What does it take to set a new World Record at the Still Target Shoot Championship? On October 7, 2005, it was 32 #6 Hevi-13 pellets in a 3" circle, fired from a 20 gauge Remington 870 shotgun 40 yards away!
Clark Bush has been competing at the World Championship Still Target Shoot for years. He'd seen shooters get close to records but he'd had never seen one set.
Bush had spent the last several months testing ammo, choke tubes, factory barrels and custom barrels in both 12 gauge and 20 gauge shotguns. He had spent scores of hours at the range. He felt that he was ready for the shoot.
The first day of the World Championship is always a day to settle-in, greet old friends, meet some new folks and just get used to the atmosphere again. It's always enjoyable to see the folks at the NWTF who work this shoot and have an opportunity to talk with them and representatives of ammo & gun manufacturers.
The first morning, competitors had been offered the opportunity to shoot a brand new shell from Environ-Metal, the Hevi-13 load of #6 shot in 20 gauge. After a discussion and a vote, the shooters decided to try it.
Bush's 20 gauge Remington 870 had delivered some excellent scores with Remington Hevi-Shot for the past several months. He'd shot several scores in the mid-twenties in practice but practice is practice and the "Big Shoot" is another matter.
He and the other shooters were pleasantly surprised to find that the new Hevi-13 load shot at the same point of aim as the Remington Hevi-Shot. Bush's first shot produced a score of 20 and got the attention of everyone. It was noted that if the pattern had been over just a bit, the score would have been much higher.
Bush settled in to his seat for the next 20 gauge open squad and said that he felt no different that he had the many times he'd done it previously. When he shoots, he tries to concentrate on the little red circle 40 yards away. He tries to clear his mind of all other thoughts and only think about and see that little red dot.
The range master asked what brand of shell? Bush replied "Hevi-13". He chambered the shell, brought the 870 to his shoulder, steadied his breathing, centered the 3" red circle in the crosshairs of the sight and started to squeeze the trigger.
The shot surprised him, as, according to Bush, " I always hope it will." Then there was silence. In just a few moments, he heard "Clark, you've just set a new world record".
When all 10 members of the squad had shot, the targets were picked up and scored by the officials of the NWTF. Everyone was watching as the holes made by the impact of the pellets were counted, re-counted and counted again by 3 separate officials. All 3 agreed that 32 shot pellets had penetrated the target inside the 3" circle. It was official, a new world record had been set!
Bush has known most of the shooters that compete in this event for years. They work hard and most shoot all year to prepare for the shoot. Some are in the ammo or choke tube business and they work to develop better shells and better choke tubes for the competitive shooter and hunter. The World Championship is a fierce competition but one of true sportsmanship. According to bystanders, there wasn't a shooter who did not go up to Bush and congratulate him!
The demonstration of true friendship and support that was shown at the World Championship Shoots will never be forgotten by anyone who was there.
One more chapter to the story. On July 15, 2006 at the Bass Pro Mid-Atlantic Challenge in Statesville, NC, Clark Bush broke the existing Still Target World Record in the 12 Gauge Hunter (Factory) Class...twice!
Bush, shooting an un-modified Remington 11-87 shotgun placed 38 pellets in a 3" circle at 40 yards. That beat the old record of 35. After a good bit of celebration, congratulations, etc. the shoot continued. On his next shot in the same class, Bush scored a 39, breaking his own very recently set record of 38! He later shot another 38 in the 12 Gauge Open Class, just 4 pellets off the World Record for that class.
Asked later about his successes, Bush commented, "Some days are just better than others. Everything seemed to work just right. Some of the best still target shooters in the U.S. were here today. I feel very fortunate to come out with some wins and of course to have set 2 new World Records. There have been so many improvements in shotshells and chokes in the last few years. I also know shooters who practice year round, so it's natural that records will be broken."
Guess what...3 months later at the World Championship Still Target Shoot...2 more pellets were edged into that 3" circle to set a new record of 41...then an additional 4 to set another new record of 45.
Records are made to be broken. There's little doubt that the next few years or next few months, will witness additional records set in this popular shooting sport.