November 7th, 2013
The National Rifle Association celebrates its 142nd birthday this month. First chartered in New York state in November, 1871, the NRA was originally created to train citizens in marksmanship. Here’s an interesting account of the history of the NRA in the late 18th and early 20th century:
How the NRA Got Started in the 1870s
Dismayed by the lack of marksmanship shown by their troops, Union veterans Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate formed the National Rifle Association in 1871. The primary goal of the association would be to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis,” according to a magazine editorial written by Church.
After being granted a charter by the state of New York on November 17, 1871, the NRA was founded. Civil War Gen. Ambrose Burnside, who was also the former governor of Rhode Island and a U.S. Senator, became the fledgling NRA’s first president.
An important facet of the NRA’s creation was the development of a practice ground. In 1872, with financial help from New York state, a site on Long Island, the Creed Farm, was purchased for the purpose of building a rifle range. Named Creedmoor, the range opened a year later, and it was there that the first annual matches were held.
Political opposition to the promotion of marksmanship in New York forced the NRA to find a new home for its range. In 1892, Creedmoor was deeded back to the state and NRA’s matches moved to Sea Girt, New Jersey.
The NRA’s interest in promoting the shooting sports among America’s youth began in 1903 when NRA Secretary Albert S. Jones urged the establishment of rifle clubs at all major colleges, universities and military academies. In February 1903, an amendment to the War Department Appropriations Bill established the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP). This government advisory board became the predecessor to today’s Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety, Inc. that now governs the CMP. The 1903 legislation also established the National Matches, commissioned the National Trophy and provided funding to support the Matches. By 1906, NRA’s youth program was in full swing with more than 200 boys competing in matches at Sea Girt that summer.
Camp Perry Site Acquired in 1906
Due to the overwhelming growth of NRA’s shooting programs, a new range was needed. Gen. Ammon B. Crichfield, Adjutant General of Ohio, had begun construction of a new shooting facility on the shores of Lake Erie, 45 miles east of Toledo, Ohio. The original land for Camp Perry was purchased in 1906, and the reservation was named after Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the American naval commander who won the Battle of Put-in-Bay during the War of 1812.
On August 19, 1907, Cpl. L. B. Jarrett fired the first shot at the new Camp Perry Training Site. And that year, 1907, Camp Perry held its first National Pistol and Rifle Championship events. This location has hosted the annual NRA National Matches ever since. Today, over 4,000 competitors attend the National Matches, making it the most popular shooting competition in the western hemisphere.
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October 25th, 2013
We expect you’ve heard of David Tubb, 11-time NRA National High Power Champion. Without question, David is one of the greatest rifle shooters who ever lived. What you may not know is that David came from a family of shooters. David’s father, George Tubb, was a nationally-ranked High Power competitor. What’s more (now this may surprise you), David’s mother “Polly” was was a great shooter in her own right. When she wasn’t rearing a future Champion, Polly was hitting the X-Ring at rifle matches.
Pauline (“Polly”) S. Tubb of Canadian, Texas, earned several rifle championships during the course of her shooting career. In this photo, Polly took a moment to appear for a photo after winning the 1962 National Woman’s Bolt Rifle championship at Camp Perry. One shooter who competed against Polly observed: “I was there as a 1962 Pennsylvania State Team junior! I remember Polly. She beat some of the best Army and Marine shooters and always did it with style and good humor.”
Now that’s our kind of gal. God Bless you Polly. Thanks for being a Leading Lady of our sport.
Archive photo courtesy Civilian Marksmanship Program, TheCMP.org.
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October 21st, 2013
Here’s a feel-good story about a talented young shooter.
Article based on report by Lars Dalseide, for NRA Blog.
Finding the X-Ring while taking part in NRA’s National Rifle and Pistol Championships can be challenging enough. Finding the X-Ring from three positions during the smallbore rifle phase of the championships can be even more trying. But Amy Fister, winner of this year’s NRA 3-Position Rifle High Woman title, found it with no trouble at all. A surprising result given her wry self-description.
“I’m a nerd,” she said with a laugh. “I’m very dedicated to my studies.”
