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August 14th, 2022

Sunday GunDay: Erin Go BR — Rimfire Benchest in Ireland

National Rimfire Benchrest Association of Ireland (NRBAI) .22 LR Air Rifle smallbore

Rimfire Benchrest can be fun and rewarding. It can also be frustrating because sourcing superior lots of ammo is a never-ending challenge. Still we like rimfire benchrest because you don’t need to load at the range. Plus rimfire barrels last a very long time (our friend Joe Friedrich set an ARA Benchrest record with a 100,000+ round-count barrel). Here’s a great video from the National Rimfire Benchrest Association of Ireland (NRBAI). Production quality is excellent! We highly recommend you watch this video, which does a great job illustrating both the fun and challenge of rimfire benchrest competition.

If you’ve never seen 50m Rimfire Benchrest competition, this video is well worth watching:

National Rimfire Benchrest Association of Ireland (NRBAI) .22 LR Air Rifle smallbore

National Rimfire Benchrest Association of Ireland (NRBAI) .22 LR Air Rifle smallbore

“If you need to get your mind away from everything… then look down a scope, concentrate, and be disciplined.”

National Rimfire Benchrest Association of Ireland (NRBAI) .22 LR Air Rifle smallbore

“Comradery is one of our organization’s key traits… there are no barriers of gender, age or mobility. Just a very diverse, bunch of good people enjoying a sport together.”

National Rimfire Benchrest Association of Ireland (NRBAI) .22 LR Air Rifle smallbore

“The skill, in brief, is having the ability to hit the equivalent of the top of a pinhead at 50 meters, in all conditions with a .22 round. Not easy, especially when you have to do it 50 times to get a maximum score of 500 [points], 250 per sheet.”

National Rimfire Benchrest Association of Ireland (NRBAI) .22 LR Air Rifle smallbore

National Rimfire Benchrest Association of Ireland (NRBAI) .22 LR Air Rifle smallbore

National Rimfire Benchrest Association of Ireland (NRBAI) .22 LR Air Rifle smallbore
National Rimfire Benchrest Association of Ireland (NRBAI) .22 LR Air Rifle smallbore

Back in the USA — The New National 50 Benchrest League

National 50 rimfire air rifle benchrest league N50If this article has motivated you to try rimfire benchrest competition back here in the good ol’ USA, there is a new organization that can help. Launched just a couple seasons ago, the National 50 Benchrest League has easy-to-understand rules, and offers competition with a wide variety of rifles, even including air rifles. The whole idea was to make competition more affordable and get more shooters on the firing line. There are three classes — Pellet, Sportsman, and PRO. One can be very competitive in the Sportsman Class with a basic factory .22 LR rig or Air Rifle.

N50 competition is unique in allowing air rifle shooters to compete side-by-side with rimfire shooters. This allows folks to compete without the cost of expensive “top-dollar” rimfire ammo. Pellets are relatively inexpensive, and yes air is still free!

National N50 benchrest air rifle rimfire

About N50 — The National 50 Benchrest League

Commentary by Joe Friedrich, Open Grove Benchrest
The new National 50 Benchrest League (N50) is a unique shooting experience. We shoot air rifles with pellets and slugs alongside .22 LR Rimfire shooters. We currently have sanctioned clubs throughout the USA offering competition and good fellowship.

N50 has three Classes: Pellet, Sportsman, and PRO. The first Pellet Class is strictly for pellet airguns ranging in calibers from .177-.30 using Diabolo-style pellets from various manufacturers.

The second class is the Sportsman Slug/Rimfire. This combined class allows any factory air rifle shooting commercially-made slugs in calibers from .177-.30 to compete against any factory rimfire that utilizes a factory-barreled action with no attachments to barrel. Pellet air rifles may also compete in this class.

The third class is the PRO Class, and no you do not have to have some magic card that says “Professional” to compete. This class allows purpose-built air rifles, and what we call “unlimited” rimfire rifles to compete. Three types of loads are allowed in PRO Class: .177 slug air-driven, .22 slug air-driven, and any .22 LR ammunition.

Another point — in N50, competitors are allowed to move up in class — you aren’t restricted to a “lower” division. For example, Pellet Class shooters can also move up to shoot in Sportsman and Pro. In addition, Factory rimfires are allowed in Pro Class. This way shooters with the less-expensive rifles can shoot more relays and also see how they compete with the unlimited rigs. It’s all about having fun.

