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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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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There’s still time to sign up for the inaugural New England CMP Games, held September 14-18, 2016, in Jericho, Vermont. Similar to the Eastern, Western, and Oklahoma CMP Travel Games, the New England Games will take place at Camp Ethan Allen Training Site and is hosted by the Vermont State Rifle and Pistol Association, along with the Burlington Rifle and Pistol Club. CMP Sales will be held at the Games, and on-site barracks accommodation is available.
The 2016 CMP New England Games will begin with Small Arms Firing School (SAFS) and the M16 Match. The event will feature Garand/Springfield/Vintage Military matches and the Modern Military match. Other matches include an EIC Rifle Match, Carbine Match, a Rimfire Sporter Match and the popular Vintage Sniper Match. There will be five pistol matches: CMP .22 Rimfire EIC Pistol Match, EIC Service Pistol Match, Pistol Team Match, Military & Police Pistol Match and CMP As-Issued 1911 Pistol Match.
The New England Games will feature CMP’s signature M1 Garand Match.
Along with the SAFS, a GSM New Shooter Clinic and Garand Maintenance Clinic will also be offered. SAFS training by qualified instructors is geared toward new shooters, so no previous firearm experience is required.
The CMP Sales Trailer will be on-site offering registered competitors a first chance at the CMP goodies on September 14th during the Competitor-Only Sales Event. The CMP will also offer rifle and ammo sales September 15-17 starting at noon each day. Housing will be available on post in the form of transient quarters with a shared bath as well as barracks with large open bays and smaller bays for small groups or families.
To register, visit the New England Games Page on the CMP website. For more info, call Christina Roguski at 419-635-2141 ext. 714, or email email@example.com.
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Jim Laughland (far left) with Alice Bull, the first Distinguished female (third from left).
Article based on story by Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer
Jim Laughland, age 77, was the presenter of the Alice Bull Trophy during the 2016 National Trophy Rifle Matches at Camp Perry. To Jim, the Alice Bull Trophy is something very special … it rekindles memories of a cherished friend and mentor, and his many decades at Camp Perry. “I just thought it’d be nice to have the chance to present it because I don’t know if I’m coming back again,” he said. “Otherwise, you might have someone presenting who never knew [Alice Bull] or loved her like I did.”
The first female to earn the Distinguished Rifleman Badge, Alice Bull was an extraordinary individual. A true pioneer, she was the women’s rifle team captain at the University of Washington. Before WWII, Bull competed at the National Matches from 1935 – 1937. In 1949, Alice became the first woman elected to the NRA’s Board of Directors. She went on to become the first female to earn the Army’s Distinguished Rifleman Badge in 1961.
The Alice Bull Trophy, awarded to the highest aggregate civilian competitor during the National Rifle Matches, was first presented in 1991 by the Washington State Rifle and Pistol Association to commemorate this legendary woman and competitive shooter. The trophy features a bronze figure of Alice on top, with two rifles below, one the actual M1 Garand with which Alice earned her Distinguished Rifleman Badge.
Jim first met Alice Bull when he was a young member of the Seattle Rifle & Pistol Club. He had been friends with her son, Lee, and Jim shot with Alice in an indoor smallbore league. She helped him develop his marksmanship skills, including perfecting the cross-ankle sitting position that he still uses. Now, the woman he knew is immortalized in a perpetual trophy.
“I think it’s wonderful. And, incredible that she was a woman,” he said. “I treated her like my mother. She was very kind — a brilliant, wonderful person.”
Sixty Years of Marksmanship Starting at Camp Perry
During his 60 years of marksmanship experience, Jim has traveled all around the country and has competed with many of the most recognized individuals in the world of shooting. And, it all began at Camp Perry. “When I come to Camp Perry, there are a lot of ghosts I know, walking around,” he said.
Jim’s first visited Camp Perry in 1955, when he was just 17 years old. Jim even skipped his first week of high school to attend the National Matches. Jim started out unclassified, but left an Expert Marksman. During his early career, he shot with the Washington State National Guard and the New York National Guard. In 1962, he moved to Baltimore and joined the Maryland State Team which went on to win the Hilton Trophy for the High National Guard Team in the National Trophy Team Match. Later, he earned his Distinguished Rifleman Badge in 1964.
Head to Head with Carlos Hathcock
In August 1965, Laughland shot in one of his most memorable Camp Perry matches — going shoulder-to-shoulder with Carlos Hathcock, famed marksman and Marine Corps sniper in Vietnam. Hathcock won the Wimbledon Cup Match by a single point. “He’s the one who made me famous”, Jim said with a smile.
Jim also notably shot with two-time Olympic gold medalist and Director of Civilian Marksmanship Emeritus, Gary Anderson, in the 1960s while both were members of the All National Guard Team. Shown below are Anderson and Laughland at Camp Perry.
Another memorable match for Jim came in 1977, when he joined the All National Guard National Rifle Team and traveled to Camp Perry with them as only an alternate – or so he thought. On that day, with blustery 30 to 40 mph winds, Jim remembers remarking to his friend, “I’m glad I don’t have to shoot in this wind today!” Soon after, the colonel came up to Jim and told him he’d be shooting. At that point in his career, it had been 10 years since he had shot with the All Guard team. “I looked at my friend, thinking, ‘Should I cheer or cry?’” he joked.
