Ready for some action in Arizona? The 13th Annual Western CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup Matches will be held at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Arizona. The CMP Games run 7-11 October while the Creedmoor Cup Matches take place 12-16 October. All interested shooters are invited to participate in these prestigious, national-level competitions. NOTE: Registration for the Creedmoor Cup matches must be done online via www.creedmoorsports.com.
The CMP Western Games will include the Garand, Springfield, Vintage Military, Modern Military, Rimfire Sporter, Carbine, and Vintage Sniper matches. Along with the shooting matches, the CMP will offer a special CMP Games Match Clinic plus a Small Arms Firing School (Rifle). These training programs can benefit novices as well as experienced shooters. If you need to buy ammo or hardware, the CMP will operate a Sales Booth at Ben Avery all 4 days of Western Games.
Creedmoor Cup Schedule and Events
The Creedmoor Cup Matches will begin on October 12th and conclude on October 16th. A great Bar-B-Q on Saturday is included with entry. This year’s Creedmoor Cup schedule includes the following events: High Power Rifle Clinic, Creedmoor Cup Match (2400 point aggregate), 4-Man Team Match, and Creedmoor EIC Match. The Special High Power Shooting Clinic will include lectures, demonstrations and dry-fire training by some of the world’s most talented service rifle marksmen.
Western CMP Games Matches
Garand & Springfield Match Clinic
John C. Garand Match
Vintage Military Rifle Match
Small Arms Firing School/M16 Match
Rimfire Sporter Match
Vintage Sniper Match
Modern Military Rifle Match
Western Creedmoor Cup Events
High Power Rifle Clinic
Creedmoor Cup (2400 point aggregate)
4-Man Team Match
Creedmoor EIC Match
To see a real pro shooting Service Rifle, check out the above video. That’s former National Champion (now Creedmoor Sports G.M.) Dennis DeMille, shooting 300-yard Rapids from the prone position. This was filmed at the 2010 Berger Southwest Nationals at Ben Avery. You’ll see Dennis adjusts his sights while looking through the spotter. Then watch how calm and steady Dennis stays from shot to shot. That comes with years of practice and training.
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The third annual Pyramyd Air Cup attracted nearly 100 amateur and professional shooters from around the nation, making it the best-attended AAFTA Grand Prix Field Target event in the USA this year. Hosted September 9-11 at the Tusco Rifle Club in New Philadelphia, Ohio, the Pyramyd Cup featured multiple airgun shooting disciplines including Field Target, the rapid-fire GunSlynger benchrest event, and the PayDay Challenge. Watch this video to see all the events:
Reigning AAFTA National Champion Ken Hughes stated: “What a weekend! The Field Target courses were challenging, and the wild, rapid-fire style of the Gunslynger event was difficult in its own right. It was great getting to meet new airgun buddies and check out the new gear from the many vendors in attendance. I really enjoyed the PA Cup!”
Field Target Discipline Is Challenging
“Field Target is one of the most difficult shooting disciplines out there,” says Pyramyd Air Cup Match Director, Tyler Patner. “Combine the multiple skills required to rise to the top of your game, with the myriad of factors you take into account at each lane, and you’ve got a challenging sport.”
“Targets are small, metal silhouettes of animals that consist of a kill zone and a colored paddle,” explains Patner. “Placed at unknown distances from between 10 yards to as far as 55 yards, the targets have kill-zones ranging in size from 3/8 inch to 1 1/2 inches. When the pellet passes through the kill zone and hits the paddle, the target falls and you’re awarded a point. It’s a game of precision and practice. You range-find with your scope, dope for distance, take the wind into account, and then you have to execute. There are different restrictions based upon your selected class, but the challenges remain the same. Wind-doping, range-finding, and remaining mentally tough over the entire course of fire are the biggest hurdles competitors face.”
Huge Prize Table for Competitors
Competition prizes were donated by many airgun and optics manufacturers including: AirForce Airguns, Air Arms, Beeman, Crosman, Birchwood Casey, Diana, Feinwerkbau, H&N, Hawke Sport Optics, JSB, Leapers, Plano, Predator, Umarex, UTG, and Walther. “You’d be hard-pressed to find an airgun competition with a better selection of prizes for its winners,” says says Pyramyd Air CEO, Joshua Ungier. “Our winner’s packages help assure shooters that if they’re limited to traveling to only one competitive shooting event, they recognize the Pyramyd Air Cup as the industry’s premier event.”
Most bolt-action rifle shooters work the bolt with their trigger-pulling hand. This is because most rifles sold to right-handed shooters come with right-side bolts, while “lefty” rifles come with left-side bolts. This “standard” configuration requires the shooter to take his dominant, trigger-pulling hand off the stock to cycle the bolt, then re-position his hand on the stock, and “re-claim” the trigger. Often the shooter must lift or move his head to work the bolt, and that also requires him to re-establish his cheek weld after each and every shot. Not good.
This really doesn’t make much sense for precision shooting with fore-end support*. There is a better way. If you leave your trigger hand in position and work the bolt (and feed rounds) with the opposite hand, then you don’t need to shift grip and head position with each shot. All this requires is a weakside-placed bolt, i.e. a left bolt for a right-handed shooter or a right bolt for a left-handed shooter. The video below shows a “Lefty” working a right bolt. Note how efficient this is:
As our friend Boyd Allen explains: “If you think about it, if you are going to work with a factory action where your options are left bolt and left port or right bolt and right port, and you are building a rifle that will only be shot from a rest, using the left/left for a RH shooter or using a right/right for a LH shooter works better than the conventional configuration”.
Shoot Like a Champ and Work the Bolt with Your Weakside Hand
Derek Rodgers, the only person to have won BOTH F-Open and F-TR National Championships, runs this kind of “opposite” bolt set-up, shooting right-handed with a left bolt. Though Derek is a right-hander, he shoots with a Left Bolt/Left Port (LBLP) action. He shoots with his right hand on grip, while manipulating the bolt (and feeding rounds) with his non-trigger-pulling hand. He pulls the trigger with his right index finger, while working the left-side bolt with his left (weakside) hand. This allows him to stay in position, and maintain his cheekweld.
