2018 Berger Southwest Nationals - Post A Story!

Discussion in 'Competition Forum (All Calibers)' started by Jay Christopherson, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. Jay Christopherson

    Jay Christopherson Administrator

    Aug 24, 2009
    Since a couple of guys mentioned that this might be a fun thread, I thought I would try it out. Post a story (F-Open, FTR, Sling, whatever!) from the recent 2018 Berger SWN that has stuck with you. Doesn't have to be about anything specific, just something that you thought was cool that doesn't necessarily get called out in the official write-ups.

    To start it off, I'm gonna tell you about a wind call during the 1000-yard aggregate in the team match. I don't think I'll ever get tired of telling people about it, it was really something amazing, IMO.

    I was the first shooter at 1000 yards for our team. Conditions were actually pretty windy that day, but when I started, it wasn't too bad. As I recall, @Bob Sebold (wind coach for Team Lapua-Brux-Borden) started me out with "zero" wind and was calling me a couple lines left. The wind built really fast, with each call being at least another line out as we tried to keep up with the pick up. We ended up dropping a few points out one side or the other, but worked our way through it pretty well.

    By the time we got to shot 18, we still had 55 minutes or so on the timer. We had squeaked out some 10's and X's on the last few shots, but the wind was building again. Trying to get ahead of it, Bob made a big call on shot 19 and we held another couple lines out - but came up a solid '9' with the wind. We could see a few 8's with the wind on targets around us, so Bob called a stop to take a look. As we watched, the wind continued to build and a lot of points were dropped down the line as teams tried to shoot through it. At this point, there were 53 minutes left on the timer.

    For the next 37 minutes, we held. And held. And held some more. With one shot left for record and another shooter waiting his turn before time ran out.

    At some point during that downtime, I got up stretched, chatted, etc... and Bob told me to add a couple of minutes of wind to my scope. We could tell the wind hadn't relented, but adding 2 minutes when you haven't taken a shot in the last 30 minutes seemed like a big gamble... but, he's the coach.

    We waited a few more minutes as the timer ticked down. We figured we would need to do something around the 16 minute mark if we wanted to give our other shooter time to shoot a good string without rushing. As the time wound down to that point, Bob leans over and says "Hold 5 left, but don't pull the trigger until I say go". This is on TOP of the 2 minutes we had just dialed in a few minutes earlier.

    A minute or so after I laid back down on my hold, Bob calls "alright, 5 left!" and I sent it out. The target stayed down oh - so- long... and came back up a '10'! Dead center wind call, but just outside the X-ring at 6 o'clock. My best guess is that nearly forty minutes of downtime had cooled the barrel off a bit and I should have shaded a little high. But - you never know so I held center.

    Anyhow - it was easily one of the top 3 cold wind calls I've ever seen made. Maybe 2nd best - the top was at another match at Rattlesnake by @Keith Glasscock, but that's another story.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  2. rardoin

    rardoin Silver $$ Contributor

    May 13, 2013
    A short one and quite subordinate to yours Jay:):

    Match 3 at 600yds, late in the string and pulled off the rifle to let conditions settle after a complete mirage reversal with windflags unchanged....I see conditions getting in agreement in the spotter and by the flags and get into position and .....BANG.... Loud "CRAP" from me as I was not even in eye relief and put a slight touch on the Bix':mad:. The last sight picture I saw was at 9:00 in the mid 8 ring but with parallax I figured a 6 or worse was possible. Tense moments until the target came back in to view and shot an inner 9...whew! Rookie move on my part......
  3. Ringostar


    Apr 19, 2011
    I had a surprise lucky shot during the Thursday team matches. During my 1000yd string, I accidentally brushed the trigger while closing the bolt. I let out a very loud "Oh Shit!" I looked through the scope and saw the target going down. That was a relief. Then I heard a lot of laughter coming from the teams on each side of us. I looked back through my scope to see a nice center X!
    usftr, NA Woody, KWeigel and 7 others like this.
  4. sfinn1


    Sep 23, 2016
    And that's when the coach says. "good shot, do it it again!'
    Immike likes this.
  5. ShootDots

    ShootDots Gold $$ Contributor

    Jan 9, 2008
    Hey Jay, I remember that shot well! I was shooting right next to you and the wait for both of us was VERY LONG indeed! I saw you shoot and I thought: "Man that wind is UP! If that's a 10 it will be the BEST TEN I ever saw!" Low and behold, BOOM! >> AND there was the ten! Excellent wind call and excellent shot!
    johnnyi, snakepit and Immike like this.
  6. BIG D