At the end of the match, he and his friend were the high shooters on the team and won the National Trophy Team Match for the National Guard for the first time in 65 years.
“When I think about it, I get teary. It was such an honor,” he said. “I think it was one of the highlights of my shooting. It was like going into the World Series, in the 7th game with bases loaded, 3 runs down with a 3-2 count and hitting a Grand Slam.”
High Master and Three Grand Senior Service Rifle Championships
In 1979, the NRA introduced the High Master Classification, and Laughland became the first on the All Guard team to earn the title. Most recently, Jim won the Grand Senior Service Rifle Championships in 2008, 2009 and 2014 at Camp Perry, saying the desire to win is what keeps him shooting.
“When I found out they had the ‘old folks’ award, I switched to Service Rifle,” he said. “And I figured I’d never win it again, because these younger guys are coming in — you know, who are only 70 or 75. But when I looked and saw my name on the bulletin in 2014, I started to cry.”
Laughland Leaves a Legacy
In 2015, Jim was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which has left him with some ailments that make it difficult to compete at his top level. But, with the reputation that precedes him, he has many friends at the National Matches, both old and new, that are always eager to welcome him back. “I have a hard time coming to Camp Perry and walking around without someone stopping me and asking me to take a picture with them,” he said. “I get choked up.”
“I’d like to leave a legacy,” he said. “When I don’t make it to Camp Perry anymore, it’s the people I’ll miss the most. It’s been my life….”
The Civilian Marksmanship Program 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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Don’t Be “That Guy” (The Bad Apple on the Firing Line)
By SFC Norman Anderson, USAMU Service Rifle Team Member
You know the guy, he’s still talking at the coffee jug when his preparation period begins, then his magazines aren’t loaded when the command “STAND” is given, and finally, he doesn’t know the rules when he argues with the block officer as his target comes up marked “9 and No”. Although this guy might be the highlight of the “after match” activities, he is the proverbial bad apple on the firing line. With this example fresh in your mind, let’s go over how not to be “that guy”.
While the sport of High Power shooting is a hobby for most, all are passionate about performance throughout the day. In order to achieve your maximum performance each and every day, it is essential that you conduct yourself as a professional competitor. As a competitor, you have a personal responsibility to know the course of fire as well as the rules and procedures that apply to it and to be prepared to follow them. Knowing this will not only make you a better competitor, but it will enable you to resolve situations with other targets besides your own. So what does all this mean? I’ll explain…
Know the Course of Fire
Know the course of fire. It sounds easy enough, as we all shoot plenty of matches, but it’s more than that. If you think about it, how many people in the pits, for example, do not really know what is happening on the firing line? This leads to targets being pulled early during a rapid fire string or missing a shot during a slow fire string. In cases like this, the result is the same, delays in the match and upset competitors. To avoid being “that guy,” it is imperative that you stay tuned to the events as the day progresses. When you are at the range shooting a match, be at the range shooting the match.
At any firearms competition — be sure you know (and understand) the course of fire.
Know the Rules
Now, let’s discuss rules. As you have probably heard more than once, the rulebook is your best friend. Here is why. I can virtually guarantee that most competitors know some of the rules based only on the old “this is how we do it at home” adage. The funny part of that is, the same green NRA rulebook and orange CMP rulebooks are used to govern High Power matches all over the country.*
It is vital that all shooters be familiar with the rules as they are written, not with “how they are applied at home”. This creates consistency and continuity in how matches are conducted, from local club matches to state tournaments to National Championships. Knowledge is power when it comes to scoring targets under contention, what to do in the case of a malfunction, or even how to file a protest correctly. These rules are in place for a reason and it benefits everyone to both know and operate by these rules.
Maintain Composure and Humility — Exhibit Good Sportsmanship
One aspect of competing that cannot be forgotten is bearing. As I mentioned earlier, you must be prepared for both good and bad to happen. All too often we all see “that guy” (or that “that guy’s” gear) flying off of the firing line in disgust. Remember that we all must maintain our composure and humility in all conditions, not matter what happens. After all, it’s just a game. To put it into perspective, if it were easy, attendance would be a lot higher. Sportsmanship must be displayed in an effort to keep from ruining the day for all those around you. It doesn’t cost anything to smile, and smiling never killed anyone. So turn that frown upside down and keep on marching, better days will come.
Like a Boy Scout — Always Be Prepared
Lastly, I would like to cover preparedness. Being prepared goes beyond simply having your magazines loaded and a zero on your rifle. It means approaching the firing line, knowing what you are about to do, being ready for what is going to happen (good or bad), and being ready for the results. If you approach the firing line to merely shoot 10 shots standing in your next LEG match, you are not going to be pleased with the result. You must be prepared mentally and physically, not only for the next stage, but also the next shot. By being prepared physically (equipment ready), you give yourself peace of mind which is an essential part of being prepared mentally, and by being prepared mentally, you are less likely to become distracted and are more likely to maintain focus for each and every shot.
