February 13th, 2020

CMP Western Games Return to Arizona in March

CMP rimfire sporter match western Games

The annual Western Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Travel Games (Western Games) will return in 2020 for another round of marksmanship events at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Arizona. The week-long series of recreational vintage and modern rifle competitions will be held March 13-22, 2020 and is open to competitors of all ages and experience levels. NOTE: This is a major scheduling change — in recent years, the CMP Western Games were conducted in October. The new Spring schedule should allow cooler temperatures.

CMP rimfire sporter match western Games

Notably, Western Games matches on the High Power range will be fired on CMP electronic targets. That means less time in the pits, and faster cycling of relays.

Western CMP Games Program | Western Games Entry Form | Online Registration

Vintage Sniper Matches have become very popular
CMP rimfire sporter match western Games

The Western Games lineup is comprised of CMP Games matches such as the Garand, Springfield, Vintage Military, Modern Military, Rimfire Sporter, M1 Carbine, and Vintage Sniper matches as well as a series of CMP High Power (HP) Rifle Matches, which include three days of 80-Shot Aggregate competitions, a 4-Man Team event, and a Service Rifle EIC Match.

M1 Carbine Match at Western CMP Games
CMP M-1 Rimfire Carbine Citadel

There Is Always a Big Turn-out for Rimfire Sporter Matches
CMP rimfire sporter match western Games

Rifle Marksmanship 101 Training Class
For beginners and enthusiasts wanting to sharpen their marksmanship skills, a Rifle Marksmanship 101 class will also give participants insight into the fundamentals of safety and competition shooting. Participants work one-on-one with experienced CMP Rifle Master Instructors for classroom and hands-on training. Rifles and ammunition will be provided for the class. At the conclusion of training, students in the school will fire in a true M16 EIC Match, observed by instructors on the line.

CMP Western Games March Ben Avery Arizona

A CMP HP Clinic, conducted by experienced instructors, will be held for those wanting a closer, more detailed look at the sport. The clinic will include training that utilizes live-fire education on the firing line. Additionally, the scheduled M1 Maintenance Clinic is the perfect place to learn more about the inner workings of the classic rifle and ways to ensure its preservation.

electronic TargetsElectronic Targets for High Power Matches
High Power competitors at Ben Avery will have the opportunity to fire on the CMP’s modern traveling electronic target system. This Kongsberg system features special targets programmed with precision software that register the shot locations and score. In addition, beside each competitor on the firing line is a remote monitor that instantly displays shot scores.

The CMP electronic target system eliminates the need for doing pit duty — that saves time and aggravation for the shooters. The more efficient schedules allowed by the electronic targets give Western Games shooters more opportunities to fire additional disciplines because relays run much more quickly.

The CMP adds: “Trained CMP staff members will be present at all times to ensure safety and a great experience for all who attend the event. Join us for a week of competition, new experiences and fun!”

More information about the Western CMP Games and registration forms can be found by on the CMP website. The match is just one month away. If you’re interested you should Download the Entry Form and/or REGISTER ONLINE soon.

Schedule for Major CMP Events in 2020:

(Mark Your Calendars)

Western CMP Games & CMP HP Rifle Matches
March 13-22, 2020, Ben Avery Shooting Facility, Phoenix, AZ

Eastern CMP Games & CMP HP Rifle Matches
April 24 – May 3, 2020, Camp Butner, Butner, NC

CMP National Matches at Camp Perry
July 6 – August 8, 2020, Camp Perry, Port Clinton, OH

New England CMP HP Rifle & CMP Games Matches
September 14-20, 2020, Camp Ethan Allen, Jericho, VT

Oklahoma CMP HP Rifle & CMP Games Matches
October 12-18, 2020, Oklahoma City, OK

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February 4th, 2020

How to Avoid a Train Wreck at Berger SW Nationals This Week

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics

The 2020 Berger Southwest Nationals kicks off 2/5/2020 at the Ben Avery Range outside Phoenix, AZ. The big event starts with a 600-yard Mid-Range Match. Many of the nation’s most talented F-Class and sling shooters will be there. But no matter what your skill level, it is still possible to make major mistakes that can spoil the day and/or put you out of the running for the entire match. This article aims to help competitors avoid the big errors/oversights/failures, aka “train wrecks”, that can ruin a match.

Berger SW Nationals mid-range match
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

Berger SW Nationals mid-range match

In any shooting competition, you must try to avoid major screw-ups that can ruin your day (or your match). In this article, past 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.”

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballisticsTrain Wrecks (and How to Avoid Them)
by Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics LLC

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.

Berger SW Nationals Train Wreck Bryan Litz

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.

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics

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.

Berger SW Nationals
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics4. 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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March 16th, 2015

Ben Avery Range Dedicated to Walt Berger at Cactus Classic

Walt Berger Ben Avery Range Dedication Cactus Classic

Walt Berger, a living legend in the benchrest world, was honored this past weekend at the Ben Avery Range outside Phoenix, AZ. At the start of the 2015 Cactus Classic Benchrest match, a “surprise” ceremony was held. Berger President Eric Stecker announced to the crowd that the 100/200-yard benchrest facility was being dedicated to Walt Berger, founder of Berger Bullets. Walt was genuinely surprised and moved by the special ceremony, which featured a color guard, and a fly-over. In the photo above, Walt is flanked by his grandson David Hamilton (left) and Eric Stecker (right).

As part of the range dedication ceremony, four vintage, WWII-era Warbirds flew over the range in diamond formation, streaming red, white, and blue smoke.
Walt Berger Ben Avery Range Dedication Cactus Classic

Shortly after the ceremony, the competitors got down to business…
Walt Berger Ben Avery Range Dedication Cactus Classic

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