Match Report: 2014 Berger SW Nationals
The 6-day-long Berger Southwest Nationals has drawn to a close. And what a week it was. National records were set, $60,000 worth of prizes were distributed, a talented newcomer took the F-TR title, the Arizona sun was warm, and fun was had by all. Congratulations to the individual Grand Aggregate winners: Larry Bartholome (F-Open, 1238-61X), Bryan Litz (Sling/TR, 1239-64X), and Radoslaw Czupryna (F-TR, 1216-37X). Topping the team competition were: Team Grizzly (F-Open), Team Michigan (F-TR), and USA-National-Tompkins (Sling/TR).
Here are some “Take-Aways” from the 2014 Berger Southwest Nationals.
- Heavy .30-caliber bullets (200-215 grains) have become the “hot ticket” in F-TR.
- In F-Open, the 7mm caliber is still King of the Hill (it hasn’t been overtaken by the 30s quite yet). At least in the relatively calm conditions this week, and in the capable hands of Larry Bartholome, a 7mm cartridge still came out on top. The 7mms deliver competitive ballistics, great accuracy, and less recoil than the big 30s.
- F-Open front rests are so good now that folks are looking to rear bag set-ups for improvements in tracking/stability. Any old rear bag won’t cut it anymore.
- In Sling/TR class, the 155s can still do the job. The London Scottish team finished second overall shooting 155s in their .308s. (Members: Michael Barlow, Angus McLeod, Lindsay Peden, Ian Shaw).
- Eric Stecker is more than a “master bulletsmith”. The man can flat-out shoot. Eric finished second overall (1213-51X) in the F-TR Grand Agg, ahead of past National Champions. But as for the cash/bullets prizes, Mid Tompkins joked: “Eric can now pay himself with his own money and wait in line for bullets like everyone else.”
- Many top shooters in F-Open and F-TR are cleaning their barrels less — a LOT less, shooting long strings between cleanings, and then doing very little brushing, letting Wipe-Out and solvents do most of the work.
- We saw HBN-coated bullets, but there were very few moly-coated bullets in the ammo caddies on the firing line. Are black bullets a thing of the past?
- Men dominate sling shooting by weight of numbers. But there are some incredibly talented ladies in this discipline. Ladies such as Trudie Fay, Nancy Tompkins, and Anette Wachter are world-class competitors who set a great example for young female shooters starting out.
- If there is a better-run mid-winter long-range match, at a better location, with a bigger prize table, it must be in another galaxy far, far away.
|Sling/TR Top Five||F-Class T/R Top Five||F-Open Top Five|
|Bryan Litz, 1239-64X
Trudie Fay, 1235-65X
Nancy Tompkins, 1232-68X
Tom Whittaker, 1232-51X
Alan Thomas, 1231-60X
|Radoslaw Czupryna, 1216-37X
Eric Stecker, 1213-51X
James Crofts, 1212-48X
Kevin Scott Harris, 1211-32X
Alton Britt, 1211-29X
|Larry Bartholome, 1238-61X
Freddy Haltom, 1238-54X
David Gosnell, 1237-66X
Kenny Adams, 1235-69X
Robert Bock, 1230-48X
Winning Sling/TR USA National Team
Get Complete Match Results
Here are the Grand Aggregate Scores, for all matches and all divisions, in MS DOC format. For a Complete listing of ALL scores for ALL matches, click the link for full results. This is a zip file with 18 MS Word documents, six for each discipline.
Newcomer Scores Big F-TR Victory
If there was a crowd favorite among the big winners, it was Radoslaw (“Radek”) Czupryna, the overall F-TR winner. Competing as an “Expert”, Radek outshot all the Masters and High Masters to win the F-TR Title convincingly. We’re told Radek also set a new SWN High Score for F-TR in the process. The sky’s the limit for this talented young man. He has only been competing seriously for three years or so. Originally from Poland, he now lives in Chicago. New talents like Radoslaw represent the future of the sport. Watch out for this guy at the 2014 Nationals. While Radek is built like an NFL linebacker, there’s a soft spot inside that tough exterior. Radek dedicated his victory to his daughters: “When I travel to matches, I can’t be with my daughters. So I want them to know, this win is for them.”
Radek shoots a .308 Win rifle built by John Pierce using a Pierce Titanium Action. Radek loads Varget powder behind 215-grain Berger bullets jumped .015″. I asked Radek if Ben Avery offered any “cruel surprises” this week. He nodded, saying: “Yes, a few times I got some vertical out of nowhere, but I think everybody had the same problem.”
Patience was a virtue at Ben Avery this week, according to Radoslaw: “Conditions looked stable, but that [could be] deceptive. Conditions were changing out of nowhere. So the key, I think, was being patient, and just waiting for the right conditions to come back.”
He offered this advice for other relatively inexperienced shooters: “Don’t be scared to compete. Just come out and do your best. Don’t be nervous, don’t be shy. It’s there… just go and get it.”
Team Grizzly Sets New National Team Record
The wind gods smiled on the shooters at the Berger Southwest Nationals on Thursday. For most of the day, the wind flags were hanging straight down or barely moving. Many shooters managed to go through the 800-yard stage without dropping a point. Conditions got tougher for the 900-yard and 1000-yard stages but it was still a day of low winds and high scores.
Team Grizzly made the most of the good conditions in the F-Open Division. Coached by Trudie Fay, and anchored by 2013 World Champion Kenny Adams, the four-person team shot brilliantly, scoring 1786 with 104 Xs. That beats the existing 800/900/1000 Palma course National record by five (5) points and ten Xs. The previous record, 1781-94X, was set by Team Berger in 2008.