Conclusion — Informed Competitors Make for Better Matches
The culmination of these efforts results in a shooter that knows how to be ready for success on the range, but also and perhaps more importantly, a shooter who knows what it means to be a competitor. When you have a range full of competitors who know and follow the rules and proper match procedures, the match runs smoothly, everyone shoots well, and a good time is had by all. In the end, isn’t that what it’s all about?
* After this article was originally written, the CMP separated its rules into two different Rulebooks:
The 2016 4th Edition of the CMP Competition Rules for CMP Games Rifle and Pistol Matches governs all CMP-sanctioned matches for As-Issued Military Rifle and Pistol events including Special EIC Matches that are fired with As-Issued Military Rifles or Pistols.
The 2016 20th Edition of the CMP Competition Rules for Service Rifle and Service Pistol governs sponsored and sanctioned matches for Service Rifle, Service Pistol and .22 Rimfire Pistol events, including National Trophy Rifle and Pistol Matches, Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) matches and other CMP-sanctioned competitions.
Earlier this week, on July 27th, the CMP held the 2016 Vintage Sniper Rifle Match at Camp Perry. This unique event is a two-man team competition using scoped rifles of WWI and WWII Vintage. This has become of of the most popular rifle matches held at Perry, with 259 teams competing this summer. Many competitors use some version of the M1903 Springfield, but you’ll also see scoped M1 Garands, K31s, Mausers, and even a Lee-Enfield or two. (Semi-Auto shooters are scored separately). This year the Vintage Sniper Match was won by the “Yogi & BooBoo” family team of Silas Fentress and Wesley Fentress, with a 396-13X score. Close behind was runner-up duo Donald Schedler and John Watson (394-13X). Winning the semi-auto division were Brian Dobish and Clayton Maugans (373-8X).
Two-person teams will fire 10 rounds in 20-second intervals from scoped vintage military rifles set on sand bags. One team marksman shoots from the prone position at 300 and 600 yards, while the other serves as a spotter to relay shot position. Marksman and spotter switch positions on the firing lines, allowing each teammate to play both roles. Scores are then combined for an Aggregate team total.
Two M1 Garands, fitted with scopes and lace-on cheekpads.
Who can identify this rifle, with its unusual scope mount?
Our friends at Criterion Barrels have written an interesting article about the 2014 Vintage Sniper Rifle Match. It you want an “insider’s perspective” on the 2014 Match, plus Vintage Sniper gunsmithing tips, read this article. Here are some highlights:
About the Match and the Rifles
The Vintage Sniper Match was the brainchild of Hornady’s Dave Emary. The competition was inspired by his father, a World War II scout sniper, who carried a rifle similar to the 1903A4 rifle builds that can be found today on the Camp Perry firing line. Bob Schanen worked alongside Dave and the CMP staff in establishing the various competition rules prior to the first official Vintage Sniper Match in 2011. The match developers made a point to offer some level of flexibility in rifle configuration, allowing specific types of non-issue optics and rifle rebuilds. This helped make the match more inclusive.
Hornady’s Dave Emary and “Gunny” R. Lee Ermey (right):
Camp Perry — The Venue
The hallowed grounds of Camp Perry have hosted some of the nation’s finest shooters each summer for more than a century. Some of the world’s greatest marksmen have accomplished remarkable feats on the ranges of this lakeside military outpost. Located on the coast of Lake Erie, Camp Perry is positioned just outside of the scenic town of Port Clinton, Ohio. It is our firm belief that every shooter should make the pilgrimage to the Camp Perry at least once in their lifetime. If not participating in an event, visitors should at least make an attempt to meet the competitors, witness the wide selection of firearms used by participants, and pay a visit to the various vendors on base.
Ever wonder what “Maggie’s Drawers” means? Well, in the shooting community it means a complete miss on the target, as originally indicated by a large red flag. In this 1957 photo, the U.S. Army brought the targets to the students at the annual Small Arms Firing School. Wheeled carts with “demo” targets were positioned at the firing line, between shooting stations, so trainees could better see the procedures. Soldiers demonstrated firing a shot, scoring the target and scorecard on the Camp Perry firing line. Targets in use at the time were the “V” type. In this demonstration shot, the pit worker waves a red flag, known as “Maggie’s Drawers”, signifying a miss. This old photo comes from the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Archives.
If you click the gray tab to view the photo full-screen, you can see something extra. Look carefully at the horizon below the muzzle of the M1 Garand held by the shooter in the foreground. If you look carefully, you can see a crane being used to erect the beach tower that now watches over Lake Erie and the ranges when they are “hot”.
Origin of ‘Maggie’s Drawers’ Term
Hap Rocketto, noted shooting historian, has explained the etymology of “Maggie’s Drawers”. This term “refers to the red flag waved vigorously across the face of the target to signify a complete miss of the target during practice”. The term came in use in the early 20th Century (prior to WWI) when flags were used to signal shot locations on long-range rifle targets.
