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.
50 years ago today, October 15, 1964, Gary Anderson (now CMP Director Emeritus) celebrated his Gold Medal victory at the Tokyo Olympics. Gary earned Olympic Gold for winning the 300m rifle event. A few days later, Gary’s team-mate, Lones Wigger, won a gold medal for the USA in 50m rifle competition.
Want to learn the basics of position shooting? Then you should check out an article by Gary Anderson, DCM Emeritus, in the current issue of On the Mark digital magazine. 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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As part of the Ohio Day at the Range program, CMP volunteers provided training in Air Rifle shooting and Archery for persons with disabilities. For the participants, some wheel-chair-bound, this was a special event. Though they may not be able to run or jump, they CAN shoot a rifle from a rest. This type of event gives disabled youngsters and adults a chance to enjoy a sport just as able-bodied persons do. We commend the CMP and all those who helped make the Day at the Range a memorable event.
As reported in the BCSN Blade Blog, this program gave participants a chance to learn outdoor skills: “The whole purpose of this is to show that anybody has the ability to hunt, fish, camp — do anything they want to do in the outdoors,” said Tory Thompson, Outreach Director for The Ability Center of Greater Toledo, Ohio. “We want these individuals and their family members to see that the opportunity is there. It will be very gratifying to see that moment when they get to experience something they thought they would never be able to do because of their disability — We hope this opens their eyes and lets everyone see past the stereotypes.”
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Got plans for October? If you live in the western USA, consider a trip to Phoenix for the CMP Western Games. The 11th Western CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup Matches will be held at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Arizona, on 10-19 October 2014. The Western CMP Games Matches run 10-14 October 2014. The Creedmoor Cup Matches take place on 15-19 October 2014. All interested shooters are invited to participate in these unique, national-level competitions. NOTE: Registration for the Creedmoor Cup matches must be done online via www.creedmoorsports.com.
Small Arms Firing School
CMP Rifle Small Arms Firing School offered at during the Western CMP Games in Phoenix, AZ, Friday, October 10th. This course is recommended for all new shooters and anyone that would like to learn gun safety and sound target shooting skills, regardless of previous experience. In this course you will learn about safety, positions, how to load and clear the rifle, how to loop a sling and prepare for practice firing. Rifle SAFS students are required to use the Rock River AR15 commercial rifles issued by the school. Personal rifles are not permitted. Ammunition will be issued for use during practice fire and the M16 EIC Match and coaches will be available to assist students. Junior competitors must be at least 12 years old.
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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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Neither rain, nor geese, nor gloom of morn stays these competitors from the [sometimes swift] completion of their appointed rounds.
This year’s Camp Perry competitors at the John C. Garand Match had to battle rain, gloomy skies, plus an interruption by a bold flock of Canadian Geese. Nonetheless good fun was had by all. The challenge was to keep the guns and gear (and spectators) dry. All across the firing line one saw tarps and panchos, and even a few umbrellas. The match began on a very dark gloomy morning. Conditions improved during the day, but the rain clouds hovered all day long. CLICK HERE for hundreds more CMP photos from the event.
Wounded warrior Sgt. Robert K. Evans competes at Garand Match.
A great time was had by boys and girls, men and women, young and old alike at the 2014 Small Arms Firing School (SAFS) held July 17, 2014 at Camp Perry. This year’s SAFS was a great learning experience for the hundreds of participants, ranging in age from 7 to 70.
Military Rifle Coaches and CMP Rifle Master Instructors taught marksmanship basics and fundamentals to some 472 rifle marksmen (and “markswomen”). The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) Rifle Team Members conducted a classroom session in the morning, and then the Army Rifle Coaches provided “world-class” instruction on the firing line. The Rifle SAFS concluded with the Rifle Excellence in Competition (EIC) Match. SEE Match Results.
Here are photos from the CMP SAFS Photo Gallery. CLICK HERE to see hundreds more images …
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If you’re wondering what is happening when at the NRA National Rifle and Pistol championships, here is a calendar of all the scheduled events. The pistol matches concluded last week. Smallbore (rimfire) events are underway this week (in Bristol, Indiana), while the High Power events commenced yesterday (July 15) with clinics. The popular CMP Garand match is held July 19, while the NRA High Power National Championship commences on Saturday, July 26.