2013 National Championship-Winning Derek Rodgers Left Bolt/Left Port Rifle.
*For true standing, off-hand shooting (whether in competition or on a hunt), a conventional strongside bolt placement makes sense, since the non-dominant arm must support the front of the rifle all the time. When shooting from bipod or rest, it’s a different story.
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Are you from a Northern state that’s snowbound in the winter? Looking for a fun December diversion (and a break from cold weather)? Then consider a trip to Talledega, Alabama. This December, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) hosts the Second Annual Talladega 600, “A Southern Classic”, at the Talladega Marksmanship Park. This event for rifle, pistol, and shotgun shooters kicks off Tuesday, December 6, 2016, and concludes Sunday, December 11th. It should be fun for the whole family. For more info, visit the Talladega 600 Webpage.
Competitors of all ages and skill levels are welcome at the Talladega 600. Events will include popular CMP Games Matches: Garand, Springfield, and Vintage Military Match, as well as the Vintage Sniper, Carbine and Rimfire Match. There will be a Small Arms Firing School with an M16 Match, the Congressional 30 (similar to President’s Rifle Match), the Dixie Double Highpower Match, and an EIC Rifle Match. Pistol events will include the .22 Rimfire EIC Pistol Match, the Service Pistol EIC Match, the As-Issued 1911 and the Military & Police Matches. Shotgunners can enjoy a Sporting Clays Shoot and a 5-Stand Shoot.
Talladega Marksmanship Park
The 500-acre CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park is one of the most impressive shooting venues in North America. Talladega boasts superb facilities and state-of the-art electronic target systems. Each rifle firing point is equipped with a modern KTS electronic target and scoring monitor. Located beside each shooter on the firing line, these monitors allows competitors to see shot locations and scores instantly — no more waiting for targets to pulled and then marked with with a spotter disc.
For spectators following the action, large monitors inside the comfortable 13,000-square-foot Clubhouse will display scores from the shooting matches as they are being fired. Scores are also viewable online through the CMP’s Competition Tracker.
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Today is practice day for the Mid-Range F-Class Nationals, which commence bright and early tomorrow morning in Lodi, Wisconsin. In any shooting competition, you must try to avoid major screw-ups that can ruin your day (or your match). In this article, reigning F-TR National Mid-Range and Long Range Champion Bryan Litz talks about “Train Wrecks”, i.e. those big disasters (such as equipment failures) that can ruin a whole match. Bryan illustrates the types of “train wrecks” that commonly befall competitors, and he explains how to avoid these “unmitigated disasters”.
Urban Dictionary “Train Wreck” Definition: “A total @#$&! disaster … the kind that makes you want to shake your head.”
Success in long range competition depends on many things. Those who aspire to be competitive are usually detail-oriented, and focused on all the small things that might give them an edge. Unfortunately it’s common for shooters lose sight of the big picture — missing the forest for the trees, so to speak.
Consistency is one of the universal principles of successful shooting. The tournament champion is the shooter with the highest average performance over several days, often times not winning a single match. While you can win tournaments without an isolated stellar performance, you cannot win tournaments if you have a single train wreck performance. And this is why it’s important for the detail-oriented shooter to keep an eye out for potential “big picture” problems that can derail the train of success!
Train wrecks can be defined differently by shooters of various skill levels and categories. Anything from problems causing a miss, to problems causing a 3/4-MOA shift in wind zero can manifest as a train wreck, depending on the kind of shooting you’re doing.
Below is a list of common Shooting Match Train Wrecks, and suggestions for avoiding them.
1. Cross-Firing. The fastest and most common way to destroy your score (and any hopes of winning a tournament) is to cross-fire. The cure is obviously basic awareness of your target number on each shot, but you can stack the odds in your favor if you’re smart. For sling shooters, establish your Natural Point of Aim (NPA) and monitor that it doesn’t shift during your course of fire. If you’re doing this right, you’ll always come back on your target naturally, without deliberately checking each time. You should be doing this anyway, but avoiding cross-fires is another incentive for monitoring this important fundamental. In F-Class shooting, pay attention to how the rifle recoils, and where the crosshairs settle. If the crosshairs always settle to the right, either make an adjustment to your bipod, hold, or simply make sure to move back each shot. Also consider your scope. Running super high magnification can leave the number board out of the scope’s field view. That can really increase the risk of cross-firing.
2. Equipment Failure. There are a wide variety of equipment failures you may encounter at a match, from loose sight fasteners, to broken bipods, to high-round-count barrels that that suddenly “go south” (just to mention a few possibilities). Mechanical components can and do fail. The best policy is to put some thought into what the critical failure points are, monitor wear of these parts, and have spares ready. This is where an ounce of prevention can prevent a ton of train wreck. On this note, if you like running hot loads, consider whether that extra 20 fps is worth blowing up a bullet (10 points), sticking a bolt (DNF), or worse yet, causing injury to yourself or someone nearby.
[Editor’s Note: The 2016 F-Class Nationals will employ electronic targets so conventional pit duties won’t be required. However, the following advice does apply for matches with conventional targets.]
3. Scoring/Pit Malfunction. Although not related to your shooting technique, doing things to insure you get at least fair treatment from your scorer and pit puller is a good idea. Try to meet the others on your target so they can associate a face with the shooter for whom they’re pulling. If you learn your scorer is a Democrat, it’s probably best not to tell Obama jokes before you go for record. If your pit puller is elderly, it may be unwise to shoot very rapidly and risk a shot being missed (by the pit worker), or having to call for a mark. Slowing down a second or two between shots might prevent a 5-minute delay and possibly an undeserved miss.
4. Wind Issues. Tricky winds derail many trains. A lot can be written about wind strategies, but here’s a simple tip about how to take the edge off a worse case scenario. You don’t have to start blazing away on the command of “Commence fire”. If the wind is blowing like a bastard when your time starts, just wait! You’re allotted 30 minutes to fire your string in long range slow fire. With average pit service, it might take you 10 minutes if you hustle, less in F-Class. Point being, you have about three times longer than you need. So let everyone else shoot through the storm and look for a window (or windows) of time which are not so adverse. Of course this is a risk, conditions might get worse if you wait. This is where judgment comes in. Just know you have options for managing time and keep an eye on the clock. Saving rounds in a slow fire match is a costly and embarrassing train wreck.
