February 14th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: 5 lb. Titanium-Action Carbon-Stock Hunting Rifle

Tom Mousel 6mm 6.5mm Creedmoor deer hunting rifle Pierce Titanium Ti action Lilja Barrel Manners composite Carbon Fiber stock
Here is Tom Mousel with Whitetail taken with his ultra-light hunting rifle fitted with 6mm Creedmoor Lilja barrel. Friend Cody (right) actually took the shot. This gun has a second barrel in 6.5 Creedmoor.

“Light is Right” when it comes to carrying deer rifles long distances in the backcountry. A lighter rifle DOES make a difference when you’re hiking many miles and carrying other gear including binoculars, laser rangefinders, food/water, and packs. And then, if you are successful, you’ll be carrying out game meat, so a lighter rifle translates to a lighter overall load.

When Forum member Tom Mousel (a top 1000-yard competitor) considered a new hunting rifle, he wanted a very light-weight rig. What he got was a low mass masterpiece — an ultra-accurate, five-pound hunting rifle. Not only does this twin-barrel rifle, as built by Alex Wheeler, come in under five pounds (before optics), but it has produced some quarter-MOA 3-shot groups at 1000 yards. The 6mm Creedmoor version of this rifle has demonstrated truly stellar accuracy at long range. The 6.5 Creedmoor barrel also shoots well and packs more punch for hunting use.

Tom Mousel 6mm 6.5mm Creedmoor deer hunting rifle Pierce Titanium Ti action Lilja Barrel Manners composite Carbon Fiber stock

Ultra-Light Rifle Specifications:
Pierce Engineering 100% Titanium action — Titanium Receiver, Bolt, Lug
Manners Composite Stocks UC Carbon Fiber Stock
Barrel ONE: Lilja 6mm 21″ 1:7″-twist 3-groove, No. 1 Contour, Chambered 6mm Creedmoor
Barrel TWO: Rock Creek 6.5mm 21″ 1:8″-twist, No. 2 Contour, Chambered 6.5 Creedmoor
Leupold Mark AR 4-12x40mm scope in Talley Rings
Jewell Trigger

Tom Mousel 6mm 6.5mm Creedmoor deer hunting rifle Pierce Titanium Ti action Lilja Barrel Manners composite Carbon Fiber stock
CLICK HERE to view full-screen large version of photo.

Tom Mousel 6mm 6.5mm Creedmoor deer hunting rifle Pierce Titanium Ti action Lilja Barrel Manners composite Carbon Fiber stock

Here is Tom’s rifle weighing in at 4 pounds, 14 ounces with 21″ Lilja #1 contour 6mm barrel. Tom says: “Here’s the rifle with full Titanium action, bolt, and lug, in a Tom Manners 17 oz. carbon fiber stock. It’s exactly one pound heavier fitted with my Leupold Mark AR 4-12x40mm scope in Talley rings.”

Tom Mousel 6mm 6.5mm Creedmoor deer hunting rifle Pierce Titanium Ti action Lilja Barrel Manners composite Carbon Fiber stock

Tom has two barrels for the rifle, one chambered for 6.5 Creedmoor and the other for 6mm Creedmoor. Tom reports: “The 6.5mm is a bit lighter being fluted. But I won’t be switching back now that I’ve shot the 6mm version. Neither has too much recoil, but the 6mm CM just kills the 6.5mm at distance for groups.”

Tom tells us: “What I like about this rifle is there were no corners cut to make it light. On some other ultra-lights, the fore-end has no strength or they are cut down really short. This is a full-sized stock, pillar-bedded with aluminum-filled epoxy and free-floated barrel. The ignition is set up with a TON of firing pin fall to function in the coldest temps.”

Gunsmith Alex Wheeler of Wheeler Accuracy is pleased with how this project turned out: “Tom has shot a bunch of sub-5″ groups and a couple one-inchers back-to-back at 1K. He has the Berger 115gr VLD going about 3050 fps.” Tom noted the 6mm barrel picked up about 50-60 FPS after the first 50 rounds. He shoots 115gr Berger VLDs with CCI 450s and Reloder 16, with the Bergers about .005″-.008″ in the lands.

Groups at 1000 Yards with 6mm Creedmoor Barrel, 115gr Bergers

Tom Mousel 6mm 6.5mm Creedmoor deer hunting rifle Pierce Titanium Ti action Lilja Barrel Manners composite Carbon Fiber stock
Here are two of Tom’s 1000-yard targets. This is with the 6mm Creedmoor barrel shooting 115gr Berger VLDs pushed by Alliant Reloder 16 at about 3050 FPS. The average of the two groups is 0.246 MOA. Pretty amazing for an ultra-light rifle shot off a bipod. Tom acknowledges that he can’t do this every day. He says that “shooting 871 yards at my home range, the rifle typically shoots 4″ to 5″ 3-shot groups”.

Q & A with Tom Mousel About his Ultra-Light Hunting Rifle

Tom Mousel 6mm 6.5mm Creedmoor deer hunting rifle Pierce Titanium Ti action Lilja Barrel Manners composite Carbon Fiber stockQ: Why did you choose to build this rig?
Tom: I just wanted to do it to see how light we could build an accurate, good-shooting rifle.

Q: What are your favorite things about the rifle, and is there anything you would change?
Tom: Definitely the light weight, and the overall size — it has a pretty short barrel (21″), so it’s just handy. I wouldn’t change anything about the rifle, now that I have the Titanium bolt. When I bought the action originally it had the steel bolt.

Q: How does this rifle handle?
Tom: It points well considering it is a light rifle. The 6mm Creedmoor version has very little recoil. On a good bipod I can sight in at 1000 without a spotter.