Based out of Kutztown, Pennsylvania, Fister walked away from the 3-Position Awards Ceremony with three titles: High Woman with Metallic Sights, High Civilian with Metallic Sights, and High Woman Overall. Fister finished with a score of 2374 – 140X (good for 7th overall). “Last year I was close but not close enough,” said Fister. “I guess this year it was my time.” Seeing her on stage, winning award after award, it’s hard to believe that it almost didn’t happen — she nearly fell victim to the summer heat at Camp Perry.
Fighting Dehydration at Camp Perry
About halfway through the National Championship match, Fister was setting up targets when she realized something was wrong: “I was delusional, seeing things,” Fister explained. “After setting up my target, it wasn’t there. I started chasing down the target guy for another one. It was an interesting and a little bit scary of an experience.”
She was dehydrated. Heartbeat rapid, extremely lethargic, unsteady on her feet — she recognized the signs and started back for the line. Pulling a bottle of Gatorade out of her bag, she gulped until it emptied. Feeling a touch steadier, she made for the water coolers behind the line. A few cups later and she was ready to proceed. “Luckily it happened during prone,” she said with a laugh. “Standing would have been a different story.”
How a Nerd Became a World-Class Rifle Shooter
Starting as far back as she can remember, Fister was out shooting with her dad. First as the official gear porter, then as a huntress. “Deer and goose, that’s what we went for,” she said. “I go out deer hunting whenever I can, but it cuts into my shooting time. You’ve got to find a happy medium.”
Though it was dad who first put a rifle in her hand, it was her sister Valerie who started her down the competitive trail. Like most stories of sibling rivalry, big sister joined the rifle team so little sister (Amy) wanted to also. A little practice, a little patience, and it all came together — so well in fact that Amy has earned a shooting scholarship to the University of Memphis. But her ambitions don’t stop there. They reach as far as Rio de Janeiro, site of the 2016 Olympics.
“I missed a spot on the U.S. Team by two points. Now the goal is to be part of the Olympic Rifle Team in 2016. Problem is that I don’t want my scores to drop and I don’t want my grades to drop.
“My goal is to become a pediatrician and an Olympian. Guess I’ll just find a way.”
To learn more about the NRA’s Competitive Shooting Programs, visit compete.nra.org.
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August 13th, 2013
SSG Ty (Tyrel) Cooper of the USAMU won the 2013 NRA National High Power Rifle Long Range Championships with a final score of 1243-71X. Ty grabbed the lead from fellow USAMU shooter Shane Barnhart on the final day of competition, shooting superbly to take the Long Range title. Also moving up in the standings today was SSG Brandon Green, who won the NRA High Power Championships last week. Green was a close second. Though both soldiers finished with a total score of 1243 points, Cooper’s X count topped Green’s by seven (71 to 64). On his Facebook page, Green praised his USAMU team-mate: “Congrats to Ty Cooper, he is the 2013 Long Range National Champion! And I’m the first loser! … Stupid Xs.” (Photo courtesy NRA Blog.)
Below is a file photo of SSG Ty Cooper at 2012 High Power Championship. In the Long Range Championships, Cooper used a Nesika-actioned bolt gun with long barrel chambered in 7mm SAUM.
NRA Blog editor Lars Dalseide interviewed Ty Cooper shortly after he won the 2013 Long Range title. “It’s a long time coming,” said Cooper with a smile. “Years of shooting and now here it is. It’s overdue — that much is true.”
Cooper edged out USAMU teammate Brandon Keith Green for the win by seven Xs, after four days of long-range competition. “You don’t get much closer than that,” said Russ, a competitor from Georgia. “Winning by an X count. Boy that is something.”
Rounding out the top five in the overall Long Range Championships are Bob Gustin with 1239-76X, Shirley Mcgee with a 1238-65X, and Eric Smith with a 1236-55X.
Complete Results from the Long Range Championships will be posted on the NRA Competitive Shooting Championships Results Webpage later today.
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August 13th, 2013
Today marks the fourth and final day of the NRA Long Range Rifle Championship. The USAMU’s SSG Shane Barnhart is in the lead but other shooters are definitely within striking distance. Barnhart’s position atop the leaderboard has been a surprise to some, because he has been primarily a smallbore shooter in years past. But in 2013 he has demonstrated outstanding capabilities with a centerfire rifle at long range. Watch this video for a wrap-up of Long Range Day 3 at Camp Perry.
