February 13th, 2017

Berger Southwest Nationals — 2017 Match Wrap-Up

Berger SW Nationals Final Report Match Results

The 2017 Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN) are now history. This was a great match, with extremely close competition, and record-setting scores. For the first few days, conditions were very mild. That allowed the “top guns” to shoot “cleans” and even set a few new National records. In individual competition, there were familiar faces among the Top Ten, but also some rising stars. In the F-Open and Sling team events, two new squads topped some of the experienced “all-star” teams. Overall it was a great match — one of the most tightly contested ever. Even with 400 competitors, everything ran smoothly. For those who attended the 2017 Berger SW Nationals, this has been a truly memorable week at Ben Avery. F-Open and F-TR Final Results Posted HERE.


This is our final Berger SW Nationals video for 2017, with interviews with the three class winners: John Whidden (Sling), David Gosnell (F-Open), Donald Erpenbach (F-TR).

Top Five Competitors in Each Class
SLING
John Whidden, 1248-84X
Adrian Harris, 1243-74X
Allen Thomas, 1242-65X
Justin Skaret, 1242-59X
Erik Rhode, 1241-59X
F-OPEN
David Gosnell, 1247-84X
Jay Christopherson, 1246-74X
Keith Glasscock, 1245-79X
Pat Scully, 1243-71X
Dan Bramley, 1243-70X
F-TR
Donald Erpenbach, 1230-53X
James Crofts, 1225-43X
Alan Barnhart, 1224-32X
Ian Klemm, 1222-55X
Bryan Litz, 1222-49X

Bryan Litz congratulates Sling winner John Whidden. John is reigning National Long Range Rifle Champion.
North by Southwest

Below are SWN F-Open Champion David Gosnell (left) and F-TR Winner Donald Erpenbach (right).
North by Southwest

Record-Setting Performances in 2017
This year Ben Avery conditions were very good — calm mornings, and little wind in the afternoons for the first three days. With the very calm Day 1-3 conditions, we witnessed some spectacular individual and team performances. Lester Bruno shot a brilliant 200-23X at 600 Yards, setting a new National record. Ian Klemm set a new 60-shot, 600-yard National record of 599-38X. The Cluster Ducks set a new National F-Open Team Record for 800/900/1000 yards with their 1789-100X Score. And the talented North-by-Southwest F-TR squad set both a National Record and an overall SWN match record.

The North-by-Southwest team won the 2017 SWN F-TR team event in fine fashion, setting new National and range records in the process.

North by Southwest

And here is Team Longshots, winner of the F-Open Team Title. Individual F-Open Champ David Gosnell is at far right. The winning Sling Team was Scotland Thistle.

North by Southwest

Forum Admin Finishes a Very Close Second in F-Open
Hats off to AccurateShooter.com’s very own Systems Admin, Jay Christopherson. A talented tech expert, Jay runs our web servers and manages our Forum software. His skills and dedication keep the Forum running smoothly, even as we approach 35,000 members. Jay shot a brilliant match at Ben Avery this week, finishing second in F-Open, just one point behind F-Open winner David Gosnell. We’re proud of Jay, and we want to recognize his achievement. It’s interesting to note that Jay shot the entire match with the new SEB Mini rest, and he was using a Vortex 15-60x52mm Golden Eagle scope. Here’s a short video of Jay shooting his .284 Win rifle on Saturday.

Berger SW Nationals Final Report Match Results

The show’s over — it’s time to pack up the gear and head on home. We’re already looking forward to the 2018 Berger SWN. See you next year!

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

Big News for Berger Bullets

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

Big news in the Industry is that Berger Bullets is becoming part of the Nammo Group, parent of Lapua, Vihtavuori, SK and other companies. This major acquisition will combine Nammo’s resources and advanced engineering with Berger’s match-winning bullet designs and strong focus on competition. Yes, you can expect to see factory-loaded ammunition with Berger projectiles and premium Lapua brass. To learn more about the big Berger/Nammo deal, watch this interview with Berger President Erik Stecker.

Eric Stecker, Berger’s President, says the exact timing of the move has not yet been set, nor has the location been chosen. Arizona is high on the list of potential sites, but Berger is considering other states as well. Once the new factory location is determined, Eric says he expects the move to be completed “by December 2018 at the latest”.

