We recommend you tune in to Shooting USA on the Outdoor Channel tonight. Tonight’s episode features both a Vintage Sniper Rifle competition and the GAP Grind, one of the most popular tactical matches. The show airs at 9:30 PM ET, 8:30 PM Central, 7:30 PM MTN, and 6:30 PM Pacific.
Vintage Sniper Rifle Match at Talladega
This week, Shooting USA features the Vintage Sniper Match at the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park. This is a two-man team event, for shooter and spotter, using military rifles in service up to 1953. One added challenge is the time limit. The team has only 20 seconds to complete each shot — That’s 20 seconds for the spotter to read the conditions, and for the shooter to pull the trigger.
Guns of Grandfathers…
In this episode two USAMU marksmen, SGTs Daniel Crody and Robert Shoup, compete with an Springfield M 1903 A4 reproduction topped with a vintage optic. “For me it holds a little bit of sentimental value,” says SGT Crody. “I did have two grandfathers in World War II. It is definitely a pleasure holding a piece of history… and to be able to see and feel what these guys had as far as tools to operate with.”
Who can identify this rifle, with its unusual scope mount?
“It’s a match that brings a different type of competitor out. It brings a nostalgic competitor out. You’ll see World War II time-period rifles, sniper-type rifles that were used during World War II, Korean War era,” says the CMP’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Johnson. “The optics are either original optics or current reproduction of old optics.”
GAP Grind on Shooting USA
Tonight’s Shooting USA episode also features the Bushnell GAP Grind, a tough tactical/practical match in Tennessee with 300 competitors. The Grind runs a Pro-Am format — new shooters partner with an experienced shooters for the two-day, 25-stage event. This year John Scoutten teamed up with new shooter Jen Hodson. Even with the challenges, Jen had a great time at the GAP Grind. “I will definitely be back!” says Jen, shown here:
Ramia Whitecotton Facebook photo.
On the first day of the Bushnell GAP Grind, teams are scored together. On the second day team members still work together but scores are logged individually. This is a difficult event with awkward positions, barriers, and other challenges. Targets vary in size, shape, and distance. One of the toughest targets is the 500-Yard Mover.
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Earlier this week, on July 27th, the CMP held the 2016 Vintage Sniper Rifle Match at Camp Perry. This unique event is a two-man team competition using scoped rifles of WWI and WWII Vintage. This has become of of the most popular rifle matches held at Perry, with 259 teams competing this summer. Many competitors use some version of the M1903 Springfield, but you’ll also see scoped M1 Garands, K31s, Mausers, and even a Lee-Enfield or two. (Semi-Auto shooters are scored separately). This year the Vintage Sniper Match was won by the “Yogi & BooBoo” family team of Silas Fentress and Wesley Fentress, with a 396-13X score. Close behind was runner-up duo Donald Schedler and John Watson (394-13X). Winning the semi-auto division were Brian Dobish and Clayton Maugans (373-8X).
Two-person teams will fire 10 rounds in 20-second intervals from scoped vintage military rifles set on sand bags. One team marksman shoots from the prone position at 300 and 600 yards, while the other serves as a spotter to relay shot position. Marksman and spotter switch positions on the firing lines, allowing each teammate to play both roles. Scores are then combined for an Aggregate team total.
Two M1 Garands, fitted with scopes and lace-on cheekpads.
Who can identify this rifle, with its unusual scope mount?
Our friends at Criterion Barrels have written an interesting article about the 2014 Vintage Sniper Rifle Match. It you want an “insider’s perspective” on the 2014 Match, plus Vintage Sniper gunsmithing tips, read this article. Here are some highlights:
About the Match and the Rifles
The Vintage Sniper Match was the brainchild of Hornady’s Dave Emary. The competition was inspired by his father, a World War II scout sniper, who carried a rifle similar to the 1903A4 rifle builds that can be found today on the Camp Perry firing line. Bob Schanen worked alongside Dave and the CMP staff in establishing the various competition rules prior to the first official Vintage Sniper Match in 2011. The match developers made a point to offer some level of flexibility in rifle configuration, allowing specific types of non-issue optics and rifle rebuilds. This helped make the match more inclusive.
Hornady’s Dave Emary and “Gunny” R. Lee Ermey (right):
Camp Perry — The Venue
The hallowed grounds of Camp Perry have hosted some of the nation’s finest shooters each summer for more than a century. Some of the world’s greatest marksmen have accomplished remarkable feats on the ranges of this lakeside military outpost. Located on the coast of Lake Erie, Camp Perry is positioned just outside of the scenic town of Port Clinton, Ohio. It is our firm belief that every shooter should make the pilgrimage to the Camp Perry at least once in their lifetime. If not participating in an event, visitors should at least make an attempt to meet the competitors, witness the wide selection of firearms used by participants, and pay a visit to the various vendors on base.