We wanted to make N50 as simple as we could combining air rifles with rimfire so folks who have a factory rimfire can participate and have fun. We also did not want a lot of classes, so combining the two gun types would be simpler. To be honest we were worried that the rimfires will outpace the air rifles, but that was not the case at this year’s Nationals.

National 50 benchrest league
Air Rifle on beautifully crafted, plated Pappas Rest.

National 50 benchrest league

National 50 Benchrest League Rules and Course of Fire

The official N50 website, National50.net, lists N50 rules, classes, courses of fire, and membership requirements. There are currently 16 affiliated clubs nationwide, with more coming soon.

And the 2022 N50 National Championship is coming up soon. The event, for rimfire rifles and air rifles, will be held August 26-28, 2022 at the Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico

General Rules — Here are some of the more notable N50 General Rules that apply to N50 matches:

Target Distance: 50 yards
Match Times: 20 minutes per target
Targets: Official targets produced and distributed by N50
Aggregate Score: Cumulative score of 3 targets shot in sequence on same day
Scoring: No competitor shall score their own target

As far as hardware, N50 is pretty open. For all 3 classes, any scope is allowed and any trigger is allowed. For all 3 classes, stocks are unrestricted, stocks may be bedded, and rifle weight is unlimited. However, the Sportsman Class must retain factory barrel and action. N50 competitors in all classes may use 1-piece rests, 2-piece rests, bags, or bipods — whatever they prefer.

CLICK HERE for More Information and N50 Official Rules »

National 50 benchrest league

CLICK HERE for a free, printable version of the N50 practice target shown above. After clicking, SCROLL DOWN the page and you will see the left and right target sections that will print on 8.5×11″ paper. You can also purchase the Official N50 11″ x 17″ printed Match Targets for $25 per 100 plus shipping.

Credit Boyd Allen for finding this NRBAI Benchrest Video
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March 17th, 2022

FREE Targets for St. Patrick’s Day — Shamrock and Pot of Gold

Free downloadable pot of gold Ireland St Patricks day shamrock target NRA

Today, March 17th, is St. Patrick’s Day. With the current out-of-control inflation and the war in Ukraine it may be hard to feel lucky in 2022, but at least you can collect some lucky targets. Here are two free Irish-themed targets to provide some fun and a bit of challenge. Shoot these Shamrocks or the Pot of Gold and see if you have the “luck of the Irish”.

To help celebrate this traditional day of Irish pride, the NRA has created two (2) fun targets you can download, print, and shoot. Try out these free targets. Click each Irish target photo below to open a high-rez PDF file you can download and print.

The first target features a large four-leaf clover in the middle, with 17 other smaller three-leaf shamrocks around the outside. With five black bulls-eyes in the center graphic, that gives you a total of 22 aiming points for shooting fun. For added challenge we suggest you set this Shamrock Target at 100 yards for rimfire rifle and 200 years for a centerfire gun.

CLICK Below for Big PDF Shamrock Target

Free downloadable pot of gold Ireland St Patricks day shamrock target NRA

The second target offers the legendary Pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow. Along with a big bullseye on the pot, there are 15 shamrocks in gold circles, plus five small gold bars with tiny bullseyes. Those smallest bulls will be a challenge even at 100 yards. You’ll need a half-MOA (or better) rifle to “clean” this Pot of Gold Target, hitting the smallest red dots.

CLICK Below for Big PDF Pot of Gold Target

Free downloadable pot of gold Ireland St Patricks day shamrock target NRA

Whether you’re Irish or not, these targets will hopefully bring you a bit of luck. Click each image above to open a high-rez PDF file that you can print out. Then, this St. Patty’s day, wear your green, grab your gear, and head to range for some fun shooting.

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March 17th, 2021

St. Patrick’s Day Free Targets — Shamrock Plus Pot of Gold

Free downloadable pot of gold Ireland St Patricks day shamrock target NRA

Today, March 17th, is St. Patrick’s Day. With the persisting pandemic challenges it may be hard to feel lucky in 2021, but at least you can collect some lucky targets. Here are two free Irish-themed targets to provide some fun and a bit of challenge. Shoot these Shamrocks or the Pot of Gold and see if you have the “luck of the Irish”.

