The 2016 World 1000 yard match.

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Kenny Wasserburger
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The 2016 World 1000 yard match.

Post by Kenny Wasserburger » Thu Nov 14, 2019 2:30 pm

This was an article, I was asked to write, for the BPCR news. It was never published. But was shared with quite a few folks.


A definitive moment in BPTR History.
The 2016 World 1000 Yard BPTR Championship.




(The following introduction was originally written by myself, in 2013 as a short article and published on the Web, via Research Press)
( I am sole owner, author, of this introduction, and it's republished here with my permission)

Modern observations on Rifle Shooting 1880.
It’s 1879, and since the 1874 International Match at Creedmoor there have been a lot of changes.

Edwin Perry shares, in his Third Edition of Modern Observations on Rifle Shooting (1880), some of the major changes / advancements at Creedmoor in just a short 5 years. When it comes to bullet alloys, much of what has been passed around on the internet as fact about the advent of harder alloy bullets is, frankly, nothing but conjecture. And what has been passed off as fact is in effect WRONG. Very hard alloy bullets, were in vogue by 1879 for long range competition and were sold by Sharps and Remington. Factory ammo was no longer used by any of the big name shooters. Most had, after careful study, found that their own reloads had much better performance on the long range targets. Make no mistake about it, rapid advances in long range shooting were going on, and much of it we knew little about, until now. Rare contemporary catalogue data shows it, but no reasons as to what or why or WHO was using it. Now we have some insights, the sad part is it was always there, we just had to know where and how… to find it.
What I liked about this edition of Perry’s book, which is as different as night is to day to the First Edition, is that he does not share just an opinion: he shares what the shooters were actually using. Powder charges much heavier and the reasons why. Bullet alloys, sorry soft bullet alloy advocates, the softest bullet in use at Creedmoor by 1879, for long range was 1-14 in the Sharps Borchardt, patched with the Hyde base-pattern or method. Many were using 1-11 and the Hepburn base method. Others used 1-11 alloys, but patched with the Hyde method. Huge advancements, not just in alloy / powder charges, but also in nose shape and bullet weights are also mentioned. He goes into discourse on the need for a rifle to hold elevation (vertical) on the target, something I have never seen before in print on the subject of Black Powder Cartridge Rifles from that era. He makes mention of Frank Hyde’s methods and that his targets spoke volumes on the subject of hand loading one’s own fixed ammunition when it came to holding elevation / vertical. Talk about some eye openers! The advice given was simple, increase the powder charge until elevation required, and the vertical was reduced to the minimum, then use 1-2 grains above that! Our British cousins lamented the fact and said we used to much powder, yet we kept handing them their collective team’s asses in every international sanctioned match.

Perry states: The Men looked on as Giants in the 1874 International Match, have since been dwarfed by those willing to devote careful study to the Science of Long Range Shooting. Perry proposed a match to promote the advancement of this very thing. Proposing a long range match at that time, was nothing new to be surprised at but… The conditions / rules laid down for this match were.

September of 1879 a prize match was announced to be shot at Creedmoor, three days of long range shooting, a $5 entry fee. Specific rules were laid out, such so that the NRA adopted them! The only request was that each shooter must give a very detailed survey of load methods, bullet alloy, type of patching, style of bullet, powder type and brand, charges weighed or thrown, fixed ammunition or muzzle loaded, rifle also, used in the match. Some of the greats of the era refused to enter, since they did not wish to divulge their personal methods, Perry makes mention of this, yet no names are given. Some 33 odd shooters did enter, among them Sumner, Hyde, Garrish, Farrow, LL Hepburn, Perry, Jackson, Allen, Rathbone, Homer Fisher and many others. The results of this match were shared in this 3rd Edition and give us many insights. Even a study of the MISSES! Perry, and a good many other shooters it seems, wished to advance the Science of Long Range Rifle shooting and felt this was the exact venue in which to do so, and only by sharing of ones findings and methods, could the sport and science advance! Mention of temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and proper quality instruments to measure such, being needed also. Proper scales to weigh charges also mentioned. Even a proper spotting scope-glass!

