due to the nature of this event, open practice sessions will not be available on match days (9/28 – 9/30) prior to the start of the matches.

CLICK HERE for IBS 600-yard Nationals Registration form (PDF)

Match Fees are currently $80 for one class (Light Gun or Heavy Gun) or $150.00 for both classes. There is still time to register. Make checks payable to BRRC. For Match Info and lodging suggestions visit ShootingSTL.com or call Jerry Kloeppel at 314-973-2326. Camping is available for $10.00 per day.

CLICK HERE for Map to BRRC in St. Louis, Missouri.

Story Tip from Sam Hall. We welcome reader submissions.
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February 13th, 2012

Shooter Profile: Rodrigo Rosa — A Rising High Power Star

Rodrigo RosaRodrigo Rosa is a rising star in the world of High Power shooting. Though he’s been shooting competitively for only four years, he is already a top contender at the national level. In 2011, the young marksman, who now lives and works in New Hampshire, was right up with the leaders at the NRA National High Power Championships. At Perry, Rodrigo finished second in the Across-the-Course phase and finished third in the Long Range National Championship. He was also on the winning 2d Amendment match team with Norm Houle. Over the last couple of years, Rodrigo has lead the field at New England High Power events. He was New Hampshire State Champ in 2010 and 2011, Massachusetts State Champ in 2011, and Mid-Range (and Across-The-Course) Vermont State Champion in 2009. Rosa is also a two-time NE Regional Across-the-Course Champion, winning titles in 2008 and 2011. That’s an impressive shooting resume for a young man who shot his first High Power match in 2008, and had to borrow money to get his first real match rifle.

Rodrigo tells us: “I had a good year in Camp Perry in 2011. My goal was only to perform well in the across-the-course event, so taking second place after Carl Bernosky by only 3 points and taking third place in the Long Range event was a real treat.”

What was the “secret” of Rosa’s meteoric rise from rookie shooter to podium performer at Camp Perry? Rodrigo replied: “Key factors? I would have to say dry-fire practice, and working on consistency and the ‘mental game’. I spent many hours dry-firing last winter, particularly working on my off-hand position. Despite such training my technique was still flawed at the beginning of the year. I could dry-fire very well but the results did not show on target. I believe that my ability to finally build a mental sequence that allows me to perform the same movements time-and-time again, on demand, made the greatest difference on my results.”

Interview with Rodrigo Rosa — Born to Shoot

We had the opportunity to chat with Rodrigo. He told us how he got started in competitive shooting. He then discussed his shooting techniques and his reloading methods. At our request, Rodrigo offers some tips for new sling-shooters. Rosa also revealed his preferences in hardware and shooting gear.

Rodrigo Rosa

AccurateShooter: Rodrigo, tell us about your background. How did you get involved in shooting?

Rosa: I grew up on a farm in Brazil. When I was about 11 years old my mom bought me an air rifle, and I later inherited my grandpa’s Winchester .22LR. I hunted many rabbits and ducks with that rifle until I was 17 years old when my studies became more important. I traveled to the USA in late 2004 to finish my Veterinary clinical training at Cornell University, where I met my wife-to-be. We got married in 2005 and moved to California for internships. It wasn’t until early 2007 when I decided to buy a rifle and join a gun club. All I could afford was a simple .308 hunting rifle. With the .308, I tried (with limited success) to hit small metal silhouettes at 600 yards. Despite my limited success I decided to educate myself about the shooting sports, predominantly by reading books by David Tubb and Nancy Tompkins, as well as foreign publications.

My wife Kate and I moved to New Hampshire in 2007, when I decided to take a personal loan to buy a better rifle, suited for High Power competition. I joined the Nashua NH Fish and Game Association and started to work on my skills. In late 2010 I met Norm Houle who became a good friend and gave me extra motivation to stay in the game.

AccurateShooter: What are your strengths and what are the areas where you need improvement. What training methods do you use to improve those weak points?

Rosa: My strengths are my ability to concentrate, attention to detail and perseverance. The areas I tend to work on the most are my mental systems. I know I am able to shoot a perfect score in any yard line and shooting position, so I spend most of my time coming up with ways to make my shooting sequence as meticulous and repetitive as possible. I believe I still have a lot of work to do….

