October 8th, 2018

Building the Sport — 472 Ladies Attend Women on Target Event

Women Woman on Target Oklahoma City new shooters fun shoot training NRA

This is the kind of program we like to see — a well-organized event that introduces hundreds of new participants to the shooting sports. In this instance, some 472 ladies attended a day-long event in Oklahoma City, OK. Part of the NRA’s successful Woman On Target program, the Oklahoma city Day at the Range Fun Shoot was a huge success.

Suzi Rouse, lead organizer for the event stated: “It was a great success as evidenced by the smiling faces and positive feedback on their evaluations”. Rouse heads up efforts for one of the most popular Women on Target events in the nation.

Women Woman on Target Oklahoma City new shooters fun shoot training NRA

The Oklahoma City (OKC) event included pistol, rifle, and shotgun shooting with guns, ammunition, and safety gear supplied by the organizers and sponsors. This year, for example, Blaser Firearms provided two new .308 Win Mauser M18s. There were even prize give-aways during the lunch break.

The team at the Oklahoma City Gun Club has many years of experience now, and runs the big event like clockwork. While the Fun Shoot is focused on new shooters, there are many repeat lady participants, for whom this has become the social event of the year at the OKC Club. 2018 marks the 19th year the club has hosted a Fun Shoot for Women.

Women Woman on Target Oklahoma City new shooters fun shoot training NRA

Spotlight on Suzi Rouse
Women Woman on Target Oklahoma City new shooters fun shoot training NRA Suzi RouseEvent Director Suzi Rouse has served as President of the Oklahoma City Gun Club. She’s been a very effective leader in an activity typically dominated by men.

“Rouse grew up in a family where firearms were part and parcel of life. Rouse … has evolved into a strong advocate for female shooters. Rouse has long been active with the NRA and its marksmanship and safety efforts. And though the seed for the Women on Target program was planted in Wisconsin in 1998, Rouse was among the first women to get involved. She applied for and won a grant to train 12 women to be rifle, shotgun, and handgun instructors so the new shooters would be taught by other women. Rouse started the Oklahoma version as a ‘beta’ event a year after the Wisconsin debut, and the program went national soon thereafter.” — From America’s First Freedom.

Women Woman on Target Oklahoma City new shooters fun shoot training NRA

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October 3rd, 2017

Young Gun — Hunter the Talented 7-Year-Old Trigger Puller

Boy junior Pennsylvania rifle shooting father son Dasher
Hunter always wears proper ear protection. Here he got behind an empty rifle on closed range.

Here is a great “feel-good” family story from Forum Member Jonathan T. (aka “sniperjwt”). Father Jonathan explains how he introduced his son Hunter to precision shooting, at the ripe young age of six. Hunter took to shooting like a fish to water. Now seven years old, Hunter is shooting half-MOA (or better) and hitting steel at 800 yards with ease. What’s more he even finished second in a St. Thomas, Pennsylvania Ground-Hog match — beating nearly all the ground-ups (including his Dad) in the process.

You’ve got to watch this video — It’s priceless. This kid has talent.

Like Father, Like Son — Teaching My Boy How to Shoot

by Jonathan T.
“Focus on your trigger… squeeze it easy”. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it 1000 times. Not because he isn’t listening, but just so he knows how important it is.

Last year, at the age of six, Hunter started showing a lot of interest in going with me to the local shooting range. Of course I was happy to let him tag along and see what it was all about. Most fathers hope that their son will pick up the same interest so they can share something that they both enjoy. Teaching a kid to shoot can be very difficult, but also very rewarding.