5. Mind Your Physical Health. While traveling for shooting matches, most shooters break their normal patterns of diet, sleep, alcohol consumption, etc. These disruptions to the norm can have detrimental effects on your body and your ability to shoot and even think clearly. If you’re used to an indoor job and eating salads in air-conditioned break rooms and you travel to a week-long rifle match which keeps you on your feet all day in 90-degree heat and high humidity, while eating greasy restaurant food, drinking beer and getting little sleep, then you might as well plan on daily train wrecks. If the match is four hours away, rather than leaving at 3:00 am and drinking five cups of coffee on the morning drive, arrive the night before and get a good night’s sleep.”
Keep focused on the important stuff. You never want to lose sight of the big picture. Keep the important, common sense things in mind as well as the minutia of meplat trimming, weighing powder to the kernel, and cleaning your barrel ’til it’s squeaky clean. Remember, all the little enhancements can’t make up for one big train wreck!
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The 2016 F-Class National Championships commence today in Lodi, Wisconsin. The Mid-Range Championships will run through September 27th, followed immediately by the Long Range Championships which conclude on October 1st.
Hopefully, this article may provide a little inspiration for our readers who will be competing at the Nationals in the days ahead. Here are some motivational messages that shooters can use to stay calm and focused, and to tune up their “mental game”.
“Shoot Like a Champion”. Bryan Litz, author of Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting, says he often sees notes like this tucked in shooter’s gear (or taped to an ammo box) at matches. What “marksmanship mantras” do you use? Do you have a favorite quote that you keep in mind during competition?
On the Applied Ballistics Facebook Page, Bryan invited other shooters to post the motivating words (and little reminders) they use in competition. Here are some of the best responses:
“Shoot 10s and No One Can Catch You…” — James Crofts
“You Can’t Miss Fast Enough to Win.” — G. Smith
“Forget the last shot. Shoot what you see!” — P. Kelley
“Breathe, relax, you’ve got this, just don’t [mess] up.” — S. Wolf
“It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.” — J. McEwen
“Keep calm and shoot V-Bull.” — R. Fortier
“Be still and know that I am God[.]” (PS 46:10) — D.J. Meyer
“Work Hard, Stay Humble.” — J. Snyder
“Shoot with your mind.” — K. Skarphedinsson
“The flags are lying.” — R. Cumbus
“Relax and Breathe.” — T. Fox
“Zero Excuses.” — M. Johnson
“SLOW DOWN!” — T. Shelton
“Aim Small.” — K. Buster
“Don’t Forget the Ammo!” (Taped on Gun Case) — Anonymous
PARTING SHOT: It’s not really a mantra, but Rick Jensen said his favorite quote was by gunsmith Stick Starks: “Them boys drove a long ways to suck”. Rick adds: “I don’t want to be that guy”, i.e. the subject of that remark.
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Readers often ask us: “Is there a decent, easy-to-comprehend book that can help my wind-reading?” Many of our Forum members have recommended The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters by Linda Miller and Keith Cunningham. This 146-page book, published in 2007, is a very informative resource. But you don’t have to take our word for it. If you click this link, you can read book excerpts and decide for yourself. When the Amazon page opens, click the book cover (labeled “Look Inside”) and another screen will appear. This lets you preview the first few chapters, and see some illustrations.
Other books cover wind reading in a broader discussion of ballistics or long-range shooting, such as Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting by Bryan Litz. But the Miller & Cunningham book is ALL about wind reading from cover to cover, and that is its strength. The book focuses on real world skills that can help you accurately gauge wind angle, wind velocity, and wind cycles.
All other factors being equal, it is your ability to read the wind that will make the most difference in your shooting accuracy. The better you understand the behavior of the wind, the better you will understand the behavior of your bullet. — Wind Book for Rifle Shooters
The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters covers techniques and tactics used by expert wind-readers. There are numerous charts and illustrations. The authors show you how to put together a simple wind-reading “toolbox” for calculating wind speed, direction, deflection and drift. Then they explain how to use these tools to read flags and mirage, record and interpret your observations, and time your shots to compensate for wind. Here’s are two reviews from actual book buyers:
I believe this is a must-have book if you are a long-range sport shooter. I compete in F-Class Open and when I first purchased this book and read it from cover to cover, it helped me understand wind reading and making accurate scope corrections. Buy this book, read it, put into practice what it tells you, you will not be disappointed. — P. Janzso
If you have one book for wind reading, this should be it. Whether you’re a novice or experienced wind shooter this book has something for you. It covers how to get wind speed and direction from flags, mirage, and natural phenomenon. In my opinion this is the best book for learning to read wind speed and direction. — Muddler
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Doug Koenig proved two things this past weekend at the 2016 NRA World Shooting Championship. First, he showed that he is one hell of a shooter, maybe the best action shooter ever. Second he proved that trick, custom race-guns WILL out-perform off-the-shelf firearms. As originally conceived, the WSC has been a multi-discipline match in which competitors shoot an assortment of manufacturer-supplied firearms. But this year, a rule change allowed “BYO” firearms and ammunition in the new Professional Open Division (Pro Open). Koenig’s choice to run in Open Class proved to be a good one — he walked away with a check for $25,000 and the title of 2016 “World Shooting Champion”.
Competing in the Pro Open Division (using his own guns for most stages), Koenig dominated, winning all 12 stages while racking up 3000 points, effectively a “perfect” score. Only a couple shooters competed in Pro Open using their own guns and ammo. Though some say he made it look easy, Koenig, a 17-time Bianchi Cup Champion, insisted this was a tough match. After the awards ceremony, Koenig told Shooting Sports USA: “This was a really great match — and a fun test of all the different shooting disciplines. [The WSC] is without a doubt one of the most difficult matches that I have ever shot. I have a lot of respect for the other disciplines that I have never done before.”
Curiously, only a couple competitors competed in Pro Open, while there were 67 shooters in the regular Pro Class, and 131 Amateurs. Given Koenig’s thorough trouncing of the Pro Stock competitors, one wonders what will happen to the WSC event next year. Will more shooters join the Pro Open ranks? Will there even be a Pro Open Division next year? Koenig served notice that if you want to win the overall title, you better bring your own guns. But that would seem to change the signature theme of the WSC — shooting “normal”, box-stock firearms. One wonders how the other competitors felt about Koenig capturing $25K and the title of “World Champion”, while they shot off-the-shelf hardware.
