August 11th, 2017

The NRA Perpetual Trophies — Heritage of Shooting Excellence

Leech Cup Wimbledon Trophy Cup NRA SSUSA.org
Stunners in silver. Above are the NRA Leech Cup (left) and Wimbledon Cup (right).

Shooting Sports USA has a fascinating article about the Perpetual Trophies awarded in national-level NRA matches. The story recounts the history behind the elaborate trophies, some from the 1870s. SSUSA’s Jennifer Pearsall writes: “The pieces of wood, stone and precious metal … are more than just instant recognition of achievement. They are the link of the American shooter’s present to his or her patriotic past. As you read this legacy of the NRA ranges, their founders, and the long list of cups, bowls, and plaques, realize that the history of competitive shooting is undeniably a significant part of the foundation of this country”. Read Full Trophy Story HERE.

The NRA was co-founded by Col. William Church and Gen. George Wood Wingate (ranked Captain at the time). Both Church and Wingate hoped to improved the marksmanship skills of American soldiers. One of the newly-formed NRA’s first actions was to issue: “An Act to Establish a Rifle Range and Promote Skill in Marksmanship”. That led to the opening of the famed Creedmoor Range, with a special inaugural match in June of 1873.

Many of the awards presented in the first NRA matches were cash or firearms. Some of these firearms were heavily embellished works of art. In the very first match, a member of the 22nd New York Regiment took home a gold-mounted Winchester Model 1866 valued at $100 — big money for the time.

Leech Cup Wimbledon Trophy Cup NRA SSUSA.org
In the 1870s shooting competitions were social as well as sporting events. Ladies and gentlemen came to watch and cheer the winners. This illustration, originally from Harpers Weekly, portrays the shooters and the viewing gallery at the 1876 Grand Centennial Championship—the “Palma” Match.

The Leech Cup — A Gift from Ireland
The Leech Cup was created for the first meeting of the American and Irish shooting teams. The elaborate cup was presented by Major Arthur Leech, captain of the the Irish team, to the Amateur Rifle Club of New York. This masterpiece of Irish silversmithing was later given to the NRA in 1901 by the New York Club. Today, the Leech Cup is the oldest trophy offered in overall NRA competitive target shooting, awarded through the National High Power Long Range Championships.

Michelle Gallagher with Leech Cup in 2013.
Leech Cup Wimbledon Trophy Cup NRA SSUSA.org

The Wimbledon Cup
The Wimbledon Trophy was a gift from the NRA of Great Britain. It was given, as a gesture of sportsmanship, after the the U.S. Team was denied the ability to compete in England’s Elcho Shield match, then limited to Britain, Scotland, and Ireland. To maintain friendly competitive relations, the British presented the Americans with a large, engraved, lion-footed tankard trophy to be awarded each year to the Champion U.S. long-distance rifleman.

Wimbledon Trophy Cup NRA SSUSA.org

Palma Trophy Facts Team Match National Camp Perry Tiffany'sThe Palma Team Trophy
Originally named the Centennial Trophy, in honor of the Centennial celebration of the independence of the United States of America, the Palma Trophy was commissioned from Tiffany’s at a cost of $1,500. The trophy was a full-sized replica of a Roman Legion standard, executed in bronze with silver and gold inlay. On the banner of the standard was the legend, “In the name of the United States of America to the Riflemen of the world”. Above the banner was an eagle, bearing in its talons a wreath of palm leaves and a plaque on which was the single word, “PALMA”, the Latin word for palm tree, which was used by the Romans to signify victory, or the ultimate in excellence.

Because the word Palma was so easily seen, the trophy soon became known as the “Palma Trophy”, and by 1878 was referred to officially by that name. The sriginal seven and one-half foot trophy is now lost, having not been seen since at least 1954. Serving in its place is a copy which was commissioned by Dr. Herbert M. Aitken of Eau Claire, WI. The copy was made from the original Tiffany blue-prints at a cost of $32,500. Dr. Aitken has given this copy of the Palma Trophy to the NRA for use in the Palma Match. The trophy is retained by the winning team until the next Palma Match.

In 2008, the Palma Trophy was returned to the NRA, and it was decided that the trophy, once refurbished, will travel to the host nation for the match every four years, then returned to the NRA for safekeeping.

The first competition for the Palma Team was a challenge match for which the British Commonwealth nations were invited. The match was fired in 1876 at the old Creedmoor Range on Long Island as part of the Centennial celebration of the United States. Teams representing Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and the United States took part. The match is currently fired on a four-year interval.

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June 26th, 2017

Top 50 Female Competitive Shooters — the SSUSA.org List

Top 50 Fifty female lady competitive Shooters

While the majority of competitive shooters are male, some of the very best shooters are female. Competitive shooting is one sport where men and women do compete head-to-head at the highest level. You won’t see that in tennis, or cycling, or basketball, but in shooting, it’s not unusual to see a talented lady on top of the podium. There still are gender-based classifications in some shooting disciplines, but in F-Class, NRA High Power, and Benchrest women can and do compete on a par with men. These talented ladies have proven themselves capable of winning National and International Championships against all comers.


