SCATT Trainer: More Trigger Time More Often!

Over the winter before the 2016 season, I bought a SCATT USB Trainer. Which is a nifty program that allows me to see where my dry fire shots actually go. As it turns out they are not all Xs.

How It Works

I have the USB model. I went with this one for 2 reasons. First, It was the cheapest, but more than that I knew I wouldn’t keep the battery charged in the wireless version.

The system consists of a target frame, a sensor, a target controller, software and wires to connect them all together.

The rifle mounted unit uses an optical sensor to track where it’s being pointed at on the target, and a microphone to tell the software when the user clicks the trigger.

It’s a nice simple design that allows the user to focus on practice not messing with the setup. I use the rail mount for the sensor which allows me to put it back on the same spot quickly so I can just take a couple of sighters, move the spotter to where my call was and get back to practicing.

Why Should I Get This?

The way I see it there are 3 key benefits of SCATT Shooter Training Systems.

1. More trigger time, more often. This is the biggest advantage of the SCATT trainer in my option . Even if I leave all my Highpower stuff in my truck ready to go, and I’m lucky enough to live 23 minutes from the nicest range on the East Coast. There is still an hour wasted in logistics, driving, and setting up targets. With SCATT, 5 minutes and I’m “shooting.” Which let’s me squeeze in trigger time whenever I can.

2. Ammo and costs This one is obvious but it saves on a wear of your rifle as well. Even handloading isn’t free.

3. Instant feedback with the equipment you use for matches. It has helped me work on parallax, rebuild my positions which would have taken days at the range. The traces have really helped me “get to know” my shots to the point now when I make a bad shot on a real target, I can picture the trace in my head.

When I first got this system it was so I could see if my dry fire shot was a 10 or a 7. But I’ve noticed, after using it for 2 years, as my shooting slowly improves, the traces make more sense and show me things I can work on.

Tips For SCATT users.

1. Find a dedicated place you can keep it set up and ready to use.

For awhile I horsed around with a windows tablet, then using my primary laptop, but I end up buying a cheap windows laptop to dedicate to just the SCATT. If I only have to put on my jacket and pick up my rifle I’m much more likely to make time to practice

2. Point a bright light at the target. This is an easy way to help boost contrast for both your eyes and the target sensor.

3. Commit to using it as much as you can. Personally I try to shoot a quick string of 10, just like a match between work and dinner.

What model should I get?

There are 3 versions, Basic, USB, wireless and a live fire version. I recommend the USB to people when they ask for a few reasons. First, as I mentioned, I don’t have to worry about charging it. The basic doesn’t include Service Rifle Targets, but if all you can afford is the basic, get it, it’s better than a dot on the wall!

The live fire version looks neat and I’d love to play with one, but it was out of budget for me. I wouldn’t try to use it in a match but it would be neat to use while practice.

Garand Thumb Goes West: 2017 Creedmoor Cup at Ben Avery

GTB Shooting Team (aka my shooting buddy and I) has traveled to distant matches in the past, including flying to Ben Avery in 2015. This time, however, we drove the 5000 mile round trip to Ben Avery. The drive itself was an epic adventure. We saw The Great Smoky Mountains, the Ozarks, the Plains, the desert, Table Mesa and the Grand Canyon. As an added bonus I now know what its like to travel 40 hours straight without sleep… weird.

The Creedmoor Cup at Ben Avery 

Ben Avery is a beautiful facility, 150 firing points, a shaded pit, easy to use cantilever target carriers, and all the sun you could ask for. The Creedmoor Cup consists of three 800 aggs on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, followed by an EIC on Sunday.

The matches were a lot of fun and I learned a lot while I was out there. Ben Avery has some sporty wind. At one point there were 5 minute wind shifts between shots at 600. Reading the mirage was a lot more useful than the flags. The wind was generally a head or tail wind so trying to determine angle from a flag was a futile exercise.  The mirage off the 300 yard berm did not lie, of course one has to take their eyes off the spotting scope to squeeze the trigger.

Phoenix is a beautiful place and Creedmoor Sports ran a great match. Dennis Demille, the GM of Creedmoor Sports, announced that this was the last Creedmoor Cup. I’ve shot in 3 of them now and I will miss the Cup next year.  CMP will be absorbing the Cup Matches into their “CMP Cup” format using KTS targets. I have mixed feelings about this change as my experience with the CMP KTS targets has been very poor. However I look forward to shooting at Ben Avery again in the future.

Revenge Of The 100,000 CMP 1911s: It Could Happen This Time

Back in 2015 there was an attempt to surplus the Army’s stock of 1911s to CMP the short version is it never happened due to Obama Administration pressure.

Fast forward to 2017 and CMP just posted a surprise update on this.

It is not a done deal…. BUT.

In my humble opinion it has a good chance this time. However, what’s left of the Democratic Party could attempt to filibuster the NDAA again.

Last time around the CMP had a plan in place to sell the 1911s, Prices would likely still be around $1000.00 as CMP stated in 2015. I’d speculate that would be for service grade, with field and rack grades being less and collector and correct being more. More or less inline with market prices for USGI 1911s.