To help celebrate this traditional day of Irish pride, the NRA has created two (2) fun targets you can download, print, and shoot. Try out these free targets. Click each Irish target photo below to open a high-rez PDF file you can download and print.

The first target features a large four-leaf clover in the middle, with 17 other smaller three-leaf shamrocks around the outside. With five black bulls-eyes in the center graphic, that gives you a total of 22 aiming points for shooting fun. For added challenge we suggest you set this target at 100 yards for rimfire rifle and 200 years for a centerfire gun.

CLICK Below for Big PDF Shamrock Target

Free downloadable pot of gold Ireland St Patricks day shamrock target NRA

The second target offers the legendary Pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow. Along with a big bullseye on the pot, there are 15 shamrocks in gold circles, plus five small gold bars with tiny bullseyes. Those smallest bulls will be a challenge even at 100 yards. You’ll need a half-MOA (or better) rifle to “clean” this target, hitting the smallest red dots.

CLICK Below for Big PDF Pot of Gold Target

Free downloadable pot of gold Ireland St Patricks day shamrock target NRA

Whether you’re Irish or not, these targets will hopefully bring you a bit of luck. Click each image above to open a high-rez PDF file that you can print out. Then, this St. Patty’s day, wear your green, grab your gear, and head to range for some fun shooting.

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March 12th, 2019

Download FREE St. Patrick’s Day Targets

Free downloadable pot of gold Ireland St Patricks day shamrock target NRA

St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, is just five days away. Why not plan a trip to the range with your buddies to celebrate. Here are two free Shamrock-themed targets to add to the fun. Shoot these Shamrocks and see if you have the “luck of the Irish”.

To help celebrate this traditional day of Irish pride, parades, and green beer, the NRA has created two (2) fun targets you can download, print, and shoot. Try out these free targets. Click each Irish target photo below to open a high-rez PDF file you can download and print.

The first target features a large four-leaf clover in the middle, with 17 other smaller three-leaf shamrocks around the outside. With five black bulls-eyes in the center graphic, that gives you a total of 22 aiming points for shooting fun. For added challenge we suggest you set this target at 100 yards for rimfire rifle and 200 years for a centerfire gun.

CLICK Below for Big PDF Shamrock Target

Free downloadable pot of gold Ireland St Patricks day shamrock target NRA

The second target offers the legendary Pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow. Along with a big bullseye on the pot, there are 15 shamrocks in gold circles, plus five small gold bars with tiny bullseyes. Those smallest bulls will be a challenge even at 100 yards. You’ll need a half-MOA (or better) rifle to “clean” this target, hitting the smallest red dots.

CLICK Below for Big PDF Pot of Gold Target

Free downloadable pot of gold Ireland St Patricks day shamrock target NRA

Whether you’re Irish or not, these targets will hopefully bring you a bit of luck. Click each image above to open a high-rez PDF file that you can print out. Then, this St. Patty’s day, wear your green, grab your gear, and head to range for some fun shooting.

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February 21st, 2019

Ireland vs. USA — 2019 Creedmoor Cup Competition

Arizona Ireland USA American Creedmoor Challenge Cup rifle competition

The Creedmoor Cup is an historic challenge match between American and Irish marksmen. The first match was held in in 1874 between American and Irish Teams in Creedmoor, New York. (Read Match History). The Match was revived in 2011 and is now held every four years.

In 2019, the match was held this week at the Ben Avery Range in Arizona, following the Berger Southwest Nationals. It proved to be a great match, with Team USA coming out on top. Erik Cortina stated: “What a great experience this has been. Team USA won the 2019 Creedmoor cup vs Ireland. It had been over 100 years since match was shot in the United States. Glad to see this tradition continue.”

Arizona Ireland USA American Creedmoor Challenge Cup rifle competition

Arizona Ireland USA American Creedmoor Challenge Cup rifle competition

Congrats to the Members of Winning Team USA:

F-TR Riflemen
Alan Barnhart
Ellis Berry
David Conrath
Tracy Hogg
Ian Klemm
Matthew Schwartzkopf
Ed Shelley
Keith Trapp
F-Open Riflemen
Larry Bartholome
Erik Cortina
Ken Dickerman
David Gosnell
Rick Jensen
Jim Murphy
Pat Scully
Keith Weil
Coaches
Kent Reeve (Head Coach)
James Crofts
Scott Fulmer
Bob Seabold
Nancy Tompkins
Team Staff
Captain Phil Kelley
Vice-Captain Dan Bramley
Adjutant Stephen Ireland

Team USA Captain Phil Kelly told us this was a great match: “USA wins the Creedmoor Cup in a great competition with Team Ireland! Two days of cold and windy conditions challenged both 16-shooter teams. Final ceremonies included Native American dancers and great camaraderie among all the competitors. Thank you to all from Team Ireland who made the trip! The best of competitors and friends.” Phil added: “Special thanks to additional Creedmoor Committee members including Michelle Gallagher, Pete Ricci, and Mark Walker. We look forward to the next gathering in four years. Safe travels all.”

