PDA

View Full Version : A notable happening at the IBS Nationals



JerrySharrett
08-20-2009, 06:33 PM
If you were not at the 2009 IBS Nationals you missed a really historic event. I suspect some that were there missed it too.

Mike Walker, now 97 years old, came up from his home in North Carolina with his wife and shot the HV 100 and HV 200. Is that not amazing or what. It tells a lot about this shooting sport. Mr. Walker had a grin on his face a mile wide as he rotated benches. He was one of the major spark plugs in getting benchrest underway as we know it now.

He was Remington Arms principal designer for decades. Items like the 222 Remington cartridge and the Remington M700 series action were some of the most notable of his designs.

bryan
08-20-2009, 07:07 PM
This begs the question............How did he do?

Nader
08-20-2009, 07:19 PM
Geeze Bryan !
At 97 years old,does it really matter ?
Joel

Bill Wynne
08-20-2009, 07:28 PM
This begs the question............How did he do?

I would say that he won. That man has done more for benchrest and rifle accuracy than any man alive today. Hearing this does my heart good.

Concho Bill

Jeff Stover
08-20-2009, 07:40 PM
Jerry, I am glad you posted this. Some of us thought he was in his early 90's, but he put "97" on his registration sheet. His family later commented that he will have his 98th birthday later this year. Most of the shooters were thrilled that he was there. Comments about "a living legend" were heard quite a bit. My son Eric was at the shoot for a couple of days. I pointed Mike out to him, and said "this won't mean anything to you right now, but if you get into shooting, someday you will be able to say that you saw Mike Walker".

Mike shot three benches down from me and shot fairly well. I know that his first 2 groups at 200 yards were a .480 and .540. He had a problem on his 3rd target, but overall he did fine. Who knows how many times that man has fired a benchrest rifle.

I am an admitted benchrest history junkie. On Sunday morning I asked him to sign my copy of "Modern Accuracy" by Bob Wallack. For those that have not seen this volume, it was printed in 1950 and the subtitle is "history of benchrest shooting". Mike is IN the book on page 49 shown in a group photo smoking his pipe. At that time he was in his late 30s (sheesh). I was like a kid getting an autograph from Babe Ruth (or,er, A-Rod).

Besides the innovations that Jerry mentioned (.222 and M700), he invented button rifling and also designed the Remington 20x scope.

I had my girlfriend take of picture of Mike and me-see attachment

(Note on the book, "Modern Accuracy". It is, by far, the most interesting of the vintage benchrest books. Two are on eBay right now. I would recommend it over the various "Ultimate in Rifle Precision" yearbooks that were put out from about 1949 to the late 50s)

Jeff

Bobby S
08-20-2009, 07:47 PM
,,,,got all 5 shots on all his record targets 'fore the bear tooted his horn,,,,,,never crossed-fired (which that happen with youngsters quite often),,,,,,never double with me but if so might of helped my groups,,,,and always showed his bolt to the bear!!!!!! Yep,,,,,,Southpaw Mike did good!!!!

Shootin next to Mr. Walker,,,,,,,crack open an Old Milwalkee,,,,,,cause it don't get any better then that!!!!!!!!!

bryan
08-20-2009, 08:48 PM
I wasn't being critical, Just wondered how he did. Granted, just attending at his age is a great accomplishment, and competing is a greater one. He deserves a big pat on the back!
BA

twalker
08-20-2009, 09:07 PM
I wasn't being critical, Just wondered how he did. Granted, just attending at his age is a great accomplishment, and competing is a greater one. He deserves a big pat on the back!
BA

I think a lot of us were interested without being critical.

virg
08-20-2009, 09:55 PM
If you were not at the 2009 IBS Nationals you missed a really historic event. I suspect some that were there missed it too.

Mike Walker, now 97 years old, came up from his home in North Carolina with his wife and shot the HV 100 and HV 200. Is that not amazing or what. It tells a lot about this shooting sport. Mr. Walker had a grin on his face a mile wide as he rotated benches. He was one of the major spark plugs in getting benchrest underway as we know it now.

He was Remington Arms principal designer for decades. Items like the 222 Remington cartridge and the Remington M700 series action were some of the most notable of his designs.

Some of the finest .22 caliber competition Remington bullets ever produced by ANY manufacturer. And...Remington has no excuse for still not making them.;)

virg

jackie schmidt
08-20-2009, 09:57 PM
I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Walker in Canastota NY in 2002 at the IBS Nationals. I felt like I was in the presence of Royalty.

We should all hope that we live and enjoy such a long and productive life.

Thanks for sharing...........jackie

Woody
08-20-2009, 09:58 PM
and the picture was worth 1000 words as well. Mike looks great. I'm not so sure about that other guy though (he looks like he's up to something)...

Jeff Stover
08-21-2009, 06:57 AM
Virg - yep, I forgot about those bullets! I memory serves-which it doesn't too often anymore-Mike and Remington set an extraordinarily high specification for the gilding metal used to make the jackets. If you recall the "look" of the bullet jacket material, it was decidedly different than the jackets seen either before or since. They were more of a bronze color and less coppery.

