Airgun Oregon Match Report EFT– EBR – Long Range Challenge
Airgun Oregon is a rifle range and club for airgun enthusiasts based in Ashland, Southern Oregon. They host regional and national Field Target competitions with some of the best shooters from across the USA.
Wayne Burns is the Match Director for the recent 2023 Airgun Oregon EFT (Extreme Field Target), EBR (Extreme Benchrest) and Long Range Challenge. This was the first event in the EFT GP National Championship race and was held at the end of April.
Here’s Wayne’s Match Report from this outstanding event…
First, I’d like to thank everyone who made a huge effort to make this event a success. That’s my teammates: Randy, Eric, Jacob, Chris and support staff; Larry Durham, Darren and Julie, my sister Laurie, Casey, Todd, and the RSO staff from Ashland Gun and Archery Club.
Our Airgun Oregon team worked so hard and long on the preparations right up to game day, so they had no time to get their own equipment ready to compete. But that’s the norm when hosting an event…
We made some major improvements to our range in order to accommodate up to 60 competitors in 5 relays, for the 100 yard Bench Rest by increasing from 8 to 12 covered benches and target traps. We also added 6 covered benches and long distance berms and steel tri-paddle targets to add a Big Bore – Long Range Air Gun Challenge.
Andy Gonzalez brought the AOA van with compressors and spent the weekend filling tanks for us. He only had time to play half the day on Friday and Saturday in the EFT games. Todd and Fred arrived on Wed 4/26 and helped finishing the target painting and setting sight in targets and EBR practice targets. Cameron, Monte, Martin, Mike and David also helped with the EBR scoring and the scoreboard.
Thursday was sign in and practice on all the courses. I allowed practice on the competition targets for a few reasons:
1. EFT rules are intended to be different from the AAFTA Field Target rules in many ways, but mainly by posting the distance to the targets ahead of time.
2. A lot of the EFT and EBR competitors don’t have time or places to easily even get their 100 yard range dope before a match and really need space and time to do so right before the match. (I was actually asked that by several competitors as a requirement of coming, because they had no place to get 100 yard range dope).
3. Local competitors would have an advantage over distance competitors that couldn’t get a “feel” for the winds on the course.
4. The space available doesn’t allow for more than 2 or 3 competitors at a time to “sight in” if not on the course itself… there is just no space for a separate practice area for even 10 competitors at a time.
5. I feel the game is about reading the winds on game day head to head and all competitors should have the best chance possible to give it their best shot on that day.
Friday morning we contested a 10 lane, two shot per target, 40 shot EFT Day one match. Each hit was worth 6.25 points towards the “Two Best Combined Scores” prizes, making a perfect 40/40 equal to a perfect 250 EBR score.
The swirling winds were hard to read Friday morning when we got started in our squads of three. Two were scoring and spotting for each competitor. John Bagakis led at the end of day one just like he did last year; tied with Bobby C. but this year I guess the winds and my new course layout were tougher because he “only” shot a 36/40 instead of a 39/40 like last year.
Not too far behind were Jayson Barnes with a 32/40 and Mike Bricker with a 31/40. Certainly not out of it were Glenn Horner and with a 29, Andy Gonzalez 28, Martin Martin 26, Cameron Kerndt 25 and Gabe Valenzuela with 24.
Friday afternoon was day one for the EBR match. We had three relays with the lower attendance than we planned. The winds got worst as the day progressed, so the EBR match was plenty challenging.
The range is surrounded by hills that create some swirling winds that can change very quickly in both velocity and direction. But some competitors and equipment will always shine in such conditions.
Last year’s high scores over both days were a 217, 2 @ 214 and a 213. This year on day one the high score of 224 was shot by Martin Martin, Jayson Barnes was close behind with a 222, with Mike Bricker in 3rd at 216. Next were Shane Royce 211, Carl Preusse 209, and John Bagakis with a 205.
After day one it looks like I got the difficulty of the EFT course just right with John Bagakis 36/40 converted with the multiplier of 6.25 coming in at 225 and Martin Martin’s top EBR score at 224.
Competitors were allowed to practice on the Big Bore/Long Range targets Friday and Saturday with the match held on Sunday morning before the finals of the 100 yard Extreme Bench Rest.
Saturday morning’s EFT match was held in much calmer winds and almost all the competitors did way better… except for the first and second placers from day one. But, Martin’s 37/40, (the high score over both days), along with his day one score, was not enough to move John’s 34/40 out of 1st place. But it did move him into 3rd for EFT.
