The nation’s top junior air-rifle shooters recently competed at the 2014 U.S. Army National Junior Air Rifle Championship hosted by the USAMU at the Pool Range Complex in Fort Benning, GA. Juniors (ages 14-18) competed for national titles in two divisions–Sporter and Precision — under the watchful eye of the USAMU’s shooter/instructors. More than $31,000 in endowment money was awarded to teams and individuals from the Georgia Youth Sport Shooting Foundation.
Ashley Durham and her JROTC teammates from Dalton McMichael High School in North Carolina, brought home the Sporter Division title. Durham led the way, adding the Sporter Division individual championship to her collection of trophies. David Sink, from Columbia, Md., took home top honors in the Precision Division while he and his teammates from Queen Anne’s 4-H won the Precision national team championship.
Taking time out from training for the upcoming competition season, USAMU soldiers from the International Rifle section provided instruction and mentorship for the competitors. “I shot this very competition when I was a junior,” said Sgt. 1st Class Hank Gray. “It was hosted by the [National] Guard back then. It’s rewarding to go from a competitor to host and do the same thing for the future generation of shooters.”
Competitors and USAMU instructors
Attendees said that the professionalism of the USAMU is what stood out the most at this year’s event. “Being here has been very uplifting,” said retired Air Force Master Sgt. Scott Davis, who brought the McMichael High team to the match. “The USAMU made it more than just a fun match — they provided a learning environment. They were the first to step in and show the kids how to do something[.]“
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A great episode of Impossible Shots runs tomorrow (March 5) on the Outdoor Channel. This particular episode won an award for Best Shooting Sports broadcast. To start off, the legendary Jerry Miculek tries out a new, high-capacity shotgun (used for 3-gun matches). Jerry takes his new scattergun (right out of the box), and sets a new speed-shooting record with it. Not to be outdone, in the next sequence, SSG Josh Richmond of the USAMU juggles and shoots multiple targets with his scattergun. SSG Richmond, USA Shooting’s Shotgun Athlete of the Year, has won Gold Medals at various World Cups around the world. He is one of the best double trap shooters on the planet.
Miculek Speed Drills with M&P 15
If you wonder how fast a self-declared “old guy” can be, watch this video of Jerry Miculek with a semi-automatic M&P 15 (AR-type) rifle he uses in 3-gun competition. Jerry puts five (5) rounds on target in just over one-half second. It sounds like full-auto fire, but if you watch the slow-motion playback sequences (timeline 0:50-1:12 and 1:34-1:53) you can see Jerry pull the trigger five times. Jerry’s “on-target” time for five shots was a mere 0.59 seconds (fifty-nine one-hundredths of a second)! To capture the rapid cycling of the rifle, the primary high-speed camera operated at 3600 frames per second. This allows “super slow-motion” playback that shows what really happens in the blink of an eye.
Jerry Miculek Fires Five Rounds in 0.59 Seconds
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We had to share this inspiring photograph (below) of SGT Sherri Jo Gallagher. As well as being a highly-trained Army parachutist, Sherri is one of America’s top shooters. In 2010 Sherri Jo won the NRA National High Power Championship. She was only the second lady in history to become the National High Power Champion (the first was Sherri’s mother, Nancy Tompkins).
Also in 2010, Sherri was named the U.S. Army Soldier of the Year, the first female soldier to be so honored. This award is given to the top soldier at the U.S. Army’s Annual Best Warrior competition.
SGT Gallagher is currently a proud member of the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team. In that role, she gets to do fun stuff like this…
SGT Sherri Jo Gallagher
In 2010, SGT Sherri Jo Gallagher became the first U.S. military shooter since 1987 to win the Nat’l High Power Rifle Championship. She was only the second woman ever to win — the first being her mother, Nancy Tompkins.
Sherri’s family is legendary in U.S. shooting competition. She spent her childhood summers touring shooting competitions with her parents, Mid and Nancy, both competitive shooters. Sherri’s sister Michelle Gallagher is also a top-level long-range shooter, with many titles to her credit. “My family is always there for me — we are really close,” Gallagher said. “I am who I am today because of my family. We have so much fun and live life that way.”
At the SIG Sauer booth at SHOT Show, we had a chance to interview Max Michel, Sig Sauer’s Pistol Team Captain. Winner of multiple speed shooting world championships, Max is widely considered to be the fastest pistol shooter alive. How fast? Watch the video below. Max puts 18 shots on three targets with two (2) reloads, in a total of 4.79 seconds. That’s right, drawing from holster, he sends 18 rounds in under five seconds, with two mag changes in the process. That works out to a rate of fire of 225 rounds per minute — faster than a 19th-century Gatling Gun.