The first couple of times I just let him watch and I would go over the safety aspects of shooting and things to watch out for. After several range sessions he was no longer content with just watching and wanted to get in on the action. My first concern was recoil. He was not a big 6-year-old and I did not want to get him flinching because we all know how hard that is to overcome. I started him with a .223 Rem with reduced loads. I haven’t been concerned with where he hits on the target. In fact I often wait until he is done shooting to even look at the target. My focus is on making sure his mechanics are right and his trigger control is what it should be. But as you can see, he learned fast…

Hunter’s first really good group, shot at age 6. This is six shots at 100 yards with a Savage .223 Rem.
Hunter son kid boy shooter 6-year-old

After a couple range sessions, he wanted to shoot in one of the local groundhog matches I attend. I told him we would practice some more and if I thought he was ready we would go to the last match of the year in 2016. I ended up letting him shoot in that match, but he struggled a bit as it is a timed event. Overall he was happy with how he did and I was happy he enjoyed himself. Over the winter we continued to practice and he continued to improve each time we went out. In March he turned seven years old, but he is still a little guy weighing only 42 pounds. When this year’s 2017 matches started, he was very excited that I had told him he could go to all of them when he didn’t have baseball games. The first several matches he still struggled a little but he was getting better each time.

Seeing how well Hunter shoots, one Forum member joked: “I’m gonna try Hunters under-the-armpit position. If it works for him….”
Hunter son kid boy shooter 6-year-old

Half way through the summer when we were at a match at Shippensburg Fish & Game, Hunter had an “AH-HA” moment. He was shooting at 320 yards and his first two sighters were good so I had him move over to the score side of the target. The first two shots were in the 9 Ring, but he jerked his third shot and it went over into the sighter side of the target. He did not know where it went and I just told him to get another one and shoot again. After he got his target back he looked at me and said “someone shot my target”. I asked him why he said that and he pointed to a bullet hole and said someone shot it right here. I explained to him that on his third shot where he jerked the trigger that is where it ended up. He looked at me and then the target and it was as if a light-bulb went off. Bingo — he finally understood why I kept telling him to focus on the trigger and squeeze it easy.

Hunter son kid boy shooter 6-year-old

After the match I let him shoot at 540 yards with the gun we mostly use in matches — a Savage Model 12 F-Class .223 Rem with a Sightron 10-50x60mm scope. Our “go to” load is Varget in Lapua brass with Berger 73gr bullet. He hit the plate just high of middle on the first shot and then commenced to put 12 shots within about a 4″ circle on the plate. After about shot 8 or 9 he asked if he could shoot at something else because he couldn’t even tell where he was hitting as the plate was splattered with hits.

Hunter Hammers Steel at 800 Yards
About a month later we were at the same range after a match and he wanted to shoot some more so I let him try his hand at 800 yards. At that distance there is a large 4’x4’ plate and he thought he was going to shoot at it but I told him I wanted him to shoot at a smaller 8″x11″ plate instead. I dialed in the elevation and told Hunter to get comfortable and “send it when he was ready”. He thought his first shot missed because he did not hear it immediately (as he would at shorter ranges). I told him that he did hit the target and to load another one. The next three were all hits.

Hunter son kid boy shooter 6-year-old

On his fifth shot I had him hold just off the left edge because a wind flag suggested it would be blown to the right. But that was not the case, so shot five was a miss. We corrected the hold and he put the last four rounds on the plate. Hunter made 8 hits out of 9 shots on a 8″x11″ target at 800 yards! Not bad for a 7-year-old with a .223 Rem. Oh, and yes, the one miss was my bad wind call.

Hunter Beats the Big Boys at St. Thomas Ground Hog Shoot
The Groundhog match at St. Thomas is one of our favorite matches. Well, at this September match, Hunter would turn some heads for sure. At 100 yards he shot a perfect 100 with three Xs. I told him after he shot the 100-yard relay that his trigger control was not real good and if he wanted to do good at 200 and 300 that he would have to do better. At 200 yards there was a night-and-day difference in his trigger control. It was as close to perfect as I have seen him do. He ended up with a 48-1X at 200. At this time we both had 98 scores but he had 4X and I had 5X. I was joking around with him before the 300-yard relay and he even had me text my wife and tell her we were tied.