The Second Annual D-Day Match in Talladega was a big success. On the weekend of June 4-5, over 250 eager competitors arrived at the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) Talladega Marksmanship Park for the D-Day Match commemorating the 72nd Anniversary of the Allied Forces’ landing at Normandy. This was a major match, attracting rifle and pistol shooters from throughout the country.
The Talladega range complex is an impressive, modern facility equipped with a computerized, high-tech Kongsberg electronic target system that plots shot locations and displays scores on monitors at each shooting station. For many competitors, this D-Day match was their first experience with electronic scoring. None complained about being freed from pit duties (the Kongsberg system eliminates the need to raise and lower targets or mark shots).
The John C. Garand Match has become hugely popular…
Georgia boys dominated the popular John C. Garand Match. Winning gold was SSG Jonathan O’Neal of Marietta, GA, who fired a score of 291-13X. Larry Sollars (Cumming, GA) followed closely behind, one point back with a score of 290-9X. Keith Schachle of Brooks, GA, shot a 288-7X for third.
Vintage Sniper Rifle Matches at Talladega
New this year, the D-Day Matches featured the inclusion of one of the CMP’s most popular competitions, the Vintage Sniper Match. During the event, a team of two uses a scoped Korean War, World War II or earlier “as-issued” military rifle to fire at distances of 300 and 600 yards. All shots are taken from the prone position with sand bag rests permitted. Each partner takes a turn as both shooter and spotter.
Over 60 shooters registered for the event’s first showing at the D-Day Matches. CMP Competitions Department manager Shannon Hand said, “The addition of the Sniper Match was very well-received by the competitors! It was a great event!”
Winning the Manual (bolt-action) Vintage Sniper Match were Bobby Robinson and Daniel Henk. In the Semi-Automatic Sniper Match, the team of Franklin Hines III and CMP North general manager Steve Cooper fired the winning overall score of 368-7X.
In pistol action, SSgt. Chad Ranton, 29, of Beaufort, SC, was the overall competitor in the .22 Rimfire Pistol EIC Match with a score of 276-5X. Notably, 15-year-old Katelyn Abeln proved she came to win after recording a score of 254-3X to earn Junior Division gold in the EIC Pistol Match. Katelyn was also the High Non-Distinguished pistol shooter of the match.
All persons are welcome to visit the Talladega Marksmanship Park, which is open to the public all year long. More information on the Talladega Marksmanship Park, including a facility map and description of facilities, can be found at the CMP’s Talladega Webpage.
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Ready for some action in Arizona? The 12th Western CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup Matches will be held at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Arizona. The CMP Games run 9-13 October while the Creedmoor Cup Matches dates take place 14-18 October. All interested shooters are invited to participate in these unique, national-level competitions. NOTE: Registration for the Creedmoor Cup matches must be done online via www.creedmoorsports.com.
To see a real pro shooting Service Rifle, check out the above video. That’s former National Champion (now Creedmoor Sports G.M.) Dennis DeMille, shooting 300-yard Rapids from the prone position. This was filmed at the 2010 Berger Southwest Nationals at Ben Avery. You’ll see Dennis adjusts his sights while looking through the spotter. Then watch how calm and steady Dennis stays from shot to shot. That comes with years of practice and training.
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Creedmoor Sports recently released its new 2012 catalog — with 2011 NRA High Power Champion Carl Bernosky on the cover. Last year Carl won his NINTH National High Power Championship*. There is both a traditional print version of the new Creedmoor catalog, as well as a new digital version online. In the online digital catalog, you can flip the pages just like a real catalog, view page thumbnails, and easily print out catalog pages for future reference.
In the new Creedmoor Catalog, we found some cool products you guys may not have seen before. Of course this is just a small sample of the thousands of items in the current catalog.
Malcolm Hi-Lux M73G2 Rifle Scope
Item HL-M73G21, $399.95
Modern repro vintage-style scope ideal for Vintage Sniper Rifle Matches. If you shoot a 1903 Springfield or old Mauser in the sniper matches this is just what you need. Fine cross-hair reticle with multi-coated lenses. The M73G2 features internal 1/2-MOA per click elevation and windage adjustment, with 60 clicks (30 MOA) per full turn. Total adjustment for both Elevation and Windage is 50 MOA each, i.e, 25 MOA up and down and 25 MOA left and right from the reticle’s centered position.
