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March 16th, 2015

Ben Avery Range Dedicated to Walt Berger at Cactus Classic

Walt Berger Ben Avery Range Dedication Cactus Classic

Walt Berger, a living legend in the benchrest world, was honored this past weekend at the Ben Avery Range outside Phoenix, AZ. At the start of the 2015 Cactus Classic Benchrest match, a “surprise” ceremony was held. Berger President Eric Stecker announced to the crowd that the 100/200-yard benchrest facility was being dedicated to Walt Berger, founder of Berger Bullets. Walt was genuinely surprised and moved by the special ceremony, which featured a color guard, and a fly-over. In the photo above, Walt is flanked by his grandson David Hamilton (left) and Eric Stecker (right).

As part of the range dedication ceremony, four vintage, WWII-era Warbirds flew over the range in diamond formation, streaming red, white, and blue smoke.
Walt Berger Ben Avery Range Dedication Cactus Classic

Shortly after the ceremony, the competitors got down to business…
Walt Berger Ben Avery Range Dedication Cactus Classic

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March 16th, 2015

West Virginia Wins Third Straight NCAA Rifle Championship

NCAA Rifle Championship West Virginia 2015 Air

It was an impressive “three-peat” for The West Virginia University (WVU) rifle team. The WVU Mountaineers clinched their third straight NCAA Rifle Championship this weekend in Fairbanks, Alaska. Remarkably, this victory was the West Virginia’s 17th NCAA Rifle Championship — and it was a great team performance. WVU’s 4702 team aggregate score is the second-best in NCAA Championships history. And if you are curious, this Mountaineers squad also holds the best-ever team score, a 4705 shot by WVU at the 2014 NCAA Championships.

“It was an amazing performance today,” said coach Jon Hammond. “Winning three titles back to back is unreal. We have stressed with them all year to focus on performance and not outcome. They did that today. No one did anything wrong yesterday, but they performed the right way today. All five of them shot incredible. We really tried to not think about point difference or score. That’s the nature of the sport. You can’t control the other teams.”

Top Air Rifle Performances
The Mountaineers shot a 2383 air rifle team score, the second highest in team and NCAA history, and also took home the top three places in the individual final. WVU’s Maren Prediger, who placed second in last year’s NCAA final, won the individual air rifle title, leading her squad to the team victory in the process. In the first relay Maren was on fire, shooting a near-perfect 598 (100-100-99-100-100-99) score. The Petersaurach, Germany, native scored 205.8 in the final, earning the 2015 air rifle individual title. This was Maren’s last match as a Mountaineer.

Maren Prediger NCAA Rifle Championship West Virginia 2015 Air

“For Maren to shoot a 598 air rifle in her last match is incredible,” Hammond said. “I can’t fault her on anything this weekend. It says a lot about her character to come back today and win. She’s a world-class air rifle shooter. For her to win the final after being so close last year is a huge credit to her. To do it during her final match is even better.”

NCAA Rifle Championship West Virginia 2015 Air
Air Rifle Shooters at Alaska-Fairbanks’ Patty Center. (WVU Photo by Jason Colquhoun)

Overall Team Results
1. West Virginia: 4702
2. Alaska Fairbanks: 4700
3. TCU: 4667
4. Nebraska: 4667
5. Jacksonville State: 4664
6. Kentucky: 4657
7. Air Force: 4642
8. Murray State: 4637
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March 16th, 2015

Blaser Bling! R8 Serial Number 100,000 Showcased at IWA

In a corner of the Blaser booth at the IWA show in Germany was a very special rifle — Blaser R8 Serial Number 100,000. This one-of-a-kind Blaser is blinged to the max, befitting its milestone status as the 100,000th R8. “Designed without compromise” this rifle features mind-blowing wood, and elaborate engraving. It is highly decorated with images of the Argali, a type of big-horned sheep.

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Blaser R8 Showpiece Gun rifle engraving

What’s in a number? Blaser tell us: “In serial number 100,000… Nothing short of perfection would be acceptable from the masters of wood and steel. Two internationally recognized artists were selected, each working in their unique mediums. Painter Rudi Kohl has drafted, in his signature style, a painstaking depiction of Argali, the king of wild sheep, in their natural habitat. Engraver Jürgen Göser was then responsible for implementation of the drafts. The master engraver went about his task in his usual manner, meticulously and with absolute attention to detail.” Skeletonized octagonal pistol grip cap and steel butt plate, inlayed with ebony, were then added to complete the frame.

This R8 has some interesting hardware. The barrel is a fluted octagonal tube, the first of its kind on a Blaser R8. Front and rear sights were custom-machined from billet to blend with the silhouette of the rifle. Both receiver and bolt housing were shaped and polished by hand.

Story Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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