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August 22nd, 2018

IBS Match Report: 2018 Group Nationals at Weikert, PA

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship

Many of the nation’s top 100/200-yard Benchrest Shooters came to central Pennsylvania this month for the IBS Group Nationals, held August 13-18 at the Union County Sportsmen’s Club. This major event encompassed six days of shooting, making this one of the lengthiest benchrest matches of the year. There were nearly 90 registered competitors, plus competitors’ spouses and kids were able to shoot in a fun match on Wednesday afternoon. This is a prestigious match — with National titles up for grabs in four classes: Sporter, Light Varmint, Heavy Varmint, and Heavy Bench. CLICK HERE for Full Results.

IBS Group Benchrest Nationals 2018

Report by Jeff Stover, IBS President
The Range and Conditions
This year’s venue was a return to one of the premier benchrest rifle ranges in the country. Union County Sportsmen’s Club is located near the center of Pennsylvania. It gets its name from the nearby village of Weikert. The range faces east, not ideal, but that is what the topography dealt the club. This week of competition had the usual prevailing conditions: mostly from the west, meaning from 4 o’clock to 8 o’clock. A switch green to orange and back again, with changing velocities. Sometimes readable. Many times, however, conditions are confounding.

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship

The Course of Fire
The IBS Group Nationals event is a bit of an endurance test as it spans six days for those shooting. The sequence of competition groups has 100-yard targets shot the first three days followed by three days at 200 yards. It is done this way to require only one change of wind flags. Nationals competition requires “full rotation”. That means that every time a shooter goes to the line for the next match target, he or she must move a requisite number of benches to the right. At the end of the day a shooter will shoot across the full width of the line. Some ranges offer unique properties that render some parts of the range harder or easier to shoot small groups. Bench rotation is important to even out those factors.

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship
Hall of Famer Jeff Gaidos taking aim. Note both eyes are open. Jeff picked up two more HOF points at Weikert this year.

Light Varmint, Heavy Varmint, Sporter, and Heavy Bench Equipment
It takes thirty targets of five shots each and ten targets of 10-shot groups to win a “4 Gun Nationals”. That would be the classes of Light Varmint, Heavy Varmint, Sporter, and Heavy Bench. For all practical purposes, the first three are known as “bag guns” while the Heavy Bench rifles are “rail guns”. In fact, most competitors shooting a bag gun opt for a single rifle, which has been the benchrest standard for decades: a 10.5-pound rifle chambered in 6 PPC.

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship

Peinhardt Wins 2-Gun & 3-Gun, Costa Wins 4-Gun, and Mitchell Smashes HB Record
Jeff Peinhardt won the 2-Gun and 3-Gun to dominate the “bag guns” (Light Varmint, Heavy Varmint, and Sporter). Larry Costa won the 4-Gun, with the top combined Agg for all four classes. Paul Mitchell turned in the notable railgun performance in the Heavy Bench division. Mitchell posted a 200-yard Agg of 0.1687 MOA. That should smash the old record of .2224 MOA set by Ed Watson way back in 1990! Note those figures are for MOA at 200 yards. Mitchell’s average 10-shot group size was 0.3374” (MOA x 2). That is only slightly larger than the Aggregate record for 5-shot groups with a rail gun. Mitchell said his rail has a superb Krieger barrel: “My rail gun was originally built by Bud Welch in the early ’90s. I took about ten years off from shooting from the late ’90s until 2008. When I got back I had Bruce LaChapelle take the action out of a sleeve and clamp the barrel in a Delrin sleeve. Dwight Scott chambered this Krieger barrel in January of 2017 and let me know that he thought it could be one of the hummers we all dream of and don’t waste it. This is the fourth 10-Shot teen Agg I have shot with it. It will be a sad day when it’s shot out!”

Click links below for Day-by-Day Results. Complete results may be found at the IBS Match Report Page.

Monday HB 100 | Tues LV/SP 100 | Wed HV 100 | Thurs LV/SP 200 | Friday HV 200| Saturday HB 200

Multi-Gun Results:
There are awards for combined results in multiple classes. Jeff Peinhardt won the both the 2-Gun (HV-LV) and 3-Gun (LV-HV-SP). Long time top shooter Larry Costa won the overall 4-Gun. Both Costa and Wayne Campbell (4-gun runner-up) are Hall of Famers. 4-Gun 3rd-place finisher Hugh Williamson, a Canadian, is also a barrel-maker.