Nonetheless, Koenig deserves full credit for his superb, 3000-point “perfect” performance. In winning all twelve stages (including some disciplines he had never shot before), Koenig’s 2016 WSC performance was truly one for the ages.
Greg Jordan won the Professional (Stock) Division with a score of 2934. Jordan had a very strong performance with class wins in the 2-Gun, 3-Gun, and America’s Rifle Challenge stages. Pro Stock runner-up, 41 points back, was Mark Yackley with a 2893 score.
Brilliant Performance by Amateur Competitor Nate Dudley
The Top Amateur at the 2016 WSC was Nate Dudley with 2879 points. Dudley’s strong showing would have placed him ahead of all but four of the Pro Stock shooters*. That’s remarkable. Nate beat 63 Pros, including last year’s WSC Champion Bruce Piatt who finished 8th in the Pro (Stock) division.
The Miculeks — America’s First Family of Shooting
Lena Miculek won the Ladies Championship with a score of 2816, and Lena’s mom, Kay Miculek was the second-place lady. Lena’s father, the legendary Jerry Miculek, finished 9th in the Pro Stock Division.
*Fourth-place Pro Ryan Muller scored 2881 points, while fifth-place Pro Nick Atkinson had 2878 points.
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We like Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects. It takes initiative, creativity, and dedication to make your own hardware, and that’s worth acknowledging. With the U.S. F-Class Nationals kicking off later this week, we thought it timely to feature a DIY F-Open rig, complete with home-built, belt-drive front rest.
Some of our mechanically-skilled readers chamber their own barrels or bed their own stocks. But these are relatively simple tasks compared to the jobs of constructing an entire rifle plus building an advanced front rest from scratch. Well that’s exactly what Forum member Steve B. (aka Essexboy) did a couple seasons back. He built his own rifle and an impressive twin-belt-drive pedestal rest. (Click photo below for large version). And get this, Steve’s home-made rifle was victorious in its first-ever match. Steve reports: “I shot my first Comp with the rifle … and managed to win with a score of 239-21!” (The match was shot at 300/500/600/1000/1100 with English scoring of 5 points for center bullseye).
Do-It-Yourself F-Open Rig from England
Steve, who hails from Essex in the UK, constructed virtually every component of his skeleton-style rifle except the 28″ HV Bartlein barrel (chambered as a 6mm Dasher) and the Tikka 590 donor action. Steve also did all the design and fabrication work on his one-of-a-kind front rest. Steve tells us: “Over the last year or so, I made this rifle stock and rest. I managed to make it all on a little Myford Lathe, as you can tell I’m no machinist but it saved me a load of money — so far I’ve got about $200 invested plus the barrelled action. The stock is aluminum except for the stainless steel bag runner. The rifle came in at one ounce under weight limit for F-Class Open division.” Steve did get help with the chambering and barrel-fitting, but he hopes to do all the barrel work himself on his next project.
The gun is very accurate. Steve notes: “I have shot the rifle to 1100 yards and it shoots well. Last time out the rifle dropped just one point at 1000 yards and 5 points at 1100 yards [English scoring system]. I know it’s not pretty, but it got me shooting long range F-Class for peanuts.” Message to Steve: Don’t worry how it looks. As another Forum member observed: “Any rifle that shoots well at 1100 yards is beautiful….”
Steve started with a Tikka 590 action: “The whole stock was made on a small (6.5×13) lathe and a vertical slide. This caused a few head scratching moments, figuring out how to hold the T6/HE30 alloy for the milling/turning operations, but it did teach me a few things. The hardest parts were clamping the longer sections (such as the fore-end) and keeping it all square. Due to the short cross-slide travel I had to keep re-setting the parts. I managed to keep all measurements to 0.001″ (one thousandth). I’m most proud of the trigger guard (photo below). This took a full day but came out really well, even if I say so myself.”
Belt-Driven Front Rest
We’re impressed with Steve’s ingenious front rest. Steve explains: “The rest is belt-driven and still in the experimental stage — hence no powder coating or polishing yet. I may have gone over the top as the key moving parts (the pulleys) run on three (3) types of bearings: radial; reamed bush; and a ball race. The main post runs on a radial bearing and the feet even have bearings in them, so when I raise the main body up (for rough height adjustment) the foot stays static.”
Will Steve build another rifle? Steve says he will, and he’s upgraded his tools: “Since building the rifle I have acquired a bigger lathe (Harrison m250) and a milling machine. For the next project I hope to be able to do the barrel work (threading, chambering, crowning) as well.” The next gun might be another Dasher. Steve explains: “After extensive reading on AccurateShooter.com, I chose the 6mm Dasher chambering, as I have a shoulder problem and can’t shoot a rifle with a lot of recoil.”
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This summer, our friend Dennis Santiago made his first-ever pilgrimage to Camp Perry, Ohio to compete in the National Matches. He recounts his experience in a fascinating, informative, and often humorous story on his Dennis Talks Guns Blog. When you have a few moments to spare, you should definitely read Santiago’s account of his First Time at Camp Perry. This is much, much more than a match report. Dennis gives insights into the human side of the experience — and the little things that make Camp Perry so special. CLICK HERE to Read Full Camp Perry Story.
Dennis competed in a number of events during his two-week stay. Shooting “classic” service rifle and his new scoped, “modern AR” service rifle Dennis competed solo (in Presidents 100 and NTI matches among others) and also as a member of the California Adult Team in the 4-man NTT match.
Santiago’s First Time at Camp Perry report is a “must-read” for anyone contemplating a Camp Perry visit. Here are some highlights — but honestly folks, do read the entire story — it’s well worth it.
First Time at Camp Perry, by Dennis Santiago
Perry Ain’t Like Home
Iron Sights and “Perry-Vision”
This range is kicking me hard. I tell people about how hard I was pushing my eye into my aperture. They smile that “welcome to Camp Perry” smile again. They ask what sights I’m shooting on my A2 and I tell them I’ve got an 0.050″ front and 0.038″ rear to maximize depth of field. They smile more broadly and tell me my problem is that I’m from the Western provinces where the sun is bright and the ground is devoid of flora. Lots of light. It’s green here and we have clouds I’m told. Not nearly the same ambient lighting. You have the wrong sights my son. Where the green grass grows you want a big fat 0.072″ front the size of an aircraft carrier deck and a huge 0.046″ hole in the morning and maybe close it down to an 0.042″ rear aperture later if the sun comes out. But that desert glare sight system of yours will lose you about 5-8 points in these parts. Well there you go. Learn something every day.