Q: What are your favorite accessories?
I use a Solo Hntr Mtn Lite stretchy cover. You can see it in the photo at right showing me on a hunt. I like this because you can roll it up like a sock and and use it for a rear support.

Q: Why did you choose Alliant Reloder 16 powder?
Tom: Lonnie Anderson, a fellow Deep Creek shooter, did a 6mm Creedmoor and he said RL16 was absolutely the most accurate. We have also found that Reloder 16 is really consistent on velocities through the seasons — from 90 above to teens below zero.

Q: Could this ultra-light set-up work for a bigger caliber also?
Tom: I’ve tried bigger calibers, but I’ve never been satisfied with the consistency of the groups. There’s a cut-off — there’s too much torque and recoil. We see a limit — you don’t want “too much gun” for the platform. Even here, the 6.5 barrel just doesn’t shoot as well as the 6mm.

Q: What advice do you have for hunters considering ultra-light rifles?
Tom: Be careful about falling in love with ballistics and trying to build too much bang for too small a platform. If I built a 7mm WSM for example, I’d want to rifle to weigh at least two pounds more.

Full Titanium Action from Pierce Engineering
This photo shows the Pierce Engineering Titanium Featherweight short action featuring Titanium (Ti) receiver, Ti bolt, and Ti lug. This unit is a mere 15.90 ounces complete. (NOTE: with Titanium body and STEEL bolt the weight is 18.5 ounces). The long action version is 17.4 ounces for the complete Titanium action with Ti bolt and Ti lug.

Tom Mousel 6mm 6.5mm Creedmoor deer hunting rifle Pierce Titanium Ti action Lilja Barrel Manners composite Carbon Fiber stock

Jud at Pierce Engineering tells us: “Both the Ti action body and Ti bolt are DLC-coated. This action also has an anti-bind rail for added smoothness and ease of functioning. This really is one of the lightest actions on the market. If you’re looking into building an ultra-light rifle I would seriously check one out! We make these with the highest level of detail, pride, and machining tolerances. They’re just sweet actions… and our Ti Featherweight short action is roughly half the weight of a Remington Model 7. So there’s a significant weight savings with the Pierce Ti Featherweight over a Model 7.”

Tom Mousel 6mm 6.5mm Creedmoor deer hunting rifle Pierce engineering Titanium Ti action Lilja Barrel Manners composite Carbon Fiber stock

Owner Profile — Tom Mousel, Hunter AND Long-Range Benchrest Ace
Tom Mousel knows a few things about accurate rifles. He is a top 1000-yard competitor at IBS matches and at the Deep Creek range near Missoula, Montana. In 2016 Tom set a remarkable 6-match Light Gun Group World Record, with a 2.9540″ group size Aggregate for SIX matches. And a year later, in 2017, Mousel set a 10-Match Heavy Gun World Record with a 5.3376″ Aggregate. NOTE: that is for TEN-shot groups in Heavy Gun. That’s an average ten-shot group under 6 inches for 10 matches! Over the past decade, Tom has remained at the top of the 1000-yard game, with many match wins at Deep Creek and other ranges.

Tom Mousel 1000-yard
Tom Mousel 1000-yard

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June 21st, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Father & Son Compete at 1000 Yards Together

Trystan Shawn Williams Deep Creek Montana 1000 yards
Young Trystan Williams with father Shawn Williams competing at recent 1000-yard Match at Deep Creek Range near Missoula, Montana.

For Father’s Day 2020, we feature a father and son duo who showed their skills at 1000 yards at the Deep Creek Range outside Missoula, Montana. Representing the younger generation, Trystan Williams drilled a 3.205″, 46 score 5-shot group on his first-ever target shot in his first-ever match. That represents 0.305 MOA at 1000 yards! Trystan’s 6mm Dasher IBS Light Gun was built by his father, Shawn Williams of North Ridge Rifles. Both father and son were competing at an IBS match held June 13-14, 2020.

Trystan Shawn Williams Deep Creek Montana 1000 yards

Deep Creek 1000-Yard IBS Match — June 13-14, 2020
Report by Alex Wheeler
We are back to shooting after the draconian measures taking by our state have been lifted for the most part. Our regular match 7 and 8 where held as scheduled as well as a make-up match for match #2 which was canceled in March. Conditions for the weekend where variable, ranging from very good, low winds and mirage, to extreme wind and thunderstorm warnings. Surprisingly, as conditions worsened on Sunday and scores went down, some still managed very respectable groups.

One of the main highlights of the weekend was the shooting by 11-year-old Trystan Williams. This was Trystan’s very first time shooting in a match. His first 1000-yard Light Gun target ever was a 3.205″ 46 score. Trystan backed that up with a couple more excellent targets, a 3.143″ 46, and a 3.819″ 47. Trystan shot his own tuning targets Friday before the match and helped his Father Shawn Williams load the ammunition for the match. Shooting talent runs in the family, with father Shawn shooting back to back 4″, 10-shot groups in Heavy Fun class and Uncle Jim shooting three, 50-point scores in a row in LG class. An interesting note, Trystan shot some of the new Alpha Dasher brass on some targets, using his 6mm Dasher. Internal volumes are different than Lapua, requiring different powder charges, but accuracy seems to be on par.

Trystan Shawn Williams Deep Creek Montana 1000 yards

Ultra-Accurate 6mm Dasher Built by Dad
Trystan’s rifle features a 1.550″ BAT B dual-port action and Krieger 1:8″-twist HV barrel chambered in 6mm Dasher. The action is pillar-bedded in a wood laminate Deep Creek Tracker stock. Trystan shot off of a SEB NEO coaxial rest. Father Shawn Williams, a talented gunsmith, built Trystan’s rifle. Shawn is the owner of North Ridge Rifles in Helena, Montana.

