Match Results
The Black Powder Cartridge News|Summer 2021
World’s Largest Black Powder Target Rifle Match Phoenix, Arizona – March 1-10, 2021 BEN AVERY SHOOTING FACILITY
Zack Taylor

No brag, just fact. For the Black Powder Target rifleman, the Desert International Black Powder Long Range Championship Match was and is the biggest such match in North America and as far as I know, on planet Earth. Muzzleloaders, cartridge rifles and vintage sniper rifles are all welcome. Sponsored by the Arizona Western International Shoot (AZWINS - Bill Loughrige, president), its stated purpose is to provide the competitor with a high-quality shooting experience that is enjoyable and fun to shoot and AZWINS has consistently delivered.

Having shot Black Powder Target Rifle (BPTR) Long Range at Sacramento, Lodi, Missoula, Tucson, Byers, Raton and Capitan, it is obvious to me that the venue most favorable for such long-range matches is the Middleton Tompkins (1,000-yard) Range at Ben Avery Shooting Facility (BASF) in Phoenix, Arizona.

Planning for the 2021 match began during the 2020 competition and continued up until the “green light” was finally given in December 2020, to actually hold the March 2021, match. Needless to say, the global pandemic held up authorization to hold the competition and dramatically affected the ability of many shooters to attend. Without the persistence and expert maneuvering of Bill Loughrige, I suspect the 2021 match would not have taken place. Thank you, Bill.

Once it was announced that the match would take place, a flurry of entries arrived on a “first-come, first-served” basis and everyone sending in their entry in a timely manner was squadded to shoot. Riflemen came from Nevada, Wyoming, Minnesota, Florida, Indiana, Colorado, Washington, Idaho, Oklahoma and of course, Arizona, to shoot in the biggest and best BPTR match there is. There is no requirement to join or be a member of any group or organization to compete. Just show up and shoot.

The “target building team,” headed up by target builder emeritus Skip Burks of Illinois, also included Chip Mate, Steve Farringer and Zack Taylor, began arriving at BASF five days early to ensure new targets for all competitors shooting in the target matches. Target building continued up until the first day of shooting, with repair and refacing after each day’s shooting. The hallmark of a quality match is good targets, and they don’t get much better than the targets provided to the shooters in this match. Thank you, Skip Burks.

Larry Wilkes of Flagstaff, Arizona, presided over the two-day BPCR Silhouette match for 30 registered shooters. Conditions were typical for BASF set against a saguaro-studded mountain background. It was a fun match and a great time was had by all, in spite of the infamous “ducking” chickens. Prevailing after two days of shooting was Blair Svihra – 1st (48/80), Steve Farringer – 2nd (46/80) and Jim Dodson – 3rd (44/80).

Day three of shooting found 22 intrepid shooters gathered on the 800-yard firing line, squinting at some very bright sunlight for the first day of Long-Range Target competition, and compete they did. Two strings of 15 shots for record is a maximum score of 300. Leading the pack at the end of the day were three relatively new shooters to BASF and Long Range BPTR shooting; Dennis Armistead – 1st Ironman (243), Steve Farringer – 2nd (241-1X), Steve Fogler – 3rd (239-4X) and Dave Gullo – 4th (232-3X). Imagine, shooting in winds steady at 15-20 mph, gusting to 40 mph. Yep, and what fun it was. At this point and going forward, we need to remember two very important considerations when shooting a long-range black-powder target rifle. First, is that the wind is your friend and it is up to you to make friends with it. Second, is that the only way to learn how to shoot well in the wind is to shoot in the wind.

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