June 8th, 2018

Yanks Enjoy Irish Hospitality at Emerald Match

Emerald Match Ireland 2018 Tullamore Midland range Phil Kelley James Crofts

American shooters have been enjoying Irish hospitality this week in Ireland, while attending attending the Emerald 2018 match at Midlands National Shooting Centre of Ireland (Tullamore). Our friends James Crofts, Phil Kelley, and Aussie Jenni Hausler provided these images from the event — both at the range and off. The Yanks are off to a good start. James reports: “Day one scores are out and Team USA is on top. Madison Bramley topped F-Open and I held on for F-TR. I also won the 1000-yard match. My equipment performed flawlessly — rifle built by Keith Weil of KW Precision, Cerus Stock by Will McCloskey, and BRM action by Jim Borden.”

Emerald Match Ireland 2018 Tullamore Midland range Phil Kelley James Crofts

American Phil Kelley posted: “As always our hosts are outstanding. Man, love this range! Ready for the big match starting tomorrow.”

Emerald Match Ireland 2018 Tullamore Midland range Phil Kelley James Crofts

Phil Kelley enjoyed the Team Match and long-range Clays Fun Match which preceded the main event. Phil posted: “A great day, with a busy line at 1100 and 1200 yards in Ireland. Last fun day included some great competition. Team USA did well. After getting completely destroyed at 1100 yards, I was able to win the 1200 yard match; with a miss! First ever board miss, it’s only 6’ wide. 12-14 mph winds with a lying, heavy mirage.”

Emerald Match Ireland 2018 Tullamore Midland range Phil Kelley James Crofts

The day finished with a fun (and challenging) Clay Pigeon Shoot at roughly 1235 yards. Phil noted: “Ellis Berry, James Crofts and myself were one of only a handful to hit the 4.25″ clay target within 5 shots in these conditions.” Think you can do that? That 4.25″ clay bird represents a mere 0.338 MOA at 1200 Yards! Not easy folks…

Emerald Match Ireland 2018 Tullamore Midland range Phil Kelley James Crofts
Competitors in the Clay Pidgeon Shoot at 1200+ yards.

Posting on Facebook, Mias Nieuwoudt had an interesting observation about the challenge of 1200 yards: “On average it seems the old 308s ran out of steam compared to our F-Open rigs at 1200 yards. Maybe a 40° scope rail with the targets angled backwards at 30° so you can lob the points like mortars!”

Emerald Match Ireland 2018 Tullamore Midland range Phil Kelley James Crofts

Emerald Match Ireland 2018 Tullamore Midland range Phil Kelley James Crofts

Touring the Emerald Isle — Countryside and Castles
On June 5, Phil Kelley observed: “Another great group touring day. A morning stop at Donamass Castle ruins provided incredible Irish views, then on to the town of Kilkenny for the Smithwicks Brewery tour, visit to Kilkenny Castle and a walk on the Medieval Mile.”

Eire Ireland Emerald Match James Crofts Jim Kelley Team Berger Tullamore Midlands Centre
Interior of Kilkenny Castle

Eire Ireland Emerald Match James Crofts Jim Kelley Team Berger Tullamore Midlands Centre
Nancy Tompkins (left) and Michelle Gallagher (right) give a shout out to friends.

Eire Ireland Emerald Match James Crofts Jim Kelley Team Berger Tullamore Midlands Centre
The American contingent — enjoying the good life in Ireland.

Facebook Photo Credits: Jenni Hausler, James Crofts, Phil Kelley, Pat Hunt, the Bramleys.

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June 8th, 2018

USA Shooting National Championships at Fort Benning

USA Shooting national championships fort benning georgia ISSF smallbore air rifle pistol

More than 200 shooters from around the country will make their annual pilgrimage to the home of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit this weekend as the week-long USA Shooting National Championships for Rifle and Pistol kick off Sunday in Fort Benning, Georgia. The National Championships start Sunday, June 10 and run through June 16. This event is free and open to the public.

Click HERE for USA Shooting National Championships Schedule of Events PDF »

This year’s National Championship will also be the first Nationals where the new ISSF shooting format will be in place, with men and women taking the same number of record shots in competition.