AccurateShooter: What are the best and worst things about competing at Perry?

Rosa: 2011 was my second year competing in Perry (I also started the match in 2009 but had to leave early for a family issue). I had one of the best weeks of my life! Perry is a wonderfully beautiful and challenging range, and the friends I had the pleasure to share my time with were the highlight of the trip. From previous experience, I would say that the heat and humidity are the worst things
about Perry, but 2011 gifted the competitors with amazingly pleasant weather.

Rodrigo Rosa
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AccurateShooter: Rodrigo, do you have any tips for novice High Power shooters?

Rosa: Start by investing in good equipment — buy quality and you will buy it only once. Seek the advice of successful shooters. All truly good shooters will be glad to share their “secrets”, for it is only worth winning when all competitors can shoot their best. Develop a safe, reasonably good load for your cartridge and quit messing with it! If you already have an accurate rifle your time is much better spent working on your hold than on developing loads. Be ready! Develop checklists, plans, mental sequences. The less you can worry about, and the more prepared you are for adverse situations at the firing line, the better your chances will be.

AccurateShooter: Speaking of load development, tell us what load you shoot, and what methods you use to create accurate ammo.

Rosa: I shoot the 6mmXC cartridge Across-the-Course and Long-Range (except for Palma, of course). I use Federal 210M primers, Norma brass, Hodgdon 4350 powder, Sierra 70gr bullets for 200 yards and DTAC 115gr bullets from 300 to 1000 yards. My loads are: 39.5 grains H4350 with the Sierra 70gr; 37.5 grains H4350 with DTAC 115gr for 300 yards; and lastly, for Mid-Range and Long-Range, I use a stout H4350 load with the DTAC 115s. (Editor: Start at 37.0 grains H4350 and work up with the 115s; Rodrigo’s long-range load is near max).

The most important steps of my reloading are accurate load weighing (I weigh ALL loads) and bullet selection. I select all the bullets I shoot from 600 to 1000 yards by bearing surface and length. I do not spend any time doing elaborate load testing (and re-testing). All I care about is having a reasonably accurate load that functions smoothly in my rifle.

Rodrigo Rosa
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Rodrigo RosaAccurateShooter: Tell us about your shooting coat and sling. Do you have any advice concerning coat fit and sling adjustment?

Rosa: I currently wear a Monard shooting coat. Proper fit is fundamental for anyone who wishes to be competitive in any category of position rifle shooting, and the folks at Monard certainly have got that down. My advice to anyone who is going to invest hard-earned money in a coat is to make sure that the maker uses at least 15 different measurements of his/her body. Anything less than that is not acceptable in my opinion. I also prefer the stiffness and coolness of canvas over leather. Leather tends to mold better to ones body but softens and shrinks when wet. Since High Power shooters must often shoot in the rain I believe that canvas is a more durable and stable material. For a sling I always used the Superior Shooting Systems Heart Breaker Sling. This is an extremely well-made sling crafted to last many decades. It is important to cut the new sling to fit one’s arm diameter so that the “hinge” is located between the arm and the hand. I did not know this important “trick” for the longest time until David Tubb called my attention to it at Perry last year.

Rodrigo Rosa

AccurateShooter: You shoot a Tubb 2000 match rifle. Tell us the features of the T2K you really like, and explain how you set up the sights and buttstock for different positions.

Rosa: The Tubb 2000 rifle is the only rifle I have ever shot Across-the-Course. It is an extremely user-friendly gun that truly allows the shooter to extract all that a competitive target rifle can offer. I used to have only one buttstock and was therefore forced to make adjustments between shooting positions. Now I have three buttstocks individually set up for each position — a major asset in my opinion. My off-hand buttstock is probably the least orthodox of the three. It has a good deal of added weight to help balance the gun and a very narrow buttplate. I like the narrow buttplate because it fits my small shoulder better. This plate is, however, kept mostly flat (very shallow curvature) in order to comply with NRA rules (less than 1/2 inch depth).