    BIG D Gold $$ Contributor

    Oct 13, 2015
    So many memories to list. Here is one I hope most of us had noticed. Sunday during the wind delay I walked into the stat building where people were gathering. There was all kinds of chattering and bs going on that you could hardly carry on a conversation. As I made a lap around the room I notice a bunch of hair sticking out of a pile of wind flags on top of the table in the southwest corner of the room. I had to do a double take. Upon further inspection I notice knees and feet sticking out of the wind flag sleeping bag. It's Sherry Gallagher taking a very well deserved nap! After awhile Sherry wakes up and sits up with a huge smile on her face! That's the dedication of the staff that runs the best match I've ever had the pleasure to take part in. Thank you to all that ran without sleep to allow myself and many other shooters the best experience ever.
    Hoodoo, seb, vmcdonald and 4 others like this.
  7. Immike

    Immike Gold $$ Contributor

    Jul 15, 2011
    We had a first time team shooter that was so nervous that he was shaking... We both got down on the mats to fire his first sighters and within 3 shots we had a X so I nodded for score without his knowledge. 3 more Xs and he asked if I was going to tell him when to go for score... Lol. We all had a good time and that’s what it’s all about!
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  8. savageshooter86


    Sep 7, 2012
    On relay one of the 600 yard match when the winds were gusting up to 30 mph I got ready to take rifle to the line and no bolt in my rifle . Spent 5 minutes running around trying to figure out what to do. As soon as blow off period ended and relay started for score I found it. Someone had removed my bolt and put in side pocket of case. Talk about a nervous wreck!!! I managed a 184 and thought it was not that bad. Then settled in and winds calmed down. Finished last two matches dropping one point. So that was joke all week with shooters I knew was they asked every time they saw me if I had my bolt
  9. Keith Glasscock

    Keith Glasscock True believer - Straight 284 Gold $$ Contributor

    Aug 17, 2010
    This year was a great year for me for so many reasons. First and foremost, I got to spend time with all of the great people that shoot this game. I swapped knowledge and picked brains. I shared a moment in the lives of my friends and heroes. I made new friends, and got to see old ones again. I learned how to read a flag at low speeds, and a few new tricks for my wind game. Yet, one thing struck me to the core:

    I had the pleasure of pulling targets next to a member of the Wickenburg High School shooting team. She couldn't be more than 15 years old.

    I was amazed watching her pull a target. Every time she pulled it down, she pulled herself off the ground accelerating the target downward, swapped the spotter, pasted, scored, and rocketed the target back into position, slowing its speed just before all the way up to prevent rocking. A solid 6-7 second service, all day long!

    I have never seen such enthusiasm, spirit, work ethic, and love of the game from any other shooter, nor any paid puller in my years of being in the pits!

    All of that, and she didn't get to shoot.

    That is a memory of a lifetime right there.
  10. Jdne5b

    Jdne5b Gold $$ Contributor

    Dec 20, 2011
    I learned to put my drivers license where it goes so that Im not standing at the rental counter, at 11pm on wednesday night wondering how Im going to talk them into renting me a car with no drivers license. Finally found it after 10+ minutes of searching every bag and pocket 5 times. Probably as frantic as looking for a bolt.
    Petros284 and Immike like this.
  11. Scott Harris

    Scott Harris Gold $$ Contributor

    Aug 28, 2009
    I had the pleasure of shooting with Walter Lange on the breezy Saturday. Walter is a lefty, but was forced to shoot right-handed during the Bergers because of vision problems. After struggling for a few days, things came together for him on Saturday: 199-11X on the first string. During the windy second string, Walter had the patience to only shoot when the wind came from a specific direction. It paid off and he shot a great score that relay. Way to adapt and overcome Walter.
    johnnyi, Average joe, Immike and 5 others like this.
  12. DonnyJ

    DonnyJ Silver $$ Contributor

    Jan 23, 2014
    This was my first trip to the SWN.
    I'd had an eventful drive out that included having a blowout out in west Texas!
    Forgot half of my precooked food in the freezer at home.
    A false fire alarm at the hotel!

    I arrived early Wednesday morning for the Mid Range squadding and as you know, the wind was blowing rather hard!
    As I was standing in line, I saw a set of score cards go zipping by, so I chased them down and by the time I got back in line, I was next.