Max Michel on Fire — 18 rounds with 2 Mag Changes in Under 5 Seconds:
How did Max manage that incredible speed run? “I ate my Wheaties that morning”, Max joked. But in fact, Max acquired his amazing shooting skills the hard way — through years of dedicated practice. We asked Max about the kind of training required to attain “world-class” speed (and accuracy) with a handgun. It has taken him decades to reach this level of perfection. Max started shooting competitively while in elementary school (at age 8 or 9). He recalls coming home from school and dry firing for hours. He has spent thousands of hours practicing over the past two decades. Interestingly however, Max does most training drills at half speed. Watch the video to learn why Max trains at half speed:
Train to Win — Max Michel Reveals His Training Strategies:
At age 32, Max Michel is a legend within the world of competitive shooting. A four-time World Speed Shooting Champion, six-time USPSA National Champion, and three-time US National Steel Champion, Max is a dominant force in pistol shooting sports. Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Max began shooting when he was just 5 years old. In 1999 Max joined the USAMU’s Action Pistol Team and served in the U.S. Army for 10 years as an Army shooter and trainer. Today, Max is recognized worldwide as a top-tier athlete and instructor.
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Commonly, hunters won’t have the ability to fire one or two fouling shots before heading out on a hunt. Therefore it’s important that a hunter understands how his rifle shoots with a “cold bore shot”. Both the point of impact (and possibly velocity), may be different with a cold bore than with a barrel that has been warmed and fouled with a series of shots. In this video from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), you’ll learn how to determine your cold bore point of impact (POI) for a rifle that just been cleaned, as well as the cold bore POI with a barrel that has already been “fouled in”.
SGT Joe Hein of the USAMU shows how to plot cold bore POI with both a clean bore and a fouled bore. Note that the “cold bore” shot from a fouled barrel was closer to the follow-up shots than the cold bore shot from a clean barrel. This is typical of many factory barrels. SGT Hein provides a simple way to understand your rifle’s cold bore performance. Hein’s advice can keep you from missing that long range shot at that big buck on opening day. A little time spent on the range before that critical first shot will help ensure you have meat in the freezer this season.
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Story by Lars Dalseide forNRABlog
It was a close one for SSG Tyrel Cooper. He’s been close before at NRA’s National Long Range High Power Rifle Championships in Camp Perry, but not as close as this. Not so close that his overall point total of 1243, while impressive, was not good enough to win. It was only good enough for a tie. Thank god for the X count. With an X count of of 71, Cooper inched by fellow U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) teammate Brandon Keith Green by seven whole points. Talk about the skin of your teeth. “It’s been a long time coming,” said Cooper — Fourteen years to be exact.
Falling in love with High Powered Rifles
Cooper wasn’t raised on rifles. No, he was just your typical California kid on the streets of Sacramento. It wasn’t until a 14 year-old Ty accompanied his father to the Police and Fire Games that he discovered a passion for firearms.
“I tagged along with Dad to a high power rifle match. We ran into Jim O’Connell at the practice range. He asked if I wanted to shoot one of his ARs. After a little prodding, I did and instantly fell in love. I ended up pulling targets for the rest of the match. That’s when I decided it was better to be pulling triggers than pulling targets.”
Working odd jobs and hoarding the cash, Cooper eventually saved enough for an AR of his own. Now all he needed was a place to shoot. California, contrary to popular opinion, would provide.
“There are a lot of real good shooters who come out of California,” said Cooper. “They have one of the best high power teams in the country right now. Norman Mayo, Tom Whittaker, and Bob Gustin (3rd in this year’s Long Range High Power Championships) all came out of California. We use to shoot at the same club in Sacramento. “I grew up watching him (Gustin) shoot, wishing one day I’d be like him.”
A path to the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s Long Range Rifle Team
The rest of Cooper’s teenage years were spent competing. With his father and sister in tow, they went from competition to competition throughout the state. It was a family affair.
“We only had one gun,” he said with a snicker. “I would shoot, she would shoot, then dad would shoot. After a while, he backed off and just supported us. “My sister was pretty good. I was actually her coach on the Junior Team in 2007 at the World Championships up in Canada. But that’s the last time we shot together. She went and got married, had two kids. Life got in the way.”
