August 13th, 2008

Whidden Wins NRA Long-Range Championship–Repeat Victory

John Whidden won the 2008 NRA Long-Range Championship with an impressive 1239-65X score. This was the second straight Long-Range win for phenomenally skilled but modest Georgia-based shooter, who also took the title in 2007. On the way to the overall win, Whidden also captured the Canadian Cup (848-49X) and the Leech Cup (200-15X).

Camp Perry Long-Range Championship

The NRA Long-Range Championship went down to the wire. Whidden secured the victory on X-count, with an edge of eight Xs over runner-up Robert Gustin of California who finished with 1239-57X. (Gustin was also high Senior.) Army Shooter Sgt. Brandon Green finished third at 1238-64X, just one point behind. Nancy Tompkins, popular author of the Prone and Long-Range Rifle Shooting book, was the top female shooter, posting 1231-59X.

After winning the 2007 NRA Long-Range Championship, John Whidden provided the following commentary to (John regularly posts in our Shooters’ Forum). We’re not sure if he changed his equipment this year–we’ll provide updates on that as soon as possible.

Winning Camp Perry and the Mental Game
Winning the National Championship is a long-time goal realized. For me, being the National Champion was the single biggest shooting goal I had. I’m not sure exactly what will be my next shooting goal yet. If I had to summarize the mental game at this level of competition in one word, I would probably choose the word “Confidence”. You have to have the highest level of confidence in your skills, your rifle, and your ammo. There can’t be even a shadow of a doubt that all of your equipment is the best there is. No detail can be left undone.

Confidence is a far-reaching idea. It includes little things like making sure you have all of your equipment with you through the use of a checklist. Anything you can do to give yourself a higher level of confidence is worth doing.

Long-Range Hardware
In NRA Long Range, we shoot “Any Sight Rifles” and Palma rifles. The Palma rifles have to be .308s and they have to use Iron sights. The Any Rifles are used at different times with iron sights or scopes. They are also fairly unrestricted, as long as they are safe, .35 cal or under, and have no muzzle brake.

For the Any Rifle matches [in 2007], I shot rifles chambered in .243 Win. My iron sight gun is a Winchester M70 action, Broughton 1-8 twist 5C barrel, Anschutz trigger, Robertson Original stock, and Warner rear sight. My scope gun is a Stolle Panda action with an Anschutz trigger, Broughton 1-8 twist 5C barrel, Roberston Composites Original stock, and a Nightforce 8-32x BR scope. All of my rifles are proud products of the Whidden Gunworks custom shop. I shoot the same load in each: Berger moly coated 105 grain VLDs, Vihtavuori N160, Lapua brass, and PMC (Russian) primers.

Camp Perry Long-Range Championship

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