    So when Matt asked my name, I looked at him and explained what was had happened and said your not gonna believe this, but they were my score cards!
    He's like not way! What are the odds of that happening!
    So yes, some how out of ALL of the score cards on table, MINE were blow off the table and I chased them down!

    Medic505, Baka, rardoin and 1 other person like this.
  13. Medic505

    Medic505 Dean Wheeler Gold $$ Contributor

    Jul 21, 2010
    It's been nearly a week. I've cleaned all the grit out of places you never dream of, adjusted to sleeping in my own bed and kind of caught my breath. I just finished up my 6th SWN's. I got the pleasure of shooting with two first time shooters this year.

    Wednesday morning found me paired with Todd Baures, an Open shooter from Wyoming. A good day with good people, what more could you ask for. We were fortunate to be squadded with Bob Depp and Jim Murphy to our right. If there was ever a pair that exemplified F-Class sportsmanship, they are it. Just a fun day.

    Team day was a hoot. Remember when there were empty targets on 2/3's of the range?

    Friday, Randy Littleton and I bravely fought the winds only to get beat up a little, but you just couldn't help but enjoy it. A great day with a fellow Texican. I couldn't help but think about my first trip to Phoenix. I was a little overwhelmed as it was, I couldn't imagine witnessing this for a first time today. My hat is off again to the good folks that do all the hard work to ensure the SWN's are the well oiled machine we've become accustom to. Great match!
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
  14. boltman13

    boltman13 Gold $$ Contributor

    Feb 14, 2009
    On Saturday I was on Relay 1 and shot a 190 which I felt was pretty good for this Expert. Off to the pits and when I returned to the 1,000 yard line for my second string conditions were much more challenging. My 4th sighter was a 10 and I told my scorer I was going for record. My first 2 shots for record were X's and I was feeling pretty good. Then came a 9, and then all hell broke loose. I could not catch up to conditions, and started dropping points like crazy. I finally gave up on holding for wind and added windage to my scope, something I almost never do at home. When my last shot came up and I had suffered enough I was lucky to get a 169-2X. When i saw some of the other scores posted I didn't feel quite as bad but I sure was schooled by the Ben Avery wind Gods. As always it was a great time with great people, and I can't wait to come back again. Thanks to all who made it happen for us.
  15. gilmillan1


    Jul 4, 2014
    First day of mid range shooting. The shooter next to me shoot a 10, x, and a 10, the next shot was a 5 to the right. I saw the last two flags pick up hard to the right, and I paused myself. I thought let me see what the shooter to my right shoots. I see the five and I thought, oh shit! I had never seen that at 600 yards. Yikes! A 5!
    rardoin and BIG D like this.
  16. willbas


    May 9, 2014
    That sounds like me but mine went last sighter a 10 then for record 10, 9 and 5. I shot a 177 3x; 189 5x and 192 4x 558 12x the wind got me.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
  17. ronsatspokane

    ronsatspokane Silver $$ Contributor

    Sep 20, 2014
    OK Jay. Here's a story.

    As others have said, that was an exceptionally well run match. Herding that many cats is a daunting task but those who where involved made it look easy. Well done!

    I'll just say it, I did not shoot well. Was disappointed to drop one point at 800 but told myself that I'd clean the 900 and 1000. That's when everything went off a cliff. After 900 I told Monte that I may have shot my worst string ever. He remarked that at least that'd be the last time I needed to say that. Well following the 1000 I told him that it was not the last time and that the 1000 may have been my worst string ever. He said he'd trade me but he didn't know just how poorly I did. There was something going on with the wind that I just was not picking up on. I tell my wife that when it comes to breaking I'm a high master, when it comes to reading... not so much. Wind that is. It was at this point that I was wondering whether I should put the rifle down and dedicate the remainder of my life to synchronized swimming. An old fat man in a speedo pushing a hairy leg up out of the water would be far more attractive than the performance I turned in on Friday.

    Saturday was a new day. I was trying to watch the wind very close to see if I could pick up on what was going on. Shot much better in the first string than the day before and started feeling like I was seeing some of it. The second string I was not going to fire for record until I could at least see what was happening. Think I fired 13 sighters. Rolled over at one point and told Philip that I might fire all my ammo in sighters before I figure it out. It was a switching tail wind that was not only switching but increasing and decreasing in velocity. Defocusing back to about 500 yards allowed me to see the direction and velocity clearly. Velocity was changing rapidly however so I had to shoot fast once I thought I knew what was going on. I'd hold off and high or low depending on velocity. In doing so I consistently under estimated the impact on the vertical that the velocity had and the result was that I was dropping some 9's. Was seeing 8's, 7's and even a 6 around me so was not too unhappy. Ended up dropping 9 and was happy as I felt that I could finally see what was going on. Thought to myself, self, you're ready for tomorrow. And we all know what happened Sunday.