USA Shooting national championships fort benning georgia ISSF smallbore air rifle pistol

National titles and slots on the National/National Junior/National Paralympic Teams will be up for grabs as athletes compete in individual Olympic and Paralympic events in Rifle and Pistol disciplines, as well as Men’s and Women’s 50m Prone Rifle, Men’s 25m Center Fire and Standard Pistol and Men’s 50m Free Pistol. This match will also serve as the selection match for the 2018 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championships to be held August 31 – September 15 in Changwon, South Korea. Shooters who’ve already earned slots on the World Championship Team will be looking to Nationals as as a tune-up prior for the Worlds.

USA Shooting national championships fort benning georgia ISSF smallbore air rifle pistol

Among the notable Rifle athletes who will be competing in Fort Benning are three-time Olympic medalist Matt Emmons, 2016 Olympic gold medalist Ginny Thrasher, and two-time Olympian Michael McPhail of the USAMU. Emmons and Thrasher posted the top finishes for American Rifle athletes this year on the ISSF circuit. Emmons just missed the podium at the April 2018 World Cup in Changwon, finishing fourth in Men’s Three-Position Rifle. Thrasher finished fifth in Women’s Air Rifle at the World Cup in Fort Benning just three weeks ago.

Ginny Thrasher USA Shooting National Championships Fort Benning

Paralympic Competition Draws Shooters from Many Nations

In addition to the National Championships, this event is also a World Shooting Para Sport-sanctioned (WSPS, formerly IPC) match so Paralympic athletes from the U.S., Ireland, Canada, Ukraine and Columbia will also compete in this match across the Paralympic Rifle and Pistol events.

USA Shooting National Championships Fort Benning

USA Shooting National Championships Fort Benning

Archive photos courtesy NRA Competitive Shooting.

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June 8th, 2018

Range Kit Essentials — 12 Handy Items for Days at the Range

Range Kit Gear shellholder safety dozen essentials

The shooting season is now in full swing. When you head to the range you’ll want to be prepared. That means collecting all the gear you’ll need at the range. It’s easy to forget small, critical items, so we’ve provided a checklist of the small “extras” you should pack before you head out to the range. In addition to rifle, rests, ammo, targets, and cleaning gear, here are a dozen essentials you should include in your range bag.

Shell-Holder — If you don’t have calipers, you can use a shell-holder to check for excessive case expansion from hot loads. If a fired case doesn’t slip into the shell-holder easily, your load is definitely TOO HOT.

Extra Earplugs — Always use ear protection when shooting. We bring a 35mm film canister with extra sets of foam earplugs.

Hex Wrench or Screwdriver for action screws — Action screws can work loose with time. Always bring the appropriate hex wrench or screwdriver whenever you go to the range.

Small Wrench for Scope Rings — Check the tension of your scope base and ring fasteners before you go. Bring along a small Torx wrench for the ring screws (or other tool that fits your fasteners).

Normal and Under-sized Jags — It is often wise to use one-caliber undersize jags when applying solvent with cotton patches. You should have a couple sizes in your range kit.

Extra Batteries — Bring extra batteries for all your electronic gear — which can include chronograph, windmeter, digital camera, GPS etc.

Small Notebook and Pen or Pencil — Use the notebook to record chron data, log group sizes, and make notes about wind and weather conditions.

Adhesive dots — Bring a few sheets of adhesive dots (sold at office supply stores). Use small white or black dots as target pasters. Use larger red or orange dots as aiming points (target centers).

Folding Chair or Camp Stool — This comes in handy if you’re spotting for another shooter, or if you reload away from the firing line.

Water Bottle — You can’t shoot well if you’re dehydrated. Bring at least two quarts of water with you and keep a bottle at the bench.

Surveyors’ Tape and Wood Stakes — You can make inexpensive wind indicators using surveyors’ tape attached to the top of wood stakes.

Small Plastic Ruler — Use this to measure your group sizes. A transparent (see-through) ruler works best. Rulers are also useful for drawing lines on targets.

This list is not intended to be exclusive. There are many other items you may wish to include. Obviously bring safety glasses, and Sharpie-type pens are always handy to mark targets. We invite our readers to add other “essentials” to the list. The important thing is to plan ahead, packing your key items before you drive to the range.

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