Looking back at the firing line from behind the 1000-Yard Targets at Deep Creek.
Deep Creek Montana

Top-Performing Bullet Options for the 1000-Yard Game
V-Tac 103gr bullets from Vapor Trail have been performing very well this year. Trystan was shooting them, as well as Jim Williams and James Bradley. James shot the smallest group of the weekend, a 2.551″ 50 score with sorted V-Tacs in his 3-lug BAT action. James says they sort like a good lot of Bergers and they can’t be beat for the price. Even with the excellent custom bullets we have, you can still compete with a good lot of Bergers. Chris Bosse shot a 3.986″ 100 score in HG with his 6.5×47 Lapua on a Borden action and custom stock. He was jumping 140gr Berger Hybrids. Eight of those ten shots on the target went into a mid-two-inch cluster. That’s impressive.

Trystan Shawn Williams Deep Creek Montana 1000 yards Tom Mousel

Tom Mousel (shown above) had a very good weekend, winning group in each class he entered. Sweeping all three Lignt Guns matches. Tom was part of the development process of Roy Hunter’s impressive 103A bullet and Tom used them in all three of his rifles this weekend. Tom reports that tuning is key. Tom does full load development with every barrel, even if they are chambered the same. This weekend all three of Tom’s barrels were running a different powder charge, seating depth, and primer. Lesson here — every barrel is unique, so each needs its own load development process.

Trystan Shawn Williams Deep Creek Montana 1000 yards

It was great to see some good groups and scores, as well as see some new shooters and out of state shooters travel to the match. We’re all Looking forward to the next match at Deep Creek. CLICK HERE for Match Results (ZIP file).

Deep Creek Montana 1000 yard range
Deep Creek 1000-yard line: 46°55’35.03” N 114°14’45.40” W, elevation 3355′.

New Long Range Benchrest Trend — Loading at the Range
Loading at the range has become common practice at Deep Creek. While that load method is the norm for short-range Benchrest, it’s still uncommon in long range disciplines. Montana has very drastic weather changes on a daily basis and it’s unrealistic to expect a rifle to stay in tune though those changes. It’s tough to come pre-loaded and beat the guys loading at the range. You are relying on luck that the tune will not change. It does take a little more effort to bring all your gear. But in my opinion, the pay-off is worth the effort. Like many things in life, you get out what you put in. Loading at the range does provide a step forward in accuracy and that’s what Benchrest competition is all about. — Alex Wheeler

Trystan Shawn Williams Deep Creek Montana 1000 yards

Here is a birds-eye view video of the Deep Creek Range, taken with an aerial drone.

Trystan Shawn Williams Deep Creek Montana 1000 yards

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November 5th, 2019

IBS 600-Yard Nationals in Minnesota — Winter Arrives Early

IBS 600-yard 600 Nationals Championship benchrest shooters international Minnesota MN 2019

The 2019 IBS 600-Yard Nationals took place October 12-13th at the Gopher Rifle and Revolver Club (GRRC.org) in Harris, Minnesota. It was a challenging event, given the cold and stormy conditions. Nonetheless many of the nation’s top shooters shot very well, and some young newcomers had strong showings. The real star of the match was new 600-Yard National Champion Jason Wolf. He delivered a masterful performance, winning the 2-Gun Overall, Light Gun Overall, and Heavy Gun Overall.

Click HERE for Full Match Results and Equipment List (PDF) »

IBS 600-yard 600 Nationals Championship benchrest shooters international Minnesota MN 2019

IBS 600-yard 600 Nationals Championship benchrest shooters international Minnesota MN 2019
Dave Holland, past GRRC Bench Director and Host of 2010 IBS 1000-Yard Nationals.

Match Report by Kent Bratten

MD, IBS 2nd Vice President and Awards Chairman
There was some scrambling before and during the Nationals due to the weather. Gopher Rifle and Revolver Club is a large, multi-discipline range set among marshes and woods just off I-35, about 40 miles north of a large metropolitan area in Minnesota. Because of the topography, winds and mirage can often be tricky.

IBS 600-yard 600 Nationals Championship benchrest shooters international Minnesota MN 2019
IBS 600-yard 600 Nationals Championship benchrest shooters international Minnesota MN 2019

Due to the forecasted poor weather, a large circus-tent style cover was rented in place of the usual canvas/pole type temporary structure (see AcccurateShooter’s article on the 2010 1000-yard Nationals at Harris). It is likely the clean-up crew would still be picking up the pieces if that structure had been used.

IBS 600-yard 600 Nationals Championship benchrest shooters international Minnesota MN 2019

Course of Fire for IBS 600-Yard Nationals
The event was run with the same format as the 2018 IBS 600-Yard Nationals in St. Louis. The course of fire was Light Gun (total weight 17 lbs. max) on Saturday and Heavy Gun (no weight limits) on Sunday. Each of the 63 competitors shot eight (8) targets daily in four relays. Saturday evening Vapor Trail Bullets hosted a banquet, at which time the Light Gun titles were awarded, along with a large prize table drawing afterwards. Sunday was Heavy Gun and had 61 shooters (two dropping out due to a family emergency). Despite no further snow and no ferocious winds, conditions were hardly ideal as it was still cold in the morning with swirling winds throughout the day. Hence on neither day did the group averages drop below two inches and there were only a handful of perfect scores.

IBS 600-yard 600 Nationals Championship benchrest shooters international Minnesota MN 2019

Formidable Performances Even in Tough Conditions
Despite the conditions and several DQs on Day One, the top guns still put on a very good performance. Scotty Powell of North Carolina won the Light Gun Group and Chris Nichols, also from North Carolina, won the Heavy Gun Group award. Jason Wolf of South Dakota was the big winner, taking home the Light Gun Score, Light Gun Overall, Heavy Gun Overall, and the 2-Gun Overall titles. Jason’s performance was superb. Along with his LG, HG, and 2-Gun titles, Jason shot the smallest group of the match, a stunning 0.673″ in Heavy Gun. He also placed second in Heavy Gun Group Agg, just 0.166″ off the best, while finishing third in Light Gun Group Agg, .340″ from the top. All in all, it was a dominant showing by the South Dakotan.

IBS 600-yard 600 Nationals Championship benchrest shooters international Minnesota MN 2019

IBS 600-yard 600 Nationals Championship benchrest shooters international Minnesota MN 2019
Robby Vick smiling despite the cold. But did you really need the fan Robby?

Snow Flurries and Other Shooting Challenges
After the match, we interviewed most of the Top Ten shooters. We covered topics such as as strategies for bad conditions and their previous shooting experience. Several mentioned having trouble seeing the marks on the white-painted steel sighting plates. And, because of snow flurries, some could only see the last round hit (last sighter), about 5-10 seconds before their record target came up. Accordingly, many competitors depended on the tracking ability of their rifles and maintaining their point of aim throughout the record period. As for shooting backgrounds, many of the Top 10 enjoyed long range hunting and varminting — especially prairie dog adventures. Some had started out with rimfire bench competition, some began with short range IBS matches, while others already shoot long distance (1000-Yard) IBS matches and F-Class. For all those interviewed, the result was pretty much the same. After starting in competitive shooting, they had gotten hooked on precision, and sought to push their skills to the limit.

IBS 600-yard 600 Nationals Championship benchrest shooters international Minnesota MN 2019

Possible New Trends in Equipment — Wider Stocks
The Top 10 Equipment Lists show the favorite actions (BAT), bullets (Vapor Trail and Bart’s) and scopes (Nightforce) with a sprinkling of different barrels and stocks. We note there does seem to be a trend towards wider stocks. When we reviewed the Top 20 List (about 30% of the pool) we noted a growing number of stocks with wider fore-ends (4 inches or more), especially the Wheeler/McMillan Tracker. As for chamberings, the 6 BRA (6mmBR Ackley Improved) seems to be very popular, but is not dominant over the 6 Dasher yet.

IBS 600-yard 600 Nationals Championship benchrest shooters international Minnesota MN 2019

IBS 600-yard 600 Nationals Championship benchrest shooters international Minnesota MN 2019

IBS 600-yard 600 Nationals Championship benchrest shooters international Minnesota MN 2019
Junior Champ Andrew Powers, setting up. Beside him is his grandfather, Johnny.

IBS 600-yard 600 Nationals Championship benchrest shooters international Minnesota MN 2019

COMMENTARY from Match Director Doc Bratten
It was a somewhat hair-raising experience leading up to the Nationals, with the bad forecast followed by a two-day period before the match when high winds made practice difficult. A major concern was that the weather would worsen and cause a major delay or cancellation. But, like the D-Day invasion of 1944, prayers for a break in the weather were answered. We also had an unexpected shortening of staff. But the Nationals team still did a wonderful job of running the line and everyone chipped in with putting up the “mess tent”, line cover, and helping in the target review area. Also hats off to the target crew and scorers in the Red Shed. With the snow and wind, it could not have been easy working with those targets and drying them after.

IBS 600-yard 600 Nationals Championship benchrest shooters international Minnesota MN 2019
Into the quagmire to look at targets…

We are very grateful to all our IBS sponsors, whose generosity ensured rich prize tables for both the Hawk’s Ridge 1000-Yard Nationals and here in Minnesota. I would especially like to thank Sally and Jim Bauer of Vapor Trail Bullets for sponsoring the Awards Banquet. We very much appreciated the Grand Prizes supplied by Alex and Matt Findley of AMP Annealing, David Dorris (and Ms. Krag) of BenchSource, Alex Wheeler of Wheeler Accuracy and Bart Sauter of Bart’s Bullets. The full list of IBS 600-yard and 1000-yard Nationals sponsors can be found on the IBS Website.

IBS 600-yard 600 Nationals Championship benchrest shooters international Minnesota MN 2019

Finally, we extend a very special thanks to our friends at Gunstop Reloading and Gunstop of Minnetonka gun sales for their trophy donations. We also thank Dave Newell, Past President at GRRC, current Club newsletter editor, and exceptional wedding photographer, for his great photos of the match.

CLICK HERE to View 90+ photos from 600-Yard Nationals »

IBS 600-yard 600 Nationals Championship benchrest shooters international Minnesota MN 2019
Great BBQ lunches were provided by Rick of Dickies. Vapor Trail Bullets sponsored the Awards banquet.

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July 17th, 2019

Amazing 1K Shooting — 1000-Yard Multi-Match Records Broken

6BRA Dasher Montana Deep Creek

The bar is raised yet again — the standards for long-range accuracy keep improving. Two talented Montana shooters have both gone sub-four inches for a 1K 10-Match Aggregate. What that means is that over TEN matches, these guys have averaged under 0.4 MOA at 1000 yards. Think about that. Most shooters will be happy with half-MOA at ONE HUNDRED yards. These guys are beating that by a significant margin at ONE THOUSAND yards, and they have done it for a whole season.