Hap writes: “Since [the early 20th Century] the target has changed to the decimal bull and the marking system has been revised several times. Flags are no longer used, being replaced by value panels and chalk boards. However, one term from the flag days has held on with a tenacity that is indicative of the strong traditions of the high power community. If a shooter had the misfortune of firing a miss a red flag was waved across the front of the target. The flag is commonly known as ‘Maggie’s Drawers’ giving us the term now generally used to refer to a miss. The term ‘Maggie’s Drawers’ seems to be based on, as many things are in the military, a bawdy song. Prior to The Great War there was an old music hall song entitled The Old Red Flannel Drawers That Maggie Wore which [was creatively altered], as things tend to be by the troops, into something less delicate than might have been sung in vaudeville in the United States or in British music halls of the day.”
Camp Perry has entered the electronic age — Perry’s first electronic targets “go live” this week. On Thursday, July 21, the CMP hosts a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to celebrate the installation of its new Kongsberg electronic rifle and pistol targets on Camp Perry’s Petrarca Range. During the afternoon, guests can test out the new targets with their own suitable firearms, or use “loaner” AR-15 rifles and M9 pistols provided by the CMP.
The first ten electronic rifle targets, placed at 200 yards, are now ready for action on the Petrarca Range. Reduced target centers will allow shooters to practice for longer distances as well. the smaller pistol/smallbore targets are mounted in portable carriers so they can be stationed at 25 or 50 yards. Three pistol targets are now in place (see photo at right).
This is the beginning of a process to supply many ranges at Camp Perry with state-of-the-art Kongsberg (KTS) electronic targets similar to those installed at the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park. However, the CMP is NOT planning a whole-scale replacement of all of Camp Perry’s old-fashioned targets.
CMP Offers Free “Test Drives” of Kongsberg Electronic Targets
Petrarca Range will be open throughout the National Matches to allow competitors and visitors to try the KTS targets for FREE. During this time, guests are encouraged to bring their own firearms and ammo to use at the range as no rentals will be available other than the day of the Ribbon Cutting. After the National Matches are over in August, the range will be open several Mondays for Open Public Shooting, with a small fee charged to shoot on the electronic targets.
Video Demonstrates Kongsberg Target System
KTS Electronic Targets use multiple acoustic sensors to “hear” the shot and accurately triangulate its location. Shot placements (and score values) are calculated instantly and transmitted in real time to display screens at the shooting stations. These kind of targets allow matches to run faster, with no pit duties required. All scoring is handled by the KTS central “brain” which can outputs scores to linked electronic scoreboards.
Monitors Display Score and Shot Location Instantly
Each Kongsberg target connects to a monitor that displays the hit locations to the shooter. Easy push-button controls allow the shooter to cycle through hits and options without having to change positions. The monitors employ non-glare glass protected by an aluminum frame that acts as a shade. This ensures good visibility for the shooter.
These state-of-the-art electronic targets are also used in the CMP’s new Talladega Marksmanship Park, where they have proven to be very popular with shooters. NOTE — the CMP is not planning a whole-scale replacement of all of Camp Perry’s old-fashioned targets. However the CMP hopes to modernize the Camp Perry facility, by installing some electronic targets on all Camp Perry ranges by summer 2018.
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After a rip-roaring Opening Ceremony, the 2016 National Matches at Camp Perry commenced with the handgun Small Arms Firing School (SAFS) on July 11th, followed by Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) pistol matches on July 12th. The SAFS was led by USAMU, Military Team, and CMP instructors. Following classroom instruction and practice on the range, SAFS participants fired a true M9 EIC Match with the goal of earning points towards the prestigious Distinguished Badge.
On July 12th, the CMP .22 Rimfire and Service Pistol EIC matches were held. These matches were hugely popular — with 480 Rimfire competitors and 400 Service Pistol shooters. This year, there was plenty of talent on the firing line. Of the top 50 Service Pistol shooters, 46 were Distinguished, including the top 18 competitors.
The USAMU’s SSG Greg Markowski won the Service Pistol EIC Match with a score of 293-11X. Fellow USAMU team members SFC Lawrence Cleveland (286-5X) and SFC James Henderson (284-9X) finished second and third respectively.
In the .22 Rimfire EIC Pistol Match a USAMU shooter again took top honors. SFC Michael Gasser shot 293-5X to become the overall winner. Close behind, with identical 292-11X scores, were Jonathan Shue and SGT Ryan Franks. It’s notable that both Shue and Franks had many more Xs than SFC Gasser, the overall winner.
Talented shooters stood shoulder to shoulder on the firing line…
The license plate says it all — perfection at Perry is a 10X.
There were 480 registered competitors in .22 Rimfire EIC match.
USAMU Shooters won both EIC pistol matches (.22 Rimfire and Service Pistol).
Many U.S. Military Service Personnel attended the EIC Matches
It took decades of competition to acquire all those patches — that’s dedication to the sport.
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The Talladega Marksmanship Park boasts Kongsberg electronic targets at 200, 300, and 600 Yards.
The CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park — the most impressive (and high-tech) shooting facility in North America, will be featured on this week’s episode of Shooting USA television. The show tours the Talladega facility and spotlights Talladega’s first-ever competition, the inaugural D-Day Memorial match last year. (Talladega recently held its second D-Day match on June 4-5, 2016).
Shooting USA Television Air Times (Wednesday/Thursday) on the Outdoor Channel:
Eastern Time: 9:00 PM, 12:30 AM, 3:00 AM (Th)
Central Time: 8:00 PM, 11:30 PM, 2:00 AM (Th)
John C. Garand Match — Part of D-Day Memorial Event
Talladega is known for NASCAR and its super-speedway, but now there is another destination for sports enthusiasts, thanks to the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). Congress created the CMP in 1903 with an original mission to promote civilian marksmanship, but in its 110-year history, the CMP never had its own range. So, the organization built the CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park, a $20 million sports facility, one of the most advanced shooting sports facilities in the world.
“You won’t find another place like this in the United States, and I think in most of the world,” says Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama. “You know, I brag on the Talladega 500 all the time, being the fastest NASCAR track, and now I’ll be able to brag about having the best, if not the most world-class marksmanship facilities in the world here in the same neck of the woods.”
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On Monday, July 11th, the CMP and NRA host the 2016 First Shot Ceremony, the official opening of the National Trophy Pistol and Rifle Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio. The ceremony kicks off at 9:30 am and is open to the public.
The event begins with music from the 122nd Army Band. Next come aerial fly-overs by a Navy TBM Avenger, a WWII-era B-25 bomber, and the Yankee Air Museum’s Yankee Lady B-17. Vintage military vehicles (jeeps and tanks) will also be on display during the ceremony.
After the aircraft, a salute will be fired from four artillery pieces, which span 200+ years of the nation’s history. The “Guns of July” will include: War of 1812-era cannon, Civil War-era cannon, modern-era 37mm anti-aircraft gun, and last but not least, Camp Perry’s own 70mm cannon.
The distinguished First Shot Speaker will be CMP Board Member, Oscar Mahlon Love, a former Commissioner of the New Mexico State Police and Civilian Aide Senior to the Secretary of the Army. After the speech Mr. Love will fire the first official shot of the National Matches down Rodriguez Range.
Birds-Eye View of Camp Perry Ranges
We know many of our worldwide readers may never have a chance to visit Camp Perry in person, but they are still interested in this historic facility on the shore of Lake Erie, near Port Clinton, Ohio. If you’ve always wanted to see what Camp Perry looks like, here are a series of “Birds-eye” photos taken from the Beach Tower.
Nightforce has released an all-new 4.5x24mm scope for Service Rifle Competition. Nightforce’s new Competition SR Fixed 4.5x24mm riflescope is purpose-built for the CMP’s new Service Rifle rules that allow scopes with max 4.5X magnification, and max objective lens diameter of 34mm. Nightforce made this new scope quite light in weight (just 15.4 ounces), recognizing that Service Rifles will now be limited to 11.5 pounds for optic and gun combined. MSRP is $1950.00.
FIELD TEST COMING — Accurateshooter.com will get one of these new 4.5x24mm Nightforce scopes for evaluation soon. We will provide a complete field test, and our tester Dennis Santiago will use the new scope in actual Service Rifle competition.
The new NF Competition SR 4.5x24mm scope provides 100 MOA of both elevation and windage adjustment, with .25 MOA clicks and 20 MOA per revolution. Parallax is fixed at 200 yards. The main tube is 30mm. This scope features a handy ZeroStop on the elevation knob that allows instant, positive return to the shooter’s chosen zero setting.
Photo shows Nightforce’s new, lightweight Unimount. Half the weight of a similar steel unit, this alloy mount offers +20 MOA taper.
The new non-illuminated SR-1 reticle features heavy posts at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions, and a 10 MOA center circle with 8 MOA crosshair. The Competition SR Fixed 4.5x24mm will retail at $1950.00 and the UnimountTM SR will retail at $260.00.
Product tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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The Second Annual D-Day Match in Talladega was a big success. On the weekend of June 4-5, over 250 eager competitors arrived at the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) Talladega Marksmanship Park for the D-Day Match commemorating the 72nd Anniversary of the Allied Forces’ landing at Normandy. This was a major match, attracting rifle and pistol shooters from throughout the country.
The Talladega range complex is an impressive, modern facility equipped with a computerized, high-tech Kongsberg electronic target system that plots shot locations and displays scores on monitors at each shooting station. For many competitors, this D-Day match was their first experience with electronic scoring. None complained about being freed from pit duties (the Kongsberg system eliminates the need to raise and lower targets or mark shots).
The John C. Garand Match has become hugely popular…
Georgia boys dominated the popular John C. Garand Match. Winning gold was SSG Jonathan O’Neal of Marietta, GA, who fired a score of 291-13X. Larry Sollars (Cumming, GA) followed closely behind, one point back with a score of 290-9X. Keith Schachle of Brooks, GA, shot a 288-7X for third.