They also made a 6mm 68 grain bullet that was among the best too. Didn't Dick Wright have an article a couple of years ago comparing available .22 bullets which included the vaunted Remington's? Seems to me they were as good as any in comparison to today's best.

I have heard rumors that the dies used to make them were destroyed. That could be mere myth, but very consistent with the corporate mindset that invaded Remington and its subsequent owners. Guess the benchrest bullets did not make them much money and were a lot of trouble to manufacture.

During Mike's tenure, Remington was the undisputed king of the rifle business. Sadly, that has long since changed. As Remington faded, new companies, such as Savage, have taken their place. For Savage it took a leader, such as their CEO Ron Coburn, to pilot their rise from relative obscurity to overtake Remington's position at the leading edge of the mainstream rifle market. They did it with superior products at a fair price.

jks

jks

JerrySharrett
08-21-2009, 07:49 AM
I pointed Mike out to him, and said "this won't mean anything to you right now, but if you get into shooting, someday you will be able to say that you saw Mike Walker".

Mike shot three benches down from me and shot fairly well. I know that his first 2 groups at 200 yards were a .480 and .540. He had a problem on his 3rd target, but overall he did fine. Who knows how many times that man has fired a benchrest rifle.

I am an admitted benchrest history junkie. On Sunday morning I asked him to sign my copy of "Modern Accuracy" by Bob Wallack. For those that have not seen this volume, it was printed in 1950 and the subtitle is "history of benchrest shooting". Mike is IN the book on page 49 shown in a group photo smoking his pipe. At that time he was in his late 30s (sheesh). I was like a kid getting an autograph from Babe Ruth (or,er, A-Rod).

Besides the innovations that Jerry mentioned (.222 and M700), he invented button rifling and also designed the Remington 20x scope.

I had my girlfriend take of picture of Mike and me-see attachment

(Note on the book, "Modern Accuracy". It is, by far, the most interesting of the vintage benchrest books. Two are on eBay right now. I would recommend it over the various "Ultimate in Rifle Precision" yearbooks that were put out from about 1949 to the late 50s)

Jeff

Jeff, how about sending Dick Grosbier a copy of that picture and have him put it on the IBS web site home page? Heck, even put it in the next issure of PS Magazine as well.

Kent Harshman
08-21-2009, 08:16 AM
I "2nd" Jerry's suggestion to put that picture on the website...

Joe Krupa
08-21-2009, 08:23 AM
.... as I drove into work this morning I was going to post about Mike Walker shooting at the Nationals this past week at soon-to-be 98 years old. He is 40 years older than me. And when I think back on the week as many of us complained about the heat, not getting two bullets to touch, rules interpretation and other superflous stuff, the only picture that remains in my mind about that week was seeing Mike sitting behind the line cleaning his gun between relays. All he wanted to do was compete one more time and give it his best.

Ron Dill e-mailed me and stated that one of the reasons that Mike comes to these Nationals is to attempt to get his last two Hall of Fame points. After I looked at the points tally yesterday, I was astonished that he wasn't in the HOF. He is sitting at eight points for the US Benchrest Hall of Fame. At age 97, and the state of the competition that exists today, the reality may be undeniable; but, his efforts are humbling to the rest of us. If there is someone who we, as competitive benchrest shooters, as well as most of the rifle shooting world, owe some huge thanks and recognition to, it is Mike Walker.

As the Eastern Region NBRSA Director, I am proposing to our Regional Hall of Fame committee that Mike Walker be inducted into our Eastern Region Hall of Fame at our 2009 annual meeting on November 7 (being held at Cabela's in Dundee, MI). I believe that this small tribute is the least we can do to recognize his great accomplishments to our sport.

His name will be enshrined on the wall at Kelbly's along with the other honorary inductees who have given so much to our sport. Those are Ralph Stolle, Phil Sauer, Nelson Berger, Walt Berger and George Kelbly.

Mike, please accept our humble apologies for not doing this sooner.

Jeff Stover
08-21-2009, 08:48 AM
I will pass it along to Dick tonight for posting.

I might need to "Photoshop" out the guy in the background!

JohnVm
08-21-2009, 08:57 AM
In my view Mike is in the Hall of Fame, as he has accomplished more than many of us know for the firearm industry and the shooting sports let alone our unique sport of Bench Rest.
Joe, you are right and we should recognize the people who are icons in our sport while they are with us.

Steve Lee
08-21-2009, 09:47 AM
Some of the finest .22 caliber competition Remington bullets ever produced by ANY manufacturer. And...Remington has no excuse for still not making them.;)

virg

Earl Case, a friend of mine who died three or so years ago, had hoarded a supply of those bullets. Wish I had been able to get my hands on them after he died. He also had a hoard of T.

LARRY FEUSSE
08-21-2009, 10:04 AM
It would seem that our Benchrest Hall of Fame may need a certain expansion or enhancement that would recognise the accomplishments of men like Mike Walker that have clearly contributed well more than many of the current members who have gotten their membership by showing excellent shooting skills. This is not to diminish the accomplishments of any member of the Hall of Fame. To be inducted into this elite group certainly requires a level of skill that few are able to achieve.

