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! 

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.

Read CMP’s statement here:


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.


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.

Armistice Day Match: WWI bolt guns on the line!

It’s a tradition at my club to bring our 1917s to the November Match. Because of the holidays let November match falls a little earlier in the month and is often on or about Armistice Day/Veterans Day. Which, As I’m sure the reader is aware marks anversary of the WWI armistice. 

My 1917 Eddystone has a July 1918 receiver with a Remington replacement barrel dated 11-18. I like to imagine that it could have been made in time for the AEF’s Hundred  Days offensive which “went over the top” 8/8/18 and ended with the armistice on 11/11/18. Then rebarrled in the aftermath of the war with a barrel made in the last month of fighting. 
Anyway enough about my imagination. It was cool and bright for the Armistice day match. The glare can be pretty tough at this range in the fall and this match was no exception. Smoking that tiny front sight post help cut down on the glare some. 

I punched an 8 on my first shot for score while I was still trying to remember the correct sight picture for this rifle. Posting a 95 in slow prone. As you may know the 1917 has no windage adjustments so it’s a “Pennsylvaina windage” game with these rifles. My Eddystone shoots a bit left so it takes a “favor right” to hit the 10.

Seems when I got to rapid I over compensated some on favoring right but did “ok.”

I sat out the second rely while my shooting buddy posted a nice score with his 1917. Then broke out my RIA 1903 for the third relay. 
My Rock Island 1903 is a interwar rebuild. It’s  receiver was made just a few hundred after the “safe to fire”serial number  cut off for RIA. It’s a neat old rifle sporting a WWII era scant stock and a set of Bill Bentz reproduction USMC sights.

The thick front sight, hood and larger rear peep made all the difference for this rifle that I had long ago written off as “not a shooter” due to its high muzzle numbers.  After installing a set of Bill’s sights I discovered the problem was my eyes not the rifle as now it can hold a 1 MOA group.

While I couldn’t hold hard enough to keep all the rounds in a neat little 1 MOA group I did pretty well for the first time out eight the 1903. I was particularly impressed with how smouth thr action is compared to my A3 and 1917s. It was so easy to work I left far too much time on the clock in rapid. I’m used to having to beat the bolt open for a couple rounds in rapid fire due to HXP’s questionable headspace.
My shooting buddy brought out a WWI vintage SMLE which he tells me he will leave at home next time! It was fun to play with some bolt guns for a change. Next month is the last Garand for the season I plan on shooting my December 19141 six digit Springfield, you know, to avenge Pearl Harbor,


The Blonde Bomber Visits the Poconos: WBRP M14 Match.

I’ve been working on a M14/M1A build for a few years now. At the 2014 National Matches I picked up a “blemished” M1A receiver from the Springfield Armory shop at commercial row. Over the winter I found a deal on a rack grade TRW GI parts kit. Then this summer Springfield Armory had a package deal on a mid-weight NM barrel and bolt installed while I shopped on commercial row that. I couldn’t  it pass up.


After some tinkering and trying to figure out how to put these rifles together, the “Blonde Bomber” was born. If you haven’t guessed she gets her name from her very yellow blond birch stock which is a stock I picked up at the CMP north store.

The GTB Shooting Team headed up to the Poconos to Wilkes-Barre Rifle & Pistol Club  with our M14s. It was in the mid 60’s and just a bit overcast up in northeast PA.

WBRP runs a reduced  200 yard CMP National Match Course walk and paste match. It’s a nice club to shoot at with luxurious covered firing points. Since it’s a CMP match all stages start from standing which is good practice for EIC matches. This format is also nice for trying new things since it doesn’t count for EIC points and it doesn’t affect NRA classification.



Shooting the M14 is interesting. In off-hand I like it better than the Garand but not as much as I like my A2.  I weighted my stock which helped me slow my wobble a little. It also has a long magazine which is nice because I have short arms and this hold helps me keep get a better cheek weld in off-hand.


Sitting. Oh boy did the Blonde Bomber push me around in sitting. I gave up a far too many points in sitting because of this. That said, I think with some time I can clean up the sitting position.

Rapid prone when fairly well. Both my shooting buddy and I kept 9 rounds in the black and popped a 6 each… not sure what that was about. Reloading these things might be harder than a Garand or at least I have trouble with rocking in a mag. It otherwise handled like a Garand in rapid prone.

The 20 rounds of slow prone went better than I expected. I got sloppy on the last round and popped that 7. “That little guy, I wouldn’t worry about that little guy.”

I haven’t set up to handload for 308 and I wasn’t impressed with the box of PPU I had shot to check function. Creedmoor sports 30-06 served me very well in my bolt guns at Camp Perry so I picked up a case of it for this match. Just as it had at Perry this ammo didn’t let me down. I continue to be  impressed with Creedmoor’s ammo.

In the end I am happy with my performance and the performance of the Blonde Bomber. It was a great match I look forward to going back to WBRP next season. As far as the Blond Bomber, I’m not ready to give up my White Oak AR and take the Blonde Bomber to the NTI in 2016 but for sure I’ll give it a try at the M1A match at Perry.

IMG_0293 M14s on the line


22-250 M1 Garand

This neat Garand conversion was posted in a M1 Garand Facebook group I frequent.

It’s a 22-250 Garand. 22-250 is, in essence a 308 necked down for 223 projectiles. Other than the barrel,  the rest of the rifle is a standard Garand. The builder tells me the tricky part is getting the gas port the right size for it to cycle.

Below is a quick comparison of 30-06 vs 22-250 note that out to 500 yards 22-250 is a bit faster and flatter than 06. The builder plans to use it as a varmint gun. I’m sure it will do well at that job.

22-250 has the same rim/base size as 30-06/308  and is just a bit shorter than 308. This helps make this conversion practical, as the standard Garand bolt and reciver can still be used. So, keep in mind changing the bolt is going to be very difficult, if not impossible. if you are dreaming of a 300 blackout M1 Garand.