Pre-Season Practice Match at New Holland: New Personal Best 

New Holland Rifle and Pistol Club runs a series of monthly matches they call “shoot and scoot” in the off-season. Work had caused me to miss the first couple and the February match was moved inside due to single digit temperatures. But I finally made it out to the last one this weekend.

It was a beautiful March day sunny and in the 50s.


We shot a reduced “SAFS course of fire” which is 10 rounds each stage, slow prone rapid prone, rapid sitting, off-hand. I brought the new Optics equipped A4 service rifle to give it a full work out.

I wasn’t super happy with my rapid prone or my off-hand, but when I got home and did the math, I beat my personal best by 3% which is a statistically  significant difference  from my scores last year. Of course there are a lot of things at play here so it’s not good science to say the rifle is the cause. I have been working with my SCATT trainer in the off-season and i have never shot a reduced match at this range. The lighting and conditions here are just perfect which contributed to a good score.

A little story about off-hand, My first 3 shots were in the white, a pair of 8s and a shameful 7. I took a little break, told my self to put them all in the center of the target shuffled my NPA and then some how didn’t leave the black again. Sometimes all it takes is reminding yourself to shoot the middle of the target.



Snowmageddon: 2016 Freezer Match

I’ve been tinkering with a new optics equip service rifle for the 2016 season for around a month now. While I’ve been playing with it at the range a bit and have been dry firing with SCATT the past couple weeks, I have been anxious to finally try it out in a match.

My club, Kimberton Fish and Game,  has an annual “any rifle” freezer match in January. It’s a 40 round off-hand charity match, with a raffle, prizes, and best of all, chili.  Course of fire was 10x10x10x10 with 2 sighters and a brief break for scoring before each 20. It was a beautiful day for January. There was still over a foot of snow on the ground but it was down right warm in the high forties.

I shot about my typical off-hand posting a 356/400 and coming in 6th over all. Not so bad, however, I was hoping to do a little better with the scope and with the practice I’ve been putting in with SCATT. My shooting buddy did very well besting me by 10 points and coming in 4th with his A2. Don’t write off the A4 just yet, it’s a rare day if I beat him on our feet.

A2 vs A4

Observations on optics.

Since this was the first time on the line with this rifle I noticed a few differences. While a 4x scope does not make one a better shooter, it sure make shooting more comfortable, specifically less eye strain and a faster sight picture. With a nice clear view of the target it is much easier to see the “wobble” and call shots. Long-term this should be a valuable tool for improvement.

We brought some new shooters with us to this match. One brought his FAL and the other, a 1917. There were a few other odd rifles on the line, some good old A2s and a couple of folks trying out their A4s for the upcoming season.

A couple more practice matches and then the Eastern Games will be here soon!

Right arm chicken wing of the free world

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb: Optics in Service Rifle For 2016

It started as a rumor at Camp Perry, then emails went out,  then official word on the website from CMP. At first there was talk of  a weight limit, now it doesn’t look like there will be a weight limit. Hopefully, we are likely a few weeks away from seeing the new rule book.

It’s time to face it, optics will be allowed in Service Rifle matches next year.

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Read CMP’s statement here:

https://thecmp.org/2016-cmp-rifle-and-pistol-rule-changes/

Note that Mark has stated that the weight limit for optic equipped rifles is no longer going be included.



Take a deep breath, it’s ok.

First things first: “why in the heck would they do that!”

My understanding is that it is driven by the military teams.  The logic seems to be that deployed Soldiers and Marines do not use iron sights.

Josh from CBI at Twentynine Palms with his ACOG equipped M16A4

The A2 has dominated the firing line at Camp Perry for almost 20 years. First accepted in 1986, the A2 is fast becoming  an “old gun” at this point. If the question is “should” CMP allow optics, well, the times are changing. From Springfields to Garands to M14s to A2s, the service rifle community has always adapted. The game is changing with the times; the line might look different but it will still be the game we love.

The skills that made a good marksmen in 1907 with a Springfield and a Campaign Hat will make a good marksmen in 2016 with a optic equipped  A4. 

