November 29th, 2009

Top Marksmen at 29 Palms NRA Long Range & HP Regional

One of the most prestigious rifle competitions on the West Coast was held this past week, Nov. 18-22, at the Marine Corps Air Ground Task Force Training Center in 29 Palms, California. This year marked the 50th Anniversary of the NRA Long Range, High Power and EIC Regional Match, hosted by High Desert Competitive Shooting Club (HDCSC). Some 49 Long Range shooters and 54 High Power shooters competed at the Marine Corps’ Marksmanship Training Unit (MTU) rifle range. In addition to the individual shooters, there were 10 Long Range Teams (6 match rifle/4 service rifle) and 12 High Power teams (3 match rifle/9 service rifle).

The long range competition commenced on Thursday. The McVey (any/any) Trophy Match winner was Nat’l Guard SSgt Stuart Mackey (388-17X). Floyd Moore (374-9X) won High Palma, while Pete Jend (361-6X) won High Service Rifle. This year, 18 new “unclassified” shooters entered the long range event. The best among them was Allen Thomas, who posted a superb 376-11X with an Elesio RT-10 chambered in 7mm Rem SAUM. Remarkably, the top 3 Unclassified shooters would all have placed in the High Master Class. (There were also a dozen Unclassified shooters in Saturday’s High Power competition).

Conditions were windy and challenging on Friday, but there were many impressive performances. The Commanding General’s Long Range Trophy Match (the overall Grand Agg for both Thursday and Friday) was won by National Guard SSgt Stuart Mackey. The Onslow Memorial Trophy Match (Service Rifle, Long Range Grand Agg) was won by Pete Jend with a 743-15X. Among Friday’s other results, Gary Rasmussen, a perennial winner at 29 Palms, won the Stockinger Match, and Gary posted the High Palma Rifle score (395-14X). High Service Rifle was, again, Pete Jend with a 382-9X.

On Saturday, conditions were windy for the High Power shooters. With a 1550-53X score, SSgt Stuart Mackey secured first place in the Grand-Grand aggregate Gorchinski Trophy Match, the combined aggregates of both Long Range and High Power. Shooting a match rifle, Dennis Demille (Creedmoor Sports Manager) won the MSgt Jenks Trophy Match Aggregate, and the NRA High Power Gold Medal (774-29X). The Service Rifle category winner, and overall NRA Bronze Medal winner was SSgt Stuart Mackey (773-18X). The NRA Silver Medal went to Match Rifle shooter Steven Powell (773-21X). Although not among the class winners, a popular 29 Palms competitor for the past two years has been retired Marine Gunnery Sargent R. Lee Ermey, who hosts the Lock & Load TV series on the History Channel. Gunny Ermey shoots in the Expert/Sharpshooter class.

Sunday’s team and Leg events started off with moderate 6-7 MPH winds and sunshine. The winning team, using Service Rifles, was All Guard-Spiker with a combined score of 1542-34X. Fortune then favored those 23 shooters (plus 14 already Distinguished), who would shoot the “Leg” match. The winds died down to zero! The high shooter, among those not already Distinguished, was Sgt Sam Lynn, USMC (475-9X).

CLICK HERE for Regional Complete Scores

Ken Miller, President of the High Desert Competitive Shooting Club notes that: “All of the NRA and CMP officials with the High Desert Competitive Shooting group would like to thank Gunner Fred Keeney, USMC, Ed Folts (range master), Capt. Ruth Wilson, USMC, and all of the MTU’s range personnel for their superb work.”

Here, 29 Palms’ Marine gunners practice some true ‘High Power’ shooting.

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