Baptism at Camp Perry
One’s first visit to Camp Perry is a series of baptismal rites. I shall now enumerate them…
Walk the Base. Do not drive around. Get used to walking. Walk from your hut to everything. Walk to the administration buildings. Walk to the ranges. Walk to commercial row. Walk to the CMP North Store. Walk to the CMP or Army trailer to have the triggers of your rifles(s) weighed. Walk. This is your primary mode of transportation while on base for the next couple of weeks.
Go Shopping. It’s called Commercial Row. It is the best shopping mall for competitive shooters ever. The sale prices here are Black Friday quality. You stock up on supplies. You can buy elusive powders in quantity with the same lot number. Same with bullets and primers. Everything you need to keep making your pet loads. Oddly, not cases. This is a service rifle tournament. Pretty much everyone is using LC or WCC cases. I stocked up. Then I began politely watching my expected cubic feet and gross weight capacity for the drive home as other people asked if I could take stuff back for them instead of shipping their loot.
Learn about the Perils of Perry. One, evacuate the range. It rains at Camp Perry. Sometimes that rain comes with lightning. When that happens range controls issues an evacuation order. Depending on where you are and how much time you have, you either grab your stuff and make for a sheltered structure or leave your stuff under whatever rain cover you have and leave it there until the storm cell passes. This happened on squadded practice day. There was no squadded practice. There was learning to make a better rain cover for the next two weeks because it’d probably happened again. I was particularly proud of my final design which involved a very large tarp and many bungee cords. Modern art to be sure. I received many compliments.
Peril Two — Cease fire, boat in the impact area. One has not truly been to Camp Perry until your shooting string is put on hold while range control sends someone out to tell an errant yacht or jet ski that it’s not a good idea to go into that area with all the buoys with the signs on them that say, Danger. Live Fire. Keep Out.
I brought two rifles with me to Camp Perry. The first was my iron sights-configured AR-15. Being my very first trip to the Nationals, I wanted to check off a bucket list item to shoot irons at a National Match. The gun has a Geiselle trigger and an upper I assembled from White Oak Armament parts. The barrel is a Krieger that had 3,800 rounds arriving at Perry. The sights are pinned 1/4×1/4s. I run Sierra 77gr SMKs short line and 80gr SMKs seated .015″ off the lands Long Line with it.
The other rifle I brought was for NRA week. It’s a 2016 Rule Service Rifle, Optic. It has a collapsible UBR stock and a Geiselle Mk VII quad rail. The barrel is an older DPMS .223 that was cryo-treated back in the day. Round count on arrival at Nationals was around 1,800. Same ammunition combination [as the iron sights rifle]. The chamber on this barrel has a shorter throat so I brought a Lee Hand Press with an RCBS competition seater die to set the 80gr SMKs back to proper jump for NRA week. The sighting system for this gun was one of the very new Nightforce 4.5X Competition SR’s with the CMP R223 reticle. Parallax is set to 200 yards. It’s mounted using Nightforce’s superbly engineered AR-15 service rifle Unimount.
Members of the State of California Teams at Camp Perry. Dennis is front row left.
Coaching — When It All Comes Together, at Last
I coached one of the California teams in the NTIT Rattle Battle match. This was the day I finally began to be comfortable at Camp Perry. Walking up and down the field, first as a verifier and then as a coach, I felt back in the game. At team matches you get to confer with your teammates comparing wind calls and observing the effects of their calls as the shooting members of their squads send rounds downrange. You watch the traces of bullets arcing in the air going left or right of the bull’s center depending whether or not the call was right. This process was cathartic. I began to remember that I really can read a range once I get the hang of it.
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The 2016 NRA World Shooting Championship (WSC) takes place September 15th through 17th, 2016 at the Peacemaker National Training Center in Glengary, West Virginia. The richest multi-gun event in North America, boasting $250,000 in cash and prizes, the WSC attracts the world’s best multi-gun shooters. This unique 3-day multi-gun match tests competitors’ skills across twelve stages sampling nearly every major shooting discipline (rifle, shotgun, and pistol). To be honest, the WSC is mostly a “run and gun” speed game, but competitors still must engage small targets at long range, so genuine marksmanship skills are required.
This year there will be three divisions: Open Professional, Stock Professional, and Amateur. Stock Professionals and Amateurs will use provided guns and ammo. But a 2016 WSC Rule change allows Open Pro competitors to bring their own firearms and ammunition for the match. Allowing the top Pros to shoot their own, optimized match guns should produce faster times and higher scores (plus fewer complaints about off-the-shelf guns that aren’t zeroed or don’t run right).
How to Win the World Shooting Championship
As first published in the NRA Blog, here are competition tips from reigning overall NRA World Shooting Champion Bruce Piatt, and Dianna Muller, the top female competitor at the 2016 WSC:
“The format at the NRA World Shooting Championship is unique in that you don’t know what you have to shoot until you show up, so training for the event is a little difficult. My advice is to pack some good eye and ear protection, bring an open mind, be prepared to listen to the stage descriptions, figure out the best way you can take the guns they provide, and post the best score you can. When the match supplies all the guns and ammo, all you have to do is deal with ‘the performance’. This is the most level playing field in the shooting sports — anyone from around the world can come and play.” — Bruce Piatt
“The NRA World Shooting Championship match is such a different breed — it’s really a difficult match for which to prepare! Over the past two years, I’ve learned to relax. I focus on relaxing in my own sport, because when you focus on the expectations over the procedure, it usually never works out in the shooter’s favor. The same goes for this match. You are tackling disciplines outside your expertise and using guns you aren’t familiar with, and that can really rattle your nerves if you don’t prepare for that mental challenge. But you can use this match design to your advantage. Remove all expectations, because, who is great at ALL the disciplines (besides Jerry Miculek)?! Give yourself some room to be ‘not so great’, focus on the fundamentals and try to enjoy the match. It is kind of liberating throwing everything to the wind and seeing how you stack up against all kinds of shooters! Coming from such a gear intensive sport as 3-Gun, I really enjoy walking up to 12 different stages and shooting guns and ammo that are provided. Although there may be issues with that format, it’s a great way to level the playing field, get down to brass tacks and see who is the most well rounded world champion shooter!” — Dianna Muller
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Tech Milestone — Norm Crawford won the 2016 Wimbledon Cup at Camp Perry using a carbon-fiber composite barrel. That’s a first for composite barrel technology.