What I would suggest is that the current members of the Hall of Fame be allowed the opportunity, by a 2/3 vote of those still living, to induct anyone of thier choosing a special membership status ( Member Exemplar, or something similar) so that the rest of the people in this sport would have the knowledge of and honor of knowing these special people. This status could recognise people such as Mike Walker for his extrodinary contributions to the sport or someone like Tony Boyer for his extrordinary accomplishments, etc..... With a recognition such as this it would not be necessary that 10 points be earned, but that all the other great contributions be taken into consideration.

Respectfully submitted,
Larry

Cheechako
08-21-2009, 11:11 AM
Some of the finest .22 caliber competition Remington bullets ever produced by ANY manufacturer. And...Remington has no excuse for still not making them.

virg

Let's not let nostalgia or respect for the pioneers like Mike Walker cloud our thinking. I am a shooter first and foremost, but I also collect competition cartridges, including bullets. I have old Benchrest bullets made by Remington, Jordan, Sierra, Sisk, Speer, Calhoon, RCBS, Metzger, and others. They may have been the best of their day but none of them can compare with todays.

JMHO

Ray

Kent Harshman
08-21-2009, 11:18 AM
They may have been the best of their day but none of them can compare with todays.

...are we sure about that???...at least with respect to the .22's...???

Cheechako
08-21-2009, 11:27 AM
Yes Kent, I can be sure. If you don't believe me I'll send you some. Shoot a couple of groups and report back.:cool:

Ray

Bill Wynne
08-21-2009, 11:32 AM
"We stand on the shoulders of Giants."

Enough said.

Concho Bill

JerrySharrett
08-21-2009, 01:34 PM
I will pass it along to Dick tonight for posting.

I might need to "Photoshop" out the guy in the background!

Jeff, by all means don't cut out the other guy. That picture is very symbolic of the past and the present, though lets don't consider Mr Walker as the past just yet. The symbolism is you, the first new IBS president in many years, and Mr. Walker, one of the early pioneers of this sport.

You can cut out that camper in between you two. That is where they parked me, downrange. Wonder why??

Dick Grosbier
08-21-2009, 02:51 PM
I "2nd" Jerry's suggestion to put that picture on the website...

I third it !
Looks like a great picture to me definitely suitable for the main page.

Dick

langenc
08-21-2009, 09:27 PM
""I would say that he won.""

Everyone that shoots wins and that is Joe Hallers motto, and it is true.

Some just are waiting to get getter, or better weather.....

Just shoot whatever you have and try to beat YOU.

langenc
08-21-2009, 09:28 PM
Can someone 'donate' a couple of points??

B J Atkinson
08-21-2009, 10:32 PM
Virg - yep, I forgot about those bullets! I memory serves-which it doesn't too often anymore-Mike and Remington set an extraordinarily high specification for the gilding metal used to make the jackets. If you recall the "look" of the bullet jacket material, it was decidedly different than the jackets seen either before or since. They were more of a bronze color and less coppery.

They also made a 6mm 68 grain bullet that was among the best too. Didn't Dick Wright have an article a couple of years ago comparing available .22 bullets which included the vaunted Remington's? Seems to me they were as good as any in comparison to today's best.

I have heard rumors that the dies used to make them were destroyed. That could be mere myth, but very consistent with the corporate mindset that invaded Remington and its subsequent owners. Guess the benchrest bullets did not make them much money and were a lot of trouble to manufacture.

During Mike's tenure, Remington was the undisputed king of the rifle business. Sadly, that has long since changed. As Remington faded, new companies, such as Savage, have taken their place. For Savage it took a leader, such as their CEO Ron Coburn, to pilot their rise from relative obscurity to overtake Remington's position at the leading edge of the mainstream rifle market. They did it with superior products at a fair price.

jks

jks

Amen to that. I still have about seven packets of the .224's and a couple of packets of the 6mm 68's - no, they are not for sale. I might even use them one day.

Brendan Atkinson

Ken Worth
08-25-2009, 04:42 AM
Amen to that. I still have about seven packets of the .224's and a couple of packets of the 6mm 68's - no, they are not for sale. I might even use them one day.

Brendan Atkinson I am wondering how these bullets got to Australia. Is there a book on Mike Walkers time at Remington or his benchrest happenings. I know he was shooting benchrest in the 1960's

B J Atkinson
08-26-2009, 01:22 AM
I am wondering how these bullets got to Australia. Is there a book on Mike Walkers time at Remington or his benchrest happenings. I know he was shooting benchrest in the 1960's

At one time, the Remington agent was based here in Adelaide (capital of South Australia), and they imported both the 224 and 6mm versions. At the time they cost about twice as much as Sierra's, and were not a big seller. When I bought my first true benchrest rifle back in 1976 (a DGA .222 Shilen LV), I went looking for them and got lucky.

You might be surprised to know what found it's way down under to the Colonies.


Brendan Atkinson