Cooper was working on a life of his own. Out of high school, he was searching for a place to put those rifle talents to use. That place would be with the U.S. Army. Joining at the age of 19, he spent the next few years honing skills. Reading wind, playing with ballistics, shooting whenever possible. Four years later, as a member of the USA Young Eagles Rifle Team (America’s under 21 and under 25 long range rifle team), he met with AMU Coach Emil Praslick.
“We head a real good talk. I got the letter and was off to basic training.”
It’s been a whirlwind ever since. Learning from the best in the business, Cooper utilizes his refined skills to be the best in competition and valuable resource in training. As any member of the AMU will tell you, one of their primary goals is to serve as a force multiplier. They do this by sending members of the Unit to army bases throughout the world. There they teach the troops the finer points of marksmanship.
But the travel doesn’t end there. There’s also a great deal required for the competitions. Ty explained: “For Long Range I’ve been to Canada, England, Australia, South Africa. In the states I’ve shot in California, Louisiana, Tennesee, Virginia, Georgia and Ohio. Long Range has taken me around the world, High Power has only taken me up and down the east coast.” Now, no matter where he goes, he will always be known as NRA’s 2013 National Long Range High Power Rifle Champion.
“When he was a kid growing up, he had a lot of help from a lot a good shooters,” said Robert Gustin, one of Cooper’s early mentors at the Sacramento shooting club. “One thing you can count on is that he’s always been good and will get nothing but better.” Photo above shows SSG Brandon Green, SSG Tyrel Cooper, and Bob Gustin on stage at the NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Championships in Camp Perry.
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SSG Ty (Tyrel) Cooper of the USAMU won the 2013 NRA National High Power Rifle Long Range Championships with a final score of 1243-71X. Ty grabbed the lead from fellow USAMU shooter Shane Barnhart on the final day of competition, shooting superbly to take the Long Range title. Also moving up in the standings today was SSG Brandon Green, who won the NRA High Power Championships last week. Green was a close second. Though both soldiers finished with a total score of 1243 points, Cooper’s X count topped Green’s by seven (71 to 64). On his Facebook page, Green praised his USAMU team-mate: “Congrats to Ty Cooper, he is the 2013 Long Range National Champion! And I’m the first loser! … Stupid Xs.” (Photo courtesy NRA Blog.)
Below is a file photo of SSG Ty Cooper at 2012 High Power Championship. In the Long Range Championships, Cooper used a Nesika-actioned bolt gun with long barrel chambered in 7mm SAUM.
NRA Blog editor Lars Dalseide interviewed Ty Cooper shortly after he won the 2013 Long Range title. “It’s a long time coming,” said Cooper with a smile. “Years of shooting and now here it is. It’s overdue — that much is true.”
Cooper edged out USAMU teammate Brandon Keith Green for the win by seven Xs, after four days of long-range competition. “You don’t get much closer than that,” said Russ, a competitor from Georgia. “Winning by an X count. Boy that is something.”
Rounding out the top five in the overall Long Range Championships are Bob Gustin with 1239-76X, Shirley Mcgee with a 1238-65X, and Eric Smith with a 1236-55X.
Amazing. Spectacular. Stunning. Awe-inspiring. You choose the superlatives — but this is one team shooting performance that will long be celebrated. Competing in the Herrick Trophy 1000-yard Team Match at the Long Range National Championships, the USAMU Praslick 4-member squad turned in a performance for the ages, posting a record-breaking 800-57X score. That means that every one of the four soldiers shot a perfect 200 at 1000 yards. And the X-count was impressive as well. Recently-crowned 2013 National High Power Champion SSG Brandon Green nailed 15 Xs, as did his USAMU team-mate SGT Amanda Elsenboss. Nearly as good, SSG Ty Cooper had 14 Xs to go with his 200 score, while SSG Shane Barnhart notched 13 Xs.
The team’s combined 800-57X score is a new National Record. We commend all four shooters and their wind coach SFC Emil Praslick III. Well-done Lady and Gentlemen. This was a truly superior display of long-range marksmanship! As one fellow shooter observed at Camp Perry: “This is one record that will likely stand for a long, long time.”
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Story based on report by Lars Dalseide for NRABlog.
The second day of NRA’s National Long Range High Power Rifle Championships ended with members of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) at the top of the standings. But they’re not alone. A mere point or two behind are Nancy Tompkins and her daughter Michelle Gallagher. These civilian ladies have, in the past, captured a few National Long Range High Power Rifle titles of their own. The mother and daughter team are strongly positioned to challenge the Marksmanship Unit soldiers for the lead.
