To succeed in long-range shooting matches, given the high level of competition these days, you’ll need solid wind-reading abilities. We’ve found an article by SFC Emil Praslick III, retired USAMU Service Rifle coach and U.S. Palma Team Coach, that can help you make better wind calls in competition.
Emil Praslick, now retired from the U.S. Army, is considered one of the best wind gurus in the United States, if not the world. During his service with the USAMU he authored an excellent two-part article on wind reading that is available on the CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program) website. Both articles contain helpful illustrations, and are “must-read” resources for any long-range shooter–not just Service Rifle and Highpower competitors.
Part One covers basic principles, tactics, and strategies, with a focus on the 200-yard stages. Emil writes: “There are as many dimensions to ‘wind reading’ as there are stages to High Power competition. Your tactical mindset, or philosophy, must be different for the 200 and 300 yard rapid-fire stages than it would be for the 600 yard slow-fire. In the slow-fire stages you have the ability to adjust windage from shot to shot, utilizing the location of the previous shot as an indicator. Additionally, a change to the existing conditions can be identified and adjusted for prior to shooting the next shot.”
In Part Two, Praslick provides more detailed explanations of the key principles of wind zeros, wind reading, and the “Clock System” for determining wind values: “The Value of the wind is as important as its speed when deciding the proper windage to place on the rifle. A 10 MPH wind from ’12 o-clock’ has No Value, hence it will not effect the flight of the bullet. A 10 MPH wind from ‘3 o’clock’, however, would be classified as Full Value. Failure to correct for a Full Value wind will surely result in a less than desirable result.”
Praslick also explains how to identify and evaluate mirage:
Determine the accuracy of the mirage. Mirage is the reflection of light through layers of air that have different temperatures than the ground. These layers are blown by the wind and can be monitored to detect wind direction and speed.
Focus your scope midway between yourself and the target, this will make mirage appear more prominent. I must emphasize the importance of experience when using mirage as a wind-reading tool. The best way to become proficient in the use of mirage is to correlate its appearance to a known condition. Using this as a baseline, changes in mirage can be equated to changes in the value of the wind. Above all, you must practice this skill!
Click HERE for more excellent instructional articles by Emil Praslick and other USAMU Coaches and shooters.
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In the archives of The First Shot (the CMP’s Online Magazine), SGT Walter E. Craig of the USAMU discusses physical conditioning for competitive shooters, particularly High Power competitors. Fitness training is an important subject that, curiously, is rarely featured in the shooting sports media. We seem to focus on hardware, or esoteric details of cartridge reloading. Yet physical fitness also matters, particularly for High Power shooters. In his article, Craig advocates: 1) weight training to strengthen the Skeletal Muscle System; 2) exercises to build endurance and stamina; and 3) cardiovascular conditioning programs to allow the shooter to remain relaxed with a controlled heart beat.
SGT Craig explains: “An individual would not enter a long distance race without first spending many hours conditioning his/her body. One should apply the same conditioning philosophy to [shooting]. Physical conditioning to improve shooting skills will result in better shooting performance…. The objective of an individual physical training program is to condition the muscles, heart, and lungs thereby increasing the shooter’s capability of controlling the body and rifle for sustained periods.”
In addition to weight training and cardio workouts (which can be done in a gym), SGT Craig advocates “some kind of holding drill… to develop the muscles necessary for holding a rifle for extended periods.” For those with range access, Craig recommends a blind standing exercise: “This exercise consists of dry-firing one round, then live-firing one round, at a 200-yard standard SR target. For those who have access only to a 100-yard range, reduced targets will work as well. Begin the exercise with a timer set for 50 minutes. Dry-fire one round, then fire one live round and without looking at the actual impact, plot a call in a data book. Continue the dry fire/live fire sequence for 20 rounds, plotting after each round. After firing is complete, compare the data book to the target. If your zero and position are solid, the plots should resemble the target. As the training days add up and your zero is refined, the groups will shrink and move to the center.”
Fitness training and holding drills help position shooters reach their full potential.
Training for Older Shooters
Tom Alves has written an excellent article A Suggested Training Approach for Older Shooters. This article discusses appropriate low-impact training methods for older shooters. Tom explains: “Many of the articles you will read in books about position shooting and the one mentioned above are directed more toward the younger generation of shooters in their 20s. If you look down the line at a typical high power match these days you are likely to see quite a few folks who are in their middle 30s and up. Many people in that age range have had broken bones and wear and tear on their joints so a training program needs to take that into account. For instance, while jogging for an extended period for heart and lung conditioning may be the recommended approach for younger folks, it may be totally inappropriate for older people.”
Report based on story by Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer
Registration for the 2016 National Trophy Pistol and Rifle Matches will open April 1, 2016. The National Matches will take place at Camp Perry, Ohio, six miles west of Port Clinton, during the months of July and August. Starting April 1st, you can register on the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) website to claim your spot at this year’s event.
2016 National Match Schedule Includes Legacy Series
The 2016 Match Schedule will be different from the 2014-2015 National Matches, returning to the original schedule of years past. Events featured will include the John C. Garand, President’s Rifle, Hearst Doubles, Vintage Sniper, as well as a multitude of prestigious pistol events. New this year, the CMP will introduce its Legacy Series — an extra week with competitions featuring both vintage and modern military rifles. Each event has been named to honor the memories of important figures in marksmanship history, as well as to commemorate the spirit of past and present National Matches.
