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.

 

 

CMP 2017 Rules: Want to start shooting EIC? Buy a new rifle. 

The new rules are up for EIC for 2017. 

Read them here: http://thecmp.org/wp-content/uploads/Rulebook.pdf?ver=01042017

Of note CMP describes the new classifications and match rifles, presumably a shot across the bow of the NRA after their last minute location change of the NRA championships.

Personally, I’m disappointed to see further restrictions placed on handguards. It seems now only quad rails or traditional A2 tubes will be permitted for service rifle.

 Under the old rules it was convenient to invite new shooters to EIC matches where they could “run what they  have” with minimal modifications and cost, A2 grip and a 4x.  It was win win, as they got to try out their gear to see how it held up to XTC and it helped get new people involved in the sport. 

This all might seem trivial however in the “AR community” quad rails are fairly uncommon these days, modular free floats such and Mlok and Keymod are all the rage. 

Under the new rules new shooters will need to find a quad rail or A2 tube, borrow a rifle, build an A4 or shoot out of competition.  Because XTC wasn’t already intimidating enough?

Good news, the A1/A2 grip rule hasn’t changed. So my sticker is still relavent.
http://garandthumb.com/store/service-rifle-rules-compliance-device-keepin-it-cmp-legal-sticker/

Last Stand in Dixie: Last XTC Matches of 2016

Ok,  I suppose Delaware is not technically Dixie but it is south of the Mason-Dixon line and Camp Butner is for sure, so close enough.

To wrap up the 2016 Service Rifle Season GTB shooting team headed to Camp Butner for the NSSC NC Championship and EIC.  The NC Championship was a 1000 agg on Saturday. It was a beautiful summer day. Well, summer for us Yankees I assume, high 70s is what they consider fall in NC. 

During the 1000 agg I cleaned 300 for the first time! 

The rest of the match was fairly lackluster including a hot mess at 600.

The EIC the next day started out soggy off hand. I worked to make a come back but couldn’t quite make it. I ended with a 469 which wasn’t awful but a good 10 points below the cut.


Looking for some redemption the next weekend I drove down to the beach for Bridgeville’s last 800 agg of the season. My new Nightfore service rifle scope had shown up while I was at Camp Butner and this was its first trial. 

The match went well and was a nice end to the season. I posted a decent high end Master score and cleaned sitting for the first time! The new scope worked very well.  I’m looking forward to putting it through its paces next season.


Don’t worry this isn’t really the end of the season, there are still a couple wood gun matches left, maybe some rimfire, and of course hunting season!

Leg Points at New Holland!

New Holland typically runs a generally well attended CMP EIC Match in April, but this year the weather just wouldn’t cooperate. Heavy rain the first try and then snow on the rain day cancelled the match twice! But  finally in July the weather worked out.

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While I still consider Kimberton my “home club” I am a member of New Holland Rifle and Pistol and spend a fair bit of time there practicing.

It was hot and humid again, but slightly cooler than it had been during the week.

There was a “P100” format match first to help everyone verify their zeros and get those 7s out of their system. Boy did I have some 7s to get out. I opened with my worst off-hand ever with the A4. Not one but two 7s and a few 8s to boot to total a gross 82. I mostly blame trying to work with a bad patch of ground fighting a downward slope.

The rest of the P100 went better. I made a nice group rapid prone at 300 and noted its poor placement in the 9 ring, which I corrected for the next match. Out back at 600 I posted a 96. My 600 come ups were predictable as I have spent plenty of time on that back berm practicing and my Leupold tracked right to where it should.


After turning in our score cards and grabbing a cold drink from the truck it was back to 200 to do it again for a 50 round CMP national match course, this time for points.

Remembering my struggle with slope I found a better piece of dirt to make my stand this time and posted a 93 off-hand! I got a little frustrated circling the 10 but I kept them in the black.

CMP rules require firing sitting from standing which can be its own special challenge. I borrowed a trick I learned from the Internet and parked my shooting cart behind me which I use to help me stand up in a less dramatic fashion. These methods helped me keep both feet in the same spot. When I was a bit larger, I was only keeping my right foot in the same place which made re-locating my NPA a challenge. I managed to keep most of the shots in the middle and posted a 97 in sitting.

Back to 300 for rapid prone I posted another 97, this one I worked a little harder for with an 8 low right, my “go to” spot if I goof up my breathing.
Spent some time in the pits after 300 nervously looking over my data book and feeling out where others stood.

Kirby says “way to go”

Back at 600 my wind call and elevation were right on and first shot was a 10. I wasn’t super happy with my position but assumed I could make it work. Turns out I was wrong, and pulled a 6:00 seven. I started seeing flashes of screwing up my nice short line scores with a hot mess out back. I took a minute to reset and worked my way back into the 10 where I stayed for all but two rounds for the rest of the string.

Out Back

Posted a 479 in the end. I knew there was a 480 to beat, and 3 legs to give out. So, I was nervous as the match director added up the final results. I managed to come in second for my first points since Small Arms Firing School at Perry in 2015, just less than one year since my first Across the Course match!

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My shooting buddy managed to take the last leg, which we like to call “the foot” so “GTB shooting team” had a good day!

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2016 D-Day Match at CMP Talladgea Marksmanship Park 

We had so much fun at the inaugural D-Day match at  Talladega last year we flew back down. This time for both the Garand match and the EIC.

It really is a great range to shoot at. This time around there was less fanfare as the range had been open for a year. The Friday before we were about to check our zeroes and get a little practice on Range 1.

Saturday was the Garand match, I did really well in prone. However that’s where it stopped, as I seem to have forgotten how  to offhand with the Garand.

My  buddy remembered how to do all three stages right and brought himself home a gold medal! Most impressively he shot a 98 in rapid prone after his clip latch gave out and ejected his eight round clip about five rounds too soon.

On the upside I didn’t leave empty-handed as my name was picked to win a nice DuPage stock. I’m going use this for a match grade garand with a heavy barrel.


Sunday was EIC. Which was what we came down to Alabama to shoot.

I was a little soggy office and dropped more points than normal in rapid. However I was able to post one of my better 600 yards scores and beat my personal EIC best by one point. While that was not good enough for points I’m happy with my score, I’m making progress in learning some things.

CMP put on a great event. A games match and an EIC the same weekend really make the trip worthwhile and without pit duty an entire EIC match takes less than an hour. Which leaves lots of time for relaxing afterwards!

Electronic Targets: reliable but not infallible.


There was some drama last year around the KTS targets. It was much less of an issue this year. While there were several challenges, only in one case that I am aware of did the shooter win.

The new rules for electronic targets seem a bit harsh to me. If a shooter challenges and loses they will lose 3 points as opposed to the typical cash fee. I am in the “pro electronic target” camp but let’s be honest they are not infallible and risking 3 points is an awful hard choice to make with no information other then your shot calls.

Personally I’d like to see CMP back off on this one and apply the same challenge rules that have applied to paper targets for years to electronic targets.
PS If anyone from CMP reads this my wife would like me to ask if maybe next year you could sell hotdogs and snacks durring the day 🙂