With a score of 200-16X, Norman Crawford won the Wimbledon Cup Match during the 2016 National Long Range Rifle Championships using a 32″ Proof Research carbon-fiber composite barrel chambered in .284 Shehane. The Wimbledon Cup Match, a prestigious 1,000-yard shooting competition, dates back to 1875. The current course of fire consists of 20 timed shots, fired from prone. Crawford’s win represents the first time in the Cup’s 141-year history that it has been won with anything other than an all-steel barrel. The Proof Research barrel features a steel core with an external multi-axis carbon wrap.
Crawford’s Wimbledon Cup win really is an important technological milestone. Crawford’s performance may encourage other competitors to consider steel/carbon composite barrels for a variety of shooting disciplines. Without question, composite technology barrels offer significant weight-savings over conventional all-steel barrels. And Crawford proved that a composite barrel can deliver winning accuracy, at least in a sling/prone discipline.
“I don’t know of anyone else in this sport using a carbon fiber [composite] barrel,” said Crawford, who has been shooting Proof composite barrels since 2013.
“The benefits over a steel barrel are that you get a larger-diameter, stiffer, faster-cooling barrel that weighs less than a standard, medium Palma-taper barrel. [There is] no real downside I’ve been able to identify in three years of shooting them. All five Proof barrels I own are capable of winning any match — providing I do my part.”
A 30-year Army vet and former Army Special Operations Sniper, Crawford has been shooting competitively since 1990. He has won many major titles, including the NRA National Long Range Championship in 2005. His 2016 Wimbledon Cup victory was his second — Norm also won the Cup in 2003. A three-time member of the U.S. Rifle Team at the World Championships, Crawford also used a Proof Research barrel to tie the national record for a 600-yard Any Gun, Any Sight competition in North Carolina last November, one of five national records he has set or tied during his shooting career.
Proof Research CEO Larry Murphy praised Crawford: “We are honored that Norm chose our barrel to go up against the best shooters in the world with. By putting our barrels to the test in intense competition, he pushes us to do our best as well.”
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Yes, F-Classers, it’s time for the Nationals. Is your ammo loaded? Scope zeroed? The 2016 NRA F-Class Nationals will be held in Lodi, Wisconsin at the Winnequah Gun Club from September 23 through October 1, 2016. This will be a combined Mid-Range and Long Range event, with the Mid-Range activities running September 23-27, followed immediately by the Long-Range Nationals which conclude October 1, 2016. F-TR and F-Open shooters will compete for both individual and team honors. Here is the schedule:
Electronic Scoring at F-Class Championships
This is big news. For the first time ever in the USA, electronic (sonic-sensor) targets will be used for both the Mid-Range and Long Range F-Class National Championships. NOTE: These are NOT like the self-contained Kongsberg target systems at the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park.
At Lodi, Competitors will still aim at conventional paper target faces but sonic sensors on the target frames will allow instant shot plotting and scoring. This target system was developed by Silver Mountain Targets of Canada. The Silver Mountain system uses sonic sensors (essentially high-tech microphones) to triangulate shots with great precision. Monitors will be positioned at each firing station. The Silver Mountain system has been extensively tested and the match directors have hard-wired the target “brains” back to the scoring center to ensure reliable communications. Before the championship, match officials will be conducting a mandatory class on the operation of the electronic target monitors.
Looking downrange at Winnequah Gun Club in Lodi, WI:
2016 NRA F-Class National Championships FEE Schedule:
Mid-Range – Individual entries all individual matches – $230
Mid-Range – Each Team match (pay at range) – $80
Long Range – Individual entries all individual matches – $230
Long Range – Each Team match (pay at range) – $80
Combined Individual entry Mid-Range and Long Range – $400
STATE of the ART — F-TR and F-OPEN
Here is the sleek .308 Win rig Bryan Litz used to win the 2015 Mid-Range AND Long-Range F-TR Championship at the Ben Avery Range in Phoenix.
And here is the 7mm RSAUM F-Open rifle belonging to Kenny Adams. The reigning F-Open World Champion, Kenny will be one of the favorites in Lodi…
Kenny’s World-Beating 7mm RSAUM Load
For his 7mm RSAUMs Kenny loads Hodgdon H4350 powder and Federal 215m primers into Nosler or Norma RSAUM brass. In the RSAUM he runs Berger 180gr Hybrid bullets seated “just touching” the lands. Kenny is very precise with his charge weights. Using a Sartorius Magnetic Force Restoration scale, Kenny tries to hold his powder charges to within 1-2 kernels charge-weight consistency.
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The National Shooting Sports Foundation and Cavern Cove Rimfire welcomes everyone to join us October 14 – 16, 2016 for the 2016 NSSF Rimfire Challenge World Championship! The event will be hosted at the Cavern Cove Rimfire facility in Woodville, Alabama.
Competitors will be challenged with both rimfire pistol and rifle stages. As with all NSSF Rimfire Challenge events, both novice and experienced shooters are encouraged to participate. This event is designed to be fun and enjoyable for all skill levels. For many shooters, a Rimfire Challenge represents their first competitive shooting experience.
Rimfire Challenge events are intended to be entertaining for the entire family. Whether you’re coming as a spectator or a competitor, side shooting activities are in the works so that everyone in attendance will have the opportunity to enjoy some trigger time. Come one come all to what will be a very exciting and fun weekend!
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Are you a died-in-the-wool .50 BMG fan? Got a hankerin’ for heavy artillery? Then visit the FCSA Photo Gallery page. There you’ll find hundreds of photos from Fifty Caliber Shooting Association (FCSA) matches and 50 Cal fun shoots in eleven states plus Australia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. To access the photos from the Gallery Page, start by selecting a state/country and then click on the colored buttons for the event date (e.g. 2015-04).
