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Thread: Bart Sauter Wins The Fifth African Benchrest Regionals

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    Bart Sauter Wins The Fifth African Benchrest Regionals

    The Fifth African Benchrest Regional Championship

    July 6-7

    The trip to the match began for Billy Stevens and I on 6 July with a six and a half hour drive to Atlanta. Where we linked up with our travel buddy Gene Bukys. Then a 16 1/2 hour flight to Johannessberg South Africa followed by a connecting two hour flight to Cape Town. At the airport we were met by our very good friend and host Kobus Visser. Kobus graciously picked us up at the airport and took us to a nice hotel located on the outskirts of Cape Town for the evening.

    July 8
    The following morning We were picked up by Jan Hemmes and taken to his ranch where we would stay for the remainder of the shoot.

    Jan Hemmes our host and transportation for the week!

    After about an hours drive we arrived at Foxenburg Estates which is Jan's magnificent ranch. It is tucked away in the mountains just NorthWest of the town of Wellington. Jan's ranch is 120 hectares and has groves of olive trees that he uses to produce his own olive oil. As well as an extensive goat herd that produces goats milk and several different varieties of excellent Goat Cheese.

    A bottle of Jan's excellent olive oil!

    Also on the property are five cottages that are available for rental to those who would like to escape the city for a quiet country retreat.

    The View from our Cottage!

    July 9
    The 9th of July was designated as a practice day. From our mountain perch we could actually see the location of the range. However it would still take a 40 to 45 minute trek though the South Africa wine country to get there.

    Notice we are driving on the left hand side of the road and the vehicle's steering wheel is on the right

    The range was very nice and located near the town of Riebeeck Kasteel.
    20 covered benches, loading area, and a large tent set up for the caters.

    View of the Range

    20 Covered Benches

    View from the firing line.

    Once at the range it was time to sort out all of the shooting and reloading equipment necessary for four shooters (Kobus, Gene, Billy and I ). Kobus supplied the four of us with everything from a loading area, cleaning cradles, powder throws, reloading equipment, powder, primers, rifles and flags. This was a monumental task. It's tough enough to just get all the necessary equipment needed for one shooter to the range. Let alone four of them. All we had to bring for the match was our own reloading dies, bullets, brass and hearing protection.

    The loading area.

    The four of us reloaded together in a conex (Kobus, Gene, Billy and I ) Once settled in to our reloading area it was time to practice and find the load. The powder that we used is called Somchem. According to the South Africa shooters the lot that we would be shooting was one of the better batches of powder that they had seen in quite awhile. Velocities were comparable to our v133 for a given powder charge. I did verify that once around the 30.4 mark I started getting a "click" with my new brass when opening the bolt. A sign of too much pressure!

    Somchem... pretty much the only available powder!

    We all shot and tuned our rifles as best we could. Pretty much the consensus among the group was that around 30.1 grains should work to start out for tomorrow's score match. Another thing that we quickly noticed was that a slight wind change moved the bullet a LONG way! Probably being surrounded by two oceans and on three sides had something to do with it.

    Gene Bukys reloading and making notes.

    July 10 score match

    Terry Harrison Match Director

    Terry Harrison served as our match director and master of opening ceremonies. I have known Terry for a few years now. He's a man of several talents, not only is he a top shelf gunsmith, located in Cape Town but he is also an accomplished Benchrest shooter. Terry has not only won matches at the regional and national level in Africa but also competes on the world stage as member of the South African World Team. Terry is also a key player in the import of high quality components for Benchrest shooters here in Africa.

    The Shoot

    The South African Regionals consisted of three days of shooting. Day one was designated as a score match at 100 and 200 yards. The idea was to give everyone a chance to tune and practice in a competitive environment. Days two and three would be conducted as a regular two gun group match.

    Something I should have pointed out earlier is that July in South Africa is winter time. So when we got to the range it was quite cold until the sun came up over the mountains. The weather for the entire event was fantastic ranging in the mourning lows of high 30s to afternoons in the 70s. But you could count on it being rather brisk if the sun was not up and over the mountains.