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February 11th, 2017

Berger SWN Day 3 Report — Individual 800, 900, 1000 Yards

Berger SWN 2017  match palma

Friday at the Ben Avery Range in Phoenix, hundreds of competitors shot the individual Palma Match, a three-yardage (800/900/1000) day-long event. Competition was tough. The first four F-Open competitors didn’t drop a single point, all finishing with 450-point “cleans”. In F-TR it was equally close. Phil Kelley won with 447-23X, but the next three finishers were just one point behind at 446. In the sling division, John Whidden topped a very strong field with his 449-31X score, showing why he is the reigning National Long-Range Champion. But the next four Sling competitors were just one point behind at 448 points.

Top Five Competitors in Each Class
SLING
John Whidden, 449-31X
Anette Wachter, 448-26X
Randy Teissedre, 448-24X
Robert Stekette, 448-23X
Allen Thomas, 448-22X
F-OPEN
David Gosnell, 450-38X
Keith Glasscock, 450-34X
Danny J. Biggs, 450-32X
Jay Christopherson, 450-25X
Gilber Lucero, 449-27X
F-TR
Philip Kelley, 447-23X
Donald Erpenbach, 446-21X
Richard Dixon, 446-20X
Alan Barnhart, 446-16X
Daniel Lentz, 445-16X

Berger SW Nationals DAY THREE Highlights Video:

The match can’t happen without the dedicated folks doing pit duty — it’s all part of the experience.
Berger SWN 2017 Litz Dawn Kestrel

Aussie Tim Lawrence’s stock was custom-built from Rosewood in New South Wales, Australia.
Berger SWN 2017 Australia F-TR

The state of the art in F-Open rifles is very high indeed. Check out this handsome F-Open rig with a Speedy-designed Shurley Brothers ARK series wood stock.
Berger SWN 2017 F-Open

Four F-Open Competitors All Shot Clean
Remarkably, the four top F-Open Competitors all shot “clean” 450s, not dropping a single point. That’s mighty impressive for a 45-shot match at three yardages. AccurateShooter’s Systems Manager Jay Christopherson, who finished fourth, said: “Shooting clean today doesn’t suck. Shooting clean and still taking 4th place is a little harder to accept. Extremely tough crowd of competitors, as always.”

Checking the wind at the beginning of the day. Dawn at Ben Avery is beautiful. (Photo by Steve Fiorenzo).
Berger SWN 2017 Litz Dawn Kestrel

Interview with Multi-Time Champions David Tubb and John Whidden
We had a chance to chat with David Tubb and John Whidden. Between the two of them, David and John have won 21 National Rifle Championships. David has 11 National High Power titles plus 6 Long-Range titles. Reigning National Long Range Champion John Whidden holds 4 Long-Range titles, having won his latest LR championship in 2016. David is truly a living legend in the world of competitive shooting and John is one of the best sling shooters in the game today, a man capable of winning any match he enters. In fact he did win Friday’s match in the Sling division, topping the field with a 449-21X.

Berger SW Nationals Gallery of Competitors

At the Berger SW Nationals we have the opportunity to meet old friends from all over the country and make new friends. Here are some folks we saw at yesterday’s match.

Here’s Friday’s Sling Class winner John Whidden (449-31X) buckling up right before his relay.

Berger SWN 2017 Noma Mayo palma

Noma Mayo, one of our great senior shooters. She’s always smiling and helping others…

Berger SWN 2017 Noma Mayo palma

Tom Whitaker (left) chats with Emil Praslick III (right), one of the best wind coaches in the world.

Berger SWN Praslick

Like father, like daughter. This smiling twosome is from Texas. Father David, an Accurateshooter Forum member, tells us: “Claudette turned 15 on the day we drove out, Tuesday, and this is her first Berger SWN match. She and my son Royse (17) have won Texas junior championships, but this match is the largest we’ve attended.”

Berger SWN Praslick

We caught past F-Open National Champion (and past SWN winner) Larry Bartholome logging his score at the 900-yard line. Larry is one of the greatest F-Open shooters ever. Larry posts in our Forum as “LBart”.

