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.
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.
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.
Kicked off the season with three XTC matches over the past 4 weeks.
Bridgeville was first on the schedule. They shoot their first couple matches within 2 weeks of each other at the end of March and beginning of April. March’s match went well. I shot a solid master score. My streak of consistent off-hand continued, however there was a little “extra wind” in my scope which lead me to discover my garage gunsmithing resulted in a very slight cant in my scope.
So I went back to the garage and fixed it. While its level again it took me the next two matches to square up my no wind zero… and my stubbornness.
The April match at Bridgeville, I’m not sure I’d call it a trainwreck but it wasn’t pretty. I Let myself get frustrated in off-hand and blew a 6 out the top. Turns out it helps to break the shot in the middle. Shot a 91 in that string including that 6 which is still within what I consider “good.” Of course after I played the “of only I shot a 9 or 10” Lesson learned: shoot happy.
Blew all 4 rapid strings out the right. Including a nice tight group spanning the 9 ring in prone.
Went back to the lab again to find that extra window. I convinced myself I found it and was confident my rifle was solid and I was going to get back to fighting strength for the home opener at New Holland.
Stood up on the line confidently and opened with an 8. Long story short I determined it was me and stubbornly wouldn’t touch the knobs. I even put my rifle in the rack and reset twice. One would think I’d notice something is wrong when I visited the 5 ring to say hi. But instead I just kept trying to hammer those 7s into 10s .
Once I got on my belly things went well. Shot a 99 – nuffin and clean 5-5 in rapids. Then went back to 600 and posted a 192 which I’m happy with. I’m feeling more comfortable in the wind but I have to work on not letting the spotter interfere with where I put the cross hairs back there.
Lots of matches on the calendar, including 4 days of back to back XTC at the creedmoor cup and a couple reduced matches. Ill think positively for now and say the zero issues are behind me but try not to forget how the knobs work.
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.
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.
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.