Top 50 Women in Competitive Shooting on Shooting Sports USA »

To celebrate the skills and talent of lady shooters, Shooting Sports USA recently created a great article showcasing 50 of the most talented female shooters in the USA. This list includes Olympic gold medalists (in shotgun and air rifle), Pistol champions, Palma rifle shooters, PRS competitors, and 3-gun specialists. Here are some of the 50 notables from the list. CLICK HERE to see the whole list.

Kim Rhode Shotgun Top 50 Lady ShootersKim Rhode: One of a few household names on this list, Kim Rhode and her Olympic bronze medal performance in Rio last year made her a six-time Olympic medal recipient. Kim has won an Olympic medal on five continents. Additionally she won the Women’s Skeet Final at the 2016 ISSF Shotgun World Cup Final in Rome, Italy. She plans to “definitely [go] for Tokyo in 2020. If Los Angeles gets the bid for the next one, (even if they don’t) I’ll probably go to the 2024 Olympic Games. There’s no reason for me to stop at this point.” Kim was recently elected to the NRA Board of Directors. Editor: Kim is a once-in-a-generation shooter; we support her work with the NRA.

Ginny Thrasher Top 50 Lady ShootersGinny Thrasher: This Olympic gold medalist needs little introduction. Quietly arriving on the scene after years racking up smallbore and air rifle victories, Ginny Thrasher arrived at West Virginia University and made history. Not only did she win the smallbore championship at NCAA in 2016, but her performance at the Rio 2016 Olympics started a media frenzy. Winning the first U.S. Gold Medal of the Games will do that. Prior to glory on the international stage, Ginny was winning NRA smallbore championships as a member of Northern Virginia’s own Junior Acorns team.

Lena Miculek Top 50 Lady ShootersLena Miculek: The daughter of master shooter Jerry Miculek, Lena burst onto the competitive shooting scene in 2005 with five consecutive Sportsman’s Team Challenge Junior national titles. Moving on to 3-gun, by 2015 she had an astonishing 89 percent win rate. Lena was the 2016 NRA World Shooting Ladies Champion. Recently, she traveled to Russia to compete at the inaugural IPSC World Rifle Championship, along with her mother Kay Miculek, Ashley Rheuark, and Maggie Reese. Lena and Team USA’s women’s team won Gold in the women’s Open division, and Lena won a second Gold Medal as the Ladies Open Division Individual Champion.

Lanny Tracy Barnes Top 50 Lady Shooters

Lanny and Tracey Barnes: Both highly decorated Olympic biathletes, the identical Barnes twins have been on the World Cup circuit for over a decade. At the age of 18, they made their first World Junior Championship team and medaled in the World Junior Championships the next year. Lanny competed in the 2006 and 2010 Olympics, and Tracy competed in the 2006 and was an alternate in 2010. Lanny posted the best U.S. finish in 16 years in 2010 with perfect shooting. These days, the twins compete in 3-gun and Sportsman’s Team Challenge—and also are serious hunters.

Kirsten Joy Weiss Top 50 Lady ShootersKirsten Joy Weiss: Before making great trick-shot videos on YouTube, Kirsten Weiss was a smallbore rifle champion, winning high lady and second place overall at the NRA 3-position smallbore nationals in 2012. Remarkably, Kristen shot the any sight match with iron sights, while many of her fellow shooters were using scopes. For those new to rimfire, Weiss says, “It is almost always better to start with iron sights rather than a scope. Scopes can be a crutch, but interestingly enough they can also help in developing bad habits if your fundamental marksmanship skills aren’t developed yet.”

Nancy, Sherri, and Michelle — The Tompkins/Gallager Clan

There are three more ladies, champions all, who should be included in the Top 50 list. We would definitely add Nancy Tompkins, and daughters Sherri Gallagher and Michelle Gallagher to this list. Nancy and Sherri are the only two women in history to have won the National High Power championship. Michelle Gallagher has won the Long Range National championship and she also serves as the coach of the U.S.A. F-Open team at the 2017 F-Class World Championships. Nancy Tompkins has rightly been called the “First Lady of American Shooting” and rightly so. You won’t find a nicer person, or a more talented shooter. Sherri, currently with the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute Team, was an ace shooter with the USAMU squad who earned U.S. Army’s Soldier of the Year honors in 2010.

Accurateshooter.com Nancy Tompkins Sherri Jo Gallagher Michelle Gallagher

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March 8th, 2017

Improve Your Shooting Skills with Multi-Discipline Training

Michelle Gallagher Cross Training

Guest Article By Michelle Gallagher, Berger Bullets
Let’s face it. In the world of firearms, there is something for everyone. Do you like to compete? Are you a hunter? Are you more of a shotgun shooter or rifle shooter? Do you enjoy running around between stages of a timed course, or does the thought of shooting one-hole groups appeal to you more? Even though many of us shoot several different firearms and disciplines, chances are very good that we all have a favorite. Are we spreading ourselves too thin by shooting different disciplines, or is it actually beneficial? I have found that participating in multiple disciplines can actually improve your performance. Every style of shooting is different; therefore, they each develop different skills that benefit each other.