Michelle Gallagher Wins Leech Cup
Michelle Gallagher turned in a great performance earlier this week, winning the Leech Cup in a shoot-off with Ty Cooper of the USAMU. Michelle Gallagher finished with a top score of 100-6X (X stands for bullseye) to beat USAMU’s Ty Cooper by a single X.
Michelle received congratulations from SSG Brandon Green after winning the Leech Cup at the NRA Championships. “This is the first time I’ve shot this year in a sling at a 1,000 yard match,” said Gallagher. “I’ve been shooting F-Class, so this is pretty special.”
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August 13th, 2013
Story based on report by Lars Dalseide for NRABlog
This time last year, Cody Shields was in his final days of deployment with the National Guard. Described as “eventful”, there was little else said about his time in Afghanistan. A sentiment shared by many returning from battle. The important thing is that he made it back home. “Ten fingers and ten toes,” said Shields. “All is good.”
In the weeks following his return, Shields found his way back to range. Back to a place that was welcoming and familiar. Back to his career in the shooting sports. A journey that found him with the winning score for this year’s Irvine C. Porter Trophy match. “My heart was beating out of my chest. It was my second time in a shoot-off. The first one, ah, didn’t go so well.”
The Porter Trophy match is shot at the same time as the Leech Cup. Fired at 1,000 yards, shooters have 30 minutes to land 20 shots on target. And, as one might guess, the match is shot with a service rifle.
A competitive shooter since the age of fifteen, Shields has always been on the cusp of winning something big. He shot in high school, in college for Akron University, and now for the All Guard Team in Arkansas. But this, easily, is his biggest win. “I was shocked when I realized how well I was shooting here,” said Shields. “Once I realized I was thinking about it, I stopped thinking about it. Just focused on my front sight and tried to keep up with the wind.”
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August 12th, 2013
Amazing. Spectacular. Stunning. Awe-inspiring. You choose the superlatives — but this is one team shooting performance that will long be celebrated. Competing in the Herrick Trophy 1000-yard Team Match at the Long Range National Championships, the USAMU Praslick 4-member squad turned in a performance for the ages, posting a record-breaking 800-57X score. That means that every one of the four soldiers shot a perfect 200 at 1000 yards. And the X-count was impressive as well. Recently-crowned 2013 National High Power Champion SSG Brandon Green nailed 15 Xs, as did his USAMU team-mate SGT Amanda Elsenboss. Nearly as good, SSG Ty Cooper had 14 Xs to go with his 200 score, while SSG Shane Barnhart notched 13 Xs.
The team’s combined 800-57X score is a new National Record. We commend all four shooters and their wind coach SFC Emil Praslick III. Well-done Lady and Gentlemen. This was a truly superior display of long-range marksmanship! As one fellow shooter observed at Camp Perry: “This is one record that will likely stand for a long, long time.”
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August 12th, 2013
Story based on report by Lars Dalseide for NRABlog.
The second day of NRA’s National Long Range High Power Rifle Championships ended with members of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) at the top of the standings. But they’re not alone. A mere point or two behind are Nancy Tompkins and her daughter Michelle Gallagher. These civilian ladies have, in the past, captured a few National Long Range High Power Rifle titles of their own. The mother and daughter team are strongly positioned to challenge the Marksmanship Unit soldiers for the lead.
Two more days remain in the Long Range Championship. As the cool conditions continue, with a hint of rain on tomorrow’s forecast, the challenge will continue. Anything can happen (such as a cross-fire) that could completely re-shuffle the standings. Here is the “Leader Board” at the End of Day Two:
Long Range Nationals – Day 2 Range Report by Kelly Bachand
Today started with a lower velocity wind coming out of the south east. We shot 20 shots at 1000 yards as individuals then teamed up for a four man team match, again with 20 shots for each shooter. I shot fine in the morning getting a 198-5X; the winning score on my relay was a 198-10X I think. It was very hard to see the target first thing in the morning. The south eastern wind was only worth 30″-45″ of bullet drift (that’s about half of yesterday’s wind). In general the scores were a little lower today because the wind was a little trickier. While it was relatively constant in velocity, it changed direction quickly and subtly. That’s enough to give even the best shooters a 9 here and there. I don’t think there were any 200s shot with Palma rifles in the individual portion of the match today.