    Highlights of the match:

    Seeing the PNW folks rock it. Keith, Jay and Todd are in the groove. It's fun to watch. Even Praveen with his little bitty 6mm rocked it going against the mighty 284's and in those winds, that's saying something. He's now making noises about building a 284. And it goes without saying that seeing and chatting with the Montana clan represented by the Hoppe brothers and now Keith and the Oregen clan represent by Heather and Bill is always a pleasure. And of course what can you say about Monte. That guy has to be one of the best ambassadors for this sport that we have. Always helpful and in good humor. Even when he has one of those rare (for him) unfortunate strings he recovers rapidly to become that great ambassador all over again.

    Meeting and shooting with Philip Kelley. I must confess, I did not know who he was until Praveen told me that he's one of the top FTR shooters in the country. What a nice guy. And what a great shot. After he watched me burn a truck load of sighters in that second string he promptly stepped up to the line and dropped only half the points I did in those winds. He did it with a 308. Watching him launch those slow moving cannon balls so accurately in those winds was a pleasure. I hear he is going to be the US coach for the coming season. Good choice.

    Highlights of the rest:

    The match was one thing. In the larger context it turned out to be an adventure just getting there and home. As some know Praveen was signed up but missed last year's match when he totaled his car on a ski trip to Canada in the weeks before. Icy conditions on a downhill road ended up in surgery to repair a broken ankle. He couldn't walk for a while. He claims to suffer from bad dreams of driving in icy conditions to this day.

    Given that, we came up with the bright idea of driving from Washington to Phoenix in the dead of winter. He was going to explore the desert southwest after the match so we were going to caravan down (didn't end up exploring but that is another story). He drove from Seattle to Spokane on the Monday night before. The weather looked good so we decided to take the route through Montana. Two 10 hour days should get us there with a day to spare in case we hit bad road conditions. Ran into one snow storm between Missoula and Butte but nothing serious. Praveen looked to have his snow legs back under him and was dealing with it like an old pro. In talking to Roger Hoppe, it was -20 at his house in Havre Montana and it took him 5 hours to get to Butte. We got lucky. Made it to Provo that first day. Next day we got up at the crack of dawn and headed south again. Decided on the route through Page that passed Bryce and Zion. By the time we got to Flagstaff we thought we might need kidney belts. Rough road that is. Two long days but relatively uneventful.

    On Monday following the match Praveen and a guy named Kevin (from Seattle) were testing lots through their Anschutz rimfires at the Lapua test facilities in Mesa. When we got back to my sister-in-laws where we were staying we had the bright idea of trying to make it to Las Vegas that night. That'd make two easy days back to Seattle and Spokane respectively. We headed out about 4:30 PM. By the time we got to within 30 miles of Flagstaff it was snowing so hard you couldn't tell if you were moving or standing still. Turning west at Flag it kept coming. Both of us were in that state where the eyeballs start yo-yoing in and out of the skull by the time we reached a town called Williams where we decided to pull off. So pull off we did and discovered that we both had about an inch of ice built up on the front of our cars. Talked about continuing on but came to our senses and decided to see if there was a decent hotel in town.

    Well it turns out that Williams Arizona is a nice little tourist town where the train takes off to the Grand Canyon. It's situated right on the famous Route 66 with all that accompanies that route. Including a bar called The World Famous Saltana. You can probably guess what our plan was at that point. That's right, check into a hotel and reel our eyeballs back in with a beverage or 10 at the aforementioned bar. Turned out to be at the higher end of that spectrum. Started with some craft beers and pool. Turned to shots of Bourbon and more pool. Bartender told us all about the town. There were a group of tourists from Spain and/or Portugal there along with a bunch of locals. The tourist girls had excellent taste in music. CCR and the like. People were singing along. Praveen and I were giving them dollars to plug the jutebox with and keep the music coming while we were all playing pool and the drinks kept coming. The mature reader has probably leapt ahead to where this story ends and they would be correct. At the alter praying to the porcelain god. We were so hungover the next day that we didn't get out of town till just before noon. Made it to Ogdon by about 11 pm still a bit hungover. Long day. Stupid hurts...

