IBS Report: 2017 Boop Memorial Match

Popular Benchrest Match in Pennsylvania

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover
Al Auman, 2-Gun Second Place finisher, takes aim…

IBS 31st Annual Memorial Match at Union County Sportsmen’s Club, Weikert, PA
Reported by Jeff Stover, IBS President
The “Boop Shoot” is traditionally held on Mother’s Day in May, but this year it was moved to June due to a club conflict. No matter, as 63 shooters showed up on June 10th and 11th, 2017 to compete at one of the best benchrest ranges in the country. “Weikert” is nestled in a narrow valley in pastoral central Pennsylvania and has a wide following since the IBS Nationals have been held there a number of times.

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

The 2-Gun Aggregate represents “all the marbles” — the overall win for a weekend of Short Range Group shooting. Accuracy gunsmith Dave Bruno won the 2-Gun with a .2606 Agg shooting his 6PPC built on a Borden action in a Roy Hunter stock. On Dave’s heels was Al Auman, shooting a Goodling-built 6PPC BAT. In third place was Paul Mitchell with his BAT 3-Lug in a Scarborough stock built by Dwight Scott. The 2-Gun Aggregate is the combined average group size for 20 targets total, 10 each for both the Light Varmint (10.5-lb) and Heavy Varmint (13.5-lb) classes, with shooting at both 100 and 200 yards. Despite the class distinctions based solely on rifle weight, a vast majority of shooters opt for a 10.5-lb rifle for the entire course of fire. You get a lot of shooting at an IBS Registered Group match.

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover
Two-Gun Overall Winner Dave Bruno (center) flanked by second place Al Auman (right) and third place Paul Mitchell (left).

The Tailwind from Hell
The real story of this match was the shooting conditions. For the entire weekend, there was a tail wind. When the wind blows hard, a pure tailwind is favored by many veteran shooters as velocity changes are less apparent on the target compared to a pure crosswind where pickups and letups can be mapped on the record target of a less-than-observant trigger puller. At this match, it was a tailwind from hell. The over-the-shoulder wind veered from red (right to left) to green (left to right) as quickly as it took you to read this sentence. The point of impact in the extremes could cause groups of 1.5 inches at 200 yards. It was one of those shoots where posting a .824” 200-yard group could move you up in the standings. Normally shooting an “eight” would assure a “bottom of the pile” finish.

Sunday morning saw that nefarious tailwind doing its dirty work once again, but it was not quite as bad as the afternoon would turn out to be. The tailwind’s impact, however, could be seen in the fact that the Heavy Varmint 200-yard winner was upstate NY shooter, Jim Miller with a .2817 (200-yard Aggregates are recorded in MOA, so Jim’s average group at 200 yards was .563”). He was the only competitor in the “twos”. Bob White shot well but his .3012 was not enough.

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover
Scott Miller ready to pull the trigger on the firing line…

Dave Bruno Dominates Light Varmint 200
Light Varmint 200 was shot after lunch on Sunday. The winds had picked up while the shooters were enjoying burgers and hot dogs from the range house. This last Aggregate was the climax of the entire weekend. Two-gun winner Dave Bruno set the stage for his overall win by shooting as if he were from another planet. He was on fire with a .2388 Aggregate. Next was Bob Brushingham with a .3024. That is a difference of .0636” in average group size, or about 1/16th of an inch. A sixteenth is not much in most things, but in short range benchrest it is a chasm that Evel Knievel would not dare to test. Most Aggregates in benchrest are won and lost by a few thousands, or even ten-thousands of an inch. Dave blew out the field with his singular performance. When asked what condition he shot, Dave said “the tailwind” — go figure.

Yes, 100-yard was also contested. Back in the day, a “Teen Agg” (an aggregate of targets under .200”) was usually shot in perfect, or mild, readable conditions. The level of shooting in recent years, however, has seen Teen Aggs shot in tough conditions. The aforementioned tailwind prevailed on Saturday too, but was just a bit less nasty.

Loading at the range remains important in the Benchrest for Group discipline. In a Special Report below, IBS President Jeff Stover explains how loading methods (and hardware) have evolved over the years.
IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover
Pat Hurley checking his aim (notice bolt is out).

Two Gun Overall
1. Dave Bruno: .2604
2. Al Auman: .2727
3. Paul Mitchell: .2776
4. Bob Brushingham: .2851
5. Kent Harshman: .2969

Heavy Varmint Grand
1. Jim Miller: .2582
2. Bob White: .2622
3. Allen Arnette: .2706

Light Varmint Grand
1. Dave Bruno: .2375
2. Al Auman: .2717
3. Paul Mitchell: .2770

Light Varmint 100 was won by veteran Howie Levy (he started shooting in 1968!) with a .1794. He was not alone below .2, as Dale Boop was close at .1848. He was shooting Norma 201 to boot. This powder was the ticket to small 6PPC groups in the 1980s, but has been little seen for many years.

More Teen Aggs were shot in the Heavy Varmint relays. Benchrest Hall of Fame shooter Allen Arnette recorded a tiny .1686. On the podium with Allen were Howie Levy with a .1808 and Willie Bauer who shot a .1980.

Light Varmint Trophy Winners (L to R): Hensley, Boop, Auman, Brushingham, Francis, and Bruno.
IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

Memorial Shoot Is a Family Affair
The 2017 Annual Boop Memorial Shoot ran like clockwork, as usual, and once again the success of this annual shoot can be attributed to the Trutt and Boop families. Mark Trutt serves as range officer extraordinaire. Dale Boop is match director while his mother, Linda, handles the administrative and scoring chores. Target crew honcho Steve Dodge, once again, ensured a rapid and accurate changing of the target.

NOTE: It has yet to be determined whether 2018 Memorial Match will be on Mother’s Day or in June.

Loading at the Range — Then and Now

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

In benchrest shooting for group, loading at the range has been de rigueur for decades. In the Score discipline, preloading is usually the custom. The main reason is that, in Score competition, only one Aggregate (warm-up match and five record targets) per day is usually shot. That would be less than 50 shots, assuming a few sighter shots. Also, the 30BR, the dominant Score cartridge, is amenable to pre-loading.

By contrast, the Group discipline includes 21 targets (two warm-ups and twenty record targets) over a weekend, usually shot with 6PPC-chambered rifles. Many times, the 6PPC shooters may tweak their loads through the day given changing atmospheric conditions or simply trying to find the correct tune to “dot up”. This term, “Dot up”, means the shots are essentially going through the same hole, or closely so.

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

Loading at the range was a bit different when benchrest competition was in its infancy. The 1951 book, Modern Accuracy by Bob Wallack, is the best of the early benchrest books. Copies can be found, from time to time, on eBay or Alibris. It is a fascinating survey of benchrest as it existed more than six decades ago. There’s even coverage of a controversial target that was argued over at the time. In it, there is a photo of Wallack using the rear bumper of a car at the bench to clamp his reloading tools. Things have come a long way compared to the range loading set-ups of modern shooters. Here you can see Bob Wallack way back in 1950:

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

Modern loading bench set-ups shown in this Boop Memorial Match Report belong to top shooters Howie Levy, Bob Hamister, and Kent Harshman.

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

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