Arizona Ireland USA American Creedmoor Challenge Cup rifle competition

Nancy Tompkins looks down-range. With the wind-chill, competitors and coaches dressed warm.
Arizona Ireland USA American Creedmoor Challenge Cup rifle competition

Not Your Typical Warm Arizona Days at Ben Avery
There were variable conditions at the match — first easy, then tough. USA Captain Phil Kelley reported: “On Day 1 of the 2-day match, things started good then got tougher. The morning and 800-yard line saw 34° and light winds leading to high scores.

That changed as the 16-shooter teams made their way to the 900-yard line as sun, moderate wind and building mirage hit the range providing more challenging conditions.

After an excellent lunch both teams were in for a challenge. Winds of 12-16 mph with constant angle changes and surging mirage made communications and coordination among five coaches critical. The wind chill also dropped as teams stayed on the line for the majority of allotted time.”

Arizona Ireland USA American Creedmoor Challenge Cup rifle competition

The First-Ever Creedmoor Challenge Match in 1874
The Irish International Shooting team arrived in New York on the 16th of September and proceeded to “take in the sights”, which was understandable, before some practice at the Creedmoor range. On September 26th they presented themselves for the match with confidence and in high spirits. The crowds that day were reported to be between 5,000 and 10,000 strong, which showed the huge support already growing for the fledgling sport in America.

Arizona Ireland USA American Creedmoor Challenge Cup rifle competition

The course of fire was 15 shots to each man at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. Unfortunately, the details of each mans scores at the individual distances have been lost to time but we do know that the Americans were well ahead after the 800-yard shoot. The Irish then caught up after the 900-yard and finished the 1000-yard shoot ahead by 1 point. The Americans still had one man left to shoot and it came down to his very last shot with which he scored a 4 giving the American team the win over the Irish by 3 points.

Arizona Ireland USA American Creedmoor Challenge Cup rifle competition

Post-Competition Camaraderie and “Craic” at the Pub
“Craic” is an Irish term referring to positive interaction among people through conversation, stories, and music. The Craic was strong after the 2019 Creedmoor Match.

Desert Sharpshooters posted: “The ‘Craic’ is amazing tonight with the Irish rifle team to finish the Creedmoor. Thank you to the USA team members that came out tonight to show the Irish a good time. This is truely what the Creedmoor Cup is about, Friendship and good times.”

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June 8th, 2018

Yanks Enjoy Irish Hospitality at Emerald Match

Emerald Match Ireland 2018 Tullamore Midland range Phil Kelley James Crofts

American shooters have been enjoying Irish hospitality this week in Ireland, while attending attending the Emerald 2018 match at Midlands National Shooting Centre of Ireland (Tullamore). Our friends James Crofts, Phil Kelley, and Aussie Jenni Hausler provided these images from the event — both at the range and off. The Yanks are off to a good start. James reports: “Day one scores are out and Team USA is on top. Madison Bramley topped F-Open and I held on for F-TR. I also won the 1000-yard match. My equipment performed flawlessly — rifle built by Keith Weil of KW Precision, Cerus Stock by Will McCloskey, and BRM action by Jim Borden.”

Emerald Match Ireland 2018 Tullamore Midland range Phil Kelley James Crofts

American Phil Kelley posted: “As always our hosts are outstanding. Man, love this range! Ready for the big match starting tomorrow.”

Emerald Match Ireland 2018 Tullamore Midland range Phil Kelley James Crofts

Phil Kelley enjoyed the Team Match and long-range Clays Fun Match which preceded the main event. Phil posted: “A great day, with a busy line at 1100 and 1200 yards in Ireland. Last fun day included some great competition. Team USA did well. After getting completely destroyed at 1100 yards, I was able to win the 1200 yard match; with a miss! First ever board miss, it’s only 6’ wide. 12-14 mph winds with a lying, heavy mirage.”