    As for Conditions, they varied from light to very switchy winds estimated up to 12 mph. This was the case for all three days of shooting.

    Results Hunter Class

    The Hunter class was dominated by Nino Opperman of Namibia. Nino won both yardages and the Grand Aggregate. What a very nice and polite young man and future Champion from Namibia.

    Niņo Opperman Hunter Champion

    100 yard Score results

    Hunter class 100 yard
    1 Niņo Opperman 225 4
    2 Kwas van zyi 45
    3 Louis van zyi 22

    Hunter Class 200
    1 Niņo Opperman 199x2
    2 Louis van zyi 188x1
    3 Kwas van zyi 45

    Hunter class grand aggregate
    1 Niņo Opperman 424
    2 Louis van zyi 210
    3 Kwas van zyi 205

    100 yard Varmint for Score match

    The 100 yard score match was closely contested between Willem Opperman of Namibia and Jan Hemmes of South Africa both shooting a score of 250 and 17x. However Willem won the tie breaker by shooting more Xs on the first target. Gene Bukys of the United States came in third.

    100 Yard Varmint for Score
    1 Willem Opperman 17x
    2 Jan Hemmes 17x
    3 Gene Bukys 15x

    Willem receiving his First place metal.

    After the 100 yard stage it was time for a lunch break and over to the caters tent. The food in South Africa is fantastic and inexpensive by United States standards. For example a very nice lunch for four at the caters tent would cost around thirteen American dollars. When eating out its unheard of to pay more then around ten to twelve dollars for a 300 gram Sirloin steak with all the trimmings. A comparable meal in the US would run forty to sixty dollars at some of our more popular restaurants.

    Below is a pic of the caters hard at work.

    200 yard varmint for score

    Johan Van Reenen of South Africa was the clear winner in the afternoon by shooting 250 12x. Followed by my bench buddy Neil Heyneke of South Africa with a 250 7x. Gene Buckys of the United States continued to hold down third place by shooting a 249 4x.

    Neil Heyneke 2nd in both the 200 Varmint for Score and Grand aggregate

    Varmint for score Grand Aggregate

    1 Johan Van Reenen 23 500
    2 Neil Heyneke 17 500
    3 Gene Buckys 19 499

    Johan Van Reenen 200 yard Varmint for score Champion and Grand Aggregate Champion.

    Varmint for Score Grand agg

    Grand Aggregate results
    1 Johan Van Reenen 23 500
    2 Neil Heyneke 17 500
    3 Gene bukys 19 499

    Varmint for Score Team results
    Team USA won the Gold with a 1992 66x. The South African team from the Western Provence secured the Silver with a 1981 86x The Namibian team took the Bronze with a score 1975 68x.

    That was the first score match that I have ever shot. I have to say that I rather enjoyed it. It's somewhat different than shooting group but it's just as challenging and fun.

    July 11

    Kobus Vissor with the morning instructions.

    The South African Regional 100 yard match began with an introduction from Kobus Visser. Kobus is one of the primary patrons and benefactors of Benchrest in South Africa. After a quick welcome to all of the shooters. Kobus informed us there would be a braai at the range that evening. A braai is African for barbecue.

    100 Yard LV Competition

    The shoot began with bright blue skies and light winds. Roland Thompson of South Africa had the best handle on the conditions giving the rest of us a good thumping. Gene Bukys of the United States came in second and was followed by Steve Williams of South Africa.

    Roland Thompson 100 LV Champion

    1 Roland Thompson 2390
    2 Gene Bukys 2596
    3 Steve Williams 2608
    4 Neil Heyneke 2736
    5 Bart Sauter 2786

    LV 100 Yard Resilts

    100 Yard HV Competition

    In the afternoon conditions began to pickup. Billy Steven of the United States won the HV 100 competition with an aggregate of 2082. Gert Coetzer of South Africa place second with a 2168. Followed by Bart Sauter of the United States with a 2230.

    I didn't get a very good picture of Billy at the match so he insisted I use this one.

