IBS 2019 100m/200m Score Nationals

Score Benchrest Aces Compete in South Carolina

IBS meter 100 200 score nationals national championship benchrest South Carolina Mid-Carolina
View through 6X scope at 2019 Metric Score Nationals in South Carolina. This is exactly what Jeff Stover’s camera recorded — it is not a Photoshop job.

IBS meter 100 200 score nationals national championship benchrest South Carolina Mid-CarolinaMatch Report by Jeff Stover, IBS President
“You need to come shoot with us” said Jim Cline at the January 2019 meeting of the IBS. Jim is both a Match Director at Mid-Carolina and an IBS Vice-President. I, as IBS President, considered it for a few seconds. Virtually all of my shooting is short-range group, but I wanted to see why IBS Score Benchrest was so hot — and growing — in the Southeast. “I will be down in October for the Score Nationals” was my response. Bottom line — The event was great, and I should have made the trip years earlier.

The Mid-Carolina Rifle Club is located about 35 miles southeast of Columbia, South Carolina. It sports 20 solid and well-designed concrete benches. A nice feature is the very deep, behind-the-firing-line roof for cleaning rifles, and chatting with fellow shooters.

The main competition at the Score Nationals is for the “Varmint for Score” 13.5-pound rifles. The cartridge of choice is the 30 BR (6mmBR parent cartridge). The extra .065″ bullet diameter over a 6mm helps with the Best Edge Scoring, but the 30 BR gives nothing away to the 6PPC in the accuracy department. As any score shooter can tell you, the 30 BR is an inherently accurate cartridge that is relatively easy to tune.

IBS meter 100 200 score nationals national championship benchrest South Carolina Mid-Carolina
Firing Line at Mid-Carolina Rifle Club with ample behind-the-Line roof coverage.

It was a dream shoot for me. I don’t have a VFS 30 in my gun cabinet, but that was all taken care of. Both rifle and ammo came courtesy of Mike Clayton, one of the circuit’s top shooters. All I needed to bring were my rests! Mike’s rifle was a laser which I did not fully exploit. Mike showed true Southern Hospitality.

IBS meter 100 200 score nationals national championship benchrest South Carolina Mid-Carolina
Mike Clayton ready to pull the trigger on his 30 BR rifle.

About 70 shooters made their way to Orangeburg. More had preregistered but the threat of Tropical Storm Nestor kept a few away. The storm was projected to bring 25+ mph gusts and heavy rain on Saturday. Those dire predictions did not materialize. We had somewhat light, but quickly switching, winds and mostly light rain. It was a dreary day for 100 meter competition but the mood along the firing line was convivial.

IBS meter 100 200 score nationals national championship benchrest South Carolina Mid-Carolina
Tropical Storm Nestor delivered only rain and switchy breezes instead of the predicted gales.

At 100 meters, Brud Sheats led the way with a very nice 250-23X. On his heels were Ronnie Milford and Jim Cline with 22 and 21 Xs respectively. Jim and Ron are leading the Score Shooter of the Year standings. In 6-power class, Jim Cline’s had a good 250-14X for high score with Dewey Hancock 3 Xs behind.

IBS meter 100 200 score Emilee nationals national championship benchrest South Carolina Mid-Carolina

Young Lady Shines at Her First Registered Match
Above is young competitor Emmalee McMurry (from eastern Tennessee) with her 6 PPC Heavy Varmint rifle. This was her very FIRST registered match. Her father Bill is her coach and mentor. Using her 6 PPC she shot two really good targets, a 50-5X and 50-4X. I shot next to her, and was impressed — she has composure and was very comfortable shooting a bench gun. If she stays with it, she could be a future force in Score Benchrest competition. — Jeff Stover, IBS President

Sunday, the targets and stationary backers were moved to the 200 meter butts. The weather started as Saturday had finished — light misty rain with some fog and 10 mph switchy wind. By mid-morning, however, the rain stopped and around lunchtime things brightened. After lunch the sun started to make more frequent appearances and the Orangeburg mirage returned. At the conclusion of the 200 meter stage only three of 65 shooters shot “clean” — i.e. a 250 score, with a 50 on every target.

IBS meter 100 200 score nationals national championship benchrest South Carolina Mid-Carolina
Jim Cline aligning rifle. The multiple bolts are for his Light and Heavy VFS rifles and 6X Hunter Class rifle.

Mid-Carolina Rifle Club Extends the Red Carpet with Fine Food
All shooters were treated to a free grilled chicken and macaroni and cheese luncheon. In the evening, for a small charge, the Mid-Carolina club hosted a catered prime rib dinner. It was the “real deal” — premium beef carved to order. We had hoped for a pleasant Carolina evening instead of poor weather, but the great food made up for it.

At 200 meters, Brud Sheats lost none of his score-shooting mastery from Saturday. He won VFS 200 with a 250-5X. Ken Habadank followed with a Creedmoored 5X and Miles Gibby was 3rd with a 250-2X. The golden rule of score shooting is “stay clean”. That is, shoot a 50 on every target (five tens). The Xs are gravy, especially at 200. Anthony Isner shot a really nice 12 Xs in those conditions. But a wayward shot cost him a point on one target. A 250 beats a 249 despite the X counts. Having won both yardages Mr. Sheats won the 100-200 Grand aggregate with a 500-28X. Ken Habadank’s second place was six Xs behind. Miles Gibby, the only other 500 shooter, had 17 Xs to complete the podium.

IBS meter 100 200 score nationals national championship benchrest South Carolina Mid-Carolina

See Complete 2019 100m/200m IBS Score Nationals Match Results HERE on IBS Website.

So what about the 6-power-max optics rifles? Shooting a 6-power scope at 100 meters is tough enough. At 200, well, it is twice as difficult, especially in Sunday’s conditions. Anthony Isner’s 243-4X won the day followed by Maine’s Orland Bunker at 242-3X. In the 6X Grand Agg, Dewey Hancock took the title with a 491-16X, closely followed by Brian Fitch with a 490-16X.

IBS meter 100 200 score nationals national championship benchrest South Carolina Mid-Carolina
After Cease Fire is called, competitors show detached bolts to ensure safety.

Great Match — With Many Fine Shooters Returning to the Ranks
This was a fine, well-run match by any standard. I did not embarrass myself with a score rifle, so that was a plus! I made the trip to see “what’s what”, and was delighted to find a range full of enthusiastic and fun competitors. And these fellows really know how to shoot. I talked to several shooters who have come back to the sport after years, if not decades, of being away from benchrest. The PR efforts of Jim Cline, Ronnie Milford and other stalwarts in the region are beating the drum and many are answering the call.

IBS meter 100 200 score nationals national championship benchrest South Carolina Mid-Carolina

IBS meter 100 200 score nationals national championship benchrest South Carolina Mid-Carolina
Score Benchrest rifles racked and ready for the next relay.

IBS meter 100 200 score nationals national championship benchrest South Carolina Mid-Carolina
30 BR ammo with timer, and bolt lube, on bench.

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