Perry makes mention of changes in bullet shape, and weights, currently being tested and data on such, to be forthcoming in the next season. Perry also mentions that Judge Gildersleeve’s book, Rifles and Marksmanship, is at the time (1880) being rewritten due to the many advancements since the 1878 edition publishing date. Judge Gildersleeve does mention in his 1878 edition the need for thin paper and wet patching the bullet (aka the Hyde method). That is if, one did not purchase bullets already patched. (All my research shows no such 1880-81 volume to exist, so it may have never been published). All the publishing dates I can find, show only the 1878 Edition (of which I have an original copy).
Many references I have, seem to show that the 550 grain bullet, that many Modern Day Armchair Researchers seem to be fixated on, had to be of a very soft alloy, and thus draw the conclusion that it has to be of near pure lead to weigh that much. When, in fact, it is reference to a nose style and Metford mentions (in Gildersleeve’s book) that most weigh around about 540 grains. My own Money Bullet in .446 diameter, weighs in at 538 grains in 1-16 alloy.

Sadly by 1881, long range competition fell from favour. America had lost its love affair with the Long Range International Match, and foreign nations had quit sending teams. A handful of men kept at it from all accounts. The 1900 National Matches at Sea Girt saw a 45-2-7/8ths black powder Sharps Borchardt, come out of the woodwork, with paper patched bullets and win the Wimbledon Cup for the last time, with Capt. William DeVaux Foulke at the trigger. Those Modern day shooters probably thought someone had just made the moon shot with an Estes Rocket.

Focus shifted to military matches, rifles and ammunition, and to advance the accuracy of such, no longer for the pure sport of long range shooting, but for a more effect service rifle for war and the average soldier. Jacketed bullets and smokeless powder and service rifle shooting became very popular. Other match shooters, shifted to Schuetzen matches, much less powder and only 200 yards.

For years I have wondered on the so called 550 grain Sharps Long Range Bullet; have we have been chasing a ghost? So it seems. We took for fact that the 550 it was the actual bullet weight and not something else. Too much has been left to speculation and conjecture these days, when actual reference material from the era shows something else entirely.

When I first started patching bullets I felt the twisted tail method, was just stupid, the Hyde base just came natural to me and made much more sense. (Perhaps ole Frank Hyde was leaning over and just whispering in my ear?).

We learn from doing and seeing: this year’s results (2013) from Phoenix / The Mile Match / Raton, would seem to show that harder alloys / thin paper / shorter patch, tend to preserve the nose shape better, reduce bullet set back, reduce elevations needed and show less vertical on the target. My results / findings, agree with Perry’s findings, the Hyde-base method works best for me.

Hyde base patched Money Bullets, and Edwin Perry's 3rd Edition. Here in lies a treasure trove of information on the late Creedmoor matches, and does much to dispel the conjecture and misinformation, that was passed around as fact.

Make no mistake Creedmoor in the 1870’s was a fast changing evolving sport, don’t get too mired in what you think was traditional for the era.

(End to the introduction)

As with all things, the only constant in our world is, as alluded too above,....Change, as it was in 1879, it is the much the same today in 2016, major changes are in the wind for the sport of BPTR. The NRA is losing interest in hosting the National BPTR event, much like it did in the 1880's.

2016 March, Phoenix Az, The Ben Avery Shooting Facility. The 1000 yard World Championship, 3 days of shooting to determine the best Black Powder Target Rifle shooter in the world.

Enter Mr. Steve Rhoades, match Directer par excellence. For many years now, The Ben Avery range Phoenix Az, Under the skillful directorship of Steve, has hosted a bevy of BPCR Silhouette and BPTR matches. Steve in addition, to these events, hosted two of the best Long Range BPTR rifle matches in the nation, the America's Cup and The Western Regional Creedmoor Winter Nationals.

This year something new is afoot, Steve is, in essence, recreating, the 1879 Championship match of my introduction, with his 3 day World Championship 1000 yard event. Much like the match of 1879 there are just a few new things, we will shoot on a covered firing line, and there will be paid pit service! Making for a relaxing venue for all, some of us crippled up duffers, or those not physically able to pull targets for days on end don't have to worry, with the paid target pullers handling the rigors of pit duty. This means no loading, unloading of ones gear 3 times each day, and trying to race to or from the pits. What it boils down to is a very civilized Long Range match! This also begs the question, oft asked, but I do not have a spotter to shoot with? I myself, have offered to spot for another shooter when I have a free relay. So, the I do not have a spotter line of thought, is no longer a valid excuse to not attend this match. These few changes alone makes this World Championship event, even with the many miles of travel, well worth attending. As stated in the flyer, this is a 3 day event, you will take to the firing line 3 times each day, and fire 10 shots for score each time plus the allowed sighters. Each day you will post a total of 30 record shots, the 90 record shots aggregate for the 3 days determines the winner.