Vintage Sniper Rifle Matches at Talladega
New this year, the D-Day Matches featured the inclusion of one of the CMP’s most popular competitions, the Vintage Sniper Match. During the event, a team of two uses a scoped Korean War, World War II or earlier “as-issued” military rifle to fire at distances of 300 and 600 yards. All shots are taken from the prone position with sand bag rests permitted. Each partner takes a turn as both shooter and spotter.
Over 60 shooters registered for the event’s first showing at the D-Day Matches. CMP Competitions Department manager Shannon Hand said, “The addition of the Sniper Match was very well-received by the competitors! It was a great event!”
Winning the Manual (bolt-action) Vintage Sniper Match were Bobby Robinson and Daniel Henk. In the Semi-Automatic Sniper Match, the team of Franklin Hines III and CMP North general manager Steve Cooper fired the winning overall score of 368-7X.
In pistol action, SSgt. Chad Ranton, 29, of Beaufort, SC, was the overall competitor in the .22 Rimfire Pistol EIC Match with a score of 276-5X. Notably, 15-year-old Katelyn Abeln proved she came to win after recording a score of 254-3X to earn Junior Division gold in the EIC Pistol Match. Katelyn was also the High Non-Distinguished pistol shooter of the match.
All persons are welcome to visit the Talladega Marksmanship Park, which is open to the public all year long. More information on the Talladega Marksmanship Park, including a facility map and description of facilities, can be found at the CMP’s Talladega Webpage.
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Got a spare weekend in July? Then head to Camp Perry, Ohio for the National Rimfire Sporter Match. The CMP invites shooters of all ages to this fun event to be held Saturday, July 9, 2016 at Camp Perry. On Friday, July 8th, a free instructional Rimfire Sporter Clinic will be held in the afternoon. If you’ve never participated in a Rimfire Sporter Match, you should give it a try. One of the most popular events at Camp Perry, the Rimfire Sporter Match attracts hundreds of shooters from 8 to 80 years, novices as well as experienced competitors. It is a great game for shooters who “just want to have fun” without spending a small fortune on rifle, optics, gear and ammo.
Rifles used during the competition may be manually operated or semi-automatic and supported with sights or a sling. Competitors will complete slow fire prone, rapid fire prone, slow fire sitting or kneeling, rapid fire sitting or kneeling, slow fire standing and rapid fire standing shot sequences. For more info about the Rimfire Sporter Match (and entry forms), CLICK HERE.
The CMP Rimfire Sporter Rifle Match is an inexpensive, fun-oriented competition using .22 caliber sporter rifles (plinking and small game rifles). To compete, all you need is a basic rifle, safety gear, and ammunition. No fancy, high-dollar rifles are required. Many junior and senior clubs make the National Rimfire Sporter Match an annual tradition — bringing together marksmen of all ages.
Three different classifications of rifles will be used during the competition: “O Class” for open-sighted rifles, “T Class” for telescope-sighted rifles and the recently-added “Tactical Rimfire” class. Awards are offered to High Juniors, High Seniors, High Women as well as Overall winners will be named for each class.
The CMP will host a FREE instructional Rimfire Sporter Clinic on Friday, July 8 from 4-6 pm in the afternoon. This Clinic will cover rules, Course of Fire, safety instructions, and competition procedures. This FREE CLINIC will include demonstrations and presentations by qualified members of the CMP. Competitors with no previous Rimfire Sporter Match experience are strongly encouraged to attend.
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Story based on article by Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer
This story is about two shooters who have shown dedication, courage, and the ability to overcome physical limitations. 18-year-old Taylor Farmer has cerebral palsy. Her mentor and shooting coach, Greg Drown, has multiple sclerosis. But working together, Taylor has shown amazing abilities in competitive shooting. Taylor hopes someday to compete for the USA as a paralympic shooter in the Olympics.
Taylor Farmer was born to persevere. Her entire life, cerebral palsy (a neurological condition that limits muscle coordination) has forced her to work harder than others to achieve her goals. The effects of the disease on her body cause her to walk with crutches and to use a wheelchair for longer distances — but that hasn’t slowed her down.
As a teenager, Taylor began shooting rifle with her dad and her older brother. She never let the cerebral palsy get in the way of her desire to shoot. “I didn’t really think of it as being a challenge. I just wanted to do it…” she said.
Taylor built her marksmanship skills shooting rimfire rifles with a junior 4-H club. Her 4-H coach, Mary Ann Miller, recognized Taylor’s talent and introduced her to Greg Drown, a past State Champion shooter. That was the beginning of a great partnership…
Shooting Champion Doesn’t Let Multiple Sclerosis Stop Him
Greg Drown, 56, was a member of the Ohio State University Rifle team from 1980-1984, serving as team captain and earning numerous shooting honors. He competed in the 1984 Olympic Team Tryouts in Los Angeles and has been a State Champion in Three Position Air Rifle and Smallbore Prone. But a greater challenge lay ahead…
From 1995-2000, Greg gradually developed multiple sclerosis, a disabling condition of the central nervous system. His disease placed him in a wheelchair, but his determination kept him moving further into his shooting career (and winning a slew of gold medals and championships).