Click the calendar image below to see a large size version (that’s easier to read). You can also download a PDF file with the complete National Matches Event schedule for 2014.
The popular Vintage Sniper Rifle Team Match returns to Camp Perry on July 18, 2014, as part of this year’s National Matches. The Sniper Team Match was first held at Camp Perry in 2011, after being “test-fired” at the Eastern and Western CMP Games in 2010. The match tests competitors’ shooting abilities in a controlled environment and requires precise communication between teammates. Fierce competition and great camaraderie have made the Vintage Sniper Rifle Team Match a hugely popular event.
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.
CLICK HERE for more info about the Vintage Sniper Match and other National Trophy Rifle Matches. These CMP Photo Gallery images are from the 2011 Vintage Sniper Rifle Team Match.
Dennis DeMille (G.M. of Creedmoor Sports) with spotter Don Rutherford.
Two M1 Garands, fitted with scopes and lace-on cheekpads.
Who can identify this rifle, with its unusual scope mount?
Here’s an old Swedish Mauser, chambered for the 6.5x55mm cartridge. These old Swedes can shoot!
Wounded Veteran participates in Vintage Sniper Rifle Team Match.
Hornady’s Dave Emary (left) with “Gunny” R. Lee Ermey (right).
A good time was had by all. This is a fun competition.
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The NRA National Rifle and Pistol Matches kick off next Monday, July 7, 2014 at Camp Perry. There will be something special this year in honor of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who fought in World War II. Here’s the CMP’s notice of the special event:
First Shot Ceremony at Camp Perry
In recognition of the heroism many soldiers displayed 70 years ago to the day, at the Battle of Saint Lo in Normandy, France, and the Battle of Saipan in the South Pacific, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) will be bringing the sights and sounds of these great conflicts to the shores of Lake Erie at 10 a.m. on Monday, July 7, 2014. Please join us at the ranges of Camp Perry in Port Clinton, Ohio, as we merge the great sacrifices of veterans everywhere with the friendly rivalry of marksmanship competition.
Scheduled to appear are a WW II Navy Avenger torpedo bomber and the WW II B-25 bomber “Yankee Warrior”. These warplanes will fly overhead as vintage military vehicles parade alongside the ranges towards the crowd. Leading the ground forces will be a fully-operational M-4 Sherman tank. Other vehicles on display will include a WW II AMTRAC and WW II Army Jeeps.
Gary Anderson, DCM Emeritus, has the honor of firing the First Shot at the Opening Ceremonies. A legendary shooter, Anderson is a two-time Olympic gold medalist who also carries seven World Championships and 16 National Championships in his list of accomplishments. Anderson will fire the first shot of the National Matches with his Model 70 rifle, which he used to win one of his U.S. National Championships.
The First Shot Ceremony and the Range Dedication events are free and open to the public. All guests are welcome. To learn more about the National Matches, CLICK THIS LINK.
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After seven months of hard work and concentration, over 300 sporter and precision air rifle juniors are competing this week at the 2014 CMP National Three Position Air Rifle Championship. The event runs June 23 through 28 at the new Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center in Camp Perry, Ohio.
Junior marksmen participating in the CMP National Championship will also be competing in the USA Shooting National 3P Junior Olympics. Sporter competitors will fire on Tuesday, June 24, while precision competitors will follow on Friday, June 27. The National Junior Olympics will also be held in the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center.
Big money is at stake for the teams. First place teams in the sporter and precision competitions will receive $10,000 towards their team’s MidwayUSA endowment, while second and third place teams will earn $7,500 and $5,000, respectively. MidwayUSA contributed over $460,000 towards the competition.
The event is free and open to the public. The world-class Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center boasts 80 firing points with state-of-the-art electronic targets. Spectators are able to observe each competitor’s shot via large, 90-inch overhead monitors. CLICK HERE for more info on the CMP National Three Position Air Rifle Championship.
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