How can cross-training in other disciplines help you? For example, I am most familiar with long-range prone shooting, so let’s start there. To be a successful long-range shooter, you must have a stable position, accurate ammunition, and good wind-reading skills. You can improve all of these areas through time and effort, but there are other ways to improve more efficiently. Spend some time practicing smallbore. Smallbore rifles and targets are much less forgiving when it comes to position and shot execution. Long-range targets are very large, so you can get away with accepting less than perfect shots. Shooting smallbore will make you focus more on shooting perfectly center shots every time. Another way to do this with your High Power rifle is to shoot on reduced targets at long ranges. This will also force you to accept nothing less than perfect. Shoot at an F-Class target with your iron sights. At 1000 yards, the X-Ring on a long range target is 10 inches; it is 5 inches on an F-Class target. Because of this, you will have to focus harder on sight alignment to hit a center shot. When you go back to the conventional target, you will be amazed at how large the ten ring looks.

Michelle Gallagher Cross Training

Also, most prone rifles can be fitted with a bipod. Put a bipod and scope on your rifle, and shoot F-TR. Shooting with a scope and bipod eliminates position and eyesight factors, and will allow you to concentrate on learning how to more accurately read the wind. The smaller target will force you to be more aggressive on your wind calls. It will also help encourage you to use better loading techniques. Nothing is more frustrating than making a correct wind call on that tiny target, only to lose the point out the top or bottom due to inferior ammunition. If you put in the effort to shoot good scores on the F-Class target, you will be amazed how much easier the long-range target looks when you return to your sling and iron sights. By the same token, F-Class shooters sometimes prefer to shoot fast and chase the spotter. Shooting prone can help teach patience in choosing a wind condition to shoot in, and waiting for that condition to return if it changes.

Benchrest shooters are arguably among the most knowledgeable about reloading. If you want to learn better techniques about loading ammunition, you might want to spend some time at benchrest matches. You might not be in contention to win, but you will certainly learn a lot about reloading and gun handling. Shooting F-Open can also teach you these skills, as it is closely related to benchrest. Benchrest shooters may learn new wind-reading techniques by shooting mid- or long-range F-Class matches.

Michelle Gallagher Cross TrainingPosition shooters can also improve their skills by shooting different disciplines. High Power Across-the-Course shooters benefit from shooting smallbore and air rifle. Again, these targets are very small, which will encourage competitors to be more critical of their shot placement. Hunters may benefit from shooting silhouette matches, which will give them practice when shooting standing with a scoped rifle. Tactical matches may also be good, as tactical matches involve improvising shots from various positions and distances. [Editor: Many tactical matches also involve hiking or moving from position to position — this can motivate a shooter to maintain a good level of general fitness.]

These are just a few ways that you can benefit from branching out into other shooting disciplines. Talk to the other shooters. There is a wealth of knowledge in every discipline, and the other shooters will be more than happy to share what they have learned. Try something new. You may be surprised what you get out of it. You will certainly learn new skills and improve the ones you already have. You might develop a deeper appreciation for the discipline you started off with, or you may just discover a new passion.

This article originally appeared in the Berger Bulletin. The Berger Bulletin blog contains the latest info on Berger products, along with informative articles on target shooting and hunting.

Article Find by EdLongrange.

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June 8th, 2016

Nancy Tompkins Scrambles Egg at 1230 Yards in the Emerald Isle

NRA Ireland Egg shoot Nancy Tompkins Midlands Emerald

Can you hit an egg at 1230 yards? Nancy Tompkins can. It did take her a couple of shots though. Mighty impressive shooting by a great lady, the first-ever female to win the National High Power Championship. Nancy was shooting at Ireland’s Midlands National Shooting Centre. She took six shots to hit a clay pigeon, and then hit the egg two shots later. Here’s the official proof:

NRA Ireland Egg shoot Nancy Tompkins Midlands Emerald

Nancy, along with daughter Michelle Gallagher, has been in the Emerald Isle competing at a series of matches at Midlands. Hosted by the NRA of Ireland (NRAI), the Emerald & Ireland Long Range Challenge is held annually at the Midlands National Shooting Centre of Ireland (MNSCI) in late May and early June. The event starts with the Long Range Challenge at 1100 and 1200 yards. That is followed by the Emerald match. In past seasons, the Emerald match included three yardages (800, 900, and 1000 yards) with a shoot-off for the top 10 competitors.

Nancy says she loves to shoot in Ireland — the facilities are excellent and the wonderful hospitality of her Irish hosts makes the experience memorable. Here’s a photo from the Midlands Shooting Centre, located in Tullamore, Ireland.

NRA Ireland Egg shoot Nancy Tompkins Midlands MNSCI Emerald

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August 2nd, 2015

Nancy Tompkins Wins 2015 NRA Long Range Championship

Michelle Gallagher Mid Tompkins Nancy Tompkins Brandon Green

The matriarch of American Long Range Shooting has done it again. The amazing Nancy Tompkins won the 2015 NRA Long Range Championship with an impressive performance. This marks the fifth time Nancy has won the LR Championship. This year’s LR match went down to the wire after many days of shooting. It all came down to X-Count, with two talented ladies tied for score. Shooting a 1242-58X over the multi-day competition, Nancy finished four Xs ahead of SSG Amanda Elsenboss (1242-54X). Both women dropped only 8 points out of 1250 possible. Amanda’s USAMU team-mate, SFC Brandon Green, finished third, one point back, at 1241-75X. SFC Green, the newly-crowned 2015 High Power National Champion, had high X-Count by a wide margin.