The 3-Gun Top Three (from left): Jeff Peinhardt, Larry Costa, and Ronald Burdick:
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship

IBS Score Benchrest Nationals Multi-Gun Results
2-Gun Top Three 3-Gun Top Three 4-Gun Top Three
1. Jeff Peinhardt
2. Ronald Burdick
3. Larry Costa
.2104
.2138
.2148
1. Jeff Peinhardt
2. Larry Costa
3. Ronald Burdick
.2035
.2040
.2164
1. Larry Costa
2. Wayne Campbell
3. Hugh Williamson
.2191
.2238
.2331

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship
On Wednesday Afternoon first timers/novices (including spouses and children) were allowed to shot a group with the assistance of a coach. Here is PowderPuff winner Dena Wise with Coach David Halblom. Note Dena’s impressive 0.148 group. Dena is sister to Dale and Russ Boop.

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship

Benchrest State of the Art — Equipment

Want to know what the Top Guns were shooting at Weikert? Here is a complete Top Ten Equipment list for all four classes: Sporter, LV, HV, and Heavy Bench (Railgun):

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship

Thanks to the Hard Working Team at Weikert
The IBS is indebted to Nancy Scarbrough who did a fabulous job as match director. Mark Trutt, once again, devoted a full week as range officer and getting the range and grounds ready. The target crew was very efficient under the experienced direction of Steve Dodge.

Target Analysis from the “Wailing Wall”

This photo shows 200-yard targets for one of the relays in the Sporter Class (10.5-lb riles, all 6 PPC). At the match, the scored, 5-shot targets are put up on a board, euphemistically called the “Wailing Wall”. These groups are revealing. Note that almost all the groups are located below and to the right of the moth ball (the 10 Ring in the center). The second set of target rings denoted by an “S” are for sighters, and are not scored.

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship
Click photo to view large image

These targets were shot in a left to right drift (flags showing GREEN due to convention) drift. The targets show that most of the shooters sighted in during dead calm with point of impact at or below the 10 ring (mothball) for easier holding. So in a “green” condition the groups will move to the right of dead calm. These targets also demonstrate what modern benchrest bag guns can do at 200 yards! Some of those would be 100-yard ‘wallet groups’ for non-benchrest shooters. Remember these are 10.5-lb rifles, not heavy, “unlimited” rail guns. Mighty impressive precision.

IBS Shooter Profile — Bill Brawand

by Jeff Stover
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun ChampionshipThere are few “characters” left in the benchrest world, but Bill Brawand is one of them. He is still competing at age 84. He started in the game way back in 1973 and has been a stalwart on both the IBS and NBRSA circuits ever since.

He grew up on a dairy farm in north central PA near the town Wilcox. In the early days he earned $100 per week. That was not near enough to support a family and a competitive benchrest habit. That was one reason he got into bullet making. If he wanted to attend a match he had to do extra farm and dairy work to justify being gone for a weekend. Those chores were in addition to making bullets to both shoot and sell. He has worked hard his entire life and earned everything he has achieved.

Some time ago, oil and gas were discovered on the large Brawand farm. With production underway, many years ago the dairy was closed so Bill could focus on real estate and managing his wells. The oil/gas boom resulted in a dramatic change in his economic fortunes but Bill did not change at all. Before he finally got a small RV, he was known to sleep on a clubhouse couch.

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Weikert Pennsylvania National Group 4-Gun Championship

Benchrest is now a family affair for Bill. One of Bill’s daughters, Sam, usually meets him at the shoots to assist him as needed. His knee problems keep him in a motorized scooter to get around the range. Sam memorialized Bill’s shooting accomplishments by sewing his many patches earned in shooting onto both a quilt and his shooting jacket (above). Check it out — that represents many decades of trigger pulling!

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August 12th, 2014

IBS Match Report: 2014 Group Nationals at Fairchance, PA

IBS Benchrest National Championship Fairchance PA Jeff Stover
Report by Jeff Stover, IBS President
Photos by Vera Carter
IBS Benchrest National Championship Fairchance PA Jeff StoverSmooth. Efficient. Well-run. Lots of small groups. Those words pretty much spell out the 45th annual IBS Group Nationals at Fairchance, PA. Match Director Bill Reahard and his crew put on a great show that consists of six days of competition from Monday through Saturday. Bill and his team spent days getting their southwestern Pennsylvania range ready for the nearly 80 shooters who attended. Fairchance is no stranger to big matches as the club has hosted previous Nationals and World Team qualifiers.