 

 

What We Have Here Is A Failure to Communicate: Aborted EIC At Camp Perry

Update 7/11/17:

I didn’t post this on Facebook after the June EIC at Perry where the e-targets failed. In service rifle we often talk about owning your bad shot then forgetting about it and moving on. I decided, for the sake of not stirring up drama, it’s best to move on.

However, it has been brought to my attention that the CEO of Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has read my comments on the forum (which I later duplicated into this post) and was downplaying the problems to groups of shooters at the CMP cup. Telling them “oh its just some [a-hole] posting [crap] on the internet”.

I’ll own it, I can be an a-hole sometimes.

But, to paraphrase some of the music from my youth, “I don’t talk shit I state facts,” by sharing my experiences. If I wanted to “talk shit” I’d make jokes about his truck, but that’s not what this blog is for. If Mark thinks me sharing my experiences is the issue, well, we are in for a bumpy ride.

As far as I’m concerned this issue is closed. The targets worked for the CMP cup and the issue has been addressed. Continuing to poke at doesn’t help.

Own it and move on.

Original post:

There’s a couple of things I want to state right off the bat. First, I’m a supporter of e-targets, they help increase participation and when deployed properly work great. Secondly, appreciate all of the support CMP has given to the sport of High Power, I’ve come to know some of the staff over the years and they are all good hard working people who genuinely want to see this sport grow.


Let’s start with the positives, This match was a lot of firsts, it really was historic. It was the first use of e-targets on old Viale range, and first use of CMPs travel targets for an EIC. They had used them before at the Games matches,  most recently at Camp Butner for the Garand and Vintage Sniper Matches.  As an aside back in 2015 at the Western Games I got to see the etargets being piloted.


The match started just a bit late due to some “minor” damage to the targets when they were run up. This took out 5 or so targets on the big end. I don’t mind a little delay especially running on less than a full nights sleep. After that 200 went smoothly, quick relay changes and the targets worked well, I heard no reports of failures.

I was feeling good moving back to 300. Two hundred has historically been make or break for me and felt good about my score. The etargets are nice in rapid especially with an untested zero, the shots pop up right away for quick verification during the mag change.


End of the road at 300

After the line change it became apparent there was a problem. CMP did a nice job keeping us informed. Again the pit crew had ripped the cables out of some of the targets. The targets apparently use some sort of token ring network so they are wired in a series, one goes out the whole block goes out.

We had a vote on if we would stop at 300 or shoot 300 and try to shoot 10 at 600. The vote was keep going in a landslide.

With the remaining 19 targets we soldiered on. Most of the shooters on relay one completed their 300 string. There were a handful of missing shots from where I stood I heard of three shooters getting refires. Relay two wasn’t so lucky, it seemed like most of the shooters had missing shots.

Even after the second time the pit crew ripped the wires out of the targets they were apparently still down there unsupervised as I was told there was no CMP staff in the pits to check the backers for these missing shots.

The rest is history, $10,000 in damage to the targets, no paper targets to finish the match so the match was cancelled. CMP offered refunds or credits to a future match and since we did not complete 300 it did not count against our five EICs. A lot of people left disappointed that day, competitors that had driven hours to shoot there, but also the CMP staff who i’m sure did not want to end the day like that.

See the announcement from CMP Live streamed from the line here.

Steve from CMP made a Mea Culpa here explaining the technical details of what happened.

While CMP’s statement addresses much of this, in 20/20 Hindsight, there were several breakdowns that day.

1. An EIC match shouldn’t be treated as a “dry run” for the new matches. Shooting a match on etargets and being done by noon wasn’t the goal, the goal was to complete match. A goal we failed to meet.

2. CMP openly admits the issue was the training and supervision of the new pit crew. After the crew broke the first set of targets in the morning someone from staff should have been down there supervising the switch over.

3. Always have a back up plan. This was Viale range at Camp Perry, the largest rifle range in the world. A stack of paper targets in the pits ready to go would have let us finish out the match. This is service rifle, No one would have minded pit duty.

Shoulda woulda coulda…. I know.

To be clear I don’t blame the CMP ladies, the folks running the line, the teenagers on the pit crew, or the CMP KTS tech who was working hard to keep us going. This was a leadership failure.  An agenda was being pushed with no regards to the consequences of failure. Frankly, I think it’s time for a change of management.

They are going to try it again for the CMP cup next week. I hope it goes well.

 

 

Make it a Dirt Dance Floor Again: York Riflemen’s Spring Garand and Service Rifle Match 

York’s spring double-header is one of my favorite matches of the year. It starts with a Garand match, followed by a NRA 50 round match. It’s a reduced 200 yard match with pits.

The Garand match was fun, I shot uncharacteristically fast in slow prone but still managed a decent score. I kept raising my zero in slow prone and then, surprise, I blew my rapid prone group out the top.
 I pulled it back in off-hand and posted an 89  which I was very happy with.

We shot a 500 agg right after the Garand Match. Still happy with myself for shooting well off-hand with the Garand I did decent with my A4 off-hand too. A few 8s in off-hand but I posted a pair of 98s in rapids and didn’t shoot a 9 in slow prone until round 13!

I manage to come in second in the 500 agg with a 484 just a point short of High Master!