Emerald Match Ireland 2018 Tullamore Midland range Phil Kelley James Crofts

The day finished with a fun (and challenging) Clay Pigeon Shoot at roughly 1235 yards. Phil noted: “Ellis Berry, James Crofts and myself were one of only a handful to hit the 4.25″ clay target within 5 shots in these conditions.” Think you can do that? That 4.25″ clay bird represents a mere 0.338 MOA at 1200 Yards! Not easy folks…

Emerald Match Ireland 2018 Tullamore Midland range Phil Kelley James Crofts
Competitors in the Clay Pidgeon Shoot at 1200+ yards.

Posting on Facebook, Mias Nieuwoudt had an interesting observation about the challenge of 1200 yards: “On average it seems the old 308s ran out of steam compared to our F-Open rigs at 1200 yards. Maybe a 40° scope rail with the targets angled backwards at 30° so you can lob the points like mortars!”

Emerald Match Ireland 2018 Tullamore Midland range Phil Kelley James Crofts

Emerald Match Ireland 2018 Tullamore Midland range Phil Kelley James Crofts

Touring the Emerald Isle — Countryside and Castles
On June 5, Phil Kelley observed: “Another great group touring day. A morning stop at Donamass Castle ruins provided incredible Irish views, then on to the town of Kilkenny for the Smithwicks Brewery tour, visit to Kilkenny Castle and a walk on the Medieval Mile.”

Eire Ireland Emerald Match James Crofts Jim Kelley Team Berger Tullamore Midlands Centre
Interior of Kilkenny Castle

Eire Ireland Emerald Match James Crofts Jim Kelley Team Berger Tullamore Midlands Centre
Nancy Tompkins (left) and Michelle Gallagher (right) give a shout out to friends.

Eire Ireland Emerald Match James Crofts Jim Kelley Team Berger Tullamore Midlands Centre
The American contingent — enjoying the good life in Ireland.

Facebook Photo Credits: Jenni Hausler, James Crofts, Phil Kelley, Pat Hunt, the Bramleys.

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March 17th, 2018

Get Lucky! Download FREE St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Targets

Free downloadable pot of gold Ireland St Patricks day shamrock target NRA

It’s March 17th today — St. Patrick’s Day. To help celebrate this traditional day of Irish pride, parades, and green beer, the NRA has created two (2) fun targets you can download, print, and shoot. Try out these free targets and see if you have the “luck of the Irish”. Click each Irish target photo below to open a high-rez PDF file you can download and print.

The first target features a large four-leaf clover in the middle, with 17 other smaller three-leaf shamrocks around the outside. With five black bulls-eyes in the center graphic, that gives you a total of 22 aiming points for shooting fun. For added challenge we suggest you set this target at 100 yards for rimfire rifle and 200 years for a centerfire gun.

CLICK Below for Big PDF Shamrock Target

Free downloadable pot of gold Ireland St Patricks day shamrock target NRA

The second target offers the legendary Pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow. Along with a big bullseye on the pot, there are 15 shamrocks in gold circles, plus five small gold bars with tiny bullseyes. Those smallest bulls will be a challenge even at 100 yards. You’ll need a half-MOA (or better) rifle to “clean” this target, hitting the smallest red dots.

CLICK Below for Big PDF Pot of Gold Target

Free downloadable pot of gold Ireland St Patricks day shamrock target NRA

Whether you’re Irish or not, these targets will hopefully bring you a bit of luck. Click each image above to open a high-rez PDF file that you can print out. Then, this St. Patty’s day, wear your green, grab your gear, and head to range for some fun shooting.

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August 11th, 2017

The NRA Perpetual Trophies — Heritage of Shooting Excellence

Leech Cup Wimbledon Trophy Cup NRA SSUSA.org
Stunners in silver. Above are the NRA Leech Cup (left) and Wimbledon Cup (right).

Shooting Sports USA has a fascinating article about the Perpetual Trophies awarded in national-level NRA matches. The story recounts the history behind the elaborate trophies, some from the 1870s. SSUSA’s Jennifer Pearsall writes: “The pieces of wood, stone and precious metal … are more than just instant recognition of achievement. They are the link of the American shooter’s present to his or her patriotic past. As you read this legacy of the NRA ranges, their founders, and the long list of cups, bowls, and plaques, realize that the history of competitive shooting is undeniably a significant part of the foundation of this country”. Read Full Trophy Story HERE.