Shooting Clinics at Camp Perry This Summer
The Small Arms Firing School (SAFS) will also be held for rifle and pistol enthusiasts this summer. Participants will be taught firearms handling and competition skills by some of the top military shooters in the country. The SAFS courses have been a staple in the National Matches at Camp Perry since 1918. Many other clinics and learning opportunities, taught by qualified professionals, will also be available during the National Matches.
Spectators Are Welcome at the National Matches
Events are open to the public, and spectators are welcome to observe firing on the Camp Perry ranges at any time. Guests are encouraged to visit Camp Perry and watch the many events held during Match season. The photo below shows spectators watching Pistol events at the 1956 National Matches. That was quite a crowd…
The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) is a federally chartered 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearm safety and marksmanship training and to the promotion of marksmanship competition for citizens of the United States. For more information about the CMP and its programs, log onto www.TheCMP.org.
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Report by Johnny Fisher
The Civilian Marksmanship Program has just finished temporary installation of 15 traveling electronic Kongsberg Targets at the Oklahoma City Gun Club in Arcadia, OK. These high-tech targets will be employed during the Oklahoma CMP Games, slated for April 6-10, 2016. All the High Power rifle events during this year’s Oklahoma Games will be run exclusively on these electronic targets. Competitors will be scored electronically with match results being processed in real-time. Notably, this means High Power competitors will not have to do “pit duty” the entire week since manual target-pulling and shot-marking is no longer required.
The majority of shooting at the Oklahoma CMP Games will be fired at the 200-yard line for the Garand / Springfield / Vintage & Modern Military (GSMM) matches. However, the electronic targets have also been readied for use in the scheduled Excellence In Competition (EIC) and Vintage Sniper matches. Those events require additional firing from 300 yards and 600 yards.
Electronic Target Technology — How Kongsberg Targets Work
CMP Targets technician Bryan Parris explains what makes these targets so special: “These targets were designed by the experts at Kongsberg Targets exclusively for the CMP to fit the standard US target dimensions of 72″ square target backers. What shooters discern as the black of the aiming bull is actually black rubber sheeting that is the entire size of the backer. A layer of white corrugated plastic then covers this rubber with a center hole having been cut out to reveal the appropriate sized bull for that yard-line. All that is required as competitors move further back through the course is to change out the plastic cover to reveal a larger aiming black.”
This acoustically-scored target system uses four microphones to locate the bullet as it passes through the target. The microphone closest to the bullet traveling through the target actuates the remaining three to triangulate the exact shot location for the scoring system and simultaneously display the shot on the shooter’s monitor.
Behind the coroplast face and inside the foam insulation, the target is wrapped with rubber to form a type of chamber. This helps insulate the target’s four microphones stay insulated from extreme temperature changes and also helps keep out ambient noise. This chamber need only exist to the extent that it separates itself from the other targets. Parris states: “We’re building these targets to last a great long while. They are extremely durable and can have anywhere from 3000 to 5000 rounds fired through them before any maintenance is required whatsoever.”
The entire system can be powered via battery, generator, or combination of both. The target line communicates wirelessly with the firing line computer system for timing courses of fire and recording scores. And of course, there is virtual real-time communication with monitors set up on each firing point to display shot / group location and value.
When fully assembled, each target weighs about 200 pounds. They are a little cumbersome in their current form, but the CMP’s target technicians are “still working some things out [for] potential future travel games.”
Registration Still Open for Oklahoma CMP Games
The 2016 CMP Oklahoma Games will be held at the Oklahoma City Gun Club in Arcadia, OK from April 6 – 10, 2016. Registration is still available. For more information about these Kongsberg Electronic Targets, contact Bryan Parris of CMP Targets at (256) 835-8455 or email@example.com.
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The CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program) offers a wide variety of resources for novice shooters and juniors. These materials help novices learn basic marksmanship skills and get started in competition. Some resources can be downloaded from the CMP website, while others are available for purchase from the CMP E-Store. In addition, The CMP maintains a Coaching Resources webpage with dozens of informative articles. Here are some of the CMP articles you can find online:
On the Mark Magazine
This monthly magazine offers competition reports, news about junior events, along with instructional tips and coaching information.
Gary Anderson Instructional Articles
This link opens an index page with 30+ articles by Gary Anderson, DCME. Topics include: Introduction to Marksmanship, Sight Adjustment and Zeroing, How to Practice, Rimfire Sporter and much more.
Right-click and “save as” the links below to download these Powerpoint presentations to your computer. These can be used in a classroom/seminar setting, or can be reviewed by shooters on their own. NOTE: Clinking a link will initiate the download to your default download folder!
Principles of Marksmanship, by Gary Anderson, DCME. This is an outstanding presentation well worth watching. Not just for juniors.
Coaching Young Rifle Shooters
Gary Anderson, DCME, has authored a great book on instructing junior shooters. This full-color, 200-page treatise is probably the most comprehensive marksmanship coaching guide in print. The author, Gary Anderson, knows something about high-level competition — over his illustrious career he captured two Olympic gold medals, won seven World Championships, set six world records, and held 16 national titles. In this book, Gary provides coaches with all the tools and techniques needed to help young shooters (and novices) improve their skills. Packed with useful illustrations, this 200-page book sells for $19.95 plus S&H through the CMP E-Store.
USAMU Service Rifle Marksmanship Guide
and USAMU Advanced Pistol Guide
These illustrated books, written by U.S. Army Marksmanship Team personnel, provide detailed instructions on the basic and advanced skills of High Power service rifle shooting and service pistol and bullseye pistol target shooting. The books cost $6.95 each through the CMP E-Store.
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In the archives of On The Mark magazine, DCM Emeritus Gary Anderson, an Olympic Gold medal-winning shooter in his younger years, offers sage advice for competitive shooters.
In his article Ten Lessons I Wished I Had Learned as a Young Shooter, Anderson provides ten important guidelines for everyone involved in competitive shooting. Here are the Ten Lessons, but you should read the full article. Anderson provides detailed explanations of each topic with examples from his shooting career.
LESSON 1 – NATURAL ABILITY WILL NOT MAKE YOU A SHOOTING CHAMPION.
(You also need hard work, training effort and perseverance.)
LESSON 2 – ANGER IS THE ENEMY OF GOOD SHOOTING.
(The key to recovering from a bad shot is to stay cool, no matter what happens.)
LESSON 3 – BAD SHOTS CAN TEACH YOU MORE THAN GOOD SHOTS.
(Today, error analysis is one of the most powerful tools for improving scores.)
LESSON 4 – NEVER GO WITHOUT A SHOT PLAN.
(A shot plan is a detailed breakdown of each of the steps involved in firing a shot.)
LESSON 5 – PRACTICE IN BAD CONDITIONS AS WELL AS GOOD CONDITIONS.
(Most competitions are fired in windy conditions or where there are plenty of distractions.)
LESSON 6 – CHAMPIONS ARE POSITIVE, OPTIMISTIC PEOPLE.
(Negative shooters expect bad results; positive shooters expect to train hard to change bad results.)
LESSON 7 – IT’S NOT ABOUT WHETHER YOU WIN OR LOSE.
(It’s about how hard you try to win.)
LESSON 8 – YOUR DOG WON’T BITE YOU AFTER SHOOTING A BAD SCORE.
(Hopefully your coach, parents and friends won’t bite you either.)
LESSON 9 – YOUR PRESS CLIPPINGS CAN HURT YOU OR HELP YOU.
(Winning can go to our heads. We start thinking we are so good we don’t have to work hard any more.)
LESSON 10 — YOU NEVER SHOT YOUR BEST SCORE.
(Great champions are always looking for ways to improve.)
About Gary Anderson
Gary Anderson served as the Director of the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) from 1999-2009, and is now DCM Emeritus. As a Nebraska farmboy, Gary grew up hunting and shooting. Dreams of winning an Olympic Gold Medal in shooting led Gary to the U.S. Army. In 1959, he joined the elite U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. Just two years later, he won his first national championship.
At the 1962 World Shooting Championships in Egypt, Anderson stunned the shooting world by winning four individual titles and setting three new world records. At the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Gary won the 300m free-rifle Gold Medal, setting a new world record in the process. At the 1966 World Shooting Championships in Germany, Anderson won three additional world titles. At the 1968 Olympics, Gary won a second gold medal in the 300m free-rifle event.
Gary retired from active international competition after the 1969 World Championships in Spain, where he set a 50m, three-position world record. After his “retirement” from international competition, Gary competed in the National High Power Championships, winning the President’s National Trophy in 1973, 1975 and 1976. Over his competitive career, Anderson won two Olympic Gold Medals, seven World Championships, and sixteen National Championships. No American has ever won more major shooting titles.
Gary’s influence on shooting sports extends beyond the United States. Gary has attended eleven Summer Olympic Games, three as a competitor and eight as technical delegate or a jury member. Gary is the first American ever elected as Vice President of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), and still serves in that capacity. In 2012, Gary received the International Olympic Committee’s highest honor, the Olympic Order.
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You may not be aware, but the Civilian Marksmanship Program runs a reliable, reasonably-priced maintenance/repair facility for USGI-issue rifles. Since October 2013, the CMP Custom Shop (Anniston, AL) has provided gunsmithing services for a wide range of U.S. Military rifles, specifically those issued in early eras. As well as repairs and troubleshooting, the CMP Custom Shop can upgrade, accurize, customize, and refinish the types of rifles the CMP sells.
CMP will work on the M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, 1903 and 1903A3 Springfield, the 1917 Enfield and the Krag. Other rifles like the Remington 40X, Mossberg 44, and H&R Model 12 can also be serviced. CMP will NOT work on shotguns, pistols, revolvers, M14/M1A, AR15-style rifles or other commercially-produced modern rifles. For a list of services (with prices) visit the CMP Custom Shop webpage.
NOTE: Before you can send a rifle to the CMP Custom Shop you must be a customer on file in the CMP system. Customers must meet the same eligibility requirements as for CMP rifle purchases. Once qualified, you can purchase a rifle from the CMP and have the CMP Custom Shop make modifications to it prior to shipping.
CMP Custom Shop Can Work on USGI Rifles Purchased from Other Sources
The CMP Custom Shop can work on rifles that may have been purchased elsewhere as long as they were made by a USGI contractor. Some examples include: Springfield Armory (not Springfield Inc.), Harrington & Richardson, Winchester, International Harvester, Remington, Rock Island, Eddystone, Inland, Underwood, Rock-Ola, Quality Hardware, National Postal meter, Standard Products, IBM, Irwin-Pederson and Saginaw. NOTE: There are many NON-USGI copies of the M1 Garand, 1903 Springfield and especially the M1 Carbine that CMP will be unable to work on.