Right before the start of the team match the wind switched around and started coming from the north east with roughly the same velocity. I’m coaching a team made up of shooters from the United States Army Reserve team. Some of them are US Rifle Team members, and past Palma team members, really a bunch of great shooters. In a team match the coach is responsible to call the wind for each shot. Comparing this to a sniper/spotter setup the coach is the spotter and makes all the adjustments on the sights before giving the shooter the command to shoot. I did pretty good for the most part and kept my shooters in the middle the best I could. I was particularly excited to have coached one of the shooters to a perfect 200 — man that’s a great feeling!
Tomorrow (Monday) is a repeat of today with another 20 shots at 1000 for individual and then a four-man team match. After that the Palma match is up next. To read more of Kelly’s Reports from Camp Perry, visit KellysGunSales.com.
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August 11th, 2013
Report by Kelly Bachand, KellysGunSales.com
After two years away I’ve returned to the NRA Long Range Nationals at Camp Perry hoping to have lots of fun and shoot well. When I saw the wind coming from the East I was initially a little worried that it could be a wild day as from my memory of Camp Perry a relatively consistent wind from the West is the norm. The Eastern wind was actually pretty consistent today and some very good scores were shot.
A little background is in order you can follow the rest of this range report. When shooting at long range, the biggest variable the shooter must correctly account for is typically wind. Knowing this it makes sense that someone shooting in less severe wind could end up with a higher score than perhaps even a much better shooter who shoots in more severe wind conditions. Because of this, in order to win a trophy match at the NRA Long Range Nationals you have to win twice — you must first win your relay by having the highest score when compared to those who shot at the same time as you, then you must win the Shoot Off where you shoot against the top shooters from the other relays. This prevents someone from winning simply because they shot in an easier condition.
I shot my first 20-shot string at 1000 yards and scored a 198-9X out of a possible 200-20X. That means I had 9 shots inside a the 10″ X-Ring, 9 shots in the 20″ Ten-Ring, and 2 shots in the 30″ Nine-Ring. The wind was a little tricky, but as it turned out I had tied another shooter for the high score on our relay. I originally was not listed for the Shoot Off and I asked what tie break was used because I was simply curious. A few minutes later the referee came by and told me I was in the Shoot Off after all because I had the high score on the relay, the tie didn’t matter. I shot my second string next and the wind was trickier still starting with about 75” of drift and decreasing to about 50” at the end. I lost track of the wind at one point and shot an 8 making my total for the second string a 198-11X. That wasn’t good enough for the second Shoot Off.
Kelly Wins A Shoot Off in Palma Class with 100-5X
The Shoot Off consists of 3 practice shots and 10 shots for score. The Shoot Offs are made more spectator-friendly and many competitors gather around and watch as the trophies are won and lost. I reminded myself I was here to have fun, said a quick prayer, and got ready to shoot. I was focused. I only looked at my own target and I was very careful on my wind calls and on my shot execution. I finished and got off the line to see my score keeper giving me a thumbs up! I had shot a 100-5X and everyone else had already dropped at least one point so I had won! This first match was sponsored by Remington I believe and I’ll get a plaque and my picture taken with the trophy. (Note to Remington — I’ve always wanted a Remington 700).
This was a fun first day of the competition, I’m very glad to be able to shoot for Team Sinclair and I can’t help but smile when God’s blessed me with such a fun talent as shooting!
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August 10th, 2013
Brandon Green and Carl Bernosky Finish with Identical 2384-126X Scores, But Green Wins Based on 600-yard X-Count Tie-Breaker.
Story based on Reports by Kyle Jillson for NRABlog
In one of the closest finishes in NRA High Power Championship history, SSG Brandon Green of the USAMU captured the 2013 National Title, besting defending champion Carl Bernosky by tie-breaker.
“It Doesn’t Get Any Tighter…” Says SSG Green
For years, the NRA High Power national title had always been just out of reach for SSG Brandon Green. But finally, in 2013, after four tense days of shooting, Brandon Green is a National Champion. “It feels extremely good,” Green said after receiving his National title at last night’s awards ceremony. “It was a very tight match the whole way through. The weather conditions were so difficult but everybody still shot well.”
Brandon would have had enough to worry about with just the weather, but throw in a neck-and-neck race with defending champion Carl Bernosky and things get nerve-racking. Green observed: “It doesn’t get any tighter than it was today. It was too tight. Too close. I got some gray hair over it,” Green laughed.
