Garand Thumb Goes West: 2017 Creedmoor Cup at Ben Avery

GTB Shooting Team (aka my shooting buddy and I) has traveled to distant matches in the past, including flying to Ben Avery in 2015. This time, however, we drove the 5000 mile round trip to Ben Avery. The drive itself was an epic adventure. We saw The Great Smoky Mountains, the Ozarks, the Plains, the desert, Table Mesa and the Grand Canyon. As an added bonus I now know what its like to travel 40 hours straight without sleep… weird.

The Creedmoor Cup at Ben Avery 

Ben Avery is a beautiful facility, 150 firing points, a shaded pit, easy to use cantilever target carriers, and all the sun you could ask for. The Creedmoor Cup consists of three 800 aggs on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, followed by an EIC on Sunday.

The matches were a lot of fun and I learned a lot while I was out there. Ben Avery has some sporty wind. At one point there were 5 minute wind shifts between shots at 600. Reading the mirage was a lot more useful than the flags. The wind was generally a head or tail wind so trying to determine angle from a flag was a futile exercise.  The mirage off the 300 yard berm did not lie, of course one has to take their eyes off the spotting scope to squeeze the trigger.

Phoenix is a beautiful place and Creedmoor Sports ran a great match. Dennis Demille, the GM of Creedmoor Sports, announced that this was the last Creedmoor Cup. I’ve shot in 3 of them now and I will miss the Cup next year.  CMP will be absorbing the Cup Matches into their “CMP Cup” format using KTS targets. I have mixed feelings about this change as my experience with the CMP KTS targets has been very poor. However I look forward to shooting at Ben Avery again in the future.

What Gear do I Need to Be a Competitive Shooter: Nothing

The “gun community” is constantly clucking about “what gear do the pros run” throwing money at their safe queen rifles for instagram pictures.

The governing body of PRS has gone so far as to poll shooters about what gear they use. Right down to their bag and rifle case.

Get real. A Pelican Case and a Tactical Tailor bag are worth exactly 0 points.

Being competitive in shooting sports takes skill not gear.

Dry fire, practice, learn, show up and shoot your best, don’t collect gear.

Monardgate: magic jackets and the emperor’s demands

In a recent email, Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) claimed Monard Jackets add 7 points in off hand, presumably with magic, and therefore Monard jackets are banned. 
In reality, and as widely known to most shooters, monardgate all stems from Gary Anderson dictating that certain jackets must be banned because he “hates” them.

Sometimes at work one has to deal with a board member who must be pleased as illogical as the request may be. This is a hobby and we shouldn’t have to deal with this drama, while we are supposed to be having fun.

Maybe Mr Anderson should stick to ISSF, where they have a special tension gauge to test jackets before each match.

Your Other Left: Camp Perry 2017

2017 was my 6th trip to the National Matches at Camp Perry. Back when I first started this blog, and shooting high power, I went for the games matches, however over the years my interests have shifted. 2015 and 2016 I shot more or less all the CMP  rifle events at Perry. This year however marks the first time in 6 years I did not fire my M1 Garand at Perry, or any wood guns for that matter. This year I only shot the XTC Service Rifle Matches. the Hazzard Match, P100, NTI, NTT and NTIT.

It’s not that I don’t like shooting the Garand its just a matter of time and trying to focus on my shooting goals.

That said, it was a great trip. kicked off the weekend shooting the new “Oliver Hazzard Perry” (OHP) match. Which is Rapid Sitting, Rapid Prone, and 10 rounds of Slow Prone. The calendar originally had this as a 50 round NM course match but at some point it as shortened to this format. No one likes off hand anyway so this was a nice change.

My shooting buddy and I did great at this match, coming in top 50! Little did we know it would be down hill from there. We came back to the Camp Ground and plotted taking over the world over the next couple days.

I started out soggy in the P100 getting some of the jerky off hand shots out of my system. Then I managed to make a good wind call at 300… the wrong direction.  I can’t use the excuse that the knobs go the other way, I turned the knob the way I intended. I just forgot my lefts and rights! at 600 I remembered how to shoot and posted a respectable 98.

NTI started out interesting, we only had 4 people on our FP as opposed to 6. So after pulling solo for the first two relays I ended up with a fair amount of down time throughout the match, which was nice.

Anyway off hand stared out with a 7 but, I shook it off and managed a 91, last year off hand was a disaster for me, so I was real happy with that as I dropped into sitting.

My sitting group was low by about 1/4 minute which cost me a pile of 9s. It wasn’t the end of the world, I was still in it as long as i “just shot my average” going back.

A bad wind call at 300 made the math get a little tighter rolling back to 500 down 22 was no fun. But my 600 yard performance has been pretty good lately, a mid 190s and a little bit of luck would have done it. But, despite opening with an X I ended up dropping a couple of 8s that were my fault and some waterline 9s that gave me a 190 in the end. So more or less i posted some mediocre scores, especially in rapids, didn’t give up, but ended with a 468, six points shy of the cut.