For more information, call (256) 835-8455, x1113, or send email to customshop [at] thecmp.org. Shipping and Correspondence address for the CMP Custom Shop is:
Newly-issued CMP and NRA competition rules now allow Service Rifle competitors to use optics with a max magnification of 4.5X. That’s right, Service Rifle shooters can now use scopes, not just iron sights. These rule changes have created a need for a new type of riflescope, one optimized for today’s “optics-allowed” Service rifle discipline.
March Optics has just introduced a brand new 1-4.5x24mm scope designed for Service Rifle competition and tactical applications. With ultra-sharp ED glass, this new March scope should set the standard for AR-friendly 4.5X optics. This compact variable-power scope offers ideal eye relief for AR-type rifles, along with plenty of windage and elevation range. The new March 1-4.5x24mm scope is a second focal plane optic with 1/4-MOA clicks. Weight, without caps, is 18.7 ounces. The scope comes standard with a speed lever for quick zooming throughout the magnification range.
The optics experts at March tell us: “This scope was specifically designed for the Service Rifle match shooter. New rules were announced in October 2015 that allow scopes with magnification up to 4.5X power. This 1-4.5x24mm scope also makes a great optic for SWAT work as well as for a sporting rifle. Oversized tactical turrets allow for easy windage and elevation adjustments. The high quality ED lenses provide superior image resolution that make March the best in its class”. The MSRP of this high-end scope is $2750.00. March is offering a 15% OFF special now for regular purchasers*. This scope will be on display at SHOT Show Booth 549.
* March offers a 20% off MSRP price on this scope for Law Enforcement/Military members (current and retired), Pros, and U.S. Team members.
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The most important 2016 CMP rule change allows 4.5X (max) optical sights for Service Rifle shooting.
The new 2016 rulebooks for CMP-governed Service Rifle, Pistol and CMP Games shooting events have just been released. There are some very important changes for 2016, including the authorization of scopes for Service Rifle competition. You can download the new Rulebooks for free with the links below. NOTE: The most important 2016 Rules changes are indicated with underlined text in the new Rulebooks.
The big rule changes in the 2016 CMP competition rules concern the modernization of CMP Service Rifle standards. Starting in 2016, Service Rifle competitors will be able to choose between service rifles with traditional metallic sights or rifles with telescopes with a maximum of 4.5X magnification. These scopes may be fixed-power or variable, with max 4.5 power zoom. This rule change was coordinated with a similar rule change adopted by the NRA.
The CMP states: “The decision to legalize optical sights on service rifles was taken after several years of discussion and a recognition that U.S. military personnel no longer use anything but optical sights on their military rifles. CMP Service Rifle rules have traditionally tried to keep abreast of military rifle and training developments so opening Service Rifle shooting to optical sights became an inevitable change. To quote one comment received by the CMP, “It is very difficult now to say that as-issued ‘AR-15 or M16′ does not include telescopes.”
Another major change in the CMP Service Rifle rules will allow the use of a much wider variety of M16/AR15-type rifles. Legal service rifles will no longer be restricted to rifles that rigidly comply with the M16 service rifle profile. Starting in 2016, Service Rifles can be any “M16 U. S. Service Rifle or a similar AR15 type commercial rifle that is derived from the M16 service rifle design” and that complies with these restrictions:
Chambered for the 5.56 x 45 mm (.223) NATO cartridge.
Designed or modified for semi-automatic fire only.
Have either a gas-impingement system or a piston-operated gas system.
Have a barrel that is no longer than 20 inches, or 21 5/8 inches if the barrel has a flash suppressor.
Must use the same upper receiver and barrel for the entire match.
Have a trigger pull of at least 4.5 pounds.
Quad rails or similar hand guards are permitted, but the front sling swivel location must be fixed at 13 ¼ inches (+/- ½ in.) ahead of the forward edge of the magazine well (8.0 inches on M4 configured rifles).
Use standard service magazines or commercial equivalents.
Have a fixed or collapsible butt-stock that may vary in length and even be adjusted between firing stages. Butt-plates or cheek-pieces may not, however, be adjustable.
Have a standard A1 or A2 pistol grip.
Extended bolt releases and mirror-image left-hand receivers will be permitted.
No Weight Limit For Service Rifles
Before issuing its new rules, the CMP solicited comments. A substantial majority of competitors’ comments supported allowing optical sights and the broadening of the Service Rifle rule. The one rule change that most shooters opposed was a proposed weight limit for Service Rifles with optical sights. After considering these comments, the CMP Rules Committee rejected the the Service Rifle weight limit proposal. Accordingly, in 2016, there will be no weight limits for Service Rifles, whether they have optical or metallic sights.
Iron Sights and Optics Will Compete in the Same Class
The CMP considered having optics-equipped Service Rifles in a separate classification. That idea was rejected. So, for 2016 there will be ONE CLASS for all Service Rifles (both iron-sighted and scoped). The CMP observed that “the arguments for having one unified competitor category competing together for EIC points and Distinguished Badges prevailed. Having separate categories and one Distinguished Badge would have created nightmare administrative challenges. Having two categories and separate Distinguished Rifleman Badges for optical and metallic sighted rifles would have become a formula for diminishing the prestige of the traditional Distinguished Rifleman Badge. The final CMP decision was to keep one strong, unified Service Rifle event instead of two smaller categories[.]”
