2011 Super Shoot Report
Champions, Pioneers, and Rookie Sensations
by James Mock
As I pondered the direction that I should take in writing the match report for Super Shoot XXXIX, the thought entered my mind that the Super Shoot is more than a rifle match. It is a social event in which old friends re-unite to swap tales and new friends are made.
A day before the shooting began, Sid Goodling asked me to mention the three men who had made every Super Shoot. That seemed like a good idea, so I have a section in this report dealing with those three plus the Father of the Super Shoot, Skip Gordon. My other deviation from a typical match report is to introduce a “brand new” shooter to our sport. David Hudson is a pilot for Southwest Airlines and had never shot a Benchrest rifle one month before the Super Shoot. As stated below, his performance was truly remarkable.
Gene Bukys — A Great Shooter at the Top of his Game
The winner of this year’s Super Shoot (by .0007 inch in the Two-Gun Aggregate) is Mr. Gene Bukys. Gene was runner-up in last year’s Two-Gun to George Carter by a similar margin — so his first-place finish in 2011 was well-deserved, and definitely no fluke. Gene is at the top of his game right now. His 2011 Super Shoot victory was his second Two-Gun win in the span of eight days.
As far as hardware was concerned, the 2011 Super Shoot was a celebration of sameness. You could almost have a one-design “spec” class with two-thirds of the Top 20 rigs, in both LV and HV class. Three-quarters of Top 20 shooters had BAT actions, with Stolle Pandas used by a few guys, notably LV Champ Larry Costa. Frankly we’re surprised there weren’t some Viper Drop Ports on the list.
When it comes to barrels, the cut-rifle barrel-makers Bartlein and Krieger seem to have the short-range benchrest market sewn up. In the HV Top 20, there was just one buttoned barrel, a Hart. All the rest were Bartleins or Kriegers. In the 10.5-lb class, among the Top 20, there were one Hart tube and a pair of Shilens — the rest, you guessed it — were all cut-rifled Bartleins or Kriegers. Among stocks the dominant brands were Scoville, Leonard, and Scarborough. This is interesting, because a few years back, some folks were suggesting the high-tech, carbon-reinforced stocks might be too stiff. Well apparently not — Bukys won the Two-Gun shooting a Scoville, and Larry Costa finished second, shooting the very similar, low-profile Scarborough. Jackie Schmidt says: “The Scarborough is a very well made piece, it is very light (about 21 ounces), and stiff. It tracks like a dream.”
Reloading Components — No Big Surprises
The Pioneers (with Perfect Attendance)
There have been 39 Super Shoot matches since the concept of a “money” shoot was introduced by Skip Gordon. I caught up with Skip at this year’s Super Shoot and asked him to give me some of his impressions about the annual event. Along with Skip, I invited George Kelbly Sr., Stan Buchtel, and Bob White to join in the discussion. These three gentlemen have attended every Super Shoot. These four good friends enjoyed reminiscing about their past 39 Super Shoots. Although none of the men have won the Super Shoot, they have succeeded throughout the years.
L to R: George Kelbly Sr., Skip Gordon (standing), Stan Buchtel, and Bob White.
Evolution of the Sport — The Important Changes
When asked about the development of benchrest technology, George, Stan and Bob offered some interesting opinions. I asked George what single innovation helped drop the Aggs more than anything else. “Windflags” was George’s answer, and the others agreed. George said that, when the benchrest discipline was first getting started, there might just be a couple streamers tacked to the target board. “Now there’s a sea of wind flags, and you can tell what’s going on all over the range.” I then asked the three pioneers why the 6PPC became the new standard so quickly, pushing out the 222 Remington. The collective answer was that the 6PPC came out at very opportune time — fiberglass stocks were just hitting the market, and some very good new powders were released about the same time the 6PPC appeared. The “timing was lucky” George observed, explaining that the 6PPC came along during a watershed period when everything else was changing. Shooters were already changing their stocks and powders, so there wasn’t great resistance to trying a new cartridge. I asked the three if they thought the 6PPC really is vastly superior to the .222 Rem — the previous “King of the Hill” in Benchrest. This question elicited a variety of responses, but all three believed that the .222 Rem was definitely a very accurate cartridge, and is closer to the 6PPC in accuracy than some folks realize.