1000 Yard Multi-Match IBS Records Fall at Deep Creek
David Torgerson and Tom Mousel both broke the 10-match Light Gun Group Aggregate (Agg) record. Tom also broke the 6-Match Light Gun Group Agg record. Prior to these brilliant performances, the existing IBS 10-Match Agg record was 4.3155″. David crushed that with a 3.7946″, as did Tom with a 3.8734″. The existing IBS 6-Match Agg Record was 3.072″ and Tom shot a 2.954″, which will be a new record.

This is the first time in history that anyone has Agg’d in the threes for the 10-Match and in the twos for the 6-Match! For those not familiar with 1000-yard IBS matches, the Season Aggregate is based on ten matches. All ten are averaged for the 10-match Agg and the best six are averaged for the 6-Match Agg.

Shooters Established New Records with Multiple Guns and Multiple Barrels
David shot the majority of his targets with a Bat B action and Broughton 5C barrel. But he also shot his BAT SV and Borden BRM with Krieger and Lilja barrels. David’s 1K rifles feature Deep Creek Tracker stocks and March scopes. He shot Vapor Trail 103gr bullets in the all the rigs, and all his barrels are chambered in 6BRA — a 40° wildcat based on the 6mmBR Norma. The 6BRA retains the long neck of the parent case, but has more case capacity. Some people say the 6BRA is a bit easier to tune than the 6mm Dasher, but it still achieves that ultra-accurate 2920-2960 FPS velocity node.

6BRA Dasher Montana Deep Creek

Tom Mousel shot his 6- and 10-match Aggs with two rifles, splitting time between his BAT Neuvo LR and Borden BRM. Both are chambered in 6BRA and he shot multiple Krieger barrels. Tom told us: “Thanks everyone. David was pretty steady all year, while I took more of an up-and-down route. At one point early on I thought there’s no way this would be salvaged.”

6BRA Dasher Montana Deep Creek

The Neuvo-actioned gun (shown below) features a McMillan/Wheeler LRB stock, with a March scope on top. In that rifle, Tom shot 103gr Vapor Trails. Mousel’s Borden BRM gun features a Deep Creek Tracker stock and Sightron scope. In that 6BRA rifle he shot 103gr Roy Hunter bullets.

6BRA Dasher Montana Deep Creek
Tom Mousel Rifle with BAT Neuvo LR action. This action is a Left-loading Drop Port — cartridges eject out the bottom of the action.

COMMENT by Alex Wheeler
If this doesn’t make you give up the idea you need that one hummer barrel to win I don’t know what will. Yes, you need the best equipment, but you also need the best tune and knowledge to stay on top of it. These two guys are some of the most dedicated tuners and testers I know. Well done! And well deserved!

It IS noteworthy that multiple rigs were used. Posting on Facebook, Alex H. said: “Holy ****! Tom did it not only with multiple barrels, but with two rifles AND multiple barrels? That is some outstanding performance! And Glenn K observed: “It was an awesome season to watch unfold. Congrats guys!”

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March 22nd, 2019

Montana Magic — 6BR Ackley Shoots Sub-Quarter-MOA at 1000

BAT Machine neuvo benchrest rifle action krieger barrel montana deep creek tom mousel Alex Wheeler
Looking 1000 yards downrange at the Deep Creek Range outside Missoula, Montana.

On Facebook recently, we saw an eye-catching rifle. Owned by top 1000-yard competitor (and past IBS Champ) Tom Mousel, this rifle was smithed by Alex Wheeler of Wheeler Accuracy. This rig features the McMillan-crafted Wheeler LRB stock with adjustable keel. It also has BAT Machine’s very impressive new Neuvo LR (aka “Neuvo M”) action, serial number LR0001. The Neuvo LR has some important design features — horizontal lug orientation, full-diameter bolt body, and advanced fire control system. More about those features below.

BAT Machine neuvo benchrest rifle action krieger barrel montana deep creek tom mousel Alex Wheeler

This gun is a shooter. Tom has already shot a 1.5″ four-shot group at 1000 yards. How does he do that? First you need a great barrel, great bullets, and superior hand-loading skills. But then it comes down to great gun-handling. You can see that in the video below. NOTE to ALL Long-Range Benchrest shooters — Watch this video! You’ll definitely learn from watching Tom shoot — he’s one of the best in the business.

Tom Mousel shoots 1000-yard ladder test with first-released Neuvo LR action, SN LR0001.
Rifle chambering is 6BR Ackley (6BRA) in 28″ Krieger barrel.

Rifle Components and Build INFO:
This rifle has a BAT Neuvo LR (aka Neuvo “M”) action glued and screwed into the LRB stock using a special bedding block, a Boyd Allen concept that Tom has requested to use on every future build. The 28″ Krieger 1:8″-twist HV barrel was indexed using a little different method than most use. It is “panning out well” says Alex, who adds: “So far it has shot [multiple low ones] with two barrels and three different bullet types. This rifle is definitely one of the better shooters I have seen.” We’d agree — owner Tom Mousel has had a 1.5″ 4-shot group at 1000 yards in testing, plus some “zero” 3-shot groups at 100 yards.

Chambering is the 6mmBR Ackley (6BRA). The stock is a Wheeler/McMillan LRB stock with vivid orange and black paint job. It features an adjustable keel in the rear. Trigger is a Bix N Andy unit from Bullets.com.

BAT Machine neuvo benchrest rifle action krieger barrel montana deep creek tom mousel Alex Wheeler
This BAT Neuvo LR action is a Left-loading Drop Port. Cartridges eject out the bottom of the action.

BAT Machine Neuvo Long Range “M” Action
This is the “Long Range” version of the BAT Neuvo. Dwight Scott and Chris Harris were the original inspiration. I worked with Chris to come up with a version for long range. The main differences for the LR Neuvo (compared to the shorter Neuvo) are this has integral lug and rail, with flat bottom and sides for better bedding. The BAT Neuvo LR is available in drop port, dual port, and single port as well as magnum.