Rule Change Concerning Malfunctions (No more Alibis)
Another major Service Rifle rule change will abolish allowing extra time or refires for malfunctions. This change will save time because malfunction refires effectively double the length of time needed for rapid-fire relays in big matches. The main reason for this change is to place more responsibility on competitors for having rifles and ammunition that function with complete reliability. Comments received by the CMP concerning this change showed that it is controversial, but a majority of shooters supported the change. One shooter wrote: “The elimination of “alibis” is long overdue. It was always most frustrating to me when it takes longer to shoot rapid fire than slow fire.”
Story Tip by Shiraz Balolia of Bullets.com. We welcome reader submissions.
The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) invites young men and women shooters to apply for CMP scholarships for the 2016-2017 school year. The CMP offers $1,000 one-year scholarships to current high school seniors. Since 2005, CMP has awarded over $1 million in scholarship grants.
Last year the CMP authorized over 150 scholarships. Based on merit, selected individuals are high school seniors who are currently enrolled in a team or club that is participating in rifle or pistol marksmanship competitions. Applicants must provide rifle or pistol competition history, list of awards, and future goals in the shooting sports. Applicants must also provide academic GPA and an official high school transcript (3.0 Minimum GPA Required).
Applications are Being Accepted Now for 2016-2017
The CMP is now taking scholarship applications for the 2016-2017 freshman college year. Scholarships are one-year awards that may be used to fund any accredited, post-secondary education or vocational program. (Note: Students planning to enroll in a military academy are not eligible).
The deadline for CMP Scholarship Application is March 20, 2016. Learn more about the program at the CMP Website Scholarship Page. If you have any questions, please contact Kathy Williams at 419-635-2141, ext. 709, or email kwilliams [@] thecmp.org.
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It’s official — the U.S. Army is now authorized to transfer surplus M1911 and M1911A1 .45 ACP pistols to the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) for later sale to the public. This development was the result of language in the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed by President Obama on November 25, 2015.
Section 1087 of the 2016 NDAA authorizes the CMP to sell surplus M1911/M1911A1 pistols and related parts/accessories to the public. This is a boon to gun collectors and should help the Army save money on storage for the 100,000 or so M1911 pistols it now stores at the Anniston (AL) Army Depot, near the the CMP’s regional warehouse and store.
Don’t expect an immediate flood of .45 ACP pistols on the market. The Army is not allowed to transfer more than 10,000 pistols per year, and the CMP says it will take a year or more to inspect/grade the pistols and ready them for sale. With roughly 100,000 pistols in Army hands currently, these guns could be available from the CMP for a decade or more. NOTE: This change in Federal law does NOT apply to surplus handguns held by the U.S. Navy, USAF, USMC, or federal law enforcement agencies. In addition, the NDAA does not compel the Army (at the behest of the Secretary of Defense) to commence pistol transfers. That must still be ordered by the Secretary.
Relevant Language from the 2016 NDAA:
‘‘(h) AUTHORIZED TRANSFERS.—(1) Subject to paragraph (2), the Secretary may transfer to the corporation, in accordance with the procedure prescribed in this subchapter, surplus caliber .45 M1911/M1911A1 pistols and spare parts and related accessories for those pistols that, on the date of the enactment of this subsection, are under the control of the Secretary and are surplus to the requirements of the Department of the Army, and such material as may be recovered by the Secretary pursuant to section 40728A(a) of this title. The Secretary shall determine a reasonable schedule for the transfer of such surplus pistols. ‘‘(2) The Secretary may not transfer more than 10,000 surplus caliber .45 M1911/M1911A1 pistols to the corporation during any year and may only transfer such pistols as long as pistols described in paragraph (1) remain available for transfer.’’.
Writing for Ammoland.com, gun expert Dean Weingarten expressed a wish that the language in the NDAA was more open-ended: “I would have thought that the wording could simply have been changed to include surplus ‘pistols’ not just 1911 and 1911A1s. Then surplus .22 caliber trainers, 9mm pistols, and .38 caliber revolvers would also have been available. Perhaps this is the best that the NRA felt [it] could get from this President.”
Story Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Click Calendar above to download large-size 2016 National Match Calendar PDF.
It’s never too early to start planning for the National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio. Here is the official calendar for next year’s National Matches to be held in the summer of 2016. Registration for the CMP National Trophy Rifle & Pistol Matches and CMP Games Events will open on April 1, 2016. Competitors should note that most events and matches have returned to the previous dates before the adjustment for the Palma (Fullbore) World Championships in 2014 and 2015. However, the Smallbore National Championships will be held at the Wa-Ke-De facility in Bristol, Indiana, rather than at Camp Perry.
A proposed change in Federal law would allow the U.S. Army to transfer vintage M1911A1 pistols to the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) for resale to the public. This would please collectors while saving the U.S. Government $200,000 per year in storage fees. An amendment to the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes a plan to transfer the U.S. Army’s remaining stock of .45 ACP M1911A1 pistols to the CMP, including 100,000 highly collectable handguns that predate 1945. The CMP would them inspect, grade, and sell these pistols in the same manner it currently sells M1 Garands and M1 Carbines. The CMP might receive other vintage firearms also.
