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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Victor Betzold had a Camp Perry experience for the ages. At the 2015 CMP Games, Betzold won the Garand Match, won the M1 Carbine Match (setting a new Record), and took the 3-Gun Aggregate for the second year in a row. Now that’s an impressive performance. Betzhold is no stranger to shooting – beginning in junior high and firing well into college, then taking his love for guns into the Army. After the years went on and work and family became higher priorities, he fell away from the sport he loved. But now that he’s retired at age 60, he’s had time to practice again – practice that has certainly paid off.
During his remarkable showing at the National Games Matches, Betzold won the Carbine Match with a score of 375-6X, setting a new National Record in the process. In the National Garand Match, Betzold fired a score of 290-7X to become the overall winner of a field of 1213 competitors.
“It feels great,” he said. “I’ve been working at this for a long time.” The 60-year-old Betzold was also the top senior for both the Garand Match and the Carbine Match.
With his outstanding performances in the Garand and Springfield Matches, as well as an exceptional seventh-place finish in the Vintage Military Match, Betzold claimed the 3-Gun Aggregate title for the second year in a row — with a combined score of 865-19X.
The CMP’s National Trophy Infantry Team Match (NTIT) has been a staple at the National Matches since 1922. Also known as the “Rattle Battle,” the event is one of the most unique in the competitive rifling world — scoring is based on how many hits six-person teams can score on a bank of targets during a series of 50-second firing periods at four yardages. Teams begin the NTIT match with 384 rounds of ammunition, which they fire upon eight silhouette targets from 600, 500, 300 and 200 yards during successive 50-second periods. After each rapid-fire string, team members move forward (to the next-closest distance) carrying all equipment from firing line to firing line. The match emphasizes extremely fast, accurate fire and good communication among teammates. The Rattle Battle is always an exciting competition for spectators to watch. View NTIT match results on the CMP website.
Watch CMP ‘Rattle Battle’ Video — 50 Seconds of Rapid Fire…
The video shows the California Grizzlies, one of the top junior squads. The lead photo shows the U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) Team in action during the NTIT match. See more in USAR “Rattle Battle” Video.
Garand matches are among the most popular and well-attended of the CMP competition disciplines. When obtained directly from the CMP, Garands are fun to shoot and affordable. However, with these classic battle rifles, you need to ensure that the headspace is set properly to ensure safe function and good brass life.
In the archives of The FIRST SHOT, the CMP’s online magazine, CMP Armorer John McLean has written an excellent article entitled: “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Checking M1 Garand Head Space.” We recommend all Garand shooters read the article.
McClean explains: “Excessive headspace will cause the brass to stretch more than it should and increases the likelihood of a case failure. Insufficient headspace may contribute to slam fires, light strikes on primers, misfires and more wear on parts due to the additional force needed to chamber the rounds.”
Garand Head Space Gauges
McClean writes: “Both Forster and Clymer make fine gauges but we have found that there are differences between the two companies’ gauges that make the Clymer gauges best for use with the M1. The headspace that the original manufacturers of the M1 considered correct can be determined by checking new or nearly new rifles that we have here at CMP. With that information we have determined that Springfield Armory and the other manufacturers of the M1 used gauges that were very close to the Clymer dimensions… and therefore we use, and recommend using only the Clymer gauges.”
How to Check for Proper Headspace
In the article, McClean goes on to show how to properly use the “GO”, “NO GO”, and “FIELD” gauges. You’ll want to read the Complete Article. One of the important points McClean makes is that the ejector can affect headspace reading. Accordingly, “the bolt must be disassembled and the ejector removed, or clearance notches must be made on the headspace gauges so there will be no contact between the headspace gauges and the ejector.”
This Friday, July 17th, the CMP hosts the Vintage Sniper Rifle Match at Camp Perry. One of the most popular vintage rifle matches held each summer at Perry, this is a two-man team competition using scoped rifles of WWI and WWII Vintage. 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.
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 last year’s 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):
Bob Shanen has two vintage sniper competition rifles. Both builds are based off of the USMC Model 1941 sniper rifle, a design similar to the M1903A1 National Match rifle. Bob’s rifles both carry 8x Lyman Junior Target Spotter scopes with a thin crosshair reticle. Bob attributes a large part of his rifle’s accuracy to the Criterion M1903 match-grade barrels installed on each rifle by Rick Humphreys, a Milwaukee area gunsmith. These tack-driving barrels are capable of half-MOA accuracy.
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.
by Dennis Santiago
Tricked-out match guns are fun but, if you want to prove that you’ve got an eagle eye and steady hands, a true test of skill is the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s As-Issued Four Gun Aggregate.
The Four Gun Aggregate encompasses a series of CMP John C. Garand 30-shot matches (200-yard As-Issued Military Rifle Match Course A) on NRA SR targets at one of the CMP Regional Games or the Nationals officiated by the CMP. These are the only places you can earn the coveted neck-ribbon CMP achievement medals.
You will need four as-issued rifles. The first is the M-1 Garand. (The course of fire is named after this rifle’s inventor.) This remarkable battle rifle will test your prowess at slow prone, rapid prone, and offhand. The match winner will put almost all bullets into a saucer.
You do get to hear that classic “ping” when the en bloc clip ejects with this gun. It’s a good idea to write your firing point number on your hand for each match because you will move around over the course of the tournament.
Next comes the hyper-accurate 1903 Springfield. You can use either the WW I M1903 or the later WW II M1903A3 model with peep sights. A Springfield will typically shoot groups half the size of a Garand with the same ammunition. Think potential in terms of tea cups instead of saucers.
Article based on report by Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer
The 2015 CMP National National Three Position Air Rifle Championships will be held June 21-23 and June 24-26 at the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) South Competition Center in Anniston, Alabama. Junior JROTC, 4-H and club team precision and sporter marksmen involved in the competition began their journey with the CMP Postal Competition in November, where CMP-issued targets were mailed into Headquarters in Ohio for official scoring. Top shooters in the Postal Competition were invited to compete in the Regional Championships in March and April, with the top individuals and teams from that match qualifying for the National Championship.