IBS 2014 Group Nat’l Championship RESULTS (web-page)
IBS 2014 Group Nat’l Championship RESULTS (XLS spreadsheet)

Six Days of Competition in Four Classes
Some say that the IBS Group Nationals is a marathon. Six days of competition at both 100 and 200 yards with four classes of rifles: Light Varmint (10.5 lb.); Sporter (10.5 lb. – 6mm min caliber); Heavy Varmint (13.5 lb.) and Heavy Bench (known as ‘Unlimited’ in NBRSA-land). The first three classes are simply known as the “bag guns”. Most competitors use a 10.5-lb. rifle in 6PPC and compete in all three classes. The Heavy Bench (HB) class requires 10-shot groups as opposed to 5-shot groups for the bag guns. There is no prohibition to shooting your 10.5 lb. rifle in HB, but bag guns are simply outclassed by the rail guns, especially for 10-shot groups.

All 100-yard targets were shot the first three days followed by three days at 200 yards. It is done in this sequence to require only one change of wind flags.

Natalie from the Target Crew during the Powder-Puff match.
IBS Benchrest National Championship Fairchance PA Jeff Stover

The week delivered pretty typical mid-Atlantic August weather: hazy sun with 80% humidity in the morning dropping to 50% as the temperature warmed. Fairchance is sometimes known to offer strong crosswinds that challenge the best of shooters. This week, however, the breezes were light to moderate and switchy. A shooter on his game with a well-tuned rifle could assemble a string of good groups. There were many ‘Teen Aggs’ (sub-.200 five target averages) shot this week.

Musical Chairs at the Group Nationals
IBS Nationals competition requires ‘full rotation’. That means that every time a shooter goes to the line for the next match target, he or she must move a requisite number of benches to the right. At the end of the day a shooter will shoot across the full width of the line. Some ranges offer unique properties that render some parts of the range harder or easier to shoot small groups. Bench rotation is important to even out those factors.

View looking down-range. This is a beautiful place to shoot.
IBS Benchrest National Championship Fairchance PA Jeff Stover

Monday morning saw the Heavy Bench (HB) shooters hauling the big rail guns to the line. Bill Symons led the way at 100 yards with the only ‘Teen Agg’ in HB, a fine .1972. The 200-yard stage for HB would not be held until Saturday morning.

On Tuesday the bag guns came out for Light Varmint (LV) and Sporter (SP). Conditions allowed for quite a few very good groups. When the top five are under .1900 you know two things — Nationals competitors brought their “A Game” and the conditions were manageable. Sporter was not too much different as the first four were in the ‘teens. Ohio’s Jeff Gaidos led the way in LV with a .1714. In SP, Wayne Campbell from Virginia won with a .1902.

Sporter 100 “Top Guns” (L to R): Charles Miller, Steve Lee, Al Auman, Wayne Campbell, Larry Costa.
IBS Benchrest National Championship Fairchance PA Jeff Stover

Wednesday was reserved for Heavy Varmint (HV) at 100 yards. Steve Lee worked his magic with a .1742. Reportedly, he was using some new Bart’s bullets on new Bart’s jackets. Steve shot well all week. Those new bullets certainly contributed to his success.

Wednesday afternoon saw the moving of flags for the 200-yard stage of the competition. The SP and LV 200 yard targets were Thursday’s course of fire. In LV, Hal Drake shot a .2045 Aggregate which edged Larry Costa’s .2076. At 200 yards the Aggregates are measure on MOA. Therefore, Hal’s .2045 Aggregate translates to an average 200 yard target measurement of .409”. The afternoon was reserved for SP targets. Wayne Campbell shot a .2250 to win the afternoon’s contest.

IBS Benchrest National Championship Fairchance PA Jeff Stover

On Friday, a single Aggregate of five record targets were shot for Heavy Varmint (HV) at 200 yards. Harley Baker had his mojo working with a tiny .1674 Aggregate — not far off from the IBS record. On Friday afternoon many of the awards for the bag guns were given out. Saturday was reserved for HB 200. Since some of the bag gun shooters do not shoot a rail gun a number of competitors left Friday afternoon. The rail guns came out to contest 200 yards on the last day of the Nationals. The winner was Jack Neary who shot a .2324 Aggregate to edge Steve Lee’s .2361.

IBS 2014 Group Shooting National Championships — Top Fives
IBS Benchrest National Championship Fairchance PA Jeff Stover

About the IBS Awards at the Group Nationals
The IBS recognizes winners as follows: Range Aggregates for each of the four classes of rifles; Grand (100 and 200) Aggregates in each of the four classes; 2-Gun (all HV and LV targets in 100 & 200); 3-gun (HV, LV, SP in 100 & 200) and 4-gun (HV, LV, SP and HB in 100 & 200). For the multi-gun competition, Florida’s Larry Costa won both the 2-Gun and 3-Gun titles. In the 4-gun, however, it was Michigander Bill Symons who took the 4-Gun title with an excellent .2332.

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