    1 Billy Stevens 2082
    2 Gert Coetzer 2168
    3 Bart Sauter 2230
    4 Mario Coetzer 2256
    5 Roland Thompson 2518

    As the sun set on the first day of the 100 yard portion of The Regionals, Roland Thompson of South Africa found himself leading the pack followed by Bart Sauter and Billy Stevens of the United States.

    The Braai (barbecue)

    The wonderful thing about this match is that it's more than just a match. It's an Event. As near as I can tell everyone stayed at the range for the braai. There is a since of camaraderie and fellowship between the shooters that is different then what we experience at matches state side. It's difficult to explain but to coin a phrase " A Band of Brothers." Why is this? I think there are a few reasons. One is shared hardships and difficulties. As an American it's is difficult to comprehend the problems that shooters here in Africa have to overcome. Just getting the basic components is a monumental task. Things for Benchrest shooting are not plentiful here and have to be imported. As a rule of thumb, whatever the full retail price is in America it's tripled in price by the time it gets here. There are also all sorts of limitations on how much powder and rifles a shooter can own. A great example is in South Africa a shooter can only own a maximum of 4 pounds of powder at any one time. In the states I won't by powder in jugs less than 8 pound jugs. Besides component issues the distances to matches can be extreme. For this match shooters came as far as Zimbabwe some 1400 plus miles. The Namibian shooters traveled nearly 1100 miles to attend and even some of the South African shooters had to travel over a 1000 miles. These are all just one way distances.

    Another difference is the concept of shooting on teams is very prevalent. Each country wants to field at least one four man team. So at matches these guys are shooting not just for themselves but for there country! In the states if you field a four man team and it wins you get a trophy and a small amount of applause. If you're on a team you want to win, but if not, it's no big deal. Here being the team that brings home the Gold is very important. I would argue it is considered more prestigious then winning the overall competition.

    Finally on this continent benchrest shooters are pioneers. They are plowing new ground and are the ones responsible for growing the sport. I would say that all of the countries have an eye on fielding a team that can win at the world championships. The South Africans have already taken home the silver.

    Back to the Braai!

    As I said earlier, this was an event and not your normal benchrest range cookout. What started to tip me off was the white tablecloths, crystal wine glasses, plates ( not the paper ones we use) and silverware. Kobus also brought several bottles of his own personal blend of white and red wine for everyone to enjoy. All the food was excellent, especially the sirloin steak that was served with a mushroom gravy. One thing I have found about South Africans is they do love their steak.

    The table setting

    An example of the cuisine.

    July 12

    The day started with Kobus Visser informing us that we would have a banquet and awards ceremony that evening after the match at the The Travellers Rest. By the way the award ceremony is called a prize give away here.

    200 Yard HV

    Birthday Suprise!

    The day started with a birthday surprise for 72 years young Kees Teske. When the command commence fire was given the entire first relay opened up on Kees target. Surprisingly it took him a little while to say anything. At first he leaned back and checked his bench number then look though his scope to confirm his target number. He did this a couple more times and then told the Range Master, "Someone is putting holes in my target!" So after a quick target get change it was back to business.

    Picture of the birthday boy Kees Teske and his target.

    200 HV
    Once again the day started with light winds and blue sky's. Bart Sauter of the United States would take first place with a .2432 aggregate. Mario Coetzer
    of South Africa second with a .2596 followed by Johan van Reenen of South Africa for third with a 2885.

    I didn't have a picture of myself either so this one will have work. Kallie Venzke (R) and myself (L) with my Roland and Ward heartebeast.
    Kallie is a Benchrest shooter and our hunting guide!

    HV 200
    1 Bart Sauter 2432
    2 Mario Coetzer 2596
    3 Johan van Reener 2885
    4 Gert Coetzer 2888
    5 Jan Hemmes 2924

    HV 200 Results

    HV Grand Aggregate

    The Heavy Varmint grand aggregate was won by American Bart Sauter and followed by the South African father and son team Mario and Gert Coetzer.