CLICK HERE for Complete 2015 NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Championships RESULTS.

This year’s Long Range Championships event was hugely popular, with 321 competitors on the match roster. Many familiar faces ranked among the Special Award winners. Our friends David Tubb (1241-69X) and Jim O’Connell (1235-66X) were High Senior and High Grand Senior, respectively. Tubb finished fourth overall, with the second-highest X-Count. There were also talented newcomers, such as High Junior Charlotte Flanagan, a young Kiwi from far-away New Zealand. Firing a 1236-40X, Charlotte is shooting at an extremely high level for someone so young. As Ken Littlefield noted: “It’s pretty impressive to come into Camp Perry for the first time and win the Junior Championship!” Charlotte could be formidable at the World Fullbore LR Championships slated for 3-9 August at Camp Perry.

Here are the overall Top 10 finishers. Note that Michelle Gallager, Nancy Tompkins’s daughter, made the Top 10, making this a “family affair” for the Tompkins/Gallagher clan:

1. NANCY TOMPKINS (1242-58X), HM, Div. B – U.S. Match ‘Any’ Rifle*, Rule 3.2, 3.7(c)
2. SSG AMANDA ELSENBOSS (1242-54X), HM, USA REG W Div. B – U.S. Palma Rifle, Rule 3.3.1(a)
3. SFC BRANDON GREEN (1241-75X), HM, USA REG Div. B – U.S. Palma Rifle, Rule 3.3.1(a)
4. DAVID TUBB (1241-69X), HM, Div. B – U.S. Palma Rifle, Rule 3.3.1(a)
5. DAVID CALVERT (1241-63X), MA, Palma Rifle (NRA Rule 3.3.3 (b))
6. JANE MESSER (1240-60X), HM, Palma Rifle (NRA Rule 3.3.3 (b))
7. DAVID LUCKMAN (1239-68X), MA, Palma Rifle (NRA Rule 3.3.3 (b))
8. SGT DICONZA (1238-59X), HM, USMC REG Div. B – U.S. Palma Rifle, Rule 3.3.1(a)
9. PHILLIP CROWE (1238-54X), HM, Div. B – U.S. Palma Rifle, Rule 3.3.1(a)
10. MICHELLE GALLAGHER (1237-64X), HM, Div. B – U.S. Palma Rifle, Rule 3.3.1(a)
*The NRA Match bulletin lists Palma Rifle, but Nancy said she shot her “Any Rifle”.

In this photo, Michelle Gallagher is missing … but someone had to take the photo.
Michelle Gallagher Mid Tompkins Nancy Tompkins Sherri Jo Gallagher

Here is Nancy with the Tompkins Trophy. And yes, if you are wondering, that trophy was donated, decades ago, by hubby Mid Tompkins as the top prize for the Long Range High Power Rifle competition.

Nancy Tompkins Long Range Championship
Photo courtesy NRABlog.com.

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February 3rd, 2015

Can Cross-Training in Other Disciplines Help You Shoot Better?

Guest Article By Michelle Gallagher, Berger Bullets
Let’s face it. In the world of firearms, there is something for everyone. Do you like to compete? Are you a hunter? Are you more of a shotgun shooter or rifle shooter? Do you enjoy running around between stages of a timed course, or does the thought of shooting one-hole groups appeal to you more? Even though many of us shoot several different firearms and disciplines, chances are very good that we all have a favorite. Are we spreading ourselves too thin by shooting different disciplines, or is it actually beneficial? I have found that participating in multiple disciplines can actually improve your performance. Every style of shooting is different; therefore, they each develop different skills that benefit each other.

Michelle Gallagher Cross Training

How can cross-training in other disciplines help you? For example, I am most familiar with long-range prone shooting, so let’s start there. To be a successful long-range shooter, you must have a stable position, accurate ammunition, and good wind-reading skills. You can improve all of these areas through time and effort, but there are other ways to improve more efficiently. Spend some time practicing smallbore. Smallbore rifles and targets are much less forgiving when it comes to position and shot execution. Long-range targets are very large, so you can get away with accepting less than perfect shots. Shooting smallbore will make you focus more on shooting perfectly center shots every time. Another way to do this with your High Power rifle is to shoot on reduced targets at long ranges. This will also force you to accept nothing less than perfect. Shoot at an F-Class target with your iron sights. At 1000 yards, the X-Ring on a long range target is 10 inches; it is 5 inches on an F-Class target. Because of this, you will have to focus harder on sight alignment to hit a center shot. When you go back to the conventional target, you will be amazed at how large the ten ring looks.

Michelle Gallagher Cross Training

Also, most prone rifles can be fitted with a bipod. Put a bipod and scope on your rifle, and shoot F-TR. Shooting with a scope and bipod eliminates position and eyesight factors, and will allow you to concentrate on learning how to more accurately read the wind. The smaller target will force you to be more aggressive on your wind calls. It will also help encourage you to use better loading techniques. Nothing is more frustrating than making a correct wind call on that tiny target, only to lose the point out the top or bottom due to inferior ammunition. If you put in the effort to shoot good scores on the F-Class target, you will be amazed how much easier the long-range target looks when you return to your sling and iron sights. By the same token, F-Class shooters sometimes prefer to shoot fast and chase the spotter. Shooting prone can help teach patience in choosing a wind condition to shoot in, and waiting for that condition to return if it changes.