I asked these four icons of Benchrest shooting: “Which one of the Super Shoots was most memorable?” George stated that the inaugural Super Shoot in Tulsa was the most memorable and the others agreed. Stan said that Skip tortured all present by giving out the prizes until 4 o’clock in the morning. And George originally wasn’t going to go to Tulsa at all. He had recently had abdominal surgery, and was reluctant to travel. But Stan and Bob badgered him into making the trip. Stan stated that he bandaged up George’s belly with some kind of experimental bandage, and he loaded George in the back seat of the car — along with a bunch of shooting gear. Poor George was just part of the luggage. Speaking of baggage, times have certainly changed since the first Super Shoot. Bob said that he flew down from New Jersey to early Super Shoots with rifles under his legs in the cabin of the plane. You could certainly never carry a firearm onto an aircraft today, given the security concerns.
First-time Benchrest Shooter Starts Strong
Another amazing aspect of this year’s Super Shoot was the performance of some benchrest beginners — newcomers to the sport of short-range benchrest. There are always several shooters attending the Super Shoot for the first time, but David Hudson was a true tyro, with virtually no prior experience. The first time he actually shot a Benchrest rifle was a mere two weeks before the 2011 event. In fact he had never loaded a single round for any rifle!
Richard Milton talked him into giving Benchrest a try. They went to David’s house and had a “crash” course on reloading and shooting. They were forced to shoot from a picnic table at 100 yards. David used one of Richard’s older rifles and shot it very well. The rifle featured a Stolle Panda action in a Kelbly BR stock, with a Sightron 36X scope on top. David fired Richard’s 66gr BT bullets pushed by IMR 8208 XBR powder.
To say that David caught on to this game quickly would be an understatement. His first group (ever) in competition was a .156 at 100 yards! He followed this with a .155″ gem. At two hundred yards, he began with a .240 “screamer”. Two groups later, he fired another screamer ( .248). Richard had created a monster. This superb shooting continued until the last day, and the nasty conditions were kicking almost everyone, and David was no exception. Even with the last day train wrecks, David beat his mentor and yours truly by finishing 84th in the Two-Gun. (Richard was 88th and I was 89th). That’s a remarkable performance from a untested rookie in the benchrest game.
David Hudson (left, seated) receives some pointers from Richard Milton (right).
Northeastern Ohio has been plagued with tremendous rainfall this spring. We had several thunderstorms during Super Shoot week but almost all of the shooting was done without rain. Some of the most enjoyable portion of the match occurs before the shooting begins. An example of this is seen in the picture of Brady Knight feeding a motley crew of competitors.
As we noted above, Texan Gene Bukys won the Two-Gun Championship at the 39th Firearms Industry Super Shoot (FISS) held at Kelbly’s Range in North Lawrence, Ohio. This was a notable performance, as Bukys started out Friday with a 1.249 LV group at 200 yards and came back (in tough weather conditions) to win the Two-Gun. Bukys’ Aggregate for 100/200 yards in both the 10.5-lb (Light Varmint) and 13.5-lb class was .2240. Larry Costa (Florida), the 2008 Two-Gun Champion, finished a close second with a 0.2247 Two-Gun (all yardage) Agg, while Wayne Campbell (Virginia) finished 3rd with a 0.2302 Two-Gun (all yardage) Agg. Costa also had the best 10.5-lb class 100/200 Agg, at 0.2173, while Bukys had the best 13.5-lb class 100/200 Agg, at 0.1902. Bukys, Costa, and Campbell will all be on the USA team at the 2011 World Benchrest Championships held in France this summer.
While there were many outstanding performances at this year’s Super Shoot, one particularly notable effort was by Hall of Fame shooter Wayne Campbell from Virginia. In the Light Varmint 100-yard stage Wayne shot an amazing .1538 Agg which contained two “Zeroes”. It doesn’t get much better than that.
1. Gene Bukys, .2240
11. Allen Arnette, .2640
These Downloadable PDF Files Contain the Complete Super Shoot Results: