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.
Here’s a fun and entertaining video feature from our Daily Bulletin archives. In this USA vs. UK smackdown, “Gunny” Ermey pits his m1903 Springfield and M1 Garand against a British Lee-Enfield. Watch the video to see who comes out on top.
In this entertaining video, retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant and popular TV host R. Lee Ermey, challenges Gary Archer, a British ex-pat, to a shoot-off with classic military rifles. In Round One, Ermey employs a Springfield m1903 while his opponent shoots the British 1907 Lee-Enfield No. 1, MK III. The quick-cycling bolt of the .303-caliber Enfield, and its larger internal magazine, give the Brit an advantage and Archer beats Ermey decisively.
But the Gunny doesn’t give up. For Round Two, Ermey replaces his 1903 with an M1 Garand. The Gunny then proceeds to show why the .30-06 Garand was a superior combat weapon. Gary Archer protests that it’s “hardly sporting” to pit a bolt-gun against a semi-auto like the Garand, but Ermey quashes that complaint saying: “Hey, Churchill, it’s my show. Besides… this is war, I love my M1 Garand… and all’s fair in love and war.”
Share the post "’03 Springfield vs. Enfield vs. Garand Shoot-out with the “Gunny”"
We were talking with TubeGun builder Gary Eliseo recently, and the subject of his “Mad Minute” fun match came up. A while back, at our suggestion, Gary re-created the one-minute rapid fire marksmanship training drill done by British riflemen. Using a Competition Machine TubeGun, Gary managed 24 hits in 60 seconds on a 300-yard target. Gary told us that people often ask about his “Mad Minute” experience, so today we’re reprising the story (with video) for those guys who missed it the first time around. Forum member Laurie Holland, who hails from Great Britain, also contributes a brief history of the “Mad Minute” and the Lee-Enfield (SMLE) rifle.
Last year, the Top Shot TV show featured the “Mad Minute”, a high-speed drill requiring shooters to place as many hits as possible on a steel plate set at 200 yards. The time limit was one minute, and shooters were using historic Lee-Enfield bolt-action rifles. Top Shot’s “Mad Minute” was based on a British Army training drill. Soldiers were expected to get at least 15 hits on an bullseye target at 300 yards. Top Shot cheated a bit, placing the target at 200 yards (instead of 300 in the real British Army “Mad Minute” drill). Still the two Top Shot shooters managed only six (6) shots each in one minute. Consider that a “passing score” for a Brit soldier was 15 hits, you have to give credit to those WWI-era Tommies.
Watch Gary Eliseo Shoot the ‘Mad Minute’ (Starts at 4:47 on Video)
Eliseo Gets 24 Hits on 300-yard Target in One Minute
Using an Eliseo RTM Tubegun chambered in .308 Winchester, Gary Eliseo attempted the “Mad Minute” last weekend. Gary ended up with 24 hits on a bull target set at 300 yards. That’s four times as many hits as the Top Shot competitors. Gary actually had 25 hits in 25 rounds fired, but the last round hit just after the 60-second time period expired. Note how Gary pulls the trigger with the middle finger of his right hand. This allows him to work the bolt faster, using his thumb and index finger. The straight-through (inline stock) design of the Tubegun allowed Gary to maintain his cheekweld and head position throughout the minute-long drill.
Gary told us: “This isn’t easy. I came away very impressed with the training of the Tommy soldiers if they could make 15 hits in one minute. We had some skilled shooters who brought their own Lee-Enfields and they only did as well as the guys on Top Shot — making six or seven hits in a minute. The problem is that, with the cock-on-close operation of the Lee-Enfield, the gun would push away when the shooter closed the bolt, so the shooter would lose his sight picture, and have to re-center the rifle. I am truly astounded that the record for the ‘Mad Minute’ is 38 shots. That is hard to do with an AR, much less any bolt gun.”
Gary Hopes to Beat the ‘Mad Minute’ Record in the Future
The record for the “Mad Minute” — 38 shots on target at 300 yards — was set in 1914 by Sergeant Instructor Alfred Snoxall*. In the subsequent 98 years, that record has never been broken by any shooter with a conventional bolt-action rifle. Gary told us: “As long as that record still stands, I’m going to keep working at it. I know I lost a few seconds with mag changes. I think with some additional training, I can increase my score. Still, 38 hits is phenomenal. I am very, very impressed at what that guy did — it’s really mind-boggling to do that with an Enfield. Contrary to what has been written, those old Enfields are not that easy to shoot fast. Our club shooters found that out.”
* There is some uncertainty concerning the size of the target used by Snoxall. Some internet reports say the target was 12″ x 12″. Other posts, from England, suggest the target was 36″ by 36″. If the target was a 12″-diameter bull, Snoxall’s achievement is even more amazing.
