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,


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.



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


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.


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.


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!



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.


New Hand Loads and Winchester Garand Range Report

With 3 weeks until the National Matches, perhaps imprudently, I’ve decided that I’m not going to use HXP for the Camp Perry again this year. I was able to find enough CCI BR2 primers despite the lingering bottleneck from “the great panic of 2013.”

Before you read on you have to agree to work up your loads properly and not just create the load.


After trying several loads I had very good results with Hornady 168 grain BTHPs over 46 grains of IMR 4895 and a CCI BR2 primer in a 77 HXP case. I also used a Hornady OAL gauge to stretch the COAL out a bit which may not have had much effect but it made me feel better.

I was very happy with the performance of the new Winchester Garand I’ve made several posts about recently. I will take it to a local match this weekend to work it out a bit but I didn’t have any functional issues and it performed very well. Assuming this continues I think I’ll take it to Perry for the JCG match.


May CMP Match With My US M1917

The Sunday after my first High Power match I took my 1917 to a vintage rifle match. I was having some trouble with it last season that I had rectified with a Flex Hone but I hadn’t taken it to a match yet to give it a full work out.

I was worried about rapid fire but it turned out the time I had spent practicing paid off. I finished in plenty of time even before some of the Garands. I’ve gotten the hang of keeping the rifle on my shoulder as I work the bolt which makes rapid a lot more consistent. Next time I’ll take a bit more time on each shot.

I struggled a bit in off hand per normal but all and all it was a good match. I beat my personal best for this rifle which is great, with a little luck and practice I should be in better shape by Camp Perry.


Two days of practice

It was a beautiful weekend for shooting and with my wife away I did a cut corner job of mowing the lawn and spent most of it at the range. I brought out the 1917, M1 and my new(ish) A2.

I spent some time working on the elevation for both my 1917 and Garand for both the conversion to 6 o’clock hold and to figure out why I was so low at the York match. I got that all worked out then spent some time working on my prone position, which I am now feeling much more confident in.

I practiced prone with my A2 and raised the elevation a bit so I could use 6:00 hold with this rifle too. I am very happy with it’s performance so far. I tried my hand at shooting sitting which I have literally never tried before. After trying to imitate the “crossed ankles position” I settled into some sloppy variation of it that seems to work OK for me. This has given me the courage up to sign up for the next NRA highpower match and bring my A2 in a few weeks!

Kimberton has a nice new slab for shooting prone.


Think I have enough stuff?


Don’t tell Bloomberg about my assault clips.