This was the last “home field” matches before Camp Perry so I booked the weekend full of matches.
Saturday morning was NRA High Power. It was a full house with a lot of people trying to get some trigger time before Perry. Tropical Storm Bill had been predicted to doom the weekend’s matches but the weather held off. It was hot and muggy, perfect practice for Perry.
High Power Sitting
I beat my personal best on Saturday which felt great. I did reasonable in off hand which helped but I did a little above average for myself in slow and rapid which helped pull me up. I wasn’t really happy with sitting. This is the second match in a row I felt a little off in sitting, specifically bouncing around too much. Most of this boils down to rushing and loosing focus on trigger control. I’ll keep working on it. “All i need to do ” is to pull off one more good match over the expert cut (89%) to move up to the Expert Classification. Maybe with a little luck I can make this happen soon.
Sunday I shot a Garand Match and a Springfield Match. The Garand Match was a little sloppy. I was “wildly inconsistent” in slow prone as my shooting partner described it. More times than I’d like to admit I bouced from the X to the 8 ring… and once to the 7. That and a mediocre rapid prone held me back a little. But I was able to do ok in off-hand to fall just 5 points under the medal cut. I would have felt better going into Perry with a high score but its within reach at this point.
Garand vs 03A3 in slow prone.
On a later relay I brought the 03A3 out for its first Match. It has been a long project but it performed well all around. I had been apprehensive about rapid prone as in practice I had rushed myself into some ugly scores. However I was able to keep it together in rapid despite a dirty chamber and rough HXP causing some tough primary extraction issues. Between the fatigue, handling a new rifle, the heat, and rushing my shot, I dropped not one but TWO misses in off hand. Otherwise it was a good sting. Perhaps ironically, I was able to come in just 2 points under the medal cut, besting my performance with the Garand where I got all the rounds on target. So, I suppose “all I have to do” is not miss next time. Sounds easy right?
Somewhere on the internet I read that if you buy a new Criterion Barrel at the north store during the National Matches the CMP armorers van will install it for free. So, I hauled my rack grade Winchester with me to the Matches.
I rolled in to Camp Perry late in the afternoon on the Sunday before SAFS. There was not a lot going on in Camp at that time, it was nice to have the place more or less to myself. I stopped by the CMP van and confirmed that the internet was right, then headed over to the CMP store and picked up a barrel.
CMP went above and beyond again. Not only did they install the new barrel for free they tuned the op rod, replaced some small parts and gave me some advice on other parts to replace. All in about a half hour, which was enough time for me to spend too much money on commercial row.
There are some conditions on this. You will need to be a registered participant in the national matches and turn around and ability is based on how busy they are.
Now that this rifle has a nice new barrel I plan to replace the stock and perhaps the gas tube which should give me another nice rifle to use for JCG matches.
While I didn’t think to bring the receiver with me, I also picked up a CBI barrel for my 03A3 which brings me close to completing my 03A3 build.
I met up with Josh from CBI during the Vintage Sniper Match. He was working on a story about some shooters on the line using CBI barrels. We talked a little bit about the matches, CBI’s background, their future plans and firearms in general. I was impressed with their focus on quality and how they have strived to maintain quality during the “panic.” They have some exciting things in the pipeline. I won’t give any spoilers but it’s probably going to end with me spending more money!
This afternoon I picked up, at my LGS, a stripped 03A3 receiver that I had ordered from AIM Surplus. I plan to build it up into a proper 03A3 that I can shoot in the Springfield matches at Camp Perry. These are recovered from drill rifles there is a little mark on the lower front of the receiver where the weld was ground off.
It looks nice and should be a good place to start. It includes no parts other than the ejector and the extractor collar. The receiver has been re-parked while the R stamped bolt appears to be original, and was still covered in cosmoline.
As I make progress I will update add to the “03A3 Build” tag.