Two more days remain in the Long Range Championship. As the cool conditions continue, with a hint of rain on tomorrow’s forecast, the challenge will continue. Anything can happen (such as a cross-fire) that could completely re-shuffle the standings. Here is the “Leader Board” at the End of Day Two:
Long Range Nationals – Day 2 Range Report by Kelly Bachand
Today started with a lower velocity wind coming out of the south east. We shot 20 shots at 1000 yards as individuals then teamed up for a four man team match, again with 20 shots for each shooter. I shot fine in the morning getting a 198-5X; the winning score on my relay was a 198-10X I think. It was very hard to see the target first thing in the morning. The south eastern wind was only worth 30″-45″ of bullet drift (that’s about half of yesterday’s wind). In general the scores were a little lower today because the wind was a little trickier. While it was relatively constant in velocity, it changed direction quickly and subtly. That’s enough to give even the best shooters a 9 here and there. I don’t think there were any 200s shot with Palma rifles in the individual portion of the match today.
Right before the start of the team match the wind switched around and started coming from the north east with roughly the same velocity. I’m coaching a team made up of shooters from the United States Army Reserve team. Some of them are US Rifle Team members, and past Palma team members, really a bunch of great shooters. In a team match the coach is responsible to call the wind for each shot. Comparing this to a sniper/spotter setup the coach is the spotter and makes all the adjustments on the sights before giving the shooter the command to shoot. I did pretty good for the most part and kept my shooters in the middle the best I could. I was particularly excited to have coached one of the shooters to a perfect 200 — man that’s a great feeling!
Tomorrow (Monday) is a repeat of today with another 20 shots at 1000 for individual and then a four-man team match. After that the Palma match is up next. To read more of Kelly’s Reports from Camp Perry, visit KellysGunSales.com.
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In one of the closest finishes in NRA High Power Championship history, SSG Brandon Green of the USAMU captured the 2013 National Title, besting defending champion Carl Bernosky by tie-breaker.
“It Doesn’t Get Any Tighter…” Says SSG Green
For years, the NRA High Power national title had always been just out of reach for SSG Brandon Green. But finally, in 2013, after four tense days of shooting, Brandon Green is a National Champion. “It feels extremely good,” Green said after receiving his National title at last night’s awards ceremony. “It was a very tight match the whole way through. The weather conditions were so difficult but everybody still shot well.”
Brandon would have had enough to worry about with just the weather, but throw in a neck-and-neck race with defending champion Carl Bernosky and things get nerve-racking. Green observed: “It doesn’t get any tighter than it was today. It was too tight. Too close. I got some gray hair over it,” Green laughed.
The fourth and final day of the championships began with Green and Bernosky each at 1789 points, but Green had six more tie-breaking Xs — 98 to 92. With three matches left to shoot, the two men were presented with an opportunity to break away from one another and add an additional 600 points to their scores. As the sun sat low in the early morning sky, competitors assembled at the 200-yard line for the first match, the Crescent Cup, whose 20 shots are taken slowly from the standing position. As fate would have it, both men stumbled during the match. Bernosky and Green each dropped four points and were now tied at 1985. Green managed to push his overall X-count lead to seven, posting eight to Bernosky’s seven.
The Cavalry Cup Match came next. Here, competitors would squeeze off 20 rapid-fire shots from 300 yards while in the prone position. Green and Bernosky both bounced back from their earlier tumbles and scored perfect 200s… once again remaining tied, this time at 2185. However, here in the Cavalry Cup, Bernosky was able to close the already-small gap between himself and Green. Scoring 14 Xs to Green’s 8 Xs, the two shooters would enter the final match with Bernosky down a single X.
“After watching [Bernosky] come off the 300-yard line with a 14X, I thought I was done,” Green said. “And then, of course, I shot a nine on my very first shot for record and knew I was done at that point.”
But Green didn’t buckle. He knew it would all come down to the Crowell Trophy, a slow-fire match shot in the prone position at 600 yards. Green would go on to finish the 20-shot match with all tens, posting a 199-12X. As it turns out, Bernosky had also dropped a point, scoring a 199, and had only shot 13 Xs – bringing the two to a dead tie. Their fate almost undeniably linked at this point, both shooters dropped a single point and scored 199s, cementing their tie-by-points at 2384 each. The winner would need to be determined by the X-Count. But Green, entering the match with a one-X lead over Bernosky, ended up with 12 Xs while Bernosky totalled 13 Xs. So the two men ended the final match tied with the exact same scores and same X-counts. Amazing.
After the final shot at the final yardage in the final match, both Green and Bernosky were tied with identical scores of 2384-126X. What now?