BAT Machine neuvo benchrest rifle action krieger barrel montana deep creek tom mousel Alex Wheeler

Take a look at the bolt. Notice the lug orientation and full diameter bolt body. There are no bolt raceways in the action and the two lugs sit HORIZONTALLY when the bolt is closed — that’s different than the vast majority of other two-lug actions.

Alex Wheeler says the Neuvo is a winner. He thinks some of the action’s design features really do contribute to enhanced accuracy: “The … fire control (firing pin assembly) carries a lot of energy and has a very “clean” release. This is an excellent design with many small details that combine to deliver superior function. In addition, the full-diameter bolt can be fitted tighter than one with lugways. Also the horizontal lugs may be why we see less vertical stringing in the groups. They are timed perfectly as well.”

BAT Machine neuvo benchrest rifle action krieger barrel montana deep creek tom mousel Alex Wheeler

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August 31st, 2017

IBS 1000-Yard Nationals in West Virginia This Weekend

Whitehorse Shooting Center WV

IBS logoThe White Horse Center Range near Peeltree, West Virginia, will host the 2017 National IBS 1000-Yard Nationals from September 1-3, 2017. This will be a great match — over 100 shooters have signed up so far, including many of the nation’s top 1K benchrest aces. It’s not too late to sign up. You can register (on-site) up until 5:00 pm on Friday, September 1. The current match fee is $90.00 per gun class, or $175.00 for both classes (Light Gun and Heavy Gun). The White Horse 1000-yard range will be open on Friday for sight-in and practice.

» CLICK HERE for IBS 2017 1000-Yard Nationals Registration Form

This record-setting offset (assymetical) Heavy Gun belongs to talented shooter Mike Gaizauskas.
IBS 1000-Yard Nationals White Horse whitehorse west virginia

2016 IBS 1000-Yard Overall (2-Gun) Champion Tom Mousel (below) will travel to West Virginia to defend his title this weekend at White Horse. Last year Tom posted a stunning 3.356″ Group Agg to win Light Gun Group as well. That’s a 1/3 MOA Agg at 1000 yards — truly remarkable precision.

Tom Mousel IBS 1000 yard national championship

The Deep Creek Tracker stock, with adjustable “keel”, is the hot ticket now in the 17-lb Light Gun class.
IBS 1000-yard nationals white horse WV

Match Schedule and Fees
Whitehorse Shooting Center MapThe 1K Nationals will be a 3-target Aggregate match for both Light Gun (LG) and Heavy Gun (HG) with six (6) targets total. Practice and Sight-in will be available Friday (9/1/2017). NOTE: There will be a $10.00 per target fee during practice days. Match fees for the Nationals are now $90 per gun ($45 per gun for juniors). All registrations MUST be received by 5:00 pm Friday, September 1st. No walk-up registrations will be accepted on match days.

How to Get There
The Center is located 9.7 miles south on State Route 20 from I-79, exit 115 or 10.1 miles north of Route 20 from Buckhannon. Look for a brown and yellow Dept. of Natural Resources sign on Route 20. Take Crouse Road to the next sign, turn right at the sign, and proceed up the hill to the Center. Map coordinates are: 39°, 7′, 11″ North latitude; 80°, 13′, 4″ West longitude. The White Horse Center website has information on area hotels and campgrounds.

White Horse Shooting Center IBS Nationals 1000 Yard

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May 13th, 2017

IBS Match Report: 1000-Yard Magic at Deep Creek in Montana

Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Report by Kristina Holden
Even with a bit of snow left on the ground, some great long range shooting took place up in Montana recently. March 25th, 2017 was opening day for the first 1000-yard IBS match of the year at Montana’s Deep Creek Shooting Range, just outside of Missoula, Montana. With temperatures during both matches at a consistent low to mid 40s and winds blowing at a slight 2-4 mph from the south, the weekend was sure to produce some excellent results.

Framed by forested hills, the Deep Creek Range is a beautiful place to shoot.
Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

CLICK HERE for Deep Creek IBS Match Results | CLICK HERE for LG and HG Equipment List

Jeff Read takes aim…
Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Fifteen (15) shooters braved the cool Montana spring weather for what would turn out to be a very competitive match. On Saturday, both Richard Schatz and David Torgerson made the first Light Gun (LG) shoot-off, posting two-inch groups, with Richard taking the win (check out his targets above). David and Richard made it into the Heavy Gun (HG) shoot-off as well, this time with David taking the win. Leo Anderson took the LG score crown with a 47, while Shawn Williams took the HG title with a perfect 100.

Here Scott Stanko sets up his Light Gun. Scott won Sunday’s LG shoot-off.
Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Sunday’s conditions were even better and the shooters took advantage of them. Once again, some truly excellent groups were shot by Tom Mousel and Scott Stanko, both making the LG shoot-off with 2 inch groups. Scott, shown above, prevailed in the shoot-off. Richard Schatz, once again, made his way into the shoot-offs and took the HG win from Tom Mousel with a 4.889″. Jeff Reed took the HG score win over Leo Anderson with a 96. In the LG Score shoot-off, Jim Williams nailed a real stunner of a group, taking the Score win with a 2.018” – 49. Check out the group below. That sure would have helped his Aggs if it happened in the relay!

Jim Williams with his 2.018″- 49 group. That works out to 0.19 MOA — amazing accuracy at 1000 yards.

Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

New Cartridge Debuts — the 6mmBR Ackley Improved (6mm BRA)
The 2017 season has brought some new gear/cartridge developments and many shooters were able to put them to good use in the first match of the year at Deep Creek. Leo Anderson and Tom Mousel were both shooting the new 6mm BRA (6mmBR AI), a 6mmBR Norma with a reduced body taper and a 40 degree (40°) shoulder. Fire-forming is as simple as turning the necks and shooting, as the factory 6mmBR case will headspace in the AI chamber. Sizing with a 6mm Dasher die with .080″ turned off the bottom is the ticket. Tom Mousel, reigning IBS 1K Champ, “believes this case to have a little wider tune window and far less throat wear”. That means this case might be easier on barrels. For Tom’s 6mm BRA with 28” Krieger barrel, the accuracy node is about 2980-2990 fps, so this gives up only 30-50 fps compared to typical Dasher velocities. Both of Tom’s HG groups held in the 3s for vertical, proving the 6mmBR Ackley’s accuracy potential.

Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Vapor Trail Bullets and Deep Creek Tracker Stock
Tom Jacobs at Vapor Trail Bullets has been working with a new die for his excellent 6mm 103gr Vapor Trail bullet. Four of the weekend’s competitors were shooting bullets off the new Vapor Trail die. The new die seems to be producing a bullet every bit as good as the old die, maybe even better. Several groups in the 2s (two inch) were shot this weekend. As well as Richard Shatz’s impressive 3.671″ 10-shot group in Heavy Gun (see top of this article).

Finally, the new Deep Creek Tracker 4″-wide stock is becoming a favored option, with half of the competitors at the match shooting these stocks from Wheeler Accuracy. That extra inch in the stock’s fore-end seems to be provide more stability and less rocking on the front rest when opening and closing the bolt. Also, the adjustable tracking rudder makes for perfectly parallel tracking surfaces, an absolute “must have”.

Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

The weekend ended with the sun finally breaking through the clouds. Competitors enjoyed some great grilled Polish dogs with all the fixings prepared by Mark and Angie Candau; who also shot in the match. There were plenty of smiling shooters with awards/prizes for their efforts. It was a great opening match of the season!

Here are the Top Guns at the match: Dave Torgeson, Jim Williams, Jeff Read, Shawn Williams, Richard Schatz, Leo Anderson, Lonnie Anderson, and Tom Mousel.
Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Deep Creek is one of America’s best 1000-yard shooting centers — many records have been set here.
Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

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November 29th, 2016

2016 IBS 1000-Yard Nationals at Georgia’s Cool Acres Range

IBS 2016 1000-Yard Nationals Benchrest long range Mousel Cool Acres Georgia

Match Report by David and Donna Matthews
The 2016 IBS 1000-Yard National Championships were held September 4-5 at the Cool Acres Sporting Camp in Swainsboro, Georgia. The event was well attended with 87 Registered Light Gun shooters and 76 Heavy Gun competitors. After a hurricane-filled practice day, the competitors put forth their best effort to master the sometimes tricky Georgia range. The 1000-Yard National Match for 2016 featured a three-target Aggregate for each Division (i.e. six targets total for both classes).

The Cool Acres Range and Facility is one of the best in the country. The facility features a wide 1000-yard range lined with Georgia pines on each side. Conditions held constant for most relays. Mother Nature blessed the shooters with temperatures that were cooler than during preceding weeks. The management of Cool Acres put on a great event this year. In addition, upgraded restrooms and a new cleaning shed were added — these were very much appreciated by all. Several shooters had very positive comments about the upgrades and changes made to the Cool Acres facility in Swainsboro.

IBS 2016 1000-Yard Nationals Benchrest long range Mousel Cool Acres Georgia

The Two-Gun Champion and Overall winner was Tom Mousel from Montana with 24 rank points. Tom also won the Light Gun Overall title. Notably, Tom placed first in Light Gun Group with a stunning 3.356″ Group Agg — remember this was at 1000 yards folks. That’s a 1/3 MOA Agg at 1000 yards — truly remarkable precision.

Tom came to Georgia with one thing on his mind and that was winning. He accomplished that with his Wheeler Accuracy-built 6mm Dashers with Krieger barrels. Tom ran Vapor Trail bullets pushed by Hodgdon H4895. Finishing second in the Two-Gun Overall was 2015 winner Jim Bauer with 36 rank points. Jim took First Place honors in Light Gun Score with his Gordy Gritters-built 6mm Dasher shooting Vapor Trails pushed by Hodgdon Varget powder. The bright star of the show was Junior Division Winner Amber Brewer. Remarkably, this talented young lady topped the entire Heavy Gun field, winning Heavy Gun Score (97.667 average) and winning Heavy Gun Overall against all comers (of all ages). Her father, Henry Brewer Jr., played a role in her HG win — Henry smithed Amber’s class-winning 6.5×47 Lapua Heavy Gun, and even crafted the stock. Amber shot Berger bullets with H4895. Sally Bauer was top female shooter with her Douglas-barreled 6mm Dashers LG and HG, both built by Gordy Gritters. Sally also shot Vapor Trail Bullets with Varget.

Tom Mousel 6mm Dasher Deep Creek

Mousel won Light Gun Group with a stunning 3.356″ 5-shot Group Aggregate. That’s a 1/3 MOA Agg at 1000 yards — amazing, awe-inspiring accuracy.

Overall Winner Tom Mousel shot the 6mm Dasher cartridge in both Light Gun and Heavy Gun Classes. This little wildcat, shown below, has accuracy to spare. Alex Wheeler smithed Tom’s Rifles. Tom is shown below at his home range in Montana with an older rifle (not one used in Georgia this year).