Benchrest shooters are arguably among the most knowledgeable about reloading. If you want to learn better techniques about loading ammunition, you might want to spend some time at benchrest matches. You might not be in contention to win, but you will certainly learn a lot about reloading and gun handling. Shooting F-Open can also teach you these skills, as it is closely related to benchrest. Benchrest shooters may learn new wind-reading techniques by shooting mid- or long-range F-Class matches.

Michelle Gallagher Cross TrainingPosition shooters can also improve their skills by shooting different disciplines. High Power Across-the-Course shooters benefit from shooting smallbore and air rifle. Again, these targets are very small, which will encourage competitors to be more critical of their shot placement. Hunters may benefit from shooting silhouette matches, which will give them practice when shooting standing with a scoped rifle. Tactical matches may also be good, as tactical matches involve improvising shots from various positions and distances. [Editor: Many tactical matches also involve hiking or moving from position to position — this can motivate a shooter to maintain a good level of general fitness.]

These are just a few ways that you can benefit from branching out into other shooting disciplines. Talk to the other shooters. There is a wealth of knowledge in every discipline, and the other shooters will be more than happy to share what they have learned. Try something new. You may be surprised what you get out of it. You will certainly learn new skills and improve the ones you already have. You might develop a deeper appreciation for the discipline you started off with, or you may just discover a new passion.

This article originally appeared in the Berger Bulletin. The Berger Bulletin blog contains the latest info on Berger products, along with informative articles on target shooting and hunting.

Article Find by EdLongrange.

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August 21st, 2014

Girl Power! All-Ladies Team at Camp Perry

Report by Anette Wachter for 30CalGal.com
Click Here for full article
lady team camp perry Anette WachterI have spent the last two weeks at Camp Perry for the U.S. Long Range and Fullbore Nationals. This year at Perry the format was quite different than in years past. An International Fullbore week was added after the Long Range week. This was meant to act as a practice and tryout for members of the U.S. Rifle Team in preparation for the World Palma Championship in 2015.

The Long Range Nationals consist of shooting all matches at 1000 yards and one day of Palma which is fired at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. Each string at 1000 is a separate match in itself and then there is a grand Aggregate of all for the week. Each match has a shoot-off of the top scorers in each relay to determine the winner. In years past I have made it in to at least one shoot-off but I was not so lucky this year. I did however have success in my team events.

lady team camp perry Anette Wachter

All Ladies Team for Perry
Last year I was coached by Nancy Tompkins on a coed team to an overall win. I called Nancy again this year to set up a new team — an all-ladies squad. What a squad it was, with Nancy, her daughters Michelle and Sherri Jo, and Trudie Fay (along with myself). I cherished getting to know all of these ladies better. Sherri Jo Gallagher has been a USAMU shooting super star for many years. She is now a super star Golden Night (U.S. Army Parachute Team member). She took some time off to come back to Perry to shoot for fun and hang out with her family. Our squad had the best time. Lots of laughing. And Xs! We won the Palma division and placed second overall for the Roumanian Trophy. We won overall Palma team for the Agg for the week. Way to go girl power!

lady team camp perry Anette Wachter

Anette came home with four medals. During the Long Range phase, Anette’s all-female team won Open Palma in the Roumanian Trophy and the Silver Medal in the overall of the Roumanian. During the Fullbore phase her team earned the Silver Medal in the Commodore Perry Cup. And then Anette’s 4-person team, U.S. Team Skaret, won a Gold for the Open Palma.

CLICK to READ MORE

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August 6th, 2014

Views from the National Long Range Championships

Michelle Gallagher is now the 2014 NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Champion. Michelle shot a perfect Palma score to win the multi-match championship. When the dust settled, Michelle edged out her mom, Nancy Tompkins, by a single X. Readers asked about Michelle’s choice of bullets. In the Long Range Championships, Michelle used the Berger .30-caliber 155.5gr Match Fullbore Target bullet (for Palma), as well as the 6.5mm 140gr Match Hybrid Target bullet.

Here are some photos from the Long Range championships, courtesy GONRAMedia.

CLICK HERE to see more GONRAMedia photos from Camp Perry.

John Whidden, a three-time NRA Long Range Champion, had a pair of long-range rifles built on modified Anschutz aluminum small-bore stocks. John’s scoped rig (first photo) features a Kelbly Panda Action. The iron sight version (second photo below) has a Winchester action. John has done these conversions for other shooters.
long range championship camp perry

long range championship camp perry

Long Range is not a man’s world by any means. The top two LR places at Perry were claimed by ladies.
long range championship camp perry

Tubeguns built with Gary Eliseo chassis systems were popular on the firing line.
long range championship camp perry

Yes, that is a John Deere Mirage Band shielding this shooter’s barrel.
long range championship camp perry

This service rifle shooter found a way to shield his sights and remember his loved ones.
long range championship camp perry

This competitor transformed a Sinclair loading block into an elevated ammo caddy. Clever piece of kit!
long range championship camp perry

“Wagons HO!”. Shooters await the long ride to the pits for target duties.
long range championship camp perry

long range championship camp perry

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August 3rd, 2014

Michelle Beats Mom by a Single ‘X’ to Win LR Championship

Story based on report by Lars Dalseide for NRA Blog

Michelle Gallagher National High Power Championship Camp PerryAn epic mother-daughter duel came down to a single X, with Michelle Gallagher besting her mom, Nancy Tompkins, by the slimmest of margins. To accomplish that feat, and win the Long Range National Championship, Michelle had to shoot a superb final match at 1000 yards, not dropping a point. Congratulations to Michelle, for her impressive win.