In order to break the tie, the two scores would be compared by how well each man shot from the 600-yard line. If the tie persisted, the comparison would move to scores from the 300-yard line. From there the 200-yard rapid fire scores would be compared, followed by the 200-yard slow-fire scores. If the men were still equally matched, the tie-breaker would eventually count the point values of the individual hits — starting back at 600 yards — until a winner was determined.
Accounting for all shots taken at 600 yards, both men had scored 597 points, however Green had 35 Xs and Bernosky had 34 Xs. That sealed it — SSG Brandon Green won the 2013 National High Power Champsionship by having one more X at 600 yards than Carl. This was the slimmest margin of victory seen in a long time, but Green is officially the 2013 NRA National High Power Rifle Champion — his first NRA High Power title after years of finishing so close. SSG Green was crowned the 2013 champion at Friday night’s award ceremony (photo above right).
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Soldiers from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) captured the overall individual and team championships at the 52nd Annual Interservice Rifle Championships, held July 16-23 at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia. More than 100 competitors from the Army, Army Reserve, Marine Corps, Navy, and National Guard fired on targets at 200, 300, 600, and 1,000-yard distances.
SSG Brandon Green won his third individual championship and was also a member of the winning Army team, which claimed its seventh consecutive team championship and 16th in the past 19 years. Posting a 992-56X score, Green made history with his third championship. He is the only Army marksman to ever win the Interservice championship three times and the second armed service member to do so in the competition’s 52-year history. “The whole match went very well,” Green said. “The weather was perfect, the guns and ammo shot well. You have to be focused out there and be on top of your game because the guy shooting next to you is just as good as you are.”
New 1000-Yard Service Rifle Record Set
SFC Daniel Peters won the service rifle long-range championship. Peters also set a new service rifle 1,000-yard record with a score of 200-11X. SSG Ty Cooper won the match rifle long-range championship. SGT Augustus Dunfey won the prestigious Lt. Col. C.A. Reynolds Memorial Trophy for high score in the 10-man team match with an outstanding 499-22X.
USAMU Wins All Team Matches
The USAMU swept all team matches, including the 1,000-yard, Commanding General, Marine Corps Infantry Trophy, and 10-man Interservice Rifle Team Championship matches. “The team continues to be successful because of the holistic approach that the unit takes towards marksmanship,” said Capt. Ryan Calhoon, operations officer. “We combine a world-class custom firearms shop; a load facility that continues to develop and test ammunition for our weapons; and world-class shooters[.]”
File Photo from 2010 Interservice Rifle Championships
Next Stop — Camp Perry
The USAMU rifle team is now focused on Camp Perry, Ohio, where team members will conduct the annual Small Arms Firing School followed by competing in the National Rifle Championships and National Trophy Matches.
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In an article for the CMP Online Magazine, SSG Tobie Tomlinson of the USAMU Service Rifle Team explains the various sight alignments employed by iron sights shooters. Tobie writes: “There are a myriad of sight picture options that shooters have used to great effect over the years. The sight picture that allows you to consistently shoot the smallest group, with a minimal shift in zeros, is the correct one. Remember, for any shooter to be successful, consistent sight picture must be complemented by front sight focus and sight alignment.”
The front sight is placed directly in the center of the target. A center hold is great in different light conditions. On a bright day the target appears small. On a dark day the target appears large. In [any] light conditions the center of the target is always in the center. A shooter who has problems with elevation shots in various light conditions may benefit from a center hold.
6 O’Clock Hold
With the 6 O’Clock hold the front sight is placed at the bottom of the aiming black. For many shooters, this hold allows precision placement of the front sight. The ability to accurately call your shots will come with time and experience. Light changes, which alter the appearance of the target, may affect shooters who utilize the 6 O’Clock hold.
Sub 6 Hold
The sub 6 is just like the 6 O’Clock hold, only there is a small line of white between the front sight and the aiming black. Many shooters have a problem determining the exact 6 O’Clock position with their front sight, but by using a sub 6 or line of white they may be able to better estimate their hold.
With the frame hold, just like with the other holds, the front sight is in the center of the rear sight. The front sight can then be placed at the 6 or 12 O’Clock position on the frame when there is no visible aiming point. This hold is typically reserved for foul weather and poor light conditions. By placing the front sight at the top or bottom of the frame, a shooter may hold better when there is little target to see. It can be difficult to hold a tight group this way, but it may add more hits in bad conditions. This technique is normally applied when shooting longer ranges such 600 or 1000 yards.