The amendment allowing transfer of the Army’s vintage pistols was proposed by Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Alabama). Rogers said this “is a common-sense approach to eliminating an unnecessary cost to the Federal government while allowing the very capable CMP to handle the sale of these vintage firearms that otherwise would just sit in storage. This amendment is a ‘win – win’ for the taxpayer… at a cost of roughly $2.00 per pistol per year to store these weapons, we were spending $200,000 a year in perpetuity. This sensible change will save the taxpayers millions over the years to come, as well as aid a great organization [the CMP] that serves the public.”
Rep. Mike Rogers Discusses NDAA Amendment Authorizing CMP Pistol Sales
The amendment to the NDAA (if it becomes law) would authorize the CMP, currently limited to selling .30-caliber and .22-caliber rifles, to receive and sell more types of surplus military firearms. The Army pistols are currently stored at the Anniston Army Depot, located right next door to the CMP’s regional warehouse and store. NOTE: This proposed change in current Federal law would NOT would not apply to surplus handguns now held by the U.S. Navy, USAF, USMC, or federal law enforcement agencies. For more info visit AL.com and WarHistoryOnline.com.
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On this Veterans Day, we thought we would reprise this inspirational profile of SGT Robert Evans, a U.S. Army veteran who lost his right hand in combat in Iraq. Remarkably, despite his injury, SGT Evans obtained the Distinguished Rifleman Badge. Read on to learn more about this remarkable young soldier.
Wounded Warrior Goes Distinguished Report based on story by Ashley Brugnone, CMP writer
At the 2013 Western CMP Games, SGT Robert Evans attained what many shooters seek their entire shooting careers — a Distinguished Rifleman’s Badge. Evans earned his DR badge with just one hand, after losing his right hand while serving in Iraq with the U.S. Army.
SGT Robert Evans: Defying the Odds, Single-Handedly
AFter joining the Army in 2003, SGT Robert Evans served two tours in Iraq, suffering a spinal injury on the first tour. On his second tour, his life changed forever. On May 31, 2007, Evans was commanding a Bradley Fighting Vehicle in Iraq. As the Bradley drove under an old Fedayeen guard shack, an IED on top of the guard shack detonated while Evans was reaching out of the turret. The blast amputated Robert’s right hand at the wrist.
Even as a young boy, Evans had always enjoyed shooting. He vowed to stay involved with the sport despite his injury: “I couldn’t give up shooting after I lost my hand. It’s always been too important to me,” he said. “No matter what is going on in my life, when the sights are aligned and the hammer is about to fall, nothing in the world matters at that second. It’s my nirvana.”
Evans worked his way back into the sport by starting in F-Class. The position allowed him to hold hard and pull the trigger, while also being able to use his optics. Then he got involved with J.J. O’Shea’s M1 for VETS Project. The project helps transition wounded combat veterans back into the world of shooting, with equipment arrangements, position training and mental preparations.
Working with the M1 for Vets group, Evans started shooting again. But there were challenges: “The first time I shot after my amputation, it was very frustrating,” he said. “I couldn’t hold still, and shooting left-handed was so foreign.” Being extremely right-eye dominant his entire life, the loss of his right hand caused him to relearn many things, including how to shoot. Learning how to reload and adjust for wind while slung up became a pain for Evans….
In 2008, after several months and rigorous hours of dry firing, Evans found himself crossing the threshold of Camp Perry — a dream he had waited to fulfill his entire life. He scored around 50 points standing, out of 100, on his first trip. Though not bad for someone with an amputation, that wasn’t enough for Evans. He wanted to become a Distinguished Rifleman.
SGT Evans during Team Match at 2013 CMP Western Games.
He began to realize his dream as he earned his first 10 points (towards Distinguished) at Camp Perry in 2012. It took him 15 months to LEG out. His next 6 points came at the 2013 Eastern Games in Camp Butner, NC, followed by 10 more points at the 2013 National Matches. There, hoping to “bronze out,” he managed to one-up himself to actually earn a silver medal.
Then came the 2013 Western Games at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, AZ. Never giving up hope and remembering his long journey from the hospital bed to the firing line, he received his final 8 points. SGT Robert Evans had become a Distinguished Rifleman.
“There was a lot of pressure, speculation and competition as to who would be the first Combat Wounded Veteran to ‘Go Distinguished’ within M1 for VETS,” he said. “I’m very proud to have earned my badge, but more importantly, I hope that more wounded veterans will realize that it is within their grasp. It’s not an impossibility anymore. I hope it motivates everybody to train a little harder and hold a bit tighter – not just wounded veterans. If I can do it, anybody can.”
The CMP has just released proposed 2016 Competition Rules. There are a number of important proposed changes, some quite controversial. Topping the list are rule changes that would allow optics for service rifles and “modern military rifles” (MMR). If these changes are adopted, Service Rifle shooters and modern military rifle shooters will be able to use scopes up to 4.5X power. Rifle weight limits will be increased slightly to allow for the optics and the definition of “Service Rifle” will be liberalized to allow more AR variants. In addition, collapsible or adjustable-length stocks will be allowed.
We want to stress that these new rules have NOT been set in stone — not yet at least. The CMP issued its notice of Proposed 2016 Rule Changes to inform competitors and invite feedback. The CMP asks that comments/questions be sent to competitions @ thecmp.org, not later than November 13, 2015.
