Quick AAR: First Across The Course Match With Optics

  Took my shiny new, optics equipped service rifle down to Quantico for fleet week to give it a work out.

Some quick observations. I am using the VXR 1-4 with a SPR-G reticle.

1. My zeros were 100% and my windage changes went where I expected.

2. The back berm is where it mattered the most. Today was just me vs the wind. As opposed to me vs my eyes. When the math was right the shot went where it should. Best of all after the string my eyes didn’t hurt.

2. I like the dot. There has been a lot of speculation on the right reticle. At least for me it doesn’t seem to matter. I put the green dot in the middle of the black dot and squeaze.

3. Hold off. There was some crazy shifting wind at 600 today. I was able to hold off when I could see the conditions changing.  In theory this can be done with irons but it seemed much simpler to me with optics. With the light conditions I could just make out some of the scoring rings and was able to slice up the black for windage in a pinch.

4. Seeing the spotter. This one is minor but I’ve been using the rifle scope to see my last shot instead of my Konus. Shoot #1 > load > see shot #1 > make needed changes >take shot #2 > plot shot #1. While a little goofy at first this way, I am able to use the time the target is down to plot my shot in my score book. 

Bottom line: I like it. For me it seems to make a difference and be worth any trade offs at least for now. I posted a 458/500 which is my best EIC so far, even with a Hail Mary in sitting.

Let’s see what I say after tomorrow’s match  as they are calling for rain! 

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.

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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?

 

 

NJ State Championship and New Holland: 168 Rounds in One Weekend

In my excitement after shooting the NTI and P100 at Perry, I signed up for a series of  late season XTC and EIC Matches. This weekend I scheduled an aggressive line up: a NRA 800 Agg at New Holland, a match behind enemy lines in NJ for a Governors 10 Match (P100 format), and a EIC match right after. These were also the first matches with my new White Oak A4 sporting a Geissele MK7, but more on that later.

New Holland 800 AGG

It was a beautiful almost fall day for the NRA match at New Holland . Off-hand went well. I don’t mean to jinx it but I’ve been hitting the low 90s pretty consistently now in with the black rifle. While this is no high master score, its a big improvement from where I was last year (70s).

Sitting went well. The first string I was a little low. Turned out my “come ups” were a little off from practice. Two more clicks fixed it for the second string. Well mostly fixed it.  I let the rifle slip during one of the shots and shot a “96 the hard way”, 9 in the 10 and 1 in the 6 ring. Whoops.

Rapid Prone was better than it had been for me in the last 800 Agg. I need to focus on slowing down a bit. At the next match I am going to start using my timer.

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Back on 600 again I creeped up a bit. I am weakest on the 600 yard berm and I need to work on that.  In the Garand games matches I used to think I was pretty good in prone shooting but the 600 has been humbling.

In the Pit

In the Pit

NJ State Championships and EIC match at Cumberland Riflemen 

At 3 am the next morning the alarm went off and I drug myself out of bed and headed behind enemy lines for a long day of shooting in NJ.

First was a Governors ten match which is a “presidents course”  thirty rounds: 10 off-hand, 10 rapid prone, followed by 10 slow prone. It was a good chance to check my zeros. I ended up bringing my off-hand zero to the same 8 clicks as my sitting zero and brought my rapid prone zero up another click.

The wind was whipping to my 8:00 for the 600 yard stage. I ended up with two minutes of left wind by the end of the stage. Since I was using this as practice I didn’t take any wind on my first shot just to try to learn how to handle conditions like that.

600

EIC Match

The EIC match started immediately after the Governors match and things were running a little late so we skipped the brief break and got right to it. I was able to crack 90 in off-hand with a little luck. I dropped a couple of 8s and then spent some time surrounding the 10 before I found the middle.

 

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Sitting went well. l I had a bit of a windage issue in the Governors match but corrected for it in the EIC. I slowed down a bit in rapid prone but still bounced a little. Back on the 600, the wind had stalled out. I did better, or at least good enough. I still need to work on the back 20.

