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February 12th, 2015

High Winds Challenge Shooters at Berger Southwest Nationals

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix

This was supposed to be the “easy day” at the Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN), with targets at the “shorter” distance of 600 yards. But the wind gods did not cooperate. The wind blew all day long, with significant velocity changes (from strong to very strong) and tricky angle changes. It was a challenge even for a National Champion. James Crofts, reigning F-TR National Champ, said today presented the toughest wind conditions he’s ever witnessed at Ben Avery: “Conditions were brutal, to say the least. At 600 yards I found the 7 Ring, so it wasn’t easy”. But James was up to the task, winning the F-TR division. Forum member Erik Cortina took top F-Open honors in this Wednesday mid-range match. But he agreed with Crofts that the blustery winds were very challenging — with the high velocities you had to watch the right flags to pick out the angle changes.

In the video below, James and Erik talk about the challenge of shooting in these kind of conditions, and they also talk about their choices in F-Class hardware (rests, bipods, scopes).

Check out the strong winds at Ben Avery:

Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix

Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix

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February 12th, 2015

Thoughts on Competitive Shooting — Top Guns Talk

At the Berger Southwest Nationals we had a chance to meet with many friends, including past and current champions. Here are some of the interesting comments from some top F-Class and Sling Shooters.

John Whidden
James Crofts talks wind with Erik Cortina at the Berger SWN. At Wednesday’s 600-yard match, James topped the F-TR field while Eric won the F-Open Division.

James Crofts
“The thing that has helped my shooting the most this past year was not fretting so much about the ammo — getting out of the reloading room. I’m putting more focus on shooting the gun and calling the wind. What advice would I give other shooters? Buy high-quality gear and cry once. For example, the Nightforce competition scope — it’s a great scope and we do use the full 55 power at times.”

Erik Cortina
“I shot a .284 Shehane today with 180gr Scenars. I’m glad I had that BC working for me, even at 600 yards. Do 6mm Dashers have a place in F-Open? Not on a day like today. If I was able to hold a 10 with my .284, the Dasher guys were over in the nine ring. If I shot a 9, they might shoot an 8. When conditions are tough, you want the heavy bullet.”

Larry Bartholome
“What trends do I see in F-Open? Well, for 600 yards, maybe more guys will start using the Dasher, now that Norma Dasher brass will be available thanks to Shiraz. Personally, for mid-range I’m shooting a .284 Shehane with 180 Bergers. I’ll stick with my 7mm/270 WSM for 800 [and longer].”

John Whidden

John Whidden
“It’s good to see so many old friends here. But I can’t say Ben Avery has been friendly today. This certainly gives me a chance to practice my wind calling — that should come in handy later this year at the Fullbore world championships at Camp Perry. On the business front we’re expanding our range of cartridge dies. I know a lot of guys at this match are now using our dies. That makes me proud.”

John Whidden

Carl Bernosky
“What with the back surgery, I haven’t had a sling on in nearly two years. Today was tough — my rifle felt like a log. The Southwest Nationals is a great match mind you, but it’s all on the ground and I miss standing up… I like to shoot standing.”

Mid Tompkins
“Electronic targets, you want electronic targets? That would change the whole game. Sure I can see my own shot locations on a monitor, but what about the other guys’ shots? I learn a lot looking at where other shooters’ shots end up [displayed by the shot markers]. Take that away and things are completely different. Looking at shots from other shooters on the line is a big part of the game today.”

John Whidden

John Whidden

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