Mike Bricker shot consistent both days with a 33/40 on day two for 2nd in EFT. Glenn Horner and Andy Gonzalez were also consistent with a 32 and 31/40 day two for 4th and 5th respectively.
Saturday afternoon the wind did pick up, but not like the day before. But, any wind at this location will deceive even the best shooters… at least most of them. Mike Bricker shot the high score day two with a 222 to go with his 216 from day one, Jayson Barnes shot another great score of 219 plus his 222 from day one.
David Stevenson also 219, and Shane Royce a second high day two of 220. Our club teammate Jacob Sumner shot a 211 to get him into the finals Sunday afternoon.
Again, the Combine Score conversion worked about right with the EFT and EBR scores. Martin was sitting on top with a secure looking 455.25 using his day one EBR score of 224 and his day two EFT of 231.25. Second was Jayson Barnes with his two days of great EBR scores of 222 and 219 for a 441. Third was Mike Bricker with two great EBR scores of 216 and 222, with a 438.
Next, was John Bagakis with his two solid winning scores in EFT of 225 & 212.5 for a 437.5 Not far behind was Shane Royce with his two great scores in EBR of 211 and 220 for a 431. It looked like anybody’s game with Sunday’s Big Bore/ Long Range and 100 yard EBR finals scores with a chance to change the order of things.
Early Sunday morning I was a little afraid the day might stay calm, but that changed by the time I had a cup of coffee in hand, and was heading to the range at 7am.
I could see the forecasted storm front moving in over the NW coastal range of mountains. That would play lots of fun in the bowl at the end of the valley where the gun range lay in wait… “Especially for the Long Range” I was thinking to myself.
But how wrong that thinking was! Mike Bricker had to upset the apple cart of my Combine Score difficulty planning, by shooting a perfect 25/25 hits on the 10 paddle for a perfect 250 score in the Long Range challenge with targets from 118 to 240.
The question now becomes, was Mike’s performance too easy to attain? But looking at the next highest scores, my difficulty choices were about right; with Gabe Valenzuela second at 215, and Scott Hull at 210 and David Stevenson at 200… all very much like the rest of the final scores in the EBR and EFT matches.. Go figure?
I guess I have only two choices. Ban Mike B, his Panthera, and Altaros slugs… or make the Long Range course harder!
A very, very interesting thing to me is that Mike was only shooting at about 87fpe with 49.5 slugs; I’m thinking one of the lowest power levels and lightest projectiles contesting. Some were up to 650fpe and 350gr… Gabe was second in the contest and shooting even lower fpe and 22 cal 40gr Altaros Kings. Certainly, the lower fpe is easier to hold steady and on target… so lower the better in that category.
I’m really glad LD talked me into changing the “Big Bore” game to make it work for the lower power equipment… it was a lot more work to paint between each relay, but the competitors liked it better and more could compete, and that was the goal. We have some new ideas on that for the future.
Or, on second thought, since we are a dealer for Altaros slugs now, I could leave the course as is, and see if Mike can do it again… or if anyone else can do it. I think I like the second idea better Come and give it a try folks!
So, back to the winner of the Combined Scores, Mike Bricker kind of blew past the leaders with his 250/250 along with plenty of great EBR and EFT scores for a 472, to take that 1st place award with ease. And this basically moved everyone else listed above… down the list a space.
In the finals for the EBR, the winds were again hard to read for most, but Todd Hartman came in as the last to qualify, and went on to win going away with a 222 – 5X, second was Jayson Barnes with 215 – 2x, Third, Mike Bricker with 207 – 2x, Fourth, John Bagakis with a 203 – 3x and Fifth was Monte Shosted with a 202 – 3x.
Combined Scores (in photo from right to left):
1. Mike Bricker – 472
2. Martin Martin – 455
3. Jayson Barnes – 441
4. John Bagakis – 438
5. Shane Royce – 431
Julie and my sister Laurie had a nice meal ready for us and then we gave out the awards.
Larry Durham was given a “Life Time Achievement Award” for being part of the founding of American Field Target, designing and hand building the first winning American Field Target air rifle the “Simple Simon” that became the USFT, and for hosting some of the most challenging and fun field target matches over many, many years, and being one of the best air gun tuners on the planet.
Please support our Sponsors so they can keep helping us put on these matches:
Altaros Slugs sold through AirGun Oregon
Again, I can’t thank the Airgun Oregon team and support staff enough… they went way past 100% to make this happen.
And, thanks to all of you, the competitors, for making the journey to attend. We hope to see you all again at Airgun Oregon next year!