IBS Match Report: Boop Memorial Shoot
Report by Jeff Stover, IBS President
This past weekend, forty-five shooters from nine states descended on a piece of paradise in central Pennsylvania to try to shoot small groups at 100 and 200 yards. The 27th Annual Boop Memorial shoot proved to be a study in contrasts. Saturday was a good day for shooting. Sunday was brutal. On Saturday, small groups were “in”. Temps were in the mid 60s with on and off showers and humidity well beyond the clammy side. The winds were relatively light, and readable for the most part. But by mid-afternoon on Saturday, the humidity was dropping, the zephyrs growing stronger and the groups a just a bit larger. That was a portent for the tough conditions on Sunday.
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J.D. Denoff Shines on Saturday
The 100-yard stage was a J.D. Denoff show. The Virginia-based bullet-maker had his ‘A’ game going full tilt. He started by winning the Light Varmint 100-yard stage with a .2168 aggregate. Larry Costa had the same aggregate, but J.D. had the edge via tie-breaker. J.D.’s first three groups in the Heavy Varmint stage were three .140s and tiny .057. So, after four targets J.D. had a fantastic .1230 aggregate. If he could maintain that level a new IBS record was possible. J.D.’s shot at a record all depended on what he could do with his last target.
The weather gods did not cooperate. Conditions deteriorated, and J.D. only managed a .309 for his last target. That .309 looked huge compared to the tiny groups he had shot four times in a row. Still, he managed to complete a .1586 100-yard aggregate — still superb in anyone’s book. J.D. was shooting his own bullets (of course) crafted on Sierra jackets. He was running a new Bartlein barrel that he chambered himself. Smiley Hensley and Larry Costa, despite shooting ‘teen aggs’, were pretty far back with high .19xx scores.
Tough Conditions on Sunday
Sunday was a new day in more ways than one. The range at Weikert is known for sometimes wild and woolly conditions. Yes, there are some ranges with stronger winds. And there are others with those sneaky conditions that bite the unwary benchrester in the butt. But on Sunday, the conditions in the Penns Creek valley were downright tough, even for seasoned veterans. The fresh, dry breezes could not decide which way to blow. It was a war of the wills between green and red (wind indicator colors), with each struggling for supremacy.
The wind moved rapidly from 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock directions. The swing was so quick that checking the sighter was pretty much a waste of components. The only thing that resembled something to shoot was a dead tail wind. Yep, a tail wind was the only way to get something to resemble a decent group. Caution to the shooter, though, that ignored a teeny bit of red or green in your favored tailwind. Choosing both on the same target resulted in shots on either side of the one inch mothball (ten ring). One shooter, just for fun, shot the two extremes on his sighter and found nearly six inches of condition!
So given these conditions, many shooters, some of the best in the country were thrilled with a .6 or .7 group. It was one of those days when you shoot an inch group, you move up in the standings. So enter Larry Costa from Florida. Certainly, he is one of the best in the game. Like a lot of the knowledgeable shooters, he shot the tail wind, but he deftly holds for small changes in the wind’s direction.
Larry really dominated the match on Sunday. In the morning he shot a .2881 aggregate which was phenomenal for the day. He was followed by a top shooter, Hal Drake, with a .3310. Curtis Nelson shot his 30BR to third place with a .3806. The fifth place shooter, Bob Hamister, was over .4. Larry even shot a .177” small group just to add some zing into his win. If anything, the wind in the afternoon was bit worse. Larry won the LV 200-yard stage with a .3422 agg. Russ Boop was second with a .3759 and Hal Drake third with a .3773. With his two 200-yard wins, Larry Costa won both Grand Aggregates and the Two-Gun overall. In the Two-Gun he was followed by Russ Boop and J.D. Denoff.
IBS President Jeff Stover Talks About Boop Memorial Shoot
Weikert Range on a damp early Saturday morning.
The Annual Boop Memorial Match honors the memories of Nate Boop and Rich Altemus. Both were “founding fathers” of benchrest shooting at the Union County Sportsmen’s Club in Weikert, Pennsylvania. Russ and Dale Boop are Nate’s sons. Awards at this year’s 27th Annual match were given by Nate’s grand-daughter Rachel (photo at right). Rachel is Dale Boop’s daughter.