Berger SWN father daughter

And here’s the man who started it all, Walt Berger himself. Without his dream to build better bullets, and his hard work over many decades, there wouldn’t be this wonderful match each year. The popularity of this event is testimony to Walt’s dedication and passion for the sport. Walt still competes in Benchrest matches.

Berger SWN Walt Berger

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March 29th, 2016

Cactus Classic in Phoenix Draws Top Benchrest Talent

Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery
Click to view full-screen size image.

The Cactus Classic is a prestigious benchrest competition held every year in Phoenix, Arizona. On March 16-20, many of the nation’s top short-range benchresters came to Ben Avery to vie for glory and prizes. There were some impressive performances at this year’s Cactus Classic, hosted by the Arizona Benchrest Shooters. Top Gun was Larry Costa who won the Two-Gun Grand Aggregate as well as the Light Varmint (LV) 200-yard Agg. Lou Murdica (shown below) won the Heavy Varmint (HV) 200-yard Aggregate. At the shorter range, Larry Baggett won the Heavy Varmint 100-yard Aggregate and Gary Bristow won the Light Varmint 100-yard Agg. For full results, click the link below. To see hundreds of high-rez photos from the match, visit the Berger Bullets Flickr Photo Gallery.

CLICK HERE for Complete Cactus Classic Match Results.

HV 200-yard Aggregate winner Lou Murdica.
Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery

Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery

Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery

Most short-range benchrest shooters load at the range.
Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery

Now in his late 80s, Berger Bullets founder Walt Berger is still competing…
Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery

Impressive hardware was on display at the Cactus Classic.
Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery

Cleaning is part of the routine in the short-range benchrest game.
Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery

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September 15th, 2015

St. Louis Club Hosts NBRSA and World Benchrest Championships

NBRSA WBSF Championship St. Louis Walt Berger

The NBRSA short-range Group Benchrest Nationals commenced this week at the St. Louis Benchrest Club Range in Wright City, Missouri. This will be followed, next week, by the World Benchrest Shooting Federation (WBSF) Championships at the same venue. Lapua staffer (and Forum member) Kevin Thomas trekked to Missouri for this combined National/International event. Kevin reports: “The best benchrest shooters [on the planet] will fight it out over the next two weeks to see who can shoot the smallest groups possible. And I’ve got to say, many of these shooters are truly amazing. It doesn’t hurt a bit that virtually all of them are shooting Lapua brass, either.”

The WBSF event has attracted shooters from around the world. Benchrest aces from Australia, Canada, Great Britain, and South Africa are already in St. Louis, with other international competitors set to arrive next week. On Monday, Day One of the NBRSA Nationals, the Unlimited Class rigs showed off their capabilities. As shown below, these heavy rail guns represent the pinnacle of precision in the 100/200-yard benchrest game.

NBRSA WBSF Championship St. Louis Walt Berger

Here’s living legend Walt Berger, founder of Berger Bullets. Now in his late 80s, Walt is still competing at a very high level. Walt is proof that Benchrest shooting is truly a “sport for a lifetime”.

NBRSA WBSF Championship St. Louis Walt Berger

Here’s a beautiful Missouri sunrise captured as Kevin Thomas drove to St. Louis for the 2015 NBRSA Benchrest Championships.

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February 13th, 2015

Team Match at Berger Southwest Nationals

Thursday at the Berger Southwest Nationals was Team Match day. Teams of sling shooters as well as F-TR and F-Open marksmen competed at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. Conditions on Thursday (Feb. 12) were much better than on Wednesday (Feb. 11) when strong, fish-tailing winds created big problems for the shooters. For the Thursday Team Match, the winds were variable, but generally the mirage was a good indicator of speed, and the flags were showing the angles. The wind coaches for the teams told us that the conditions “were quite readable”.

Here is AccurateShooter.com’s video wrap-up of the Team Match on Thursday. F-TR shooters should watch carefully — Ray Gross, captain of the F-TR USA Team. talks about the latest equipment used by the top shooters. In addition, Ray announced a Team Try-Out Session on Monday February 16, 2015.