Another tradition, if you will, that Steve Rhoades, is continuing, is the awarding of class awards. Many shooters today, think the classification of shooters, a more modern nuance. Those who think along these lines, could not be more misinformed. In the 1879 matches there were indeed separate classes and special awards of many sorts given, often of substantial value or amounts even in the lower classes. I will give a breakdown of the classes, as Edwin Perry shared them in his 3rd Edition. Remember these classifications are based on a 15 shot string of fire at each yard line, best possible score being a 75. Each shot worth a possible maximum of 5 points, with the bullseye. So for the 3 yardages of 800-900-1000 yards a aggregate of 225 being a perfect score. It was a rather simple system, and it worked very well on the 6x12 cast iron Targets. Keep somethings in mind though, the 5 point bullseye was 36 inches in diameter, similar to today's 9 ring in size, and 3 1/2 times bigger then our current X ring. A good many modern Creedmoor shooters are very capable of firing perfect scores at 800 and 900 yards.

1st Class 213 or better

2nd Class 206-212

3rd Class 200-206

4th Class less than 200

It was a tough bunch to shoot with in that match of 1879, the classification system, was based on ones best score ever made in a 225 Aggregate. It might be of some interest to the modern student of Creedmoor History, that the often self proclaimed, best shot in the world in 1879, Milton Farrow, was a second class shooter, with his Ballard #7A-1 long Range rifle, there is also the chance his Ballard carried a Sharps made Barrel. So indeed Class awards played a huge part in the 1879 matches, Farrow even though he did not win the match, was awarded a brand new Ballard Rifle. 4th class shooters could win rather large cash awards, these various class awards were much apart of the Match's draw. Frank Hyde just a few weeks prior to this match had won 2 matches that the combined cash awards amounted to over a years wages for a skilled worker! Frank Hyde was an agent for the Sharps Rifle Company, and a 2 time winner of the Wimbledon Cup, a feat in its self.

Today, By far, the majority of modern day Creedmoor shooters, prefer the Grooved bullet in long range BPTR competition, be it at Raton, Phoenix, Byers, or Lodi. In my introduction, all of the shooters of 1879 were using paper patch bullets. Today, A few stalwarts stick to the old methods, of paper patched projectiles, as was done in the championship match of 1879. One thing in common though, with both grease groove and patched bullet shooters, all have returned to wiping between shoots, as the preferred method to control fouling, as did the shooters of 1879. What worked best in 1879, still does when it comes to fouling control, of large doses of BP fired at a fast Rate.

One Notable, in the revival of shooting Paper Patched bullets in modern day BPTR, was Dan Theodore, who championed the cause of paper patching, and was the leader and a driving force in that venue. Being the consummate experimenter that Dan was, I often had the job of being one of Dan's research sources, due to my rather extensive library on the subject of long range shooting and the early matches at Creedmoor. Between Dan's exhaustive experiments and my delving into many old books, I first found mention of the Hyde Base method and the Hepburn base methods of patching Bullets used back then, for long range Competition. Unbeknownst to Dan and myself, We had found common ground in our separate work, and we found answers as to, the how too, and where for, that the Giants of 1879 used. I shared every research source I found, Dan, as was his way, shared the results of countless hours of experimentation. As related above, in my opening, we both settled on the Hyde Base Method and wet patching the bullet, as the best method to patch the bullet. Sadly we lost Dan Theodore, not just a great shooter, experimenter, and spotter, early in 2015. Dan's legacy will live on, in more then just a few acolytes, of the patched bullet for long range shooting. Dan's skills at spotting were only rivaled, by his legendary experimentation. A special trophy in Dan's memory, for the top spotter, will be given at this first ever BPTR 1000 yard World Championship, a fitting tribute to our friend.

For those who have never been there, The Ben Avery Facility has a magnificently laid out 1000 yard Range, with vista views of the mountains and tall Saguaro cactus, just north of the range. My own personal experiences here, go clear back to 1980, when it went by the moniker Black Canyon Shooting Range, and I was a young college student. So the sudden appearance of hot air balloons in the early morning hours, the roadrunners, wild burros, and the rolling sound of the rifle reports coming off the mountains to the north, are old friends of mine. The matches Steve hosts at Ben Avery, run like a well oiled machine, and it's the best BPTR event I have ever attended in 19 years of continuous Black Powder target rifle shooting, 2016 will mark my 20th year of attendance in BPTR venues.

