From the vault: This article by Aaron Carter covers the 2008 NRA National High Power Rifle Championships at Camp Perry, where Carl Bernosky notched his ninth victory. As published in the November 2008 issue of Shooting Sports USA.
Carl Bernosky: He’s Back And At It Again
By Aaron Carter
The Ashland, PA, native not only captured the national champion ranking—his eighth to date—in the 2007 NRA National High Power Rifle Championships, not to mention NRA National Match Rifle Championship victor, but also amassed a host of first place finishes in the process. With such success, it stands to reason Bernosky had an excellent chance of a repeat performance in 2008.
“I knew going into the match that if I had no disasters somebody would have to shoot really well to beat me,” said Bernosky in a post-event interview. As the latest scores were added on Camp Perry’s infamous, and so-named, “Wailing Wall,” it was readily apparent that nobody would be able to do so. And so it was, using a modified, AR-style platform and the 6 mm Hagar cartridge—stoked with 70- and 107-grain Sierra Match Kings—Bernosky claimed the title of 2008 national champion of the NRA National High Power Rifle Championships, held Aug. 4 to 8, as well as the NRA National Match Rifle Championship. Bernosky posted an overall score of 2384-118X.
“I really wanted four days of good weather and mild wind, as the weather determines how good the scores could be,” he said. “I’m capable of shooting cleans at all yard lines in all positions, and that’s what I expect when the weather cooperates,” Bernosky added. “I expected to be in the upper 2390s with good weather.” But, it was not to be.
Only a few clouds were strewn about the blue sky the morning of the final day, but there emerged a shooter’s nemesis, and one that even Bernosky couldn’t escape. Speaking of the gusting crosswind, “I knew I would win if I kept my shots on target,” the nine-time national champion said. “However, it’s tough not to drop any points when the wind won’t let you hold on the target, let alone the 10-ring.”
“I ended up with a 191 but had four out of the black, which disappointed me,” he continued to explain while recalling the event. “The wind hit just as the shot broke.”
The gusting wind not only affected scores across the board, but it also served to dash Bernosky’s hopes of a record-setting performance. “The wind took away the opportunity to smash the record,” he said, adding that in the end, “I just had to survive and make no major blunders.” And that he did.
Speaking of the final shots of the high power event—taken from the 600-yard line—Bernosky said, “I just had to shoot on my target at that point. I just had to finish it.” The look on his face when emerging from the prone position—and after sending the final Match King of the event downrange—told the story.
“I’m always relieved when the match is over,” said Bernosky. “High power is mentally and physically exhausting.” But all expended was worthwhile, as for the ninth time, Bernosky claimed victory and was awarded the coveted Mumma Trophy.
In addition to attaining national champion status in the NRA National High Power Rifle Championship—as well as the civilian champion title—and the NRA National Match Rifle Championship, Bernosky earned first-place finishes in the following categories: the Vandenberg Cup Match with a score of 798-45X; the Nevada Trophy Match after posting a 799-47X; the Members Trophy Match after he fired a 199-5X; the Coast Artillery Trophy Match for his 200-13X; the Air Force Cup Match with a 200-17X; the Erdman Trophy Match with a score of 590-15X; the Centenary Trophy Aggregate for a high score of 598-39X; the Marine Gunner D.I. Boyd II Memorial Trophy with a 1188-54X; the Navy Cup Match with a final score of 200-8X; and the Army Cup Match after posting a 200-15X.
As can be expected, David Tubb, of Canadian, TX, had a respectable showing. Tubb, posting a score of 2375-127X, earned a second-place finish in both the NRA National High Power Rifle Championships and the NRA National Match Rifle Championship. Tubb, who was using a Tubb 2000 rifle and 6XC cartridge—loaded with Sierra 107-grain Match King and 111-grain MJPT DTAC (custom-made) bullets—also received first place finishes in the McCann Trophy Match after he posted a high 1200-81X; the Coast Guard Trophy Match for a score of 200-16X; the Calvary Cup Match after firing a 200-13X; and the Scott Trophy Match with a score of 200-17X. Team Creedmoor, in which Tubb was captain and shooter, won the RNDC Trophy Team Match.
Speaking of the 2008 NRA National High Power Rifle Championships in a post-event interview, Tubb said, “Camp Perry is basically an endurance event, and it usually comes down to the last day for the winner(s) to surface. I didn’t know exactly where I stood on the last day; however, I knew the basic group of leaders but no point spread.” As it turned out, the difference in point spread between second and third place finishers was minimal.
Tubb’s second-place finish was by no means an easy achievement, thanks to excellent marksmanship demonstrated by PFC Sherri Hurd of Ft. Benning, GA. Last year’s NRA National Match Rifle Championship high woman victor, Hurd—using a Tubb 2000 in .260 Rem. with 142-grain Sierra Match Kings—succumbed to Tubb in both NRA National High Power Rifle Championships and the NRA National Match Rifle Championship play only by virtue of X-count. She posted a score of 2375-94X, earning a third-place finish. Hurd also took the woman champion and service champion honors for the NRA National High Power Rifle Championships.
Hurd’s other noteworthy accomplishments include: second-place in the Vandenberg Cup Match with a score of 795-43X and the Erdman Trophy Match after she posted a 585-16X, and third place in the Clarke Trophy Match for her score of 787-27X and Marine Gunner D.I. Boyd II Memorial Trophy. She also claimed high woman honors in the Vandenberg Cup Match; the Clarke Trophy Match; the Coast Artillery Trophy Match with a high score of 200-9X; the Coast Guard Trophy Match for her 200-8X; the Nevada Trophy Match after firing a 793-24X; the Scott Trophy Match for her 200-13X; the Navy Cup Match with a score of 197-5X; and the Army Cup Match with a 200-12X.
Norman Houle of Warwick, RI, was the match winner in the Clarke Trophy Match after he posted a high score of 791-32X, and the Crowell Trophy Match for his 200-12X. He also recorded a second-place finish in the Marine Gunner D.I. Boyd II Memorial Trophy Match with an 1180-55X, and a third-place finish in the Centenary Trophy Aggregate for his score of 598-38X.
See more: Looking Back At The Inaugural NRA National Metric Championship