“It was a daunting task to re-learn the positions, not to mention shooting out of a chair with an attached table,” he said. “I had my trials and tribulations, but it took three or four years to become competitive again.” With determination, Greg reached the pinnacle of his career by winning the 2009 3P Any Sight Para National Championship at Camp Perry. He also made it to a Para World Cup in 2011.
Greg and Taylor Work Together
In September 2015, Greg and Taylor connected for the first time during the Ohio Day at the Range at Camp Perry. This event, held annually at the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center, is conducted for children and adults with disabilities and their families.
“I grabbed a sporter rifle off the rack and Taylor began shooting off the foam rests,” Greg said. “She consistently put 20 or so shots in the 10 ring.”
Taylor then asked Greg if she could get rid of the rest and shoot out of the adapted standing position while seated in her wheelchair. To Greg’s amazement, she continued to put shot after shot in the 9 and 10 ring — all without a coat and glove.
TALLADEGA, Alabama — The 2nd Annual D-Day Anniversary Matches will be held June 4-5, 2016, at the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park in Alabama. The event commemorates the 72nd Anniversary of the Allied landing at Normandy in 1944. Last year, the new $20-million-dollar Talledega Park marked its Grand Opening to the public with the inaugural D-Day Match. That was a great success, and the 2016 D-Day Match promises to be even bigger and better. It’s not too late to join the fun — there are still slots available for the event.
Watch Prone Stage from the Inaugural Talladega D-Day Match in 2015
The CMP’s John C. Garand D-Day Anniversary Match is a big event with many different competitions for rifle and pistol shooters. Along with the signature M1 Garand event, a Vintage Sniper Match, EIC Service Rifle Match, .22 Rimfire Pistol Match, and a EIC Service Pistol Match, and .22 Rimfire Pistol matches will be conducted. Last year’s D-Day match saw the debut of Talladega’s electronic target system. The John C. Garand Range has a huge firing line with monitors at all shooting stations. These connect to three banks of electronic targets positioned at 200, 300, and 600 yards.
Last year, 55-year-old Douglas Armstrong fired a score of 293-10X to become the first overall winner in the D-Day John C. Garand Match — breaking the previous National Match Record. He was also the winner of the EIC Rifle Match.
State of the Art Shooting Facility in Alabama
The 500-acre CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park is one of the most advanced outdoor shooting facilities in the Western Hemisphere. The facility includes a 600-yard rifle range, a 100-yard multi-purpose range, and a 50-yard pistol range, equipped with Kongsberg electronic targets and scoring monitors that allow shooters on the firing line to review shots in a matter of seconds. Since the 54 targets at each line register hits and calculate the scores, no pit duty is required at Talladega. For more info, send email to shall[at]thecmp.org or phone 256-474-4408 ext. 414.
State-of-the-art Kongsberg target systems are used at the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park.
Talladega Marksmanship Park also contains 15 action pistol bays, a trap field with a 5-stand overlay, and a 15-station sporting clay field. The crown jewel of the Park is the 13,000-square-foot CMP Park Club House, featuring indoor and outdoor viewing areas, a CMP Pro Shop operated by Creedmoor Armory, classrooms, and lounge areas. To learn more about the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park visit: Talladega Marksmanship Park Webpage.
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Recently the CMP adopted new rules that allow the use of magnified optics, up to 4.5X power, in Service Rifle competition. The Nightforce NXS 1-4x24mm Compact Riflescope, while not designed specifically for Service Rifle competition, complies fully with the new Service Rifle optics rules and works very well. In fact, our correspondent Johnny Fisher used this scope to take third place in the recent California State Service Rifle Championship. Here’s a run down of the scope’s features and performance. Johnny says this is a “great scope” and “results are extremely promising” so far.
Gear Review: Nightforce NXS 1-4x24mm as Considered for Service Rifles by Johnny Fisher
2016 has brought with it a long anticipated rule change that allows for the use of optics in Service Rifle competition. The rule allows scopes (fixed or variable) up to 4.5 power with an objective lens no greater than 34mm. Given the strict limits on max magnification and objective size for Service Rifle optics, there are somewhat limited options on the market at this time. Service Rifle competitors are now challenged with selecting an optic that fits the rules while offering high-end performance. Thus far, it seems the biggest concerns that Service Rifle shooters have when considering an optic are: quality, repeatability, parallax, reticle choices, and durability.
Click Image for Full-screen Version.
The vast majority of Service Rifle Rule-compliant scopes currently on the market have a fixed parallax. That means there is no separate focus knob to adjust parallax to target distance. Accordingly, there has been much concern about the potential for parallax error over the three different distances in Across-The-Course competition. It is possible that the repeatably-indexed head position maintained while shooting a Service Rifle, along with a little extra emphasis on sight alignment to ensure that the shooter’s eye is directly behind the scope, can greatly mitigate the potential effects of parallax error.
The Nightforce NXS 1-4x24mm comes with the parallax factory-set at 75 yards. Combined with the right amount of eye-relief and low-enough rings to ensure an easy-to-maintain and clear/full sight picture, it seems like the fixed parallax is not really the problem some folks think it may be. Below are two, 10-round test strings shot at 300 yards (each with a magazine change). Note that I didn’t drop a point, even with the non-adjustable parallax.