Major Proposed Rule Changes
1. Optical Sights For Service Rifles
The CMP states: “For several years, the CMP has recognized that optical sights are the wave of the future for Service Rifle shooting. Military recruits today do all of their training with optical sighted rifles. Service Rifle rules have traditionally tried to keep abreast of military rifle and training developments so opening Service Rifle shooting to optical sights became an inevitable change.” The 2016 rules will, for the first time, permit M16/AR15-type rifles to have optical sights (fixed power or zoom) with a maximum magnification of 4.5X and an objective lens no larger than 34 mm. There will not be a separate class for scope-sighted rifles. Instead, competitors will have a choice of using either a scope-sighted rifle that weighs no more than 11.5 pounds or a metallic-sighted rifle that will continue to have no weight limit.
2. More Options For M16/AR15-Type Rifles
Since accurized Service Rifles first came into popular use in the 1950s and 1960s, those rifles, whether M1s, M14s, or M16s and their commercial equivalents, have been rigidly defined. Legal M16-type service rifles had to retain the external profile of an M16A2 or M16A4 rifle and could only have modifications that were explicitly permitted in the rules. All this will change in 2016. The CMP plans to liberalize the Service Rifle rules to encourage greater participation. A wider variety of commercial AR-platform rifles will be allowed so long as they meet basic requirements, such as 20″ max barrel length, 5.56x45mm (.223 Rem) chambering, and a trigger pull of at least 4.5 pounds. Notably, the rifles can have either a gas-impingement system or a piston-operated gas system. Collapsible stocks will be allowed. However butt-plates and cheek-pieces may not be adjustable. (See all Requirements HERE).
3. Optical Sights for Modern Military Rifles (CMP Games)
One of the fastest growing rifle competition categories is for Modern Military Rifles. There are two classes, one for M16/AR15 platform rifles and one for a broad range of other military rifles. Competitors who compete in Modern Military Rifle Matches will now have the option of using optical sights with a maximum magnification of 4.5X. To make allowance for the increased weight of telescopes, the weight limit for AR-type rifles was increased to 8.5 pounds and for M-14/M1A rifles to 10.0 pounds. (This is a CMP Games limit — a different Rule than the Service Rifle Rule).
4. Stocks for Modern Military Rifles
Butt-stocks on these rifles may vary in length and collapsible or adjustable-length stocks will be allowed. Butt-stocks, however, may not have butt-plates or cheek-pieces that adjust up or down.
No Changes for Pistol, Vintage Sniper, or Rimfire Sporter Competitions
While big changes are slated for the Service Rifle and MMR disciplines, the CMP is not making significant rule changes for other popular CMP shooting sports.
Pistol Rules Are Unchanged
Except for permitting service pistols to have a Picatinny rail below the barrel, the Service Pistol and 22 Rimfire Pistol rules adopted in 2015 are unchanged.
Vintage Sniper Rifle Team Match Rules Are Unchanged
According to the CMP, Vintage Sniper Rifle Match rules “have stabilized nicely in the last two years” so there will be no 2016 rule changes for the Vintage Sniper two-man team event.
Rimfire Sporter Rifle Rules Are Unchanged
The most popular rimfire rifle match in the country continues to attract impressive numbers to its matches. Like the Vintage Sniper Rifle Team Match, these rules have now stabilized so that there are also no 2016 rule changes in Rimfire Sporter.
Our friend Dennis Santiago was doing pits duty during the Small Arms Firing School (SAFS) phase of the CMP Western Games. Here are some views from the pits at the Ben Avery Range in Phoenix, Arizona. Dennis also took a video from the pits during live fire. Listen to rounds zip over-head and impact into the berm beyond the targets, in the video below.
Watch Video with rounds flying over the pit zone:
Dennis reports: “Here’s a slice of life at the receiving end of live fire. This is a rapid fire stage as seen from the target pits at the 2015 CMP Western Games. The targets are placed up in the air. The bullets go through them over the heads of competitors protected behind an earth berm. The bullets land in a designated impact area (berm) beyond the target frames.”
At the CMP Western Games, participants shoot, score and do pit service. The pit workers are positioned on a catwalk behind a concrete wall. There is a thick, earth-works berm on the other side.
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Readers often ask us: “Is there an inexpensive way I can get started in position shooting?” The answer is “yes” — across the country CMP-affiliated clubs host Rimfire Sporter matches. You can use a wide variety of .22LR rimfire rifles — manual actions (such as a Winchester model 52) or semi-automatics (such as a Ruger 10/22). There are prone, sitting/kneeling, and standing stages. CMP rules provide separate classifications for scoped rifles, open-sighted rifles, and aperature-sighted rifles. The matches are fun, the ammo is inexpensive, and everyone has a good time while improving their marksmanship.
Our friend Dennis Santiago recently helped run a CMP Rimfire Sporter Match in Southern California. Dennis reports: “You want something challenging? Well that X-Ring 50 yards away is the diameter of a 50 cent piece, and there are people out there that can womp that thing with iron sights.”
The rapid-fire sitting or kneeling stage of a CMP-sanctioned .22 Sporter Match consists of two, 5-shot strings. A manually-operated or semi-automatic rifle may be used for this match. Below is a video Dennis made that shows a sitting/kneeling rapid fire stage.
Dennis notes: “There are six (6) stages of fire on a tough little target. Notice the rifles that can be used run the gamut from pump and bolt actions to variations on the semi-auto theme. All still require a good eye and a steady hold to earn one’s bragging rights for the day. A match takes about an hour and a half per relay. The slowest part of the match is initial sighting in. It’ll take longer than the allocated 5 minutes for the typical first timer coming to a club match.”