Photo sets go all the way back to 2002, so you can see the evolution of the hardware over the years. Sample multiple archives to see the differences in terrain from one range to another — from Raton’s alpine setting to the hot, dry Nevada desert. This Gallery is really a treasure-trove of .50-Cal history. Here are a few sample images.
Story Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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U.S. Rifle Team (F-TR) Selects New Berger 200.20X Bullet for 2017 World Championships
Berger Bullets has released new .30 caliber bullet that could be a game changer for the F-TR discipline — a bullet with exceptional accuracy and very high BC. Berger’s NEW 200.20X Hybrid Target Bullet is the result of extensive research and development in partnership with the U.S. Rifle Team (F-TR), world champion shooters, and accuracy enthusiasts within the long range shooting community.
The new 200.20X has a 0.640 G1/0.328 G7 BC compared to 0.616 G1/0.316 G7 for the older 200 grain .30 caliber Hybrid. That’s a significant reduction in drag. Recommended twist for the new bullet is 1:10″, same as with the earlier 200-grainer.
Berger Chief Ballistician and U.S. Rifle Team (F-TR) member Bryan Litz said, “This is the ideal bullet for F-TR and similar long-range disciplines. The 200.20X has a longer boat tail and nose, with shorter bearing surface which equates to less drag, a higher ballistic coefficient, and fewer points lost to the wind. The BC of the new 200.20X is 4% higher than the existing 200 grain Target Hybrid (G7 BC of 0.328 vs. 0.316). The shorter bearing surface also makes the 200.20X easy to load and shoot in standard chambers. New shooters won’t need special reamers or costly gunsmithing to make this bullet perform.” Bryan himself is switching to the new 200.20X: “After winning the 2015 National Mid-Range and Long Range F-TR Championships with the Berger 215 grain Target Hybrid, I’m switching to the 200.20X because it’s an even better option.”
Bryan tells us that new 200-20X bullet requires a 1:10″ twist to achieve full stability and performance (BC) in most conditions, but you can shoot it out of a 1:11″ twist with a minor decrease in BC. For a stability analysis, enter this bullet in the Berger Stability Calculator with a weight of 200.2 grains, and a length of 1.508″ to get stability results for your particular rifle and atmospheric conditions.
After extensive field testing, this new 200.20X bullet has been adopted as the official .30 caliber match projectile for the U.S. Rifle Team (F-TR). The team verified that this new bullet offers very impressive performance — the higher BC equates to less wind drift, and this bullet has shown exceptional ability to “hold waterline”. Check out this 1000-yard group by Team member Dan Pohlabel, as shown on an electronic target monitor.
To learn more about the new .30 caliber 200.20X Hybrid Target Bullet and its development, visit the Berger Bullets Blog for details. These 200.20X bullets are available right now through your favorite authorized Berger Bullets vendors.
About the U.S. Rifle Team (F-TR)
The two- time World Champion, U.S. Rifle Team (F-TR) is comprised of 30 shooters and coaches who have dedicated themselves to four years of training and preparation to represent the United States at the 2017 World Championships to be held in Canada. They compete all over the world at various ranges out to 1,000 yards.
Buy Bullets and Support U.S. Rifle Team (F-TR)
Eric Stecker, President of Berger Bullets said, “We are proud to be the Official Bullet of the U.S. Rifle Team (F-TR). To support our team, Berger Bullets will donate $1.00 for every box of 200.20X bullets sold towards U.S. Team expenses for the upcoming 2017 F-TR World Championships, which will be held at the Connaught Ranges in Ottawa, Canada.”
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Grizzly Industrial and Bullets.com President Shiraz Balolia pulled off a stunning feat of marksmanship recently, winning his third straight F-Open title at the Canadian F-Class National Championships. It wasn’t easy — conditions were tough, as was the competition — there were top shooters from around the world, including many past U.S. Champions. Shiraz had a slim, one-point lead after Day 2, but Balolia ended up tied on total points (and V-Count) with Emil Kovan at the end of the third and final day. But when the cards were compared, a string of Vs on Day 3 secured Shiraz the win via tie-breaker. Thus Shiraz achieved the memorable “three-peat”, winning Canada’s 2016 F-Open National Championship to complement his 2015 and 2014 victories.
Three-Peat at Connaught — 2016 F-Open Canadian Championship
by Shiraz Balolia
This trip to Ottawa for the Canadian National Championship was a specially important one. The U.S. Team tryout process and practice was to take place for two days prior to the National Championship as the next F-Class World Championship is going to be held in Ottawa in August of 2017.
Connaught Range is a fantastic range that is very well run. Pullers are provided as part of your entry fee and matches are run at different times of the day, even into the evening. The flags are heavier than the ones we use in USA and are notorious for lying to the shooter. Matches are shot in pair firing mode which means one shooter takes a shot and the other scores. You cannot simply rattle off a shot as soon as the target comes up.
Crazy Hot Conditions at the Connaught Range
The first day the winds were mild, but tricky and the temperature was 102° F. I had never shot in such weather and ended up in the 6th place for the day. The second day had several matches at 900 meters and the wind picked up, with a 105° F recorded temperature, causing havoc with everyone. In one of my matches at 900 meters I took my two sighters and my first shot for record was a 3 (equivalent to an 8 in USA). To top it off I shot another 3 a few shots later. Liar, Liar, flags on fire! Anyway, I dropped 7 points in that match only to find out some very good shooters had dropped over 10! I moved to top position for the two-day Aggregate.
The third and final day was one string of 20 shots with shooters squadded by their two-day Aggregate ranking. So I was paired with Emil Kovan, while the third position shooter was paired with the fourth-ranking shooter et cetera. We all shot in identical conditions.
Après Moi, le Déluge — Not Your Gentle Drizzle
Then came a vicious rainstorm. We waited out the storm for two hours before we shot. The rain was really, really nasty and coming down really hard. We were all huddled under the U.S. Open Team’s tent.
Shiraz and Emil Battle to the End…
Finally, after the long delay, we got back to the firing line. And it went down to the wire. Emil shot a 100 with 3 Vs and I shot a 99 with 12 Vs. When the dust settled, we ended up with the same score and total V-Count (611-61V). The tie would be resolved by a “count-back” procedure. I had a stack of Vs at the end of my string and that won the match. What a fight!