Canting — I truly enjoy the ability to cant the T2K rifle to fit my body. Anyone who watches me shooting seated will notice that I use a great amount of canting in that seated position. Canting is a major asset and can greatly improve most shooter’s position by increasing comfort. The key thing with canting is you must be consistent with the amount of cant you use (hint: learn how to use a bubble level).

Forearm — I have shortened the tubular handguard/fore-end of my rifle in order to improve balance as well. People occasionally ask me: Didn’t you get nervous about cutting such an expensive rifle? (I had taken a loan to buy the rifle and it wasn’t even paid for yet). My answer was “Not at all!” My philosophy is that if something does not fit you or does not do the job for which it was intended, then you MUST act on it. It is pointless to have a rather costly piece of machinery if it does not lead to 10s and Xs.

Sights — I use a Warner #1 rear sight and a “Right Sight” in the front. I currently use the “Houle Tube” sight extension tube (bloop tube) made by Norm Houle. This bloop tube has been a major improvement. It lets me have a short, balanced gun for off-hand and a long gun for sling-supported positions. I must admit that I did not believe these extension devices would repeat zero until I tried one. The Houle Tubes are incredible. These extensions come in 2″, 4″ and 6″ lengths and repeat zero flawlessly every time.

Gunsmithing — Dick Beaudoin from Derry, NH has done most of the customization work on my rifle. I want to give him credit. His patience and attention to detail has made all the difference.

Editor’s Comment: We thank Forum member Rodrigo Rosa for taking the time to share his knowledge with our readers. He is a very talented, yet humble young shooter who works diligently on his game. We have no doubt that one day we will see Rodrigo standing on top of the podium at Camp Perry. Boa sorte Rodrigo, we wish you 10s and Xs and continued success…

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December 31st, 2011

Carl Bernosky, National HP Champion — A Top Story of 2011

Currently, the NRA Blog is featuring “Top Stories of 2011″. Among these stories is an account of how Carl Bernosky earned his NINTH High Power National Championship. We believe Carl’s latest National Championship title, and his amazing skills with a rifle, deserve more ink. So, here, from the NRA Blog, is the story of Carl’s 2011 victory at Camp Perry.

Report by K. Jillson for the NRA Blog

Bernosky Gets His 9th Nat’l HP Title
This past August, Carl R. Bernosky of Ashland, Pennsylvania, shot his way to his 9th NRA National High Power Rifle Championship at the NRA National Rifle & Pistol Championhips at Camp Perry. A National Guard training facility on the shores of Lake Erie, near Port Clinton, Ohio, Camp Perry has been home to NRA’s national championships for 102 years. The matches, which take place during July and August, have become notorious for their harsh gusts of wind, sweltering heat and storms that come off the lake with little warning.

2393-160X out of 2400
This year, during the NRA High Power Rifle Championship, Bernosky posted a 2393-160x out of a possible perfect score of 2400, Bernosky took first place and won the prestigious Mumma Trophy. In addition to winning the overall high power rifle championship, Bernosky was also the NRA Match Rifle Champion. He won top honors in eight of the eighteen matches that make up the championship and placed within the top three in five others.

“It’s just a matter of getting your mind ready to shoot the shot when it’s there and just tweaking everything a little bit”, Bernosky said when I asked him how he prepares for each match. “You don’t have to be thinking about what you’re doing, it just happens.”

During his title run this year, Bernosky tied the National Record for slow fire standing from 200 yards — an extremely impressive accomplishment. The record, a 200-15x, was originally set by Gary Anderson in 1971 during the Navy Cup.

“When I shot that 200 with 15 standing, that was discipline. I didn’t shoot a bad shot”, Bernosky told me. “That was the best target I’ve ever shot, including practice”. Bernosky tied the record during the Crescent Cup, which has the same course of fire as the Navy Cup, and finally let us know that the record had been on his mind for a very long time. “Every time I shoot a standing, whether in practice or in a match, I'm thinking about that record. I always thought I could shoot that well”, Bernosky said. “It’s tough to do and it’s a great feeling to have done that”.