Finishing with 1096-66X, Gallagher took the LR title with Tompkins (1096-65X) in second and SSG Brandon Green (1096-59X) in third. Thomas Colyer was forth with 1096-56X. Remarkably, the top four shooters all finished with the same point total, only separated by X count!

Michelle (Left) is ‘all smiles’ with sister Sherri Jo Gallagher (Right), a former National Champion.
Michelle Gallagher National High Power Championship Camp Perry

900-Yard Phase Cancelled By Lightning Storm
Michelle Gallagher shot a perfect 300-19X in Saturday’s Palma Match to win the 2014 National Long Range Rifle Championship. Beginning the day two points down, Gallagher racked up fifteen 10s at 800 yards along with another fifteen 10s at 1,000. Though Palma traditionally includes a 900-yard phase as well, that portion of Saturday’s match was cancelled due to the morning’s lightning storm.

“Talk about an exciting finish,” said High Power Rifle Match Director Sherri Judd. “She hung in there after dropping a few points in the early rounds and finished strong.”

“After finishing at 1,000, I knew it was going to be close by I had no idea it would be that close,” Gallagher said.

Other notable performances were turned in by Waylon Burbach, James (Jim) O’Connell, and SFC Joel Micholick. Burbach, as a Junior, shot a superb 1091-55X to beat all but six of the 282 competitors. Jim O’Connell, as a Grand Senior, proved he still has what it takes, finishing sixteenth overall with 1086-52X. “Man, that old guy can shoot!” was often heard on the firing line. Micholick proved the capability of the AR platform, recording a 1074-34X with his iron-sighted M110 to be the top Service Rifle shooter.

NRA 2014 National High Power Rifle Long Range Championships

Competitor Score Competitor Score
1. Michelle Gallagher 1096-66X 6. Philip Crowe 1093-60X
2. Nancy Tompkins 1096-65X 7. Waylon Burbach 1091-55X
3. SSG Brandon Green 1096-59X 8. Norman Crawford 1091-50X
4. SSG Thomas Colyer 1096-56X 9. SGT Eric Smith 1090-58X
5. SSG Shane Barnhart 1095-60X 10. John Whidden 1089-64X

CLICK HERE for Complete Long Range Championships Results

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May 11th, 2014

Happy Mother’s Day 2014

Nancy Thomkins Sherri Jo GallagherToday we want to wish Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms around the world. All of us must remember that we literally owe our lives and our well-being to our mothers, who brought us into the world. Without the love, support, caring, and nuturing of our mothers, none of us would be here. So to mothers everywhere, we say:

“Thank you. Bless you. May your lives be filled with happiness today and everyday.”

Here is a photo of the one of the greatest moms in the shooting community, Nancy Tompkins, along with two of her little girls (who both turned into pretty good shooters themselves). On Nancy’s right is Michelle Gallagher, a top long-range shooter. On the left is Sherri Jo Gallagher, who was the second woman in history to capture the NRA National High Power Championship at Camp Perry. Who was the first woman ever to accomplish that feat? You guessed it — Nancy Tompkins, Sherri’s mom, was the first-ever female High Power Champion.

Nancy Thomkins Sherri Jo Gallagher

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August 13th, 2013

Today is Final Day of Long Range Championships at Camp Perry

Today marks the fourth and final day of the NRA Long Range Rifle Championship. The USAMU’s SSG Shane Barnhart is in the lead but other shooters are definitely within striking distance. Barnhart’s position atop the leaderboard has been a surprise to some, because he has been primarily a smallbore shooter in years past. But in 2013 he has demonstrated outstanding capabilities with a centerfire rifle at long range. Watch this video for a wrap-up of Long Range Day 3 at Camp Perry.

Michelle Gallagher Wins Leech Cup
Michelle Gallagher turned in a great performance earlier this week, winning the Leech Cup in a shoot-off with Ty Cooper of the USAMU. Michelle Gallagher finished with a top score of 100-6X (X stands for bullseye) to beat USAMU’s Ty Cooper by a single X.

Leech Cup Camp Perry National Championships Michelle Gallagher

Michelle received congratulations from SSG Brandon Green after winning the Leech Cup at the NRA Championships. “This is the first time I’ve shot this year in a sling at a 1,000 yard match,” said Gallagher. “I’ve been shooting F-Class, so this is pretty special.”

