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Raton BPCR Nationals 2013

PostedCOLON Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:46 pm
by Brent
Well, The Raton Nationals in BPCR Silhouette, BPCR Scope Silhouette, .22 BPCR Silhouette, Cowboy Lever Gun (rifle, pistol, and rimfire) Silhouette are done and gone. I got to spend just over 2 weeks shooting and BSing with lots of fine folks. Although I did not shoot as well as I hoped, I think it would be hard to imagine a better time, and a lot of lead went down range.

For me, lever gun is a relatively minor and novel game (two matches are all I have shot), but there were lots of folks that shoot it very seriously and had a great time doing it. Lots of families there, even 3-generations of shooters in some instances. I think there were about 150-160 shooters from all over the US that were flinging lead and making noise. I don’t know many of the shooters so I can’t recite winners of each discipline, but I recognized a lot of shooters from last year and enjoyed meeting them and new people again. The weather for these matches was just incredible. Highs were in the 80s (maybe) and low humidity and reasonable breezes made it very comfortable to shoot, unlike it can be in the high desert in June. It was a perfect and relaxing warm-up for the BPCR matches that were coming.

Then the still nearly new .22 BPCR Nationals rolled into The Whit and the second annual scope and irons silhouette match took place over two days. I’ve shot this match for years, before it became “official” and it is just about as much fun as you can have with a gun outside of the hunting seasons. I think there were 80-90 shooters (5 relays), and even though we all set or own targets we had a heck of a lot of fun and a goodly share of frustration (chickens are still hard, and turkeys are immortal). Lots of winners in different classes and for different age groups. Brian Chilson won the scope championship, but I can’t remember who won the iron sight championship, except that it wasn’t Brian (he doesn’t win everything everytime – but he sure comes close  ).

We had a day off and then the BPCR scope match started. I didn’t shoot particularly well, but it sure was good to see so many folks that I have enjoyed shooting with over the last 6 yrs that I have been going to Raton. I think there were 101 shooters by my count on the score board. That is down from last year, but most of the best shooters were there so the average quality of the shooting keeps getting better and better. There were a fair number of shooters that shot just scope class for BPCR because their eyes won’t accommodate irons any longer, yet they came out for that one match. Unfortunately (in my opinion) the silhouette committee ruled out allowing a single lens system that Al Sledge and others have advocated for irons, but that is another story, as is their ruling against making the scope match and “any sight” match that would have allowed some shooters w/o scopes to participate in this match in addition to the irons. But anyway, everyone there was looking forward to a good time with great conditions. The weather was starting to kick up just a little in the afternoons, but nothing terribly bad that I recall. The range was in great condition too. Last year, the Raton firing line on the high power silhouette range was rearranged so that it is much easier to shoot without schlepping gear all over New Mexico to shoot the different animals. That said, I did manage to get caught with a call to the firing line when my rifle was at the far West end of the firing line. I had to sprint down to get it and sprint back but I made it, with the help of the guy in the tower I think. There was a longer than normal interval between the call to the line and the ready so I believe he saw me and gave me a chance to suck some oxygen before commencing the relay. I can’t shoot chickens worth a damn anyway. But I did scare a few. Not sure who won what, but Brian Chilson was the overall champion – do you see a trend here?

Finally, iron sights BPCR arrived. For me, this is the Big Show, and the number 1 reason for going to Raton. Weather was holding but a bit hotter and windier everyday so it was going to be a struggle. I did pretty well in the end, but given that I shot in a hurricane at turkeys, and my spotter still got me on 11 of them, I have to be very pleased with the outcome. But I did not win of course. Brian Chilson did AGAIN! He was the defending champ in this event so it is hardly a surprise. I think it might be the first time that both the scope and iron sight championship has been held by one person, I have all the records from every Nationals match( ... esults.htm), but I haven’t looked it up yet. Congratulations to Brian for that. He won by a goodly margin of about 8 points over second place I believe.