The record-tying match couldn’t have come at a better time. Tied for first, Bernosky was looking for a boost to have a great day of shooting and take sole possession of the lead. The Crescent Cup was the first of the final day’s three matches and Bernosky couldn’t have asked for a better boost. “When you enter the final day and you’re tied and you just stand up there and shoot a 200-15x, it doesn’t get any better than that…”, Bernosky said.

Having grabbed the lead after the excellent performance, Bernosky held on for the last two matches and won by three points — close. Congratulated by his friends and fellow competitors as he packed up, Bernosky left the firing line a champion.

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December 13th, 2011

Bernosky, Tubb, and Whidden Explain How to Read the Wind

At the 2010 SHOT Show, we had the unique opportunity to corner three “superstars” of High Power shooting, and solicit their wind-reading secrets. In the three videos below (in alphabetical order), Carl Bernosky (9-Time Nat’l High Power Champion), David Tubb (11-time Nat’l High Power Champion and 7-time Nat’l Long -Range Champion), and John Whidden (2-Time Nat’l High Power Long-Range Champion) shared some of the wind-doping strategies that have carried them to victory in the nation’s most competitive shooting matches. This is GOLD folks… no matter what your discipline — be it short-range Benchrest or Long-Range High Power — watch these videos for valuable insights that can help you shoot more accurately, and post higher scores, in all wind conditions.

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We were very fortunate to have these three extraordinarily gifted champions reveal their “winning ways”. These guys REALLY know their stuff. I thought to myself: “Wow, this is how a baseball fan might feel if he could assemble Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Ted Williams in the same room, and have them each reveal their hitting secrets.” Editor’s Note: These interviews were conducted before Bernosky and Tubb won their most recent National Championships so the introductions may list a lower number of titles won.

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August 28th, 2009

California Juniors Win Infantry Team Trophy

If you were trying to predict the winner of the 2009 National Trophy Infantry Team Match (NTIT), odds are you would have focused on the top military teams in the event. This makes sense considering that the last time a civilian team won the NTIT was in 1930. That is until a group of juniors from California stepped up to the firing line at Camp Perry on August 7th 2009, and made history.

Team California Grizzlies O’Connell shot a 1284 to win the NTIT, becoming the first junior team to ever win the event and the first civilian team to win in 79 years. In fact the top three NTIT teams this year were civilian. Forbes Rifle and Pistol Club finished second with a 1275 and Oklahoma Rifle Assn. finished third with a 1250. The Grizzlies won the event shooting Hornady 75 gr BTHP match bullets in their .223 ARs. The team also won the junior title and set new records in 2008 and 2009 in the NTT.

The California Grizzlies O’Connell team was named for team coach Jim O’Connell. The team captain was Anthony Henderson, and firing team members were Cheyanne Acebo, David Bahten, Matthew Chezem, Chad Kurgan, Joshua Lehn and Jim Minturn. The team is based out of the Yosemite area in central California, but team members come from all over the state.

Juniors Win Despite Restrictive California Laws
The group’s accomplishments are particularly impressive considering that California State Law prohibits juniors from handling rifles with a removable magazine. In California the team can only practice with a 10-round fixed magazine that can only be removed using a tool. This makes training for rapid fire difficult, and the only time the team gets to practice with standard removable clips is when they arrive to Camp Perry for the National Matches.

The team… can only get together as a whole team a few times during the year. One of those team meetings comes in the summer, when the team attends Camp O’Connell, lead by the team’s coach Jim O’Connell. The eight-day camp is held at the remote Coalinga Rifle Club in Central California, where team members sleep in tents and do range maintenance projects in addition to their training.

Much of [the team’s success] derives from an introductory program that the Grizzlies have established to attract new shooters. There is a .22LR program that introduces the sport to about 160 juniors a year, ages 10-16. If juniors show aptitude and interest, they move to the farm team where they shoot AR-15s at 100-yard reduced targets until they reach Sharpshooter classification.

READ MORE ….

Story by Sommer Wood, CMP Writer, courtesy ODCMP.com. The full story appears in the current edition of The First Shot, the CMP Online Newsletter.

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