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September 26th, 2012

David Bailey and Team Long Shots are F-Open Champions

Congratulations to David Bailey, the 2012 F-Open National Champion. Shooting at Raton last week, David scored 1283-59X, to finish one point ahead of fellow Forum member Bob Sebold (1282-59X). Past F-Open Champion Jeff Cochran tells us: “David did a masterful job. He had one of the best, if not the best, rifles on the line for the morning trigger-pulling contests. He also showed great patience choosing his shots wisely in some of the nasty, switchy afternoon conditions. Not only spitting them downrange when the conditions called for it, but he was smart enough to put on the brakes and not get burned. All in all, David had a great performance in a wide range of conditions.”

David Bailey F-Class Open Champion 2012

Bailey Shot a .280 Remington with Berger 7mm Hybrids
David was shooting a 7mm cartridge, but not the 7mm you might expect. David’s Bat-actioned F-Open rifle has a 32″ Bartlein, 9-twist barrel chambered for a no-turn-neck .280 Remington. David’s winning load consisted of 180gr Berger Hybrid bullets pushed at 2860 FPS by Russian primers and Hodgdon 4831SC powder. Bullets are seated about 0.015″-.020″ away from the lands (this happens to be Berger’s suggested “starting point” seating depth for these Hybrids). David says he does “very little brass prep” other than sorting his Remington brass. (That’s right — Remington!) He does use an expander ball during reloading to push out any neck-wall-thickness variations.

The pretty green stock is a Robertson Composites ‘Speedy F-Class’ model, with adjustable cheek-piece. David added 4.5 pounds of lead in the buttstock to bring the gun up to max F-Open weight. David’s rifle was originally smithed by Richard King of King’s Armory in Arlington, Texas, (817) 265-0118, rking3005 [at] sbcglobal.net. The current .280 Rem barrel was chambered and fitted on the gun by David himself.

David Bailey F-Class Open Champion 2012We had a chance to chat with David Bailey after the Nationals. When asked how he felt about the big win, David replied: “It took a while to sink in… I was extremely happy that two of my teammates finished in top 10 — Mark (Walker) and Michelle (Gallagher) — [as a team] we had a very good week overall.” David wanted to give credit to his past/present team-mates, “both the Spindle Shooters and Long Shots — they have been a tremendous help.” David added, “In particular I want to say thanks to Jeff Cochran. And I can’t forget my gunsmith Richard King, he’s been a tremendous asset.”

For those who have been following David’s shooting, it was no surprise that he did well at Raton. David noted: “I’ve been shooting well for the last couple of years, but this time it all came together. I will say my wind reading has gotten a lot better the last couple of years.”

Asked if he had any advice for new F-Class shooters, David replied: “Practice — shoot as much as you can. And as for hardware and reloading — don’t get hung up on the gimmicks.”

Team Long Shots Wins F-Open Team Title
As captain of Team Long Shots, David Bailey helped lead the Long Shots Open Team to their second consecutive national title. The Long Shots compiled a 1583-83X score to finish first, ahead of second-place Team Spindle Shooters (1576-65X). Long Shots Team Members are: David Gosnell, Mark Walker, Ken Dickerman, team captain David Bailey, and coach Michelle Gallagher. This year, the Long Shots turned in a great performance, emerging victorious over what may be the largest number of F-Open teams ever at the F-Class Nationals.

David Bailey F-Class Open Champion 2012 Team Long Shots

For the equipment junkies, it’s interesting to note that Michelle Gallagher used a rifle with a new stock David Bailey designed and built. Texas gunsmith Richard King barreled Michelle’s rifle in .280 Remington, and also built other guns for Long Shots Team members. Richard built Mark Walker’s rifle and Ken Dickerman’s rifle and stocked David Gosnell’s gun. Jeff Cochran reports that Richard King also smithed two rifles used by the Sierra Spindle Shooters team (Cochran’s own gun and Jeff Traylor’s rifle). Overall Richard King worked on six rifles for the top two F-Open teams — that’s a pretty strong endorsement of King’s gun-building skills.

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February 22nd, 2012

Final Complete Results from Berger SW Long Range Nationals

The complete, final results of the Berger SW Long Range Nationals (at the Ben Avery Range in Arizona) have been posted. You can download all the results from the links at the bottom of this story. In case you missed our previous match report, Trudie Fay was the overall winner in the sling category, Jim Murphy took F-Open Class, and James Croft won F-TR. In team competition, The sling winners were the US National Team composed of Trudie Fay, Bryan Litz, Justin Skaret and Peter Church. In F-Open, the winning team was Team Norma/Berger composed of Larry Bartholome, John Brewer, Danny Biggs, and Jim Murphy. The winning F-TR team was the Arizona State Rifle & Pistol Assn. squad, with Warren Dean, John Chilton, Steve Lockwood and German Salazar. Complete Results are linked below.

This Video by Jim Everson, was shot from the pits at the 2012 Berger SW Nationals:

Michelle Gallagher of Berger Bullets provided this post-match message:

I hope you all enjoyed yourselves at the match and got back home safely. We were so excited that you could all make it, and I’m glad the weather even cooperated!

Thank you to everyone that helped out during the week. There are just too many to list everyone, but the match would not have run as smoothly without you, and we deeply appreciate everything you did. We want to give a special thank-you to Kathy Buell, Jennifer Litz, and Melesia Cisneros for their help. They had no idea what they were getting into when they volunteered to help, but they were invaluable. Also, Matt Schwartzkopf with AZ Game & Fish put in countless hours getting the range ready. He did an amazing job, the range looked beautiful, and we were excited to have him shooting with us! We also want to send a big thank-you to all the companies who donated to the match. We are so thankful for your participation, and I know the shooters were as well.