In team competition, the shooter relies on his coach and spotter.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

This could be the most beautiful F-Open rifle we’ve ever seen. Look at the figure in that wood.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

Nancy Tompkins dials wind for Anette Wachter (aka “30 Cal Gal”).
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

Matt Schwartzkopf excels despite lacking two lower legs. He works as a range manager at Ben Avery.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

Tube-gun chassis-maker Gary Eliseo shot in the Sling Division. His company, Competition Machine, is now based in Cottonwood, Arizona.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

Dan Polabel’s F-TR Rifle with Flex Bipod.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

Walt Berger enjoyed the Team Match. “Seems like the wind’s a bit better today” he joked.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

It was just a warm, beautiful day at Ben Avery….
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

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December 7th, 2014

You Go Girl! Ten-year-old Angelina Bests Benchrest Big Boys

Angelina Benchrest girl phoenixYou have to love this story, supplied by our friend Lou Murdica. It seems that a petite little 10-year-old school girl finished fourth in a 100-Yard Benchrest match in Phoenix, beating some of the best in the business, including many Benchrest Hall of Famers. That’s right, shooting a remarkable 0.1612 Aggregate, little Angelina G. put a whupping on some very big names in the Benchrest game, including Lou Murdica himself. Angelina finished just .008 behind Hall of Famer Gary Ocock, beating other Benchrest superstars such as Bob Brackney, Lester Bruno, and Tom Libby. Angelina also beat legendary bullet-maker Walt Berger, but we’ll cut Walt some slack. Now in his 80s, Walt deserves praise for doing so well at the opposite end of the age spectrum.

Congratulations to Angelina on some great shooting in the Unlimited Class. Her five groups measured: 0.186, 0.172, 0.173, 0.121, 0.155. That’s impressive consistency. You go girl!

Angelina Benchrest girl phoenix

Point to ponder: If Angelina was shooting a Rail Gun, her rifle probably weighed more than she did.

Check out the big names who finished behind little Angelina.

Angelina Benchrest girl phoenix

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October 26th, 2014

Walt Berger Earns 20th Hall of Fame Point at NBRSA Nationals

Here’s a feel-good story, particularly for those of us getting up in years. Walt Berger recently proved you are as young as you feel — and you can enjoy shooting success at any age. Walt Berger, well into his 80s, won a big benchrest victory last month, taking the Sporter Class 100-yard Aggregate at the 2014 NBRSA Score Nationals. In so doing, Walt earned his 20th Hall of Fame Point. That’s a great accomplishment for the Elder Statesman of Benchrest. Congrats to Walt! And, yes, of course, Walt was shooting a projectile made by Berger Bullets — the 6mm 65gr BT Target bullet.

Walt Berger NBRSA Hall of Fame

About Walt Berger
Walt Berger started making rifle bullets in 1955 because he believed he could make better bullets than those that were available at the time. He regularly participated in benchrest shooting competitions (and still does today), which requires the highest levels of precision in all components. In 1987, Walt grew his bullet making operation beyond a part time hobby after encouragement from his second wife Eunice (Walt lost his first wife Mary to cancer). Together, they grew the business into a large-scale precision rifle bullet-making operation.

Walt was born at the end of the Golden Twenties and the beginning of the Great Depression. His story is about overcoming great odds and seeing things through to success when almost everyone around him was convinced he would fail.

Walt Berger with two younger generation Berger Bullets employees at the 2014 NRA Annual Meeting.
Walt Berger NBRSA Hall of Fame

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February 4th, 2014

Berger Big Shots in YouTube Interviews

With the Berger Southwest Nationals kicking off February 4, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona, we thought our readers might enjoy a very interesting interview with the top decision-makers at Berger Bullets, namely company founder Walt Berger, plus Eric Stecker, Berger’s Executive Vice President.

This interview covers a wide range of topics in seven (7) separate segments. We’ve embedded the first two interview sections in this article, with links for the other five below.

Berger Bullets boxSinclair Int’l has released a 7-part series of video interviews with Walt Berger (founder of Berger Bullets) and Eric Stecker (Berger’s Exec. VP and Master Bulletsmith). The series is hosted by Bill Gravatt (who was Sinclair’s President at the time the interview was filmed). You can watch Parts 1 and 2 of the interview here, and we’ve provided links to the remaining Parts 3 through 7. All seven interview segments offer interesting material. Part 6 mentions the Berger Reloading Manual (many years in the making). Part 7, over 13 minutes long, contains interesting discussions of bullet testing and the hunting performance of Berger VLDs.