    The next day we decided to stick to the low country and avoid the snow. Praveen was going to make his way to Portland (were young people go to retire for the Portlandia fans) and head north. I was going to split off at Pendleton and head via the Tri-cities until I hit snow again. Wife said it snowed 7 or 8 inches overnight so I knew I'd hit it. Still, less than via the Montana route where reports where that they were getting hammered by the storm. The only variable be the Blue Mountains. No snow out of Ogdon and all the way to La Grande. I'd been this route a number of times in the past and somehow forgot all about that pass between La Grande and Pendleton. We grabbed a bite in La Grande to celebrate our making it past the difficult parts and relax a bit. Headed out of La Grande and started to climb. And climb. And then the snow. Came around one corner and just about smashed into a truck blocking the road while he was looking for a place to pull off and chain up. Then more trucks blocking the road chaining up. Then climb more. More snow. Cars off the road. Trucks blocking part of the road who thought they could make it over without chaining up. I had the Jeep locked in 4-wheel. Praveen had all wheel drive with studless snows. We made it through. Probably the worst winter conditions I've encountered this year. 12 hour day for me, 14 hour day for Praveen but we made it. Twas an adventure on a number of fronts. The stuff memories are made of. Hope everyone else had an equally good time. On to the next adventure...
    Jdne5b and rardoin like this.
  18. Tod Hendricks

    Tod Hendricks Gold $$ Contributor

    Jan 21, 2011
    My story about flying home from F-class Worlds in Ottawa. Different match but I got approval from OP.

    Jay and I arrived at the airport plenty early, ticket counters were mostly empty. Once we reached the counter we informed the agent we had firearms to check in. She was nice about it and asked her manager for assistance. We were told firearms and ammunition needed to be checked in at a different location, at the end of the main ticket counter.

    Got our clothes luggage checked in and tickets printed, off to check two bags with gun and ammunition. Agent did a wipe down and analysis on gun case and pelican case with ammo, no problems, on the belt they went. Jay got his on the belt just as the manager from the main ticket counter was in our area calling my name. We both went over to see what was up.

    First thing he says is, we found a gun in your suitcase. Say WHAT, what do mean. He says my suitcase I checked in at the first counter has a gun in it, the police have been notified, the paperwork alone is going to take all day you will miss your flight. About that time Jay takes a couple steps back, like I really don’t know who this guy is, we just met in line. Thanks buddy. I try to get the dumbfounded look off my face. Quickly thinking when was the last time I saw my carry pistol. No that’s not it, what the hell. I told the guy, the only gun I have in Canada just went down that belt, pointing at the belt for guns and ammo check in. This back and forth went on for a while, me trying to be humble and convincing. It must have worked, he tells me to go to directly thru security and wait at the gate. Whew ok Im making progress.

    Somehow, I was selected for extra screening at security, but since I wasn’t smuggling anything they let me through. On the way to the gate, Jay says lets stop and get a coffee, he’s back to admitting he knows who I am. I said no, I’m going to the gate, obediently following orders. At the gate, I checked with the agent and tried to explain the situation, he gave me a look like really, I haven’t heard anything nor do I care. I said I will be sitting over there, pointing to empty seats by the window, I might have heard him grunt a reply.

    After about 10 minutes I get a beep on my phone, it’s a text from Jay. That manager and a cop just walked by me heading your way. Shit I look up and see the Manager, Cop and the grunting gate agent with angry faces walking away from the desk, like they had been looking for me and given up and were going to set off the alarm. Needless to say, I made my presence known pretty quick.

    The manager told me the police went through all my bags and didn’t find a gun. They saw my bipod (RayVin model with stainless rods) on Xray, evidently, they thought it was a rifle barrel. I also had calipers, fired cases (harmless pieces of brass) and other tools in the suitcase. The cop requested I follow him to gate security so he can witness me being screened again. Which of course was fine since I wasn’t smuggling anything before nor was I now.

    No coffee required to get my heart rate up that morning.
  19. Jay Christopherson

    Jay Christopherson Administrator

    Aug 24, 2009
    Who is this guy? ;-) Do your duty officer, take him away!

    That guy was dead certain he had you with a firearm in your luggage. He was already ticking off the boxes for you about penalties, delays, etc...
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
    Immike likes this.
  20. Medic505

    Medic505 Dean Wheeler Gold $$ Contributor

    Jul 21, 2010
    OK, didn't someone make a movie about this??

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