‘Mad Minute’ and British Marksmanship with the SMLE (Lee-Enfield) Commentary by Laurie Holland
The original military requirement of the ‘Mad Minute’ saw the soldier ready to fire with a round in the chamber, 9 in the magazine, safety on. This course of fire is still followed by the GB Historic Breechloading Arms Association and other bodies in their recreated ‘Mad Minute’ competitions.
The first 10 would go quickly, but reloads were critical, this not done by a magazine change as Gary did with the RTM or in a modern tactical or semi-auto rifle, but through slick use of ‘chargers’. It is this aspect which fouls so many of my colleagues up as it’s very easy to cause a jam and a large part of 60 seconds can go in sorting it out!
As well as the training Gary mentions and commends, there were pay incentives / penalties for certification or failure, and there were valuable monetary and kudos benefits in achieving very high hit counts in the 20 + range. Tommies could draw their rifles from the armory any time when off duty and spent hours in barracks practicing using inert rounds and dry firing. For instance, a common practice was to balance a halfpenny coin on the foresight blade between the sight protecting ears and take shot after shot prone on the barracks floor until the trigger was pressed and the ‘shot taken’ without the coin falling off its perch.
Charger clips were selected for those that just held the rounds firmly enough to stop then falling out, were sand-papered and polished with a stove / fireplace polish called ‘Zebrite’ so that the rimmed rounds would slip through the clips like corn through a goose.
If you’re unfamiliar with the cock-on-closing Enfield action, it seems clumsy. With intensive practice it is very smooth and can be operated incredibly quickly. The trick is to whip the bolt back onto its stop and initiate a rebound movement that takes it and the cartridge well into the chamber thereby reducing the effort required to close the bolt and chamber the round.
None of this is to detract from the skill many of these guys had and the fantastic results they got both in rate of fire and accuracy out to 500/600 yards. That came from long days of live firing at full distances — far more practice than I’ll warrant US doughboys got at that time. The result was when the small British Expeditionary Force acted a blocking force against two advancing German infantry corps in Belgium in the autumn of 1914. Kaiser Wilhelm predicted confidently that his highly trained ‘Landsers’ would sweep this ‘contemptible little army’ aside. Instead, the Germans advancing in the open at ranges they felt was safe from rifle fire ran into a wall of lead of such a rate and accuracy that regimental commanders explained their failure to advance and massive casualties through the British having far more automatic weapons than their intelligence had briefed. The British survivors of that period adopted the self-styled title of ‘Old Contemptibles’ as an ironic rebuke to Wilhelm, one still used today. By Christmas 1914 that small and highly professional British army had been destroyed through attrition and army rifle competitions aside never achieved those riflecraft standards again — but of course that’s what a machinegun is for and it was criminal that BEF battalions (600-1,000 men) went to war with an establishment of only two Vickers-Armstrong machine-guns — a fraction of that in the opposing German units.
Share the post "Greatest Hits: Rockin’ the ‘Mad Minute’ with Gary Eliseo"
Over the years, many Civilian Marksmanship Program firearms purchasers have asked if the CMP would consider offering reliable, reasonably-priced and prompt maintenance, repair and upgrade of USGI-issue rifles. The CMP has responded and the answer is “YES”.
Starting October 1, 2013, the CMP Custom Shop (Anniston, AL) opens for business, providing a wide variety of repair, upgrade and custom services for a wide range of U.S. Military rifles, specifically those issued in early eras. As well as regular repairs (and troubleshooting), the CMP Custom Shop will be able to perform virtually any normal upgrading, accurizing, customizing, and refinishing for 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:
The latest issue of Target Shooter online magazine has been released and you should definitely check it out. The December issue of Target Shooter is really good — maybe the best yet. READ it here: www.Targetshooter.co.uk.
This month you’ll find an outstanding article by Vince Bottomley, “Building a Rifle for F/TR Class”. Whether you’re shooting F-TR now, or have an F-TR rifle in the works, this story is a “must-read” that will help you choose the right equipment and wring the best performance from it.
The six-page “Hand-loading for the .308 Winchester (Part 2)”, by Laurie Holland, is a fact-filled article that all .308 shooters shoot read and archive. Holland carefully measured various brands of .308 brass, recording weights and neck thickness (see chart below). Even if you are an experienced .308 reloader we guarantee you’ll learn something new from this article.
The December Target Shooter is chock full of other content covering a wide array of shooting disciplines — from Air Pistols to Black Powder Cartridge Rifles. There’s even something for collectors of historic military arms — Nigel Greenaway’s guide to the Enfield No.4 (T) sniper rifle. This issue also includes a 6-page holiday shopping guide featuring interesting new products as well as low-cost “stocking stuffers”. You can read Target Shooter online via a browser plug-in, and print pages you want to save. In addition, you can now downline the entire month’s content as a handy .pdf file for off-line reading.
Share the post "December Issue of Target Shooter UK Now Online"