Hunter son kid boy shooter 6-year-old

After I scored 44 in my 300-yard relay I told him, “Buddy, if you get a 45 or better you will beat me” his response was, “OK Dad, I’ll do that”. After some sighters, his first shot was a 10. I again told him that the trigger control was perfect and to do four more just like that. Hunter’s second shot was a 10. Now I got excited. His third shot was low and right in the 9 ring. Fourth shot was high and left in the 9 ring. Now I am shaking in excitement. Last shot was an 8 low and right cutting the hole of the third shot. I quickly did the math in my head and when he looked up at me I was grinning from ear to ear. I asked him if he knew what score he shot and he replied that he did not. I said a 46, and now he had a huge smile on his face. I let him come over to the spotting scope and look through it and when he got done I gave him a big hug and told him how proud of him I was.

Hunter’s final score was a 144-4X. Only one other competitor (of any age) had a higher class score — 146-3X. So, at seven years of age, Hunter earned a second place finish! But it turned out his superb shooting created a problem…

After the match was over I was called into the club office. Apparently a Junior Shooter had never finished this high and they were unsure how to handle awards since Juniors aren’t charged an entrance fee. I told them that I didn’t care how they handled it. I was just happy that he did as well as he did and he sure was happy that he beat Daddy. In fact Hunter’s score of 144-4X is the 4th highest score of the year in that class. To top things off this was the first time I had let him load his own cartridges from start to finish (under my supervision of course).

Father and Son Spending Quality Time Together
As much as I enjoy Hunter’s interest in shooting, I love the fact that we have something we can spend quality time doing together. At the table after the match, Hunter was sitting next to a well-respected shooter everyone calls “Cowboy”. This gentleman leans over and says “Son, you don’t know how lucky you are, the only thing I did with my dad was work in the garden”. My hope is that one day he will know how lucky he is… Right now I know how lucky I am to be able to spend time with my son doing something we both enjoy.

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July 3rd, 2016

Groundhog Fun Shoots — Crowd-Pleasing, Affordable Competition

Harold Seagroves hickory groundhog shoot
Harold Seagroves’ 3-time Hickory Ground Hog Match-Winning Rifle

At clubs across the country, varmint fun shoots (also known as “groundhog matches”) are becoming more popular every year. In these matches, usually shot from the bench, you engage paper targets, clay pigeons, steel “critter” silhouettes, or some combination of paper and reactive targets. Shooters like these matches because you can shoot a wide variety of rifles, you don’t have to spend a fortune to be competitive, and there is fun for the whole family. Rules are inclusive — you won’t be turned away because your rifle is two ounces overweight. A large percentage of the match fees usually go back to shooters in the form of cash prizes. And the level of camaraderie is high.

hickory groundhog shootInclusive Rules Welcome All Shooters
Forum member Danny Reever has explained the appeal of groundhog matches: “We don’t have a governing organization, or have to pay $50 a year membership just to compete in matches. Sure the rules vary from club to club, but you adapt. You build your rifle (or even pistol) to fall within the rules of either the clubs you shoot, or to fit all the clubs rules. If not there still is a class for you to compete in. If your factory rifle doesn’t conform to the rules, it can shoot in a custom class. If your custom doesn’t make weight for Light Custom (usually 17 pounds and under), you shoot it in heavy custom class. If you want to try your Tactical rifle or F-Class rig, bring it out there’s a class you can shoot it in. If you don’t like one club’s rules, you just don’t shoot there. It’s no big deal.

There are no National records, or Hall of Fame points — just individual range records. If you want to shoot in BIG matches (with big prizes), there is the Hickory Ground Hog Shoot among others. If competition isn’t your bag, many clubs offer mid-week fun matches that you can shoot just for fun. You shoot the same targets but with a more relaxed atmosphere with no time limits.

Groundhog varmint fun shoot summer family

The best part is you don’t have to shoot perfect at every yardage. You always have a chance because in this sport it really isn’t over until the last shot is fired. Typically ALL the entry money goes to the host club, with much of the cash returned back to the shooters via prizes. Junior shooters often shoot for free, or at a reduced rate. That lessens the burden on the family’s wallet (not a small thing in these economic times). The low entry cost also encourages young guys to get involved who don’t have $4000 custom rifles or the money to buy them.