The NRA was co-founded by Col. William Church and Gen. George Wood Wingate (ranked Captain at the time). Both Church and Wingate hoped to improved the marksmanship skills of American soldiers. One of the newly-formed NRA’s first actions was to issue: “An Act to Establish a Rifle Range and Promote Skill in Marksmanship”. That led to the opening of the famed Creedmoor Range, with a special inaugural match in June of 1873.

Many of the awards presented in the first NRA matches were cash or firearms. Some of these firearms were heavily embellished works of art. In the very first match, a member of the 22nd New York Regiment took home a gold-mounted Winchester Model 1866 valued at $100 — big money for the time.

Leech Cup Wimbledon Trophy Cup NRA SSUSA.org
In the 1870s shooting competitions were social as well as sporting events. Ladies and gentlemen came to watch and cheer the winners. This illustration, originally from Harpers Weekly, portrays the shooters and the viewing gallery at the 1876 Grand Centennial Championship—the “Palma” Match.

The Leech Cup — A Gift from Ireland
The Leech Cup was created for the first meeting of the American and Irish shooting teams. The elaborate cup was presented by Major Arthur Leech, captain of the the Irish team, to the Amateur Rifle Club of New York. This masterpiece of Irish silversmithing was later given to the NRA in 1901 by the New York Club. Today, the Leech Cup is the oldest trophy offered in overall NRA competitive target shooting, awarded through the National High Power Long Range Championships.

Michelle Gallagher with Leech Cup in 2013.
Leech Cup Wimbledon Trophy Cup NRA SSUSA.org

The Wimbledon Cup
The Wimbledon Trophy was a gift from the NRA of Great Britain. It was given, as a gesture of sportsmanship, after the the U.S. Team was denied the ability to compete in England’s Elcho Shield match, then limited to Britain, Scotland, and Ireland. To maintain friendly competitive relations, the British presented the Americans with a large, engraved, lion-footed tankard trophy to be awarded each year to the Champion U.S. long-distance rifleman.

Wimbledon Trophy Cup NRA SSUSA.org

Palma Trophy Facts Team Match National Camp Perry Tiffany'sThe Palma Team Trophy
Originally named the Centennial Trophy, in honor of the Centennial celebration of the independence of the United States of America, the Palma Trophy was commissioned from Tiffany’s at a cost of $1,500. The trophy was a full-sized replica of a Roman Legion standard, executed in bronze with silver and gold inlay. On the banner of the standard was the legend, “In the name of the United States of America to the Riflemen of the world”. Above the banner was an eagle, bearing in its talons a wreath of palm leaves and a plaque on which was the single word, “PALMA”, the Latin word for palm tree, which was used by the Romans to signify victory, or the ultimate in excellence.

Because the word Palma was so easily seen, the trophy soon became known as the “Palma Trophy”, and by 1878 was referred to officially by that name. The sriginal seven and one-half foot trophy is now lost, having not been seen since at least 1954. Serving in its place is a copy which was commissioned by Dr. Herbert M. Aitken of Eau Claire, WI. The copy was made from the original Tiffany blue-prints at a cost of $32,500. Dr. Aitken has given this copy of the Palma Trophy to the NRA for use in the Palma Match. The trophy is retained by the winning team until the next Palma Match.

In 2008, the Palma Trophy was returned to the NRA, and it was decided that the trophy, once refurbished, will travel to the host nation for the match every four years, then returned to the NRA for safekeeping.

The first competition for the Palma Team was a challenge match for which the British Commonwealth nations were invited. The match was fired in 1876 at the old Creedmoor Range on Long Island as part of the Centennial celebration of the United States. Teams representing Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and the United States took part. The match is currently fired on a four-year interval.

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July 1st, 2017

Erin Go BR — Great Rimfire Benchrest Video From Ireland

National Rimfire Benchrest Association of Ireland (NRBAI) .22 LR Air Rifle smallbore

Rimfire Benchrest can be fun and rewarding. It can also be frustrating because sourcing superior lots of ammo is a never-ending challenge. Still we like rimfire benchrest because you don’t need to load at the range. Plus rimfire barrels last a very long time (our friend Joe Friedrich set an ARA Benchrest record with a 100,000+ round-count barrel). Here’s a great video from the National Rimfire Benchrest Association of Ireland (NRBAI). Production quality is excellent! We highly recommend you watch this video, which does a great job illustrating both the fun and challenge of rimfire benchrest competition.