It’s yet to be seen what scopes will do to scores. Things could be about the same, irons could continued to reign supreme, or scopes could break all the records. It took several years for black rifles to take hold in the XTC world. Personally I think we will see the same thing by the time the NTI comes around with a mix of irons and scopes making the cut.

My Service Rifle 2016

I can’t tell you what the right choice is. But  since I can’t change the rules I’m going to embrace them.

The equipment related rule changes that will matter most to Service Rifle shooters are optics and collapsible stocks.

Sadly as far as for the optics, it’s not as easy as just ordering a 4.5 power scope and strapping it on with your favorite tactical brand of scope mounts. Service Rifle is shot “across the course” (XTC) at 200, 300 and 600 yards. With the exception of some very high dollar scopes most 4 powers scopes have a fixed parallax which poses a challenge. 

After Camp Perry I ordered an A4 flattop upper with a MK7 rail, from White Oak Armament in anticipation of the rule change, and I needed a New Jersey legal upper if I wanted to get serious about EIC matches. I really like this upper it served me well in the late season and now is making it easy to adapt to the new rules.

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Leupold VX-R 1.25-4

I ordered a custom VX-R 1.25-4 from Leupold with the parallax set at 200 yards, this being the shortest distance shot in XTC matches. The logic being that 200 yard parallax is fairly close to infinity so the error at 600 will be minimal compared to the error a user will experience shooting a shorter distance than the scopes’ parallax.

I also selected Leupold’s M1 turrets, I picked these over the CDS turrets as they seemed easier to read and I might be more likely to notice if I missed a rotation of elevation when I moved back to 600, like I did in Maryland.

For the reticle, I went with the SPR-G which is the SPR with the green dot instead of red dot. I’m color blind so seeing red on black is a challenge for me. The SPR has a large circle and hash marks. The hash marks were my primary reason for selecting this reticle.  I also like the idea of the large circle – it might come in handy when trying to square up the target.
 SPR-G at 100 on a SR-1
For a mount I went with a DNZ “freedom reaper” one piece mount. The magic numbers for shooting prone with this scope  seem to be 1.38 or less tall  with a 3 inch over hang. Sadly there are not a lot of options for those numbers. I know some other folks are going with a riser with low rings mounted to that. I’ve had a DNZ mount on my Tikka T3 for many years and it never left me down so I will give it a shot on my service rifle.

Basics to look for in a Service Rifle Scope:

  • 200 or 300 yard parallax
  • Repeatable elevation and windage adjustments
  • 1.38″ or less height over bore mount
  • 3″ cantilever mount.

Magpul UBR Stock 

 

The new rules include language around collapsible stocks now being legal. Frankly this one might be worth waiting to see the rule book on as it not clear if “any” collapsible stock will cut it. I happened to have an extra UBR so I installed one on my Service Rifle to kick around.  As far as stocks go this one is one of the best out there. For one, it’s built like a tank, but more importantly it allows the user to adjust the length of pull while maintaining a constant cheek weld.

A full range report will follow as soon as I can stretch its legs a little. I only have a few rounds down range with the scope mounted just getting a rough 100 yard zero due to the recent weather. My initial impression is that shooting with a scope is going to at the very least be more comfortable than irons.

All in it’s around a $800 cost to upgrade your A4 to be optic equipped, more if you have an A2. Make that $1100 if you want a UBR as well.

If you are new shooter please do not be intimidated by all of this. Get a A4 with a removable carry handle or even an A2 irons will still get the job done.

MD State Championship and EIC at Fort Hill

To tack on one last EIC match for the season I headed to Fort Hill Rifle and Pistol which is tucked  the hills of western Maryland for the MD state Championship on Saturday and an EIC match on Sunday. Ft Hill is really a great club. Not a huge range but its run by a very dedicated group of folks who really made the match run smoothly.

600 yard line

600 yard line

MD State Championship

The MD state championship was a CMP 800 Agg. It was cool and overcast most of the day. which made for a nice day of shooting.

I had an up and down match but all in all it had some bright spots. Off hand started out about average in the first string, then I finished up with a bang and shot my best ever off-hand  string a 96-2 . That’s good news the way I see it as now I know i “can” shoot well in off-hand I need to just not screw up so much.

DCIM128GOPROShow me your warface! 