St. Thomas Groundhog ShootMore Fun, Fewer Complications
There isn’t a sea of wind flags to shoot over or to put up and take down. If the range has a couple of flags so much the better, but after all it is a varmint match. No pits to spot shots and slow things down either. If you can’t see your hits through your rifle scope or spotting scope well you are in the same boat as everybody else. That’s what makes it interesting/ sometimes frustrating!

As for calibers, I’ve seen everything from .223 Rem to .338 Lapua and everything in between. Our range record at my club is held by Bill Slattery, who shot a 147 out of a possible 150 with a 22BR 13 months ago. That’s on a target with a 1.250 ten ring at 200/300/500 meters. That record will stand for awhile, and shows you that some very good shooting is done at groundhog matches.

The best part is it’s laid back, everyone gets along, there is no place for big egos here. We who shoot the Ground Hog Matches don’t begrudge the other organizations and shooting disciplines, or those that shoot in them, heck some of us cross over and compete in registered benchrest matches too. Life’s too short, live and let live is our motto so just come out and have fun!”

Fellow Forum members chimed in:

FdShuster: “I’ve competed in our local ground hog matches for several years now, have introduced a number of others to them, and we all enjoy them and more importantly, continue to learn from them. Distances are as close as 100 yards, (with a 5/8″ 10 ring) to as far as 500 meters. With a 2″ 10 ring. Wind, mirage, bullet trajectories, all make them a challenge, and unlike shooting for group, where the group can be anywhere on the paper, in this game they must be very small, but also in the 10 ring. With the different classes — Custom, Factory, Hunter — almost any rifle will fit in somewhere. And Danny is correct about the friendly attitudes. I’ve seen competitors go out of their way, and jeopardize their chances of winning, to help someone else who may have a problem on the line.”

Texas Fun ShootMike C: “Here in Texas, our version of groundhog matches involves shooting at clay pigeons at 400 yards. We use 60mm, 90mm, and 108mm clay pigeons attached to target boards. You have 10 shots to break 8 clays, with a seven-minute time limit. We have developed a good following at these matches. In past years, a Shooter of the Year Award was given based on the Aggregate score for three of our matches, which are held in Utopia, San Angelo, and Huntsville.”

40X Guy: “I would have to say upon finishing my first year ever of groundhog matches, that the average Joe can grab his Swift, or his 25-06, or his 22-250 and go rip some holes in paper. Everybody is having a good time and its a gathering of like-minded people who have all shot chucks at some point or another. Even if one does not win the match, you can look at your target and say “darn that chuck target has five holes in him at 400 yards and he’s dead” just as well as the next guy shooting a custom bench rifle. Everybody fits in and everybody, 8 to 80, is having fun! It is addictive and will drive you to spend your hard-earned currency for sure!”

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August 24th, 2010

East Texas Championship Benchrest Fun Shoot

A Texas shooter put together a great video covering the East Texas Championship Benchrest Shootout, held August 20-21 in Huntsville, TX. This match, the first at the new Huntsville Range, was co-sponsored by the Pine Valley Benchrest Shooters Association and S&S Precision Rifles of Argyle, TX. On the Friday before the main match, there was also a 500-yard Egg Shoot.

In the video you can see Don ‘Stick’ Starks of S&S piloting a 6.5×47 Lapua long-range varminter he built on a candy-red Robertson Composites ‘Speedy’ F-Class stock. Stick and other competitors were shooting at large (120mm), medium (90mm), and small (60mm) clay birds at 400 yards. Over the course of the day, competitors fired 50 record rounds at the targets. Each shooter came to the line five times to shoot 10 rounds per stage in seven minutes or less. The ‘top shot’ who nailed the most birds took home $600.00 in cash. There was also a team challenge with a $430.00 winning payout.