Shiraz told us that this third championship was the toughest: “A while back, I had rotator cuff surgery on my shooting arm and had not shot a match in 9 months. I barely was able to test loads for three weeks before I shipped my ammo and did not know what to expect.” He says that winning “did not even sink in for a few days and looking back, I think this will be something I will cherish forever.”
Shiraz’s win came against very tough competition. Shiraz notes: “The whole U.S. Team, the whole Canadian Team, many South Africans, Germans, British, Ukrainians and others were present. We had several past US National Champions present as well and it was a great honor to shoot with all of them.”
Note: This is a photo from 2013, there may be slight changes in the rifle.
The rifle features a BAT Machine ‘M’ action, with a 31″, 1:10″-twist Bartlein barrel. The scope is a March 10-60x52mm, which sits on a +20 MOA angled rail. The primary stockwork, including fitting of the adjustable cheek-piece and buttplate, was done by Alex Sitman of Master Class Stocks. Shiraz customized the stock with finger grooves, fore-end channel, and a bottom rear slide. Shiraz did the final stock finishing as well.
BAT Machine Action
Master Class Stock, modified by Shiraz
Bartlein Barrel, 1:10″ Twist, 31 inches long
Fitted Barrel Harmonic Tuner
March 10-60x Scope with fine crosshair and 3/32″ dot
Caliber & Load
.300 Winchester Short Magnum (WSM)
215gr Berger Hybrid bullets, 2870 FPS
Norma .300 WSM Cases
Tula (Russian) Primers
NOTE: Shiraz was not running anywhere near max: “I chose a light load for Ottawa due to the range limits as my other accurate node is 100 FPS faster and almost at the range limit.”
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Clear skies and calm winds welcomed 85 of the nation’s best Precision Rifle Series (PRS) shooters to the PRSID Shootout at the Snake River Sportsmen range in Vale, Oregon. Held on August 27-28, this sold-out event was hosted by the Precision Rifle Shooters of Idaho (PRSID). Finishing first was Jake Vibbert of Washington state with a 163.500 score, followed by Oregonian Jon Pynch with 156.500. In third place was Ben Cleland of Georgia with 152.500.
Over the two-day event, competitors shot 20 challenging stages such as ‘MGM Spin Cycle’, ‘Run through the Rocks’, and ‘MGM Spinner Chicken Dinner’. The course of fire featured many reactive targets. The “instant feedback” offered by reactive targets is a major “fun factor” contributing to the rapid growth of PRS shooting. Shooters engaged MGM targets on 19 of the 20 stages at distances from 300 yards to 1160 yards with MGM Flash Targets on all engagements past 300 yards. The Flash Target Systems made impacts easy to see for both shooters and spotters.
Light React LED Hit Sensors were also used to help confirm hits on the two long-range stages with engagements out to 1160 yards. In the past couple of years the PRS has emerged as a very popular competitive shooting discipline. PRS specializes in tactical-style target shooting “on the clock” with challenging scenarios and targets placed at distances out to 1200 yards. More typical, however, are PRS stages with targets placed from 200 to 500 yards.
Event organizers commented afterward: “A big thanks to Travis Gibson and MGM Targets for backing our club and for making targets that show clear impacts, it made it easy on the spotters. [The] Max light react system ran flawlessly on the long range in combination with MGM flashers. There was never any guessing whether you had an impact or not.”
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The ability to read the wind is what separates good shooters from great shooters. If you want to learn wind-doping from one of the best, watch this video with 2010 National High Power Champion (and U.S. Army 2010 Soldier of the Year) Sherri Gallagher. Part of the USAMU’s Pro Tips Video Series, this video covers the basics of wind reading including: Determining wind direction and speed, Bracketing Wind, Reading Mirage, and Adjusting to cross-winds using both sight/scope adjustments and hold-off methods. Correctly determining wind angle is vital, Sheri explains, because a wind at a 90-degree angle has much more of an effect on bullet lateral movement than a headwind or tailwind. Wind speed, of course, is just as important as wind angle. To calculate wind speed, Sherri recommends “Wind Bracketing”: [This] is where you take the estimate of the highest possible condition and the lowest possible condition and [then] take the average of the two.”
It is also important to understand mirage. Sheri explains that “Mirage is the reflection of light through layers of air, based off the temperature of the ground. These layers … are blown by the wind, and can be monitored through a spotting scope to detect direction and speed. You can see what appears to be waves running across the range — this is mirage.” To best evaluate mirage, you need to set your spotting scope correctly. First get the target in sharp focus, then (on most scopes), Sheri advises that you turn your adjustment knob “a quarter-turn counter-clockwise. That will make the mirage your primary focus.”
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The 2016 World Speed Shooting Championships (WSSC) were held August 25-27 at the Hogue Action Pistol Range in San Luis Obispo, California. This prestigious U.S. Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) match attracted 125 competitors from around the world, who competed in eight precisely-configured Steel Challenge stages. At the WSSC, it’s all about speed — getting hits on steel in the shortest possible time. And no one on the planet is better at that than Max Michel Jr., King of the Steel Challenge.
This year, Max Michel captured another World Championship title, finishing 0.85 seconds ahead of second place K.C. Eusebio, with B.J. Norris placing third. This was Max’s fourth straight WSSC title and his seventh overall. We’d call that dominance. At this year’s competition, Max logged a best-ever overall score of 74.84, while setting a new world record on the final stage (Outer Limits). Max now owns the overall course world record and seven (of eight) stage world records.
Not to be outdone by Max, Taurus® Team Captain Jessie Duff took her sixth consecutive Ladies Open WSSC Title, and Duff won the Overall Single Stack World Speed Shooting Championship as well. As in years past, Jessie dominated the Women’s Division, but she was most proud of her Single Stack Overall Victory: “To win an overall championship title has been a dream of mine since I started shooting, something I’ve spent all my time working towards. I couldn’t be more proud to win the overall Single Stack title with my Taurus, allowing them to share in this victory with me!”
With a 30-year heritage, the WSSC Steel Challenge Match draws the world’s top speed shooters — both men and women. The three-day match is unique in that competitors shoot different guns each day: Rimfire on Thursday, Iron Sights on Friday, and the full-boogie Open guns on Saturday. The stages are precisely set up with exact Steel Challenge target spacing and distances. That creates an equal playing field at all WSSC events so stage record times can be set at any WSSC venue.
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