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March 3rd, 2020

40th Annual Hickory Groundhog Shoot in NC — April 4, 2020

hickory groundhog shoot vail north carolina larry willis

The Hickory Groundhog and Egg Shoot, the richest varmint shoot East of the Mississippi, is one month away. Now in its 40th year, the popular Hickory Shoot will be held starting at 8:00 am on April 4, 2020 near Hickory, North Carolina. For four decades, the event has been hosted the first Saturday of April each year by Larry Willis of Bull’s Eye Sporting Goods, (704) 462-1948. The basic entry fee is $40.00 per gun. That gives you a chance to win a bundle of cash, plus valuable prizes such as Shehane stocks and Nightforce optics.

The Hickory Groundhog and Egg Shoot is the best event of its kind in the Southeast. Yes, conditions can be challenging (with mirage and switchy winds), but you can win big. In years past over $7,000 worth of prizes and cash has been awarded. Shooters can also compete in an Egg Shoot for cash and prizes. With a mere $2.00 Entry Fee, the Egg Shoot is a popular highlight.

hickory groundhog shoot vail north carolina larry willis

Hickory Groundhog Shoot Course of Fire
The normal course of fire consists of three sets of paper groundhog targets at 100, 300, and 500 yards, and NO Sighters. They do have a bench for handicapped shooters not able to shoot from the prone position. Most competitors will shoot at the head at 100 yards because the points are higher. At the longer distances, 300 yards and 500 yards, most shooters go for body shots on the paper groundhog target. The Hickory employs “worst-edge” scoring, meaning if you cut a scoring line you get the next lower score.

Anatomy of a Hickory-Winning Rig — Brady’s Record-Setting 6BR
If you wonder what kind of rifle can win the big money at the Hickory Shoot, have a look at Terry Brady’s 42-lb 6BR. In 2010, Terry won the Custom Class in the Hickory Shoot, setting a match record with a 99 score, which was only broken last year. Terry was shooting a straight 6mmBR rifle, purpose-built for Groundhog shoots, which have no weight limit in Custom Class. Terry’s rifle, built by smith Mike Davis, featured an experimental 1:8.7″-1:8.3″ gain-twist Krieger barrel. The fiberglass Shehane Tracker stock was stuffed with lead shot from stem to stern, so that the gun weighs nearly 42 pounds with optics.

hickory groundhog shoot vail north carolina larry willis

Hickory groundhog shoot groundhogRelays Run Like Clock-Work
The shoot is run very smoothly, with one relay shooting while the next relay waits outside the shooting area, ready to go. Once a relay is done, shooters grab their items and exit on one end of the shooting platform while the next relay comes in from the other end. The relays move through in rapid succession.

You must quickly set up and get ready because as soon as the target pullers get back they are ready to shoot. When the fire command is given you have two minutes to get your three shots off at that distance. When the cease fire is called you quickly grab your gear and get off the shooting platform because the next relay is coming in.

How to Get to the Hickory Shoot

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April 13th, 2011

2011 Hickory Groundhog Shoot Match Report

The 2011 Hickory Groundhog and Egg Shoot at Vale, NC was a big success. Some 177 shooters vied for over $7,000 worth of prizes. The main course of fire was challenging, with three sets of paper groundhog targets at 100, 300, and 500 yards, and NO Sighters. Shooters can also compete in an Egg Shoot for cash and other prizes. For the primary three-yardage Groundhog match, there are two rifle classes: Custom Division and Factory Division. The match, one of the most popular varmint competitions in the country, is sponsored by Bulls-Eye Sporting Goods (Larry Willis, owner). The event is held every year on the first Saturday in April.

This year’s “Top Shot” at the Hickory was Randy Chappell. Shooting a 6 BRDX (we were told), Randy scored 90 points to win the Custom Division. Randy took home a new Nightforce NXS scope plus $300.00. Runner-up Robbie Roberts steered his 6BR to second place in Custom, earning him a Sightron Scope and $150.00 in cash. Finishing third in Custom Division was past Hickory winner Chris Brady, Terry Brady’s son. Chris, who also shot a 6BR, took home a Shehane Tracker stock and $50.00.

Hickory Groundhog Shoot Winners 2011

CUSTOM Division 1st Place, 90 points
Randy Chappell
2nd Place, 82 points
Robby Roberts
3rd Place, 80 points
Chris Brady
FACTORY Division 1st Place, 72 points
Greg Davis
2nd Place, 59 points
Jeff Godfrey
3rd Place, 59 points
Jason Elmosre

Rock River AR Wins Factory Division
There were some surprises this year in the Factory Division. While many folks expected a Savage 6BR or 6.5-284 to win, that wasn’t in the cards. This year a semi-auto ‘Black Rifle’ outshot all the factory bolt guns. Greg Davis scored 72 points with his .223 Rem Rock River AR15 to win the Factory division by a comfortable margin. The next best Factory shooters, Jeff Godfrey and Jason Elmore, both had identical 59-point totals. Godfrey was awarded second place over Elmore on a tie-breaker.

Rock River AR15

6mm BR BRDXChallenging Conditions on the Range
Conditions at the Hickory were pretty tough this year. Sam Hall, a past Hickory winner and IBS Shooter of the year explained: “It was difficult this year, with 20+ mph, gusty winds in the afternoon. This is a ‘no sighters’ match and I was having trouble with my cold bore zero. I wasn’t the only one.”

The 6 BRDX — The Best BR Improved Yet?
Shooting his new 6 BRDX, Sam finished eighth in Custom Division, with 73 points. Sam likes the 6 BRDX chambering, which is a 6BR Improved with a 40° shoulder, but with a longer neck than a BRX or Dasher. “I’m real happy with the BRDX… I think it is as accurate as a BRX or Dasher, but the brass is much easier to form. Randy Chappell told me the same thing. I think it has enough case capacity to hit the velocities we want. The BRDX was shooting ‘lights out’ earlier this year, but I think maybe my tune wasn’t right for the conditions at the Hickory.”

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