The Fixed Parallax is not a “deal-breaker”. Witness 20 shots at 300 yards — all 10s or Xs.
For the NXS 1-4x24mm scope, Nightforce offers two reticle types: the International Hunting Reticle (IHR) and the FC-3G (with 5.56 NATO or .308 NATO BDC hold-over features). My scope has the IHR Reticle, which provides a very clear, unobstructed and simple sight picture. The IHR reticle for the NXS 1-4x24mm boasts an illuminated center cross-hair. Unfortunately, the red-color illumination is really only intended for low-light situations and is not bright enough to offer any aid to National Match shooters competing in broad daylight at stationary targets.
For Service Rifle shooters accustomed to keeping track of their sight settings as “clicks from bottom”, the optional Zero-Stop might be welcome. After loosening the turret and establishing the desired Zero-stop location, tightening the set screw blocks rotation below this point. NOTE: Once set, the Zero-Stop turret only allows for one full revolution of elevation adjustment. However, the Nightforce NXS 1-4x24mm offers 20 minutes of elevation adjustment per revolution. That should be more than enough elevation adjustment for come-ups to 600 yards (even with a 100-yard zero established near bottom).
PRICE and DURABILITY
The Nightforce NXS 1-4x24mm carries a price tag of just over $1500.00. The scope just feels solid –nothing plastic — especially when compared to some of the other consumer- or recreational-grade options on the market. All touchable tolerances feel extremely tight. There was quite an amount of attention given to every little detail, as you would expect from an optic at this price point. It is hoped that the scope’s mil-spec robustness will assure continued excellent performance — even after seasons of the kind of abuse that High Power shooters put on their equipment. More will be revealed as I use the scope at future competitions, but initial results are very good. This is a quality optic. I have high hopes that it will prove a good investment.
Camp Perry is moving into the future. The first fifteen (15) electronic targets are being installed right now at Camp Perry’s Petrarca Range. This is the beginning of a process to supply many ranges at Camp Perry with state-of-the-art Kongsberg (KTS) electronic targets similar to those installed at the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park. NOTE — the CMP is not planning a whole-scale replacement of all of Camp Perry’s old-fashioned targets. However the CMP hopes to modernize the Camp Perry facility, by installing some electronic targets on all Camp Perry ranges by summer 2018.
Camp Perry’s new Kongsberg electronic targets will be similar to the targets installed at the Talledega facility (shown above). Image courtesy CMP and www.AL.com.
New Kongsberg Electronic Targets for Camp Perry
On the Camp Perry Petrarca Range in Ohio, KTS targets for rifle, pistol and smallbore are currently being installed. The CMP states: “The project is going according to plan and is within budget, with completion expected by the end of June for CMP use and those attending the National Matches.”
When the new target systems are installed, the Petrarca Range will offer 10 KTS targets for rifle and five KTS targets for pistol and smallbore. Though the rifle targets will be located at the 200-yard line, the changing of the target faces and the use of reduced target definitions will allow shooters to practice for longer distances as well. Pistol targets will be mounted in portable carriers that will allow them to be set up at 25 or 50 yards.
More Electronic Targets at Camp Perry by 2018
It is hoped that some KTS rifle targets will be available on ALL of the Camp Perry ranges by summer of 2018. (These will supplement the conventional target frames, not replace them altogether). 2016 National Match competitors will be able to try out the new KT targets when they visit the Camp Perry training site in July. In the future, the Petrarca Range will be open for public use.
Monitors Display Score and Shot Location Instantly
Each Kongsberg target connects to a monitor that displays the hit locations to the shooter. Easy push-button controls allow the shooter to cycle through hits and options without having to change positions. The monitors employ non-glare glass protected by an aluminum frame that acts as a shade. This ensures good visibility for the shooter.
Engineered in Norway, Kongsberg target systems do more than just display shot locations to competitors. The system automatically calculate scores, and every target is networked to a central, “command” computer. This can provide updated competitor rankings, and can even display the results to event spectators on large view screens. See how it works in this video from Kongsberg:
Video Demonstrates Kongsberg Target System
Mobile Electronic Targets Will Be Moved Around the Country
The CMP now has set of mobile electronic Kongsberg High Power targets. The CMP plans to shuttle these transportable targets to a variety of ranges in the north, south, east, and west, allowing shooters around the country to experience the benefits of electronic target systems. The CMP has found that shooters love the fact that matches run much more quickly and efficiently with electronic targets, as shooters do not have to be shuttled to the pits between relays. In addition, each shooter has a monitor providing instant feedback of his shot locations and scores.
In April, 15 mobile electronic targets were temporarily installed and fired upon from 200, 300 and 600 yards at the Oklahoma City Gun Club during the Oklahoma CMP Games Matches. The mobile targets were transported from Talladega and mounted by the CMP and volunteers for use during the event. The targets were removed at the conclusion of the event for future use at other High Power ranges.
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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.”