Facilities at Ben Avery are exceptional, two large Campgrounds, one on the west, on the Clays Range with full hookups water, sewer, electricity. We call this campground in jest, the lifestyles of the rich and shooting, due to the 100's K motor coaches parked there. The other, near the main entrance, has water and electricity, no sewer though, but very nice shower facilities. Camping fees are very reasonable, making the trip cost effective.




The culmination of 8 years of working with paper Patched Bullets.

It’s been 3 years since, and we lost a great match Director in Steve Rhoades.

Kenny Wasserburger
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Kurt
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Re: The 2016 World 1000 yard match.

Post by Kurt » Thu Nov 14, 2019 3:59 pm

Kenny very interesting reading.

In all your searches did you ever see what diameter the bullets were patched at ? under bore ? Bore ? or groove diameter ?
I have never seen any mention what the long range shooters used. The reason I'm asking is the hard alloys mentioned used back then.

Kurt
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Re: The 2016 World 1000 yard match.

Post by dbm » Thu Nov 14, 2019 4:55 pm

Kurt wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 3:59 pm
.... did you ever see what diameter the bullets were patched at ? under bore ? Bore ? or groove diameter?
I have an original pack of Sharps Long Range Bullets in my collection. These bullets have a cupped base and a double wrap of paper. The patched bullets have been weighed and average at 551.7 grains. Length is 1.5 inch and .451/.452 inch diameter measured at the base.

See: Sharps Long Range Bullets

David
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Re: The 2016 World 1000 yard match.

Post by Kurt » Thu Nov 14, 2019 7:22 pm

Tnx. David.
I see those in my old Factory Catalogs and they are like these I cast using an original Sharps bullet mould that casts with a slight taper.
I have done a lot of searching to find the actual dimensions they used for the creedmoor matches and like Kennymentioned in his article it was pretty much mum what they used.
I also seen original rifles and tools in wooden rifle boxes used during the late 1800rds matches at the Rock Island Auctions but it's pretty much hands off.
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Re: The 2016 World 1000 yard match.

Post by SFogler » Thu Nov 14, 2019 10:35 pm

Thanks for this post Kenny.
I just bought the book on Amazon - I knew it was the right one - your review of it is still published there.
I thoroughly enjoyed the reprint of 'Long Range Rifle Shooting' by the Rifle Editor of Forrest and Stream Publishing Company dated 1877 about the early Creedmoor matches and the shooters. The Perry book sounds even more detailed - looking forward to studying it.

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Re: The 2016 World 1000 yard match.

Post by BFD » Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:02 am

A couple of decades ago, Col. Bodine's cased Creedmoor Rollingblock Rifle passed through Iowa. In the case were several bullets, one or more bullet moulds and some other miscellaneous stuff. I was not able to see it in person but others I knew were. Those bullets were measured, but I no longer have the numbers. I don't believe the barrel was slugged however, so the dimensions are sort of moot anyway. I know I wanted and tried to talk others into getting bore and bullet dimensions, but only part of that happened. Where that rifle came from and went, I do not know. Was a long time ago.

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Re: The 2016 World 1000 yard match.

Post by Kenny Wasserburger » Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:58 am

SFogler,

That review is for the book alright by title, if it’s the same 120 page 1877 edition it’s not the right book. Only place I can find it now is at Abe books.

The book currently listed on Amazon isn’t the 1880 edition with 30 extra pages.

I used to sell it by my little Hindu friends quit making it for me in Hardcover.

Kenny W.
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Re: The 2016 World 1000 yard match.

Post by desert deuce » Fri Nov 15, 2019 5:27 pm

Coincidentally, accidentally, fortunately, was the discovery that controlling vertical dispersion on the target at long range was important.
That there "frequently" is (meaning quite likely, not always) a correlation between small variations in extreme spread on the chronograph and smaller vertical dispersions on the long range targets seem to be related. The correlation has been relied on for a while now and the results have been transmitted into practice. FWIW

Where it counts in long range is 1,000 yards. JMHO

Thinking of long range BPTR shooting then one could evolve into considering the control of vertical as more science than art and the control of lateral dispersion as more art than science.
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Re: The 2016 World 1000 yard match.