The fourth and final day of the championships began with Green and Bernosky each at 1789 points, but Green had six more tie-breaking Xs — 98 to 92. With three matches left to shoot, the two men were presented with an opportunity to break away from one another and add an additional 600 points to their scores. As the sun sat low in the early morning sky, competitors assembled at the 200-yard line for the first match, the Crescent Cup, whose 20 shots are taken slowly from the standing position. As fate would have it, both men stumbled during the match. Bernosky and Green each dropped four points and were now tied at 1985. Green managed to push his overall X-count lead to seven, posting eight to Bernosky’s seven.
The Cavalry Cup Match came next. Here, competitors would squeeze off 20 rapid-fire shots from 300 yards while in the prone position. Green and Bernosky both bounced back from their earlier tumbles and scored perfect 200s… once again remaining tied, this time at 2185. However, here in the Cavalry Cup, Bernosky was able to close the already-small gap between himself and Green. Scoring 14 Xs to Green’s 8 Xs, the two shooters would enter the final match with Bernosky down a single X.
“After watching [Bernosky] come off the 300-yard line with a 14X, I thought I was done,” Green said. “And then, of course, I shot a nine on my very first shot for record and knew I was done at that point.”
But Green didn’t buckle. He knew it would all come down to the Crowell Trophy, a slow-fire match shot in the prone position at 600 yards. Green would go on to finish the 20-shot match with all tens, posting a 199-12X. As it turns out, Bernosky had also dropped a point, scoring a 199, and had only shot 13 Xs – bringing the two to a dead tie. Their fate almost undeniably linked at this point, both shooters dropped a single point and scored 199s, cementing their tie-by-points at 2384 each. The winner would need to be determined by the X-Count. But Green, entering the match with a one-X lead over Bernosky, ended up with 12 Xs while Bernosky totalled 13 Xs. So the two men ended the final match tied with the exact same scores and same X-counts. Amazing.
After the final shot at the final yardage in the final match, both Green and Bernosky were tied with identical scores of 2384-126X. What now?
In order to break the tie, the two scores would be compared by how well each man shot from the 600-yard line. If the tie persisted, the comparison would move to scores from the 300-yard line. From there the 200-yard rapid fire scores would be compared, followed by the 200-yard slow-fire scores. If the men were still equally matched, the tie-breaker would eventually count the point values of the individual hits — starting back at 600 yards — until a winner was determined.
Accounting for all shots taken at 600 yards, both men had scored 597 points, however Green had 35 Xs and Bernosky had 34 Xs. That sealed it — SSG Brandon Green won the 2013 National High Power Champsionship by having one more X at 600 yards than Carl. This was the slimmest margin of victory seen in a long time, but Green is officially the 2013 NRA National High Power Rifle Champion — his first NRA High Power title after years of finishing so close. SSG Green was crowned the 2013 champion at Friday night’s award ceremony (photo above right).
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August 3rd, 2013
Here’s a feel-good story about dedicated, hard-working young people from California. The California Grizzlies Junior Rifle Team shot great in the Infantry Trophy competition at the NRA National Championships, winning not only the High Junior Title, but the Civilian Title as well. In fact the young Grizzlies squad beat ALL the adult teams except the powerhouse U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Team coached by Emil Praslick III.
Dennis Santiago reports that: “The kids from California have once again proven that the adversity of onerous laws cannot keep skill and talent from prevailing on the field of sporting competition. They placed second overall behind Emil Praslick’s USAMU team.” This means the Grizzlies will receive both the High Civilian Team and High Junior Team awards for this year’s Infantry Trophy competition at Camp Perry. Way to go Grizzlies!
File Photo of the 2012 Grizzlies Team. Some members of the 2013 team may not be shown.
The California Junior High Power Team currently consists of 20 juniors who are from different parts of California. The team is open to NRA High Power classified California youth between the ages of 13 and 20. The California team has the privilege of competing in the National Rifle Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio, every August.
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August 2nd, 2013
Our buddy Shawn McKenna from Colorado Springs has made the pilgrimage to Camp Perry this year. McKenna, a talented service rifle and High Power shooter, captured some striking images during this week’s matches, including some beautiful photos taken in the early light.
Off to a Great Start
Shawn and his shooting companions have been doing well so far. At the team match, Shawn observed: “[It was a] great way to start the Team Match at Camp Perry 2013 with a call ‘X’ [for my team-mate]!”
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