The matches get better every year, and they were great in 2008 when I first attended. Lots of shooters make the pilgrimage every year, so there must be something to them that seems to be missed by the many complainers (who don’t actually come, of course) on the internet over the years. This year, for the BPCRS and BPCR matches, I shot with 3 other guys (Al Sledge, Doug Sledge, and Kelley Roos). That’s not easy to do in a 3-relay match but Connor and his staff worked to make it happen. Because I either shot or spotted for every relay, I did not have as much time to chat with folks as I would have liked, but still I was lucky enough to hear MLV’s tale of wrestling with his cross-sticks and getting thrown for a take down, Butch Ulsher was granted a new professorship, and I got to actually see Ted Tompkins actually shoot 5 chickens in a row (there were no girls on the line at the moment, so he had a chance and made the most of it)! And there were two guys from Wyoming shooting next to us on Saturday that said they were pretty much rookies, but they mowed down targets like no tomorrow. And then they were gone on Sunday – apparently they had to go back home to harvest wheat. Would have liked to talk to them more, but didn't expect them to disappear so quick. Quite a few multi-generational shooting families were present (the Rices, Scotts, Bakers, among others).

And then there was a visitation by aliens one night while we were sitting around the trailer drinking a beer. Suddenly, people came around both sides and surrounded us, while speaking a strange language. Turns out it was just the Australians, looking for the powder I brought them. Dave McCarthy, his wife, and two more from down under came all that way just to shoot the iron-sights match. Crazy, they are. They even shoot without wiping or blow tubing. Some sort of magic lube I need to learn more about. Unfortunately, they were squadded at the far end of the line so I didn't get to see them shoot but I had met Dave last year at the lever matches where he shoots a mean .30-30. Sounds like they will be back again too, so apparently, they had a good time.

The next night I thought they were back, but it was just a bear that apparently had a taste for kerosene for some reason. The Aussies seem to prefer beer. Lots of good pizza at the Cold Beer, but we missed out on the ribs. The Aussies have a great taste for them too, and ate the last ones before we got there.

Eventually, I’ll get the scores posted to the site I linked to above. Until then, I guess it is best to sum up the BPCR world as one that Brian Chilson simply dominates. There is always next year though. I’m already planning and anticipating a great time again. In the meantime, the matches were great and getting better every year. If you weren't there, then you really missed out on a great time for as much shooting as one could possibly want.


Re: Raton BPCR Nationals 2013

PostedCOLON Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:08 pm
by shovel80
Great Report, Thanks for posting!!

Terry :D

Re: Raton BPCR Nationals 2013

PostedCOLON Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:20 pm
by hueyw ... 1749_n.jpg

your humble reporter, shot quite well.

Re: Raton BPCR Nationals 2013

PostedCOLON Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:40 pm
by Brent
Hey, I know that guy. He has a nice hat! ;)

He can't shoot chickens for a damn though.

Re: Raton BPCR Nationals 2013

PostedCOLON Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:53 am
by Brent
As an interesting side note, I decided to calculate how much shooting got done.

I fired 560 shots for score (plus sighters, practice and goofin' off shooting). That is a lot of value for my time and travel. That that is only the shooting part of the whole trip. My car was a lot lighter going home that it was driving out.


Re: Raton BPCR Nationals 2013

PostedCOLON Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:32 pm
by bluesteel45
just read this post.....FINALLY...! Nice job Brent.....I see Brian Chilson shoot at Shippensburg, Pa. on a monthly basis....he IS tough....!! He has actually shot a 40x40 in silhouette....scope class...38x40 with the irons.....tough to beat.....gotta get to Raton next year...!! Thx again....john

Re: Raton BPCR Nationals 2013

PostedCOLON Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:10 pm
by Marlin38
Brent, we all had a great time, learnt alot and also learnt where we were lacking. We will return hopefully in the not too distant future. I've already started a new rifle build 40/70 bottleneck I think just to be different (I have been known to "be different" here in Australia) and with one of Bluesteels barrels hopefully it will be a winner.
I have a couple of PP moulds now for my 40cal, one that I made myself and one that Brooks made for me while we stood around chatting and drinking beer with him on our tour after the shoot. So hopefully before our National titles in October I'll be shooting PP bullets :)


Re: Raton BPCR Nationals 2013

PostedCOLON Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:22 am
by Brent
I absolutely agree about wanting to be different. I was the only paper patch shooter at Raton this year, and unless you make it, I'll probably be the only one next year. the 40-70 BN is definitely different! You have courage man! Go for it!

If I can help, you know where to find me. And thing about your wiping routine. That is probably the most challenging part when shooting PPBs in silhouette. I'd be happy to show you what I've been using.