Post by Coltsmoke » Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:20 pm

Please tell us why the control of lateral dispersion is more of an art than science. I have not evolved either way as of yet. Maybe you can enlighten me and help me to evolve in the right direction. :wink:
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Re: The 2016 World 1000 yard match.

Post by Aero » Fri Nov 15, 2019 9:19 pm

Coltsmoke wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:20 pm
Please tell us why the control of lateral dispersion is more of an art than science. I have not evolved either way as of yet. Maybe you can enlighten me and help me to evolve in the right direction. :wink:
Lateral dispersion is wind.

The science is easy enough to figure out by playing with any of the many ballistic calculators that are available today. Once you've figured out an approximate bc for your boolit, they will tell you very closely how far a particular amount of wind will move your bullet at whatever range you're shooting.

The art is laying on the 1000 yard line looking at flags, mirage, grass, smoke, dust, trees, or even the feel of the wind on your face and twisting the knob on your sight to put the bullets in the middle, which is where you need to be if you want to do well shooting at paper. Edge hits will make you feel good at times when conditions start to get more challenging and others are missing the target completely, but the match winners will be putting more in the black than not.

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Re: The 2016 World 1000 yard match.

Post by Aviator » Fri Nov 15, 2019 9:26 pm

Kenny Wasserburger wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:58 am

..... Only place I can find it now is at Abe books.

The book currently listed on Amazon isn’t the 1880 edition with 30 extra pages......
Well, I've never bought anything direct from India before, but I decided to give it a try, to get the 1880 paperback reprint. I'll see how it goes.

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Re: The 2016 World 1000 yard match.

Post by desert deuce » Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:15 pm

Yes Smoke, Aero nailed it. Couldn't have said it as well.

Allowing that he is probably quite a bit younger than you and I perhaps I should add one more point worthy of mention that may be helpful. That is remembering what the sight setting was on your last shot and knowing and remembering where that shot landed.
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Re: The 2016 World 1000 yard match.

Post by dbm » Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:25 am

desert deuce wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:15 pm
... remembering what the sight setting was on your last shot and knowing and remembering where that shot landed.
I use a score sheet to record prevailing atmospheric conditions, then plot each shot as fired, noting significant changes in wind strength & direction. In changeable conditions you can refer back several shots to re-set sights if necessary. I can’t remember that as I shoot, and end up with a permanent record for the range, distance & conditions.

David
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Re: The 2016 World 1000 yard match.

Post by desert deuce » Sat Nov 16, 2019 8:09 am

DBM in UK, I use a hygrometer/thermometer combination set at barrel level and keep an eye on it during record fire if I think conditions warrant. When shooting Creedmoor Cup Style here you have 20 minutes for sighters and ten record shots. First shot to cut paper is sighter #1, maximum 3 sighters then next shot is first record shot, there are no convertibles. Can take several shots to cut paper first time.

The #1 most critical element is fouling control. If the rifle is incapable of shooting to call due to hard fouling accuracy and score suffer.

What the shooter does during record fire is constrained by time. In The Cup there is only a scorer, no spotter.

If you "practice" Cup Style on the clock you learn that you pretty much have to shoot through and can't wait out conditions. Other activities also end up being either minimized or not observed at all. Holding unfired rounds after the buzzer is the same as misses. Poor target pulling/scoring will kill your score and by the time such is evident the score is already diminished.

Frequently you may find yourself in recoil for the last record shot when the buzzer goes off ending record fire.

Shooting a cadence and smoothly performing the good shot release function proves a better approach than over analyzing and ending up shooting fast to catch the clock.

In Cup shooting in particular there is rarely an ideal situation. It is easy to get lost in the conditions, especially if you are unaware of what constituted the last shot fired and what the results were. Sight settings are an important priority.
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Re: The 2016 World 1000 yard match.

Post by GrumpyBear » Sat Nov 16, 2019 8:10 am

Aviator wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 9:26 pm
Kenny Wasserburger wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:58 am

..... Only place I can find it now is at Abe books.

The book currently listed on Amazon isn’t the 1880 edition with 30 extra pages......
Well, I've never bought anything direct from India before, but I decided to give it a try, to get the 1880 paperback reprint. I'll see how it goes.
I also ordered a copy from ABE Books.

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