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June 16th, 2007

Hike 'N Shoot Rifle Challenge in NM

Field Report by Zak Smith
One of the best field-style hike-and-shoot long-range rifle challenges is known only to a small number of shooters. Dave Wheeler has been running his “Steel Safari” match for about ten years on his 1000-acre private ranch near Logan, NM. The match showcases practical rifle shooting in the field. Competitors locate small and medium-sized steel targets (often hidden), range them, and engage with one shot only, under a challenging time limit. Some movement on the clock is required, and shoot positions are always improvised, the best you can do while on a reverse incline, over a rock face, shooting down a gully, or leaning out the side of a truck.

Zak Smith Steel Safari Logan, NM

The Steel Safari is a “Hunting Rifle Championship, a non-standard contest that examines practical hunting skills, including target recognition, range estimation, wind doping, trail skills, and marksmanship”, according to the match entry form. (Dr. David Kahn’s Kenyathlon is another well-known “hunting match”.) However, these skills are not limited to hunting. Events such as the Practical Rifle Team Challenge (NM), Int’l Tactical Rifleman Championship (WY), and various Sniper Challenge matches around the country use a similar format. The game involves target location, ranging, and making first-round hits in field conditions, while moving through natural terrain. This is a far cry from Benchrest and NRA Highpower Long-Range events.

Click for Large PHOTO.

Billed as the “last Steel Safari,” this year’s event attracted 26 shooters (from TX to CA) shooting a variety of rifles and calibers. The match defines two classes: standard and light rifle. The light rifles are limited to 9.5 pounds, while the standard rifles can be as heavy as the shooter wants. Caliber must be .243 Win or larger, up to a max of .300 Win Mag.

The match is primarily composed of two, day-long field courses, each between 2 and 2.5 miles in length, termed the “short” and “long” courses. The short course had 11 shooting locations in addition to the first stage on the known-distance (KD) range. The long course had 9 shooting locations plus a 100-yard mover back near Match HQ.

Click HERE to read Zak’s full 2007 Steel Safari match report, with many more photos.

Editor’s Note: Reporter Zak Smith won the 2006 Steel Safari. This year he finished second, shooting his .260 Rem AI AW. Zak notes: “A local Colorado shooter Mike Dowd shot like a house on fire both days, winning light rifle and the over-all match by four points. My decent but consistent shooting on both days put me at first in standard class and second overall.” Though Dave Wheeler has announced he’ll no longer be sponsoring the match, several Colorado shooters hope to run the Safari again in 2008, in association with Colorado Multi-Gun LLC.

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June 16th, 2007

Tubb Shooting Hat

Sinclair Int’l now sells the Tubb Shooting Hat, in three colors, Tan (#47-900), Green (#47-925), and Blue (#47-950). Designed by 11-time Nat’l Highpower Champ David Tubb, this $29.50 product has many features that benefit prone and position shooters. Large, folding panels on either side of the brim block unwanted light and glare. In the rear, an extended flap protects your neck from sun (and hot brass from other shooters). The crown, which can be adjusted to any head size, features an integral sweatband, and mesh vent panels on both sides for cooling.

When you consider the money Highpower shooters invest in rifles, sights, and ammo, not to mention the costs of attending major matches, it makes sense to purchase a hat of this type. Side shades definitely help when using iron sights, and this hat will protect you from blazing summer sun.

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