NOTE: You can view this entire video series (and many other videos) on Sinclair’s YouTube Channel Page.

Berger Interview PART 1

Berger Interview PART 2

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January 13th, 2013

Video Interview with Walt Berger and Eric Stecker

Berger Bullets boxSinclair Int’l has released a 7-part series of video interviews with Walt Berger (founder of Berger Bullets) and Eric Stecker (Berger’s Exec. VP and Master Bulletsmith). The series is hosted by Sinclair’s President, Bill Gravatt. You can watch Parts 1 and 2 of the interview here, and we’ve provided links to the remaining Parts 3 through 7. All seven interview segments offer interesting material. Part 6 mentions up and coming stuff like the reloading manual. Part 7, over 13 minutes long, contains interesting discussions of bullet testing and the hunting performance of Berger VLDs. NOTE: You can view this entire video series (and many other videos) on Sinclair’s YouTube Channel Page.

Berger Interview PART 1

Berger Interview PART 2

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August 28th, 2012

Berger Bullets Reloading Manual Officially Released

Berger 2012 Reloading ManualBerger Bullets just announced the completion of the first-ever Berger Bullets Reloading Manual (1st Ed.). This $29.00, 829-page manual will be available to the public starting in October, 2012. Eric Stecker notes: “Our team worked very hard to create a thorough manual which gives the shooter everything they come to expect from a reloading manual, along with several extra items we hope the shooters will find interesting and useful. We spent a considerable amount of time putting together loads for seventy-one different cartridges. The majority of powders used to develop the loads for each cartridge were selected due to the fact that they result in 90% or higher fill ratio. It is generally believed that powders which have a fill ratio over 90% will perform best in a given case, since the powder will not be moving around as much in the case.”

The new Berger Manual includes many informative technical articles. Noted Editor John Barsness tackles the subject of Lot to Lot Powder Variations with skill and experience. He provides the shooter with a much greater understanding of why loading manuals do not list the same loads from manual to manual, yet are more consistent than shooters might think. Other technical sections written by Ballistician Bryan Litz include: G1 vs. G7 Ballistic Coefficients, Form Factor: A Useful Analysis Tool, and The Effects of Cartridge Overall Length (COAL) and Cartridge Base to Ogive (CBTO).

With new rifle shooters in mind, the manual also spotlights ten different types of rifle-shooting activities, each explained by an expert in that discipline/activity. Among these ten activity-focus segments, Short Range Benchrest is covered by Walt Berger, High Power and Across the Course Competition is explained by Sherri Jo Gallagher, while Nancy Tompkins wrote the Palma, Long Range & Fullbore segment. Precision Hunting is covered by John Burns.

Berger Reloading ManualThere are several other informational sections that will enhance readers’ understanding of reloading techniques and the shooting sports. This includes everything from Handloading Basics for new and novice shooters, to an article on Statistics for Handloading for more advanced shooters looking to better understand their work processes and thereby improve their results on the target.

Another interesting feature in the Manual is a profile of company founder Walt Berger. This segment, tracking back to 1920s and 1930s, explains how Walt overcame great odds and built a successful enterprise when almost everyone around him was convinced he would fail.

Overall, this book represents a massive amount of work by numerous individuals over many years. Eric Stecker explains: “One of the reasons it took so long to complete this manual is because we wanted to include as much good information as we could provide. It is my opinion that we have succeeded in this effort and I am proud that we are ready to provide a quality loading manual which will help rifle shooters at all levels.”

Collector-Edition Signed Copies Available for Pre-Order
The retail price is $29.00. Berger is accepting pre-orders for the Reloading Manuals, which will begin shipping in October. The first 3,000 manuals have been signed by Walt Berger, Eric Stecker, Bryan Litz and Michelle Gallagher. Bryan Litz tells us: “Walt, Eric, Michelle and I spent many hours last week signing 3,000 copies of the book. We went through many boxes of Sharpies… it was quite the task!” To place an advance book order, call 714-447-5422 or CLICK HERE for Berger’s Online Shopping Cart.

Berger Bullets Reloading Manual

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