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World Benchrest Championship 2017

2nd - 12th November 2017 - Nelson, New Zealand

[ Benchrest ]

The World Benchrest Championship is held every two years and the event moves around the planet on ranges near and far. In 2017 it was New Zealand’s turn to host the affair and so the world’s best benchrest shooters gathered at the Packers Creek Range near Nelson on the South Island.

Each participating country can send a maximum of three four-person teams and this time there were 71 shooters involved. There are also awards given for the individual 2-Gun results.

Practice days
These days are used for fine-tuning rifles and learning the vagaries of the range with regard to wind conditions. Although Packers Creek would have to be one of the prettiest venues in the world with its lush greenery and native flowers, it is also a very tricky setting to ‘read’ as the valley walls are not too far from the sides of the range and the funnel effect can be tough to beat. Shooters flying in from overseas were well catered for as powder and primers were made available by the host club, as were match grade bullets and bore solvents.

Light Benchrest 100 yards
Following an impressive opening ceremony, the shoot began in earnest in cool and windy conditions. All yardages commence with a ‘warm-up’ group that may count for smallest group, but cannot be included in your aggregate. Naturally there is less pressure on this group, but most shooters use it to find out what the range is doing and if their chosen load is working. Only one yardage is shot per day, so there is plenty of time for reloading and more. At this level, groups under two-tenths of an inch are commonplace. The best group for the day was shot by New Zealander Greg Couper with a tidy .076 – unfortunately for him it was on his warm-up group. Many excellent groups were witnessed during the day but when the final scores went up, the top 10 looked like this:

Wayne CampbellUSA 1 0.2054
Mike ConryUSA 2 0.208
Dave CootsUSA 3 0.2198
Gavin MarshallAUS 3 0.238
Steve SoriAUS 2 0.2472
David KerrAUS 1 0.2478
Mitchell TallarAUS 1 0.2488
Carlos PachecoFRA 1 0.252
Roger MarshallAUS 1 0.2592
Hugh WilliamsonCAN 1 0.2626

Heavy Benchrest 100 yards
With the previous day’s experience behind them, shooters went to the line a little more confident. As expected there were plenty of high-quality groups shot well under the two-tenths mark. The smallest group was a .128 shot by Ed Adams, from the USA. The aggregate was hard fought down to the last relay and finished up like this:

Wayne CampbellUSA 1 0.1992
Roger MarshallAUS 1 0.223
Ed AdamsUSA 1 0.2404
Mitchell TallarAUS 1 0.248
Larry CostaUSA 1 0.2506
Gary BristowUSA 2 0.2522
Bud MundyUSA 2 0.2544
Richard PollockCAN 1 0.2574
Hugh WilliamsonCAN 1 0.2628
Paul SullivanAUS 1 0.2742

Light Benchrest 200 yards
With the shorter yardages out of the way, it was down for action at 200 yards. This is where most shoots are won and lost and it was no different here. Along the way some remarkable groups well under three-tenths of an inch were shot. Steve Sori, from Sydney, put down a new world record group of .138, but unfortunately on his warm-up target. The yardage battle went right down to the last target, as the results showed:

Mike ConryUSA 2 0.2613
Chris van ZiljRSA 1 0.262
David KerrAUS 1 0.2736
Chris HarrisUSA 2 0.2783
Gavin MarshallAUS 3 0.2849
Brendan AtkinsonAUS 2 0.2865
Paul SullivanAUS 1 0.2915
Gary BristowUSA 2 0.2916
Ian OwenNZL 1 0.3005
Bob HamisterUSA 3 0.3008

Heavy Benchrest 200 yards
With this being the last yardage of the tournament it was serious stuff and the pressure to make a good effort was obvious among the leading teams. The weather conditions were probably the toughest of the match, so extra care was needed. Hugh Williamson, from Canada, found the situation to his liking and punched in a .230. The American shooters dominated the aggregate though and at the end of the day it looked like this:

Mike ConryUSA 2 0.2458
Gene BukysUSA 1 0.2488
Ed AdamsUSA 1 0.2593
Bob HamisterUSA 3 0.2622
Mitchell TallarAUS 1 0.2736
Ian OwenNZL 1 0.2753
Wayne CampbellUSA 1 0.2777
John WyattAUS 3 0.2815
Gary BristowUSA 2 0.2846
Paul SullivanAUS 1 0.287

Light Benchrest Grand Aggregate

Mike ConryUSA 2 0.2346
David KerrAUS 1 0.2607
Gavin MarshallAUS3 0.2615
Dave CootsUSA 3 0.2851
Hugh WilliamsonCAN 1 0.2853
Chris van ZiljRSA 1 0.289
Kobus VisserRSA 1 0.2911
Chris HarrisUSA 2 0.2916
Paul SullivanAUS 1 0.2919
Wayne CampbellUSA 1 0.2926

Heavy Benchrest Grand Aggregate

Wayne CampbellUSA 1 0.2384
Ed AdamsUSA 1 0.2498
Roger MarshallAUS 1 0.2552
Mitchell TallarAUS 1 0.2608
Gary BristowUSA 2 0.2684
Larry CostaUSA 1 0.2729
Paul SullivanAUS 1 0.2806
Hugh WilliamsonCAN 1 0.2816
John WyattAUS 3 0.2843
Mike ConryUSA 2 0.2848

Individual 2-Gun Aggregate

Mike ConryUSA 2 0.2397
Wayne CampbellUSA 1 0.2655
David KerrAUS 1 0.2795
Mitchell TallarAUS 1 0.2813
Larry CostaUSA 1 0.2833
Hugh WilliamsonCAN 1 0.2834
Ed AdamsUSA 1 0.2844
Roger MarshallAUS 1 0.2858
Paul SullivanAUS 1 0.2863
Gary BristowUSA 2 0.2935

The teams - Australia lands gold

Australia 1  0.2832
USA 1  0.2861
USA 2  0.2963
USA 3  0.3226
Canada 1  0.3371
South Africa 1 0.3456
Australia 3  0.351
Australia 2  0.3596
France 1  0.3761
New Zealand 1 0.3985

For the second time, an Australian team took the gold medal in the World Benchrest Championship. Congratulations to Roger Marshall, Mitchell Tallar, Paul Sullivan and David Kerr.

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