Item C1038, $6.95
This semi-opaque eye-shield clips on your shooting eyewear on either right or left side. This allows you to shoot with both eyes open, reducing eyestrain and fatigue. For cross-dominant shooters who don’t want to hold their rifle or pistol with their weak-side hand, this device can be very helpful.
Holland’s Scope Level
Item HOL-LEVEL, $49.95
There are many leveling devices on the market, but we think this is one of the best designs yet (when mounted properly). The T-6 aluminum alloy level fits on your scope tube, with the bubble level set to the side for easy viewing when in firing position. The unit, offered in 1 inch, 30mm, and 34mm sizes, can be flipped so you can place the bubble on either the right side or left side. This unit is easier to see with your left eye than levels mounting in the center of the scope.
The Score Keeper and Pit Puller (by Jim Owens)
Item JOSKPP, $11.95 (Book on CD/DVD)
Can you explain the 11 Hit Rule, the Excessive Hits Rule, the Insufficient Hits Rule, and what to do for a withdrawn target? If not, and you compete in High Power matches, you need this DVD. This useful resource can help match directors and score keepers, and it is an effective training tool for new pit workers. The DVD features over 300 color slides and shows scoring situations from both the Pit Puller’s POV and the Score Keeper’s POV.
Anschütz Shaker Pellet Box
Item AHG-1001, $19.95
With this handy item airgun shooters can sort, count and arrange pellets. This is the best set-up for holding 100 match pellets in rows, and protected from damage. (It’s easy to ding the tails of pellets, which can really harm accuracy.) To quickly fill the box, just pour some pellets into the box, press down on the side tabs, and shake gently back and forth. If you sort pellets by weight (or other criteria), you can also place the pellets individually.
*Bernosky has won the High Power Championship in 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1992, 2000, 2007, 2008, and 2011. *In 1981 Carl won the Match Rifle division, but D.I. Boyd, a Service Rifle shooter, had the highest overall Aggregate.
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by Steve Cooper, CMP Writer
Having passed muster at the 2010 CMP Eastern and Western Games, the Vintage Sniper Match has been approved as the newest match to be held at Camp Perry in 2011, where the Sniper Match will be sponsored by Hornady Manufacturing. As it turns out, a top Hornady staffer excelled at the 2010 Western Games Sniper match, held recently at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, AZ. The duo of Hornady’s Dave Emary, 52, and Bob Schanen, 62, placed first (out of 14 teams) with an Aggregate score of 559-11X out of 600 possible. Emary fired 141-2X and Schanen 148-4X at 300 yards and the tandem fired matching 135s at 600 yards with Emary scoring five Xs. Glendale “Don” Rutherford, 58, and Brad Donoho, 26, finished second with a 547-7X Aggregate. Emary, chief ballistic scientist at Hornady Manufacturing, said he proposed the idea for the match several years ago as a way to include the popular vintage sniper rifles which, until now, had no official competition format.
Vintage Sniper Match Course of Fire
The Vintage Sniper Match is a challenging prone slow-fire, two-person team event, fired at 300 and 600 yards using scoped vintage military rifles of the Korean War era and earlier. Both team members shoot and spot, alternating roles throughout the match. The event requires good communication and marksmanship in order to score well. After firing sighters at the 300-yard line, both team members fire 10 shots at a target that is exposed for only 20 seconds per shot. Targets are pulled and marked after each shot and the target rises again after a 20-second period. The team’s observer/coach may call out sight adjustments or “Kentucky Windage” corrections as needed prior to the following shot, until firing is complete.
With targets 600 yards in the distance, shooters of vintage military rifles must rely on their observer/coaches and knowledge of shooting conditions to give themselves an opportunity to score well in the new Vintage Sniper Match. After the first 10 shots are fired the shooter and the observer/coach switch positions, make ready and repeat the same sequence. Upon completion of fire at 300, teams move back to the 600 yard line and fire the course again. Though non-scoped rifles will be permitted at the 2011 National Vintage Sniper Match, priority for squadding will be given to competitors with scoped rifles first. Marc Mustafa, 57, of Littleton, Colorado said he enjoyed the Vintage Sniper Test Match because “he likes to move.” Used to shooting elk across the canyons in his home state, Mustafa said the new match format is right up his alley.
Because the match was a test event, each team member was given 15 shots for record at the Western Games but that total will be reduced to 10 (20 total) in the official match in 2011. Achievement awards were not presented following the test match, but the top three teams were acknowledged for their efforts. A total of 14 teams participated and their results may be found on CMP’s online Competition Tracker. For complete results of the Vintage Sniper Test Match and all 2010 CMP Western Games matches, log onto the CMP’s Match Results Webpage.
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