June 24th, 2015

Report from Ireland — 2015 Creedmoor Cup Preview

Creedmoor Cup Match Ireland Midlands Nightforce F-TR F-Class
Here’s the view at 1100 yards through a Nightforce 15-55x52mm Competition scope. Click to zoom.

Nightforce’s Sean Murphy is a member of the American F-Class Squad in Ireland for the Emerald Matches and Creedmoor Cup. This event (which kicked off with a 1100/1200-yard Long Range Match today) is being held at the Midlands National Shooting Centre in Tullamore, west of Dublin. Sean says conditions have been great so far: “[We] spent a great day practicing at the Midlands National Shooting Centre. Got rounds on target from 800 yards to 1200 yards. The weather was exceptionally nice, and quite the heatwave at 70 degrees! Thank you to James E Crofts for the .308 hammer that I’m using.”

Shooting over a peat bog… (Click to Zoom)
Creedmoor Cup Match Ireland Midlands Nightforce F-TR F-Class

national rifle association ireland creedmoor cup USAThe 2015 Creedmoor Team Match takes place June 28th and 29th (Sunday and Monday). The USA and Ireland National Teams will compete for glory and bragging rights. The Course of Fire consists of two sighters and 15 shots for record at 800, 900 and 1000 yards each day.

The original Creedmoor Match pitted an American team vs. an Irish squad on the range at Creedmoor, New York. The match went down to the wire, with the Yanks earning a narrow victory (read more below). The next year, 1875, the Irish team challenged the American team for a repeat match, to be shot in Ireland. The contest took place at Dollymount Beach, near Dublin. According to newspaper accounts at the time, more than 40,000 people turned out to watch the 1875 match. Below are 2015 Irish and American Creedmoor competitors at Dollymount.

Creedmoor Cup Match Ireland Midlands Nightforce F-TR F-Class

V-Bulls not X-Rings
In Ireland, targets have a V-Bull, instead of an X-Ring. Sean reports: “Here’s the target we are using. To put things in perspective, the center V-Bull is not much larger than a man’s fist!”

Creedmoor Cup Match Ireland Midlands Nightforce F-TR F-Class

Blueball in Offaly?
The official address of the Midlands National Shooting Centre is “Derrymore, Blueball, Tullamore, County Offaly, Ireland”. Hmm, Blueball sounds kind of painful. We’ll just call it the Tullamore Range. That has a much nicer ring to it…

Creedmoor Cup Tullamore Ireland Midlands Shooting Centre

The Original Creedmoor Cup in 1874 — How the Americans Won
American Team Captain Gen. George Wingate recounted how the host nation’s team won the very first Creedmoor Match: “Col. Bodine was the last to shoot. He had been selected with special reference to his steadiness under excitement and nobly did he justify the confidence that had been placed in him. The Irish score was 931, the American 930. If he struck his target his team would win by one point. If he missed the match was lost. The crowd had pressed inside the ropes, and formed a long V extending for several hundred yards on each side of the firing point and leaving scarcely room enough to make it safe to shoot. All held their breath and fastened their eyes on Col. Bodine. He had been kept in ignorance of the exact condition of the scores, but he knew perfectly well that everything depended upon his shot.

Creedmoor Cup Match Ireland Midlands Nightforce F-TR F-Class

Calm and imperturbable, as if engaged in ordinary practice, with blood dripping from a handkerchief in which he had tied up a cut on his hand received from a broken ginger-ale bottle a few minutes before, Col. Bodine stretched his long form out into his familiar position and taking a long, steady aim fired. Every one of the thousand pairs of eyes present were shifted from the man to the target, a little point half a mile off. Breathless silence prevailed. Then came the spat of the bullet accompanied by a roar from the crowd, ‘He’s on,’ and then came slowly into sight a large white disc which showed that a bullseye had been made and the match had been won. The disc lingered apparently lovingly upon the center of the bullseye, the most charming and welcome sight I think I ever witnessed. America had won by three points!

When the result appeared pandemonium broke loose. The sky was darkened with the hats which were thrown into the air. Men danced and thumped each other on the back and whooped and yelled and acted like crazy people. I remember I found myself standing on a chair behind Bodine waving my hat (which, however, I had sense enough to hold on to) and leading the cheering. But to this day I have not the remotest idea of how I got there from the place where I had been standing behind him watching the wind flag[.]”