Tom Mousel 6mm Dasher Deep Creek
Tom Mousel 6mm Dasher Deep Creek

Follow Link for Full Match Results and Equipment List
The IBS website has results for all major IBS Matches. Complete Results and Equipment Lists for the IBS 2016 1000-Yard Nationals can be found by CLICKING THIS LINK for the Nationals Results Page.

Tom Mousel 6mm Dasher Deep Creek

Big Prize Table — Over $18,000 Worth of Hardware
Over $18,000 worth of prizes were awarded at this year’s IBS 1000-Yard Nationals. Prizes included: Nightforce scopes, Sightron Scopes, SEB Coaxial Rest, BAT Action, Bench Source Annealing Machine, Defiance Action, Baity Action, Shehane stocks, reloading tools, Sierra bullets, Berger bullets, and much more. Many thanks go to Stanley Taylor from Douglas Barrels for his time and energy in acquiring prizes for the match. And the IBS thanks ALL of the generous sponsors for the 2016 1K Nationals.

Tom Mousel 6mm Dasher Deep Creek

Great Southern Hospitality and BBQ
On Saturday evening competitors were rewarded with a fantastic Southern meal prepared by the talented cooks of Real South BBQ from Swainsboro, Georgia, sponsored by Vapor Trail Bullets.

Permalink Competition, News 4 Comments »
August 10th, 2015

IBS Range Spotlight: Deep Creek Rifle Range in Montana

Missoula Montana MT NW 1000 Yard Club IBS
Deep Creek 1000-yard line: 46°55’35.03” N 114°14’45.40” W, elevation 3355′.

The International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) welcomes the Montana NW 1000 Yard Benchrest Club as a newly-affiliated club hosting registered IBS matches. The Montana club’s origins go back to 1996 when the Whitefish (Montana) Rifle and Pistol Club affiliated with the Original Pennsylvania 1000-Yard Benchrest Club (Williamsport) to conduct 1000-yard matches. Early in 1998 the Northwest 1000-Yard Benchrest Association was formed to promote 1000-yard benchrest competition in affiliation with Williamsport. The Club now operates at the Deep Creek Range as the Montana NW 1000 Yard Benchrest Club (www.MT1000yd.com), an IBS-affilated organization.

Deep Creek Range Website Deep Creek Range YouTube Channel
Deep Creek Range Facebook Page Destination Missoula Travel Page

2015 Championships at Deep Creek
The 2015 Championships were held this past weekend, August 7-9. The video below features the winners from this year’s championships, Tom Mousel (Two-Gun Overall), Leo Anderson (Heavy Gun Overall), and Bill Johnson (Light Gun Overall). The three winners describe their equipment. Tom shot a pair of 17-lb 6mm Dashers, running Vapor Trail Bullets pushed by CCI 400 primers and Hodgdon H4895 powder. The brass is Lapua 6mmBR hydro-formed to Dasher with lightly-turned necks.

Here is one of Tom Mousel’s match-winning rifles, and an impressive 100-3X, 10-shot target:

Missoula Montana MT NW 1000 Yard Club IBS

The Club holds 12 shoots per year over six weekends that count towards the 6- and 10-shot Aggregates for the year. The Championship Shoot held in August is match number 11 and 12 and does not count for Aggs. More than $20,000 worth of prizes were donated by major sponsors this year. The prize table featured scopes from Nightforce and Vortex, actions from DeFrance, Borden, BAT, Kelbly, and Stiller, plus barrels from Bartlein, Benchmark, Brux, Caliber, Krieger, and McGowen.

Missoula Montana MT NW 1000 Yard Club IBS

The Deep Creek Rifle Range is located near Missoula, Montana. Club members are continually upgrading the 1000-Yard Range, which has become one of the best long-distance benchrest shooting facilities in the country. The Deep Creek Rifle Range invites shooters to visit this scenic shooting facility. Participation in club matches continues to grow, and club members hold several 1000-yard World Records for group, score, and Aggregates of both. For more information on club shoots and joining the club, contact Alex Wheeler: zfast_malibu [at] yahoo.com.

Here’s “Bunker Buster”, a metal-stocked Heavy Gun (HG):
Missoula Montana MT Iron Horse grill

At Deep Creek, competitors shoot three (3) classes: IBS Light Gun (LG), IBS Heavy Gun (HG), and a special 11-pound class. At registered matches, Light Gun shoots five shots per relay, Heavy Gun shoots 10 shots, while the 11-pound class shoots five shots. For more information on classes and courses of fire, visit MT1000yd.com or send email to: northwest1000ydbenchrest [at] gmail.com.

Missoula Montana MT NW 1000 Yard Club IBS

New World Records Set at July 2015 Match:
Important 1K records were set at the Club’s July 9-10 match earlier this summer. Tom Mousel broke the Light Gun 10-match score record and Heavy Gun 10-match group record. Jim Williams broke the HG 10-match score Agg record. In the video below, Tom Mousel talks about his record-breaking performances.

Missoula, Montana Travel Tips
The City of Missoula is nestled in the Northern Rockies of Montana, at the confluence of three rivers. Surrounded by seven wilderness areas, Missoula is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. You can kayak, raft or tube through downtown, or take a relaxing hike in 60,000 acres of wilderness minutes from your hotel. Missoula is known for blue-ribbon trout fishing (made famous by the movie A River Runs Through It) and spectacular natural beauty.

Missoula Montana MT Iron Horse grill
Missoula Sunset, photo courtesy Iron Horse Bar & Grill, IronHorseBrewPub.com.

Missoula is a popular destination for shopping and dining, featuring three shopping districts and an abundance of restaurants, cafes, and brew-pubs with something to fit all budgets and palates. Known for its eclectic culture, Missoula offers a wide variety of entertainment including theater, film festivals, college sports, ballet, and even roller derby.

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