Service Rifle 2019

2019 has been a big year for me, I shouldn’t let January go by without reflecting on it.

Last year brought two major accomplishments for me, Distinguished Riflemen and NRA High Master.

The former I received early in the season back in June the latter in the late season after a bit of a slump where I relaxed a bit too much.

Rolling into 2020 with my long term shooting goals accomplished is a different feeling than years past. For the time being my goals are to focus on shooting more consistently and try and do as best I can in my class. The downside of high master of course is there will be no more “master class winner” checks coming in the mail!

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Going Distinguished At Camp Perry!

In 2015 a earned my first 4 “Introductory Leg Points” during small arms firing school at Camp Perry. Four years, and thousands of rounds down range later I’ve completed my journey to become a Distinguished Rifleman on the very same range I found my first points.

If you are not familiar with the Distinguished Rifleman badge you can find more information here:

To earn a Distinguished Rifleman’s Badge one must earn 30 “leg” points by competing in CMP sanctioned excellence in competition (EIC) matches and scoring in the top 10%. Competitors are limited to 5 matches a year along with the National Trophy Match at camp Perry.

I ended last season with 26 points, which included a “Hard Leg” so “all I needed” was to cut any points. Which I knew was easier said than done. I shot the All Navy Matches at Quantico in the spring posting a 481, a good score, but not even good enough for first leather! The cut went for 486!

Anyway I decided to give the KTS Targets another chance and drove out to Perry to shoot a double-header 800 agg and EIC. I have had some “not so great” experiences with KTS Targets, including the last time o drove to Perry for this June EIC Match. I was a little hesitant to shoot a leg match on KTS again but in the end I’m glad I did.

The 800 agg went well we had some connection issues and a delay at 200 but it was nice to take a little break.

The leg match started off terrible for me. I lost focus half way though off hand and broke a 6 on the approach. Then decided to get mad about it and shoot another 6. Good times.

I shook it off, which was easy as it was not nearly the first time I threw a leg match off hand. I stuck with it and I took my in sitting for a 99, I cleaned rapid prone, which is a fairly rare occasion for me, and squeezed out a 196 at 600. I am sure my sigh was audible from Canada when my last shot came up an X!

From the rubble of my terrible first string I was able to pull a 480-19 which was good enough for 7th of the 8 legs given out that day! I was in shock for a while afterwards, after the high cut at fleet week I didn’t want to get “too sure” until the numbers were official. But after the dust settled it turned out both myself and one of my buddies who came out with me legged out on Viale!

It was a long but great day! It felt good to leg out at Camp Perry which is a special place to a lot of shooters. As much trouble as they have given me over the years never thought I’d be saying I legged out on KTS Targets!

It’s been a long road to Distinguished. My wife asked me “what will you do now can you leg back in?” Keep shooting that’s what I’ll do!

First Clean 600!

I cleaned the 600 yard stage of an 800 agg at my home range at New Holland this weekend. This was the second match of a 1600 agg, I had beat my personal best the day before with a 199 at 600.

I’m quite proud of this as I struggled with my prone for most of last season. After some frustration I completely broke my position down and started over a few months ago. I now “choke up” on the stock and put the rifle higher on my shoulder, I also have tightened the sling.

Perhaps ironically I seem to shoot slow prone better when there is a bit of wind to deal with. My theory is it gives me something to worry about that’s not “don’t screw up”

SMT Solo Electronic Target: 21st century practice

I ordered a Silver Mountain Targets SOLO Target in June of 2018 and I haven’t broken it…. anyone who knows me knows that is amazing alone (I once broke a 50 lbs bench vise) mine was from the first pre-order  batch in May. It shipped out as soon as it was in stock within a week of my order. I’ve ordered some mounts and accessories since then that all shipped same day.

I really really like this thing. I bought it mostly to practice 600. I’m a member at New Holland Rifle And Pistol and live just 20 minutes away. However, it was a struggle to get any useful practice at 600, or 300 for that matter as it involved driving down range, scratching my head and trying to guess if it was me or the wind or something.

Of course it makes 600 practice more useful, and even fun, it also turns out to be useful for short range practice. This has turned into a real practice time saver which helps me get more trigger time. I can quickly burn through 100 rounds practicing each stage of fire at 100 yards. No more going down range between stages, or guessing where the shots I can’t see with my Kowa went. I can shoot off hand, reset the target, drop into sitting, Reset the target, drop into rapid prone and so on.

I ended up with 2 target frames, one for short line that I hang from the club targets, and the second is a full 6×6 I keep in the pits for 600. I have the calibration for both written in my data book so its easy to switch between them. A frame just needs calibrated once, after that as long as the target is in the middle it will work for anything.

I’ve tested in in the rain, in rapid fire and side by side with other solos and haven’t had any issues.

The SOLO has 8 Mics in 4 towers. I have inadvertently tested it with one sensor (2 mics) unplugged and 1 mic off line (I didn’t plug the cable in all the way) while the target gave a warning, but, in both cases it still accurately found the shot. It will be more accurate if the target is plumb, again by accident I tested it with the target leaning forward significantly but even then it was only off 1/4 inch only the two 8s I managed to shoot at 600. Presumably a non issue if used for a match as the target would be plumb not haphazardly set up like mine was.

Anyway I  wholeheartedly endorse the solo for practice from 100 to 600 yards. I think it could be used as is for smaller matches, something i didn’t think I would ever say of an open system, as I’ve become a bit of a HEX fanboy after using them at Bridgeville.

I went with the SMT SOLO over the home based business alternatives, largely because SMT has been around for awhile, some day I will shoot a mic or need replacement parts.

There are some other little things I like, that it gives me FPS, so I can’t blame the load, Cat 5e Ethernet cables for the sensors make it easy to build multiple frames with pre-installed cables, cheap mounts, and good wifi that reaches to 600 with no issue. As a nerd I like that it has both the simple to use solo interface and the full G2 software as well.

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