Sitting was a hot mess, rushed the first string after bumbling the load.  The second string went better but still a little weak. During the off-season I am going to spend some time practicing getting into position and firing with my 22 upper, my club as a nice warm,  indoor 22 range that would be perfect for this.

Rapid prone had been causing me some trouble in the past few XTC matches. I was able to get it together this time and post a reasonable score. Big surprise the key is slowing down.

Back to 600 I added another layer of bad shooting followed by one of great shooting. I shot my lowest ever slow prone in the first string. Dropping 5s, and 7s all over the place. Then, something clicked and I shot my best ever slow prone at 600. As in off-hand from this match I’ll take this as progress as it just means I have a higher potential for improvement now.

Fort Hill EIC Match.

Pre dawn I jumped back in the truck and crossed the MD line to Fort Hill’s Warrior Mountain Range for a day of shooting. I was hoping to take the best of what I did the day before and reproduce the best strings. Well, things didn’t quite go as planned. The

Off Hand started out good and ended good but I popped a 5 in the middle of the string, I knew it was bad when it left, I wasn’t ready and squeezed it anyway. Frankly i am lucky i caught that 5 ring.  That said the rest of the string was good. Still feeling ok about off-hand.

She ain't got no alibi She ain’t got no alibi

Well, In sitting I finally was that guy, I called an alibi. First round wouldn’t feed and while tried my best to troubleshoot it the clock ran too long. After trying to replicate the issue at home with some dummy rounds I think the culprit was as simple as i didn’t seat the mag all the way. Either way I pulled that mag from rotation.

Rapid prone proved to be a bright spot a with a nice and neat 1/4/5. if I work on my pace a bit I am sure I can tighten that up.

DCIM128GOPRO

Before I racked my rifle at the 300 yard line I cranked on the elevation, I needed to head back to 600,  Or so I thought. Took my time squaring up the first shot, squared trigger, bam, right in the dirt. Check my sight everything seemed fine, I added 5 clicks, maybe the light is different, maybe it was a bad round. Second one, perfect 6:00 right below the 5 ring.

Took the rifle out of my shoulder and cranked the elevation all the way down, at one rotation it bottomed out. I had put 38 clicks on instead of 63. Well there went trying to make the cut for a silver achievement award.  I went on to have a pretty good string, but there was no coming back from those two blanks.  My rear sight now has a nice index mark so at a glance I can see if I am at the right elevation for 600.

In the end I made some stupid mistakes this weekend but I’ll take that as progress. I’m feeling more confident off-hand and at 600 so I’ll I need to do is not F up. Easy right?

 

 

Opitics in Service Rifle Proposed Rule: Weight Or Optics

The proposed rule changes being discussed for service rifle class next year have been posted on the CMP forum via an email response to an inquiry to Mark from CMP. 
Click here to read the thread

 

 

New rules package so far…. These are the changes thus far that are being discussed.

Service Rifle:
1) The only alibis that will be permitted are range alibis (no fault of the shooter).

2) Optics will be allowed on rifles that weigh 11.5 lbs., total with optic installed. Optics will only be allowed on the AR platform. The optic maximum magnification will be 4.5 power. There will not be a separate category for optical sighted ARs.

3) No weight limit on iron sighted, non-optical sighted ARs, i.e. you can shoot the current configured service rifle just as it is with no weight restrictions.

4) Only .223/5.56 NATO will be allowed for ARs, .308/7.62 NATO for M14 platforms, .308/7.62 NATO or .30/06 for M1 Garands.

5) M-4 type stocks will be allowed on the AR platforms.

If the rules pass the up-coming CMP Rules Committee meeting the new rules package will be implemented in the 2016 CMP Rules for Service Rifle and Service Pistol. Just a note a service rifle with no lead front or back weighs 10.9 pounds with carry handle installed. Remove the carry handle and install a 1-4.5 power scope and rings you get 11.25 lbs. With that said we set the weight limit with optics at 11.5 lbs. If you want to shoot with a scope you will not be able to lead the rifle. If you want to shoot with iron sights go as heavy as you like.

Best Regards,

Mark Johnson
Chief Operating Officer
Civilian Marksmanship Program

Which means the choice is weights or optics.

[yop_poll id=”8″]

 

Irons

Irons