    Father and son team Mario (L) & Gert Coetzer (R)

    1 Bart Sauter 2331
    2 Mario Coetzer 2426
    3 Gert Coetzer 2528
    4 Billy Stevens 2632
    5 Jan Hemmes 2932

    HV Grand Aggreate Results

    The LV 200 yard

    The LV 200 conditions were a bit more challenging as can be seen by the scores. The American Bart Sauter once again managed to take first place with a .2248. Second place was taken by Kees Teske of Holland with a .3038. Third was won by Steve Williams of South Africa with a .3064

    Steve Williams of South Africa a Gold winner at the World Championships

    1 Bart Sauter 2248
    2 Kees Teske 3038
    3 Steve Williams 3064
    4 Stan Fallwell 3198
    5 Billy Stevens 3200

    LV 200 Results

    LV Grand

    The American Bart Sauter won the LV grand aggregate with a 2517. Followed by Steve Williams of South Africa with a 2836. Third place was won by Billy Stevens of the United States with a 3083.

    1 Bart Sauter 2517
    2 Steve Williams 2836
    3 Billy Stevens 3083
    4 Roland Thompson 3164
    5 Kees Teske 3220

    LV Grand Results

    The Fifth South African Regional 2 Gun Results

    2 Gun
    When the dust had settled American Bart Sauter won the 2 Gun with a potential new South African Regional and possibly a African National record of 2424. Second place was won by Billy Stevens of the United States with a 2857. Third was won by 15 year old Mario Coetzer of South Africa with an aggregate of 3029. Fourth was Steve Williams of South Africa with a 3077 and fifth was won by Gert Coetzer of South Africa with a 3119.

    2 Gun Results

    2 Gun Team Results

    South Africans Win The Gold

    The South Africain team from the Northern Provence won the Gold with a 3223. Team USA placed Second with a 3263. Third place was also won by by the South African team from the Western Provence with a 3292.

    The Banquet

    Unlike in the United States when the match is over it's hard to keep people from leaving and going home. Here everyone packed up there equipment and went back to there rooms to freshen up for the evenings banquet and awards ceremony. By 7 pm all the competitors had arrived. Not a single person missing. After our meal was finished, Terry Harrison the match director served as Master of Ceremony and completed the match by presenting the awards. The rest of the evening was spent was spent in conversation and celebration with our new friend.

    The three amigos! Billy, Bart & Gene

    This will undoubtably go down as one of my most favorite and memorable shoots ever. Not because I traveled over 8000 miles to get here, but because of the wonderful people we met and the incredible warmth and hospitality that was shown to us. I flew to South Africa with my two very good friends Gene Bukys and Billy Stevens but we are leaving with many more. The South Africans are now our Band of Brothers!
    Last edited by Bart; 08-13-2014 at 09:21 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Texas Panhandle
    Bart, thanks for writing that up. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Quite a trip for you three.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Palm Desert, CA

    Excellent post!!!!

    Also Let's us know how we take things here in America for granted.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    In the hills

    Nice Bart

    Wow this is really good stuff Bart, very nice presentation, very well done.
    Thanks for this,
    Dave T

  5. #5
    scott mims Guest

    thanks bart........

    nice pics. glad yall had fun

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Thanks Bart that is one fantastic match report with pictures and all.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    A great tour of another world.

    Thanks guys

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Bart thanks for all the pictures and write up. I bet all South African team members fill the same way.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003


    Thank You...for the well written and pictured report......WELL DONE

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Thanks Bart, a great post and pictures. Sounds like those South Africans know how to have a good time shooting and eating.

    Dan Honert

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Down By the Cedar River
    Way to go guys and a nice article Bart.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    S.E. MI
    Bart thanks. That was good stuff.
    Tim B.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Poetry, Tex.
    A great story and wonderful pics. I have a few friends in ZA and they are great gentlemen.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Great report Bart.
    I see a few familiar names. I see Jonathon did well and it looks like you have another benchrest shooter in the making for Namibia in Nino.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    Yes Nino is going to be a great shooter! 15 year old Mario Coetzer from South Africa is another rising star. He is already shooting at a very high level! He is also a very nice young man!


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