In the end I made my goal which was to crack the 450 line, which is the cut for CMP’s EIC achievement pin. It was a great match and Cumberland Rifleman is a nice club. This was probably the most fun I have ever had in New Jersey. Next weekend I am off to Maryland’s State Championship and EIC match to get back at it!  Just in time to avoid the Philadelphia area “popemageddon.‬” 

 

DCIM128GOPRO

 

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

2015 National Matches at Camp Perry

This year I signed up for as many matches at Camp Perry as I could squeeze on the calendar. It was a long eight days of shooting with eight different events all the way from Small Arms Firing School (SAFS) through Games Weekend, Vintage Sniper, Garand, Springfield, Vintage Military, and  Carbine wrapping up with the big Black Rifle matches: the NTI and P100. I had a great time, shot well in several events, and took some lumps in others.

SAFS

SAFS

Small Arms Firing School

This was my second trip to SAFS. I had learned a lot last year which I had been applying throughout the year and I was determined get some good coaching and to try and get those 4 “intro points” this year.

I signed up for the “basic” course again. The difference between basic and advanced being that the basic group gets a couple of hours of dry firing based instruction while the advanced group stays in the AC for additional classroom instruction. Knowing how I learn I figured the dry fire portion of the basic class would be of the most benefit to me.

My firing points coach was Sgt Manning from the Army Reserve Marksmanship Team. He gave me some great advice and I couldn’t have asked for a better coach. I picked up some good tips on the sitting position and off hand and even slinging up. For the latter, I had been stubbornly putting my sling above the pad on my jacket. Letting it a little lower on the pad does help keep the pulse down in the front sight.

The day of the SAFS M16 EIC match it was sunny and beautiful. Mid to high 70’s lighting was perfect, and the humidity stayed low at least for the first two relays. I was on relay two; the fella I had been squad-ed with the past couple days set the bar pretty high in the first relay so the pressure was on.

I was able to clean slow prone, as I had been hoping  to, so I could bank up some points for the other stages. Don’t give me too much credit it was a SR target at 200 as opposed to a reduced MR target so the 10 ring is fairly attainable.  I remembered to take my time in rapid prone and shot a 99 with a nice tight group.

I must have gotten a little cocky by rapid sitting. I didn’t feel as stable as I wanted and rushed too much, dropping some 7 and 8s. It hurt a little to post an 86, especially knowing I’ve shot as high as 99 a few times in sitting…. Plus, I was saving that 80 something for off-hand.

Sgt. Manning, my coach, knew  I was grumpy about posting that score and gave me a little pep talk. “Those shots are gone” a phrase that I have been repeating to myself ever since. I’ve heard plenty times to let go of bad shots and that only the next shot counts, but apparently it took that phrasing for it to finally click for me.

Rarely have I been able to recover from a bad string by making it up in off hand (ie The D-Day match at Talladega) however I’m happy to report I was able to walk it home shooting on two legs and made the cut for my first leg points. I ended up at number 14! Of course I still ask myself where I would have finished if I didn’t bumble sitting.

See CBI’s write up of SAFS with me by clicking here.

Vintage Sniper

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My shooting partner arrived at Perry with his original A4 to get the GTB shooting team back together in time for the Vintage Sniper Match. I had never shot a match in this format and frankly, neither of us had a great grasp on how to read wind. We had spent a fair amount of time worrying, strategizing, and throwing rounds down range. So, at least we had a 300 and 600 yard zero.

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We had some trouble getting the seventy plus year old scope adjust elevation and the it was getting a bit stressful in the last few minutes of the sighting period. However, in the end we were able to squeak by the bronze line. Which was a nice surprise!