YouTube Preview Image

Thirty-six competitors attended this fun match with $1300.00 in total prize pay-outs for the top four bird-busters. Jason Leavelle won the $600 first-place prize with an 810 score, while Dr. Darrel Martin earned $400 for his second-place finish, 50 points behind Leavelle. Tymn Combest was third, earning $200, and Arthur McMeans took home $100 for fourth place. Pudge Morris was the Junior Division winner. We congratulate all the money winners — it wasn’t easy. According to Mike Cockcroft, who helped run the match, “it was 100 degrees, the winds were strong, and the mirage heavy.” The only wind indicators are range flags at the targets and a couple of standard benchrest flags out at about 100 yards.

Match Winner Used a 6.5×284
Forum member Joe Duke reports: “Jason Leavelle shot a nice 810 out of 1000 (possible) points. He is the winningest shooter on our circuit (fondly known as the ‘Redneck Circuit’) and is always tough to beat. He shoots a 6.5-284 crafted by Sam Duke. Jason’s rifle is built on a Stainless Steel Viper action and sports a Krieger 8.5-twist barrel. I can’t think of one of our shoots that was won with anything other than a 6.5-284 in the last three or four years.”

Rules were fairly “wide-open” for the Saturday Shoot-Out, so you saw everything on the line from varmint rifles to 40-pounders. Most guns are custom bench rigs weighing 17 to 30 pounds. All shooters competed in the same class with these basic rules:

S&S Precision Rifles

  • NO RAIL GUNS OR RETURN TO BATTERY GUNS
  • 40 POUND MAX WEIGHT LIMIT
  • NO SIGHT OR SCOPE RESTRICTIONS
  • NO CALIBER OVER .30
  • NO ONE-PIECE RESTS OR GUN-VISES
  • NO Shooter-Supplied WIND FLAGS
  • NO SPOTTING EXCEPT DURING SITE-IN ROUND
  • NO TANK OR CLAM TYPE MUZZLE BRAKES

You should definitely watch the video. It is extremely well made and there are some seriously nice rifles on display. Plus it sure looks like the new Huntsville facility is a beautiful range (even if the Texas winds did blow in the afternoons). CLICK HERE to download Match Rankings and Scores (PDF File).

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April 30th, 2009

Roanoke (VA) Egg Shoot This Weekend

Here’s a great opportunity to have some fun with your varmint or benchrest rifle. The 2009 Roanoke Egg Shoot will be held Saturday, May 2nd, at the Roanoke (VA) Rifle & Revolver Club. Entry Fee is just $20 per gun, and all types of rifles are welcome. The only restrictions are maximum 30 caliber, maximum 30 lbs. weight, and no rail guns. Custom guns and factory guns will shoot in separate classes, and all classes will shoot from benches. Shooting starts at 9:00 am, but come early for sign-ups.

Exploding ClaysCustom rifles will shoot at 425 yards at a dozen 2.4″ clays, with 3 tie-breaker targets. There are unlimited sighter rounds and a 5-minute time limit. Factory guns will shoot at 200 yards at paintball targets with 3 tie-breakers. Again there are unlimited sighters and a 5-minute time limit during record fire. NOTE: Factory guns must be totally stock except trigger job, bedding, and muzzle brake.

The actual Egg Shoot is a separate part of the competition. You pick your best gun regardless of class. After a 5-minute warm-up, each shooter gets two (2) shots at one egg set at 500 yards. You can enter “as many times as your wallet permits — 2 shots for $2.00″. All shooters who hit an egg will go to a shoot-off for the final awards.

The Roanoke Egg Shoot is a great event that draws shooters from throughout Virginia and neighboring states. CLICK HERE to read Mark Schronce’s account of a recent Roanoke Egg Shoot where he and his wife competed head-to-head in a 500-yard shoot-off for top honors. For more information, call (540) 980-1582, or email: varmint [at] psknet.com.

egg shoot Roanoke

CLICK HERE for INFO PAGE with Rules and Directions to the Roanoke Range.

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