At Dennis’s Burbank Rifle & Revolver Club (BRRC), procedures are modified a little bit: “What we typically do at BRRC is run two relays. Experienced competitors shoot per the full rulebook. New shooters are afforded a bit more relaxed environment to make the experience more fun and inviting. We do the same thing in our M-1 Garand Clinic/Match series.”
Rimfire Sporter Match Basics
The CMP Rimfire Sporter Rifle Match is an inexpensive, fun-oriented competition using .22 caliber sporter rifles (plinking and small game rifles) commonly owned by most gun enthusiasts. To compete, all you need is a basic rifle, safety gear, and ammunition. No fancy, high-dollar rifles are required.
The event is shot with standard sporter-type, rimfire rifles weighing no more than 7 ½ lbs, with sights and sling. Rifles may be manually-operated or semi-automatic. Shooters with manually-operated actions are given extra time in the rapid-fire stage to compensate for the difference. (See Video).
There are three classes of competition — the standard “O Class” for open-sighted rifles, “T-Class” for telescope-sighted and rear aperture-sighted rifles and “Tactical Rimfire” class, which is a .22 caliber A4 or AR15 style rifle. Firing for all classes is done at 50 and 25 yards on a target with a 1.78″ ten-ring and an 18″ outer one-ring. Even new shooters can get hits on this target, but it’s still tough enough that no one yet has fired a perfect 600×600 score.
Want to learn the basics of position shooting? Then you should check out an article by Gary Anderson, DCM Emeritus, in On the Mark digital magazine (Summer 2014, pp. 6-13). This article covers all the key elements: body position (prone, sitting, standing), sling use/adjustment, sight picture, aiming process, and trigger control. While this 8-page article was specifically written for Rimfire Sporter shooters, the techniques described by Anderson apply to all types of position shooting, whether you shoot air rifles, smallbore rifles, or centerfire rifles.
Here’s what Anderson says about aiming — how to keep your sights steady and get them centered on the middle of the target:
Trigger Contact and Center
As soon as aiming at the target begins, the index finger must move from the trigger-guard to contact the trigger. It is important to get initial pressure on the trigger as soon as aiming begins. Then the shooter must focus on the sight picture and centering the sight picture movements over the aiming point. No one, not even champion shooters, can hold the aligned sights perfectly still. The sights are going to move a little bit or a lot, depending on the shooter’s skill level. The secret is to center those sight picture movements over the aiming point on the target (see trace illustration) before pulling the trigger.
When the sight picture movements on the target are centered, the last step in firing the shot is to add… smooth pressure on the trigger until the shot breaks.
Anderson also discusses the 5 Basics of Shot Technique:
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Three-Position (3P) Air Rifle Shooting is the most popular and fastest-growing form of shooting sports competition for junior shooters (High School age and younger). The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) conducts two different 3P Air Rifle events. Precision Air Rifle is modeled after Olympic-style shooting and allows the use of specialized target rifles and equipment. Sporter Air Rifle is designed for new competitors or those who desire to compete with a minimum of equipment and expense.
In both types of shooting, competitors fire at targets at a distance of 10 meters in three different positions, prone, standing and kneeling. Three-Position Air Rifle provides young competitors with competitive shooting sports opportunities that can be offered on a wide variety of easily accessible or easily constructed ranges, with equipment that is commonly available at affordable costs.
The CMP actively promotes Three-Position Air Rifle shooting as a premier youth marksmanship competition by providing low-cost equipment and pellets as well as training materials and competition activities. In addition, other air gun events for juniors and adults are hosted by CMP throughout the year. CMP facilities have Open Public Shooting evenings, and matches for air rifle and air pistol take place at the CMP Marksmanship Centers.
Here’s a great feel-good family story. Will McChesney, wife Sarah, and their six (6) children ventured to Camp Perry this year for National Rimfire Sporter Match held August 1, 2015. The McChesneys like to do things together as a family “team”, and competitive shooting was no different. Father Will and all six kids competed in the event while mother Sarah provided logistical and moral support.
All of the six McChesney children fired side-by-side on the firing line during the Rimfire Sporter Match. From bottom right corner: Julia, Cheri, Bria, Judi, Heidi, and Jimmy.
The ace shooter among the McChesneys was 15-year-old daughter Judi, who earned a bronze medal during the Rimfire Match. Judi finished in the Top 20 of the junior marksmen, shooting “clean” in slow fire prone stage along the way. That earned her family bragging rights as she finished ahead of 14-year-old James, the one son in the family. But Jimmy helped his sisters during the match — adjusting their slings and loading their magazines.
This was the first big shooting match for the McChesney clan which hails from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. Will did some hunting and varmint shooting as a boy growing up, and he and wife Sarah did enjoy plinking and pistol shooting on Will’s father’s farm in New Galilee, PA.
Later on, when the Beaver Valley Rifle and Pistol Club was looking to expand its youth program, it recruited one of the McChesney daughters. As the club soon found out, the family does absolutely everything together, and recruiting one McChesney meant recruiting all.
The McChesney bunch chose the 2015 National Rimfire Sporter Match as their first real travel match and their first taste of competitive shooting. The days leading up to the match, the entire family practiced together to prepare themselves. All but Sarah actually competed at Perry this year. However, she still came along for support and she plans to compete next year.
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