We’ll be sending out the results CDs as soon as possible, but here are some results for now. I also have them up on the Berger website. We’ll also be posting some photos of the match soon.

Berger SW Nationals 2012
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October 7th, 2011

F-Class Nationals — Team Sinclair and Team Long Shots Win

In addition to the individual matches at the 2011 F-Class Nationals in Lodi, Wisconsin, there was a fiercely-fought team competition. Normally the team with the best combined (Aggregate) results of 600-yard and 1000-yard stages wins the Team Championship. However, this year, the 1000-yard team segment got called off due to a bad rain-storm that blew in about half way through the stage. So, as a result, the teams that won the 600-yard trophy also won the Aggregate trophy. Team Sinclair won F-TR class, while Team Long Shots won F-Open. CLICK HERE for all Team Results.

In F-TR Class, there were ten (10) teams competing. Team Sinclair finished first, scoring 771-22X. The USA Development Team (766-18X) finished second, edging third place BNX Team (766-16X) on X-count. Here’s a glamour shot of the Sinclair Team, complete with their trick Sinclair wide-base bipods.

Team Sinclair 2011 F-Class Nationals F-TR

This marks an impressive string of victories for Team Sinclair. Here’s an interesting factoid about the Team Sinclair shooters. One or more members of the current Sinclair squad have been on the winning F-TR team at every U.S. F-Class National Championships since they were first held in 2004, except for 2010 when Sinclair did not field a team. Brad Sauve has been on the winning F-TR team every year except 2010: Great Lakes Express (2004, 2005 winning team); Team Green (2006 winner); Team Sinclair (2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 winner). Ray Gross and Paul Phillips were also on most of those winning squads. Team Sinclair set the F-Class Team National Records at both 600 and 1000 yards.

Team Sinclair 2011 F-Class Nationals F-TR

In F-Open Class, the winning team was a new group appropriately called the ”Long Shots”, scoring 790-36X. Jeff Cochran of Team Sierra Spindle Shooters tells us: “The Long Shots did a great job under adverse conditions and pressure from all the major, more experienced teams.” Michelle Gallagher coached the Long Shots squad to victory. Finishing second in F-Open, with a 788-32X score, was Team Grizzly, coached by Emil Praslick. In third, tallying 786-41X, was the NAS Team (Bob Mead, coach). Thirteen (13) F-Open Teams competed this year at the Nationals in Lodi.

Team Longshots 2011 F-Class Nationals F-TR

Team Longshots 2011 F-Class Nationals F-TR

More 2011 F-Class Championships Photos in Forum
Forum member Denys Beauchemin (aka “Bayou Shooter”) has posted more than a dozen photos from the recent Championships in our AccurateShooter Forum. To view the pictures, go to This Forum Thread, starting with the third page of the thread. CLICK HERE for PHOTOS.

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August 15th, 2010

Michelle Gallagher vs. John Whidden in ‘Sudden Death’ Shoot-Out

Michelle Gallagher John WhiddenIn Saturday’s Remington Band of Brothers (BOB) match and Mustin Trophy match, class winners from each relay go into a shoot-off. Each relay’s top shooter from the Any Sight, Palma Rifle, and Service Rifle categories then lines up against the other relay winners in their class. The course of fire for the shoot-off was ten shots in thirteen minutes.

Gallagher vs. Whidden in “Sudden-Death” Shoot-out
A major drama unfolded at the end of the regular shoot-off in the Remington BOB match, as “Any Sights” competitors Michelle Gallagher and John Whidden were locked in a tie. Michelle and John had both shot 100-8x. Now, to decide the winner, a “sudden death” shot-for-shot rifle duel took place to determine the class winner. The crowd tensed as both shooters went to the line.

Both Michelle and John proceeded to hit 10s (or Xs) for the first twelve (12) shots. Then it was unlucky #13 for John. Whidden’s 13th shot was a nine, against Michelle’s ten. That gave Michelle the Remington Band of Brothers match Any Sight Class victory, but onlookers congratulated both shooters.

John Whidden redeemed himself later in the day, winning his “Any Sight” Class in the Mustin Trophy shoot-off. John posted a “best-in-class” 100-8x, making him the “Any Sight” winner. We talked to John after the match and he told us: “That was an exhausting day. Rain was forecast for the afternoon and some of the relays got heavy rain which increased the difficulty. Michelle shot great in the Band of Brothers Match, but I was pleased to come back and shoot steady for a Class win in the Mustin Match. Now we’ve got a lot of shooting ahead of us and I’ll try to stay up near the top.” John is shooting a .243 Winchester with moly 105gr Berger bullets.


In related news from Camp Perry, here are the preliminary scores for the three long range matches shot Sunday morning (August 15th). The course of fire was 20 shots, slow-fire prone at 1000 yards. The high-scoring competitor from each relay of each match will compete in the shoot-off held immediately after the the completion of the Herrick Trophy Team Match.

Photos and match results courtesy NRABlog.com.

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