CBI has a nice write up on the course of fire and last years Vintage Sniper Match Click here to read it

Sunrise at Camp Perry

Sunrise at Camp Perry

National Garand Match

The Garand Match was what I was hoping to do well in. Things were going well in the beginning, four tens in a row. I was on fire, well, then I burnt the house down. I was picturing that fifth ten coming up… waited…. waited… and my scorer calls for a mark. Yep, I cross-fired like a rookie. It got under my skin and I rounded it out with nines. Due to a goof up with CMP’s system my shooting buddy was down at Viale shooting the Garand match, and I didn’t want to have to explain why I didn’t make the cut. After a little pep talk from my scorer (a friend  from my club) who told me I was doing fine just “Don’t F up” again, I pushed hard to make that bronze cut.

I may have only made the cut by a point, and have posted better scores in the past but it felt great to take home a medal by a hair after bumbling slow prone. This was my 4th Garand Match at Perry and it had been a goal of mine to take home a medal from this match. I’m happy to have finally made it. Maybe next year I can “not F up” and bring home one of a different color.

DCIM125GOPRO

National Springfield Match

This is the first year I have had a Springfield to shoot in this match. I had pieced together a 03A3 from parts and CBI barrel. This rifle had performed well for me at a local match and at the range so I was excited to try her out at Perry. Rapid prone has been my nemesis with the bolt guns,  HXP and my handloads have been giving me some trouble on primary extraction, so I picked up a couple of boxes of Creedmoor sports new match ammo. That stuff proved to be just the ticket for smooth and accurate rapid fire with my bolt guns. I was able to take home a Silver in the Springfield match posting what, at the time, was my personal best across wood guns!

03A3

03A3

National Vintage Military Match.

The old 1917 and I have never gotten along very well, this blog is full of posts about some terrible scores I’ve posted with this rifle. Only once in a practice session did I shoot it over the medal cut and that was probably exceeding the 80 seconds for  rapid. However thanks to a great slow prone stage, a little luck, and perhaps all the trigger time I was able to wrap up “games weekend” with a bronze with the 1917!

M1 Carbine Match.

This little gun killed my streak. Well to be fair it wasn’t all the gun. I wasn’t familiar with the course of fire which put me out of my comfort zone. All stages are fired from a magazine, “slow” prone is 10 rounds in 5 minutes and off hand is 10 rounds in 10. The latter I missed during the range commands and had assumed it was five as well. That said, I still wouldn’t have made the cut even if I ended with a great off hand. This match is a walk and paste with no pit duty, so it makes for a nice easy day and a welcome break between the games events and the NTI/P100.

 

M1 Carbine Match

M1 Carbine Match

I clearly need to go back to the lab on this gun and get some trigger time. However, and I hate to type this, but it might not be worth it to put the time in on the carbine.

The Board Matches: NTI and P100

The National Trophy Individual Match (NTI), the Presidents 100 (P100) and the various team matches are the “serious matches” at Perry.  I signed up for the NTI and the P100 which was a first for me. Prior to this I had never shot in a match with a true 600 yard stage. Oh boy, did I learn a few things.

I had a bumpy start to the NTI. The wind is notorious at Perry and short of the sniper match a couple of days before I had no experience reading the wind. So, after a bad wind call and swaying too much in off hand I started off the NTI with a miss. I kept it mostly in the black after that. For the P100 I did much better in off hand.

I apparently over corrected my wind for sitting during the NTI and was about a minute left. In rapid prone I was low about a minute, but otherwise had a nice group. I expected some differences  with my zeros at Perry so chalk it up as learning.

 

Rapid Sitting

Rapid Sitting

Back to the 600 yard line. As I mentioned earlier, the NTI was my first time the at 600 in competition. In the reduced matches I am pretty confident on my belly, but the wind and distance is certainly humbling. The 20 rounds of the NTI were definitely learning experiences. I tried to take what I learned in the NTI and use it in the P100 where, after losing some points on my first shot due to a bad initial wind call, I did much better.

The 600 yard line on Rodriguez

The 600 yard line on Rodriguez

All said it was a great week. I made the SAFS points and brought home my first medals from Camp Perry. I learned a lot of lessons (some the hard way) and had a great time. After this trip to Perry I am inspired to start trying to chase some EIC points. I plan to start focusing on EIC matches and getting a bit more serious about the black rifle.

DCIM126GOPRO