If you’ve never seen 50m Rimfire Benchrest competition, this video is well worth watching:

National Rimfire Benchrest Association of Ireland (NRBAI) .22 LR Air Rifle smallbore

“If you need to get your mind away from everything… then look down a scope, concentrate, and be disciplined.”

National Rimfire Benchrest Association of Ireland (NRBAI) .22 LR Air Rifle smallbore

“Comradery is one of our organization’s key traits… there are no barriers of gender, age or mobility. Just a very diverse, bunch of good people enjoying a sport together.”

National Rimfire Benchrest Association of Ireland (NRBAI) .22 LR Air Rifle smallbore

“The skill, in brief, is having the ability to hit the equivalent of the top of a pinhead at 50 meters, in all conditions with a .22 round. Not easy, especially when you have to do it 50 times to get a maximum score of 500 [points], 250 per sheet.”

National Rimfire Benchrest Association of Ireland (NRBAI) .22 LR Air Rifle smallbore

National Rimfire Benchrest Association of Ireland (NRBAI) .22 LR Air Rifle smallbore

National Rimfire Benchrest Association of Ireland (NRBAI) .22 LR Air Rifle smallbore

Credit Boyd Allen for finding this NRBAI Benchrest Video, released on 6/28/17.
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June 8th, 2016

Nancy Tompkins Scrambles Egg at 1230 Yards in the Emerald Isle

NRA Ireland Egg shoot Nancy Tompkins Midlands Emerald

Can you hit an egg at 1230 yards? Nancy Tompkins can. It did take her a couple of shots though. Mighty impressive shooting by a great lady, the first-ever female to win the National High Power Championship. Nancy was shooting at Ireland’s Midlands National Shooting Centre. She took six shots to hit a clay pigeon, and then hit the egg two shots later. Here’s the official proof:

NRA Ireland Egg shoot Nancy Tompkins Midlands Emerald

Nancy, along with daughter Michelle Gallagher, has been in the Emerald Isle competing at a series of matches at Midlands. Hosted by the NRA of Ireland (NRAI), the Emerald & Ireland Long Range Challenge is held annually at the Midlands National Shooting Centre of Ireland (MNSCI) in late May and early June. The event starts with the Long Range Challenge at 1100 and 1200 yards. That is followed by the Emerald match. In past seasons, the Emerald match included three yardages (800, 900, and 1000 yards) with a shoot-off for the top 10 competitors.

Nancy says she loves to shoot in Ireland — the facilities are excellent and the wonderful hospitality of her Irish hosts makes the experience memorable. Here’s a photo from the Midlands Shooting Centre, located in Tullamore, Ireland.

NRA Ireland Egg shoot Nancy Tompkins Midlands MNSCI Emerald

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June 30th, 2015

Yanks Win Creedmoor Cup Match in Ireland

2015 Creedmoor Cup F-Open F-Class Tullamore Dublin Ireland 2015 1875

Way to go Team USA! The American F-Class squad won the prestigious Creedmoor Cup competition held June 28-29 at the Midlands National Shooting Centre in Tullamore, Ireland. This is a competition with a rich history, going back to the original Challenge Match in 1874 between American and Irish Teams in Creedmoor, New York. (Read Match History)

2015 Creedmoor Cup F-Open F-Class Tullamore Dublin Ireland 2015 1875
Photo by Matthew Schwartzkopf.

Phil Kelley wrote: “I never knew when planning for this trip the wonderful history that is the Creedmoor Cup, Ireland and U.S. rifle competition, and the hunger of the Irish for freedom. It is one of many things that has made this trip so enjoyable. J.P. Craven [opened] the Creedmoor competition with John Sigler, previous President of the NRA. John had the honor of the first shot with a rifle used to help gain Irish independence. The Irish, like Americans, have a rich history that ties the rifle and independence together. It has been an honor to be part of this event, with each and every individual that is part of it.”

(more…)

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March 17th, 2015

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

The folks at F-TR Ireland send greetings from the Emerald Isle: “Wishing all our friends and fellow-shooters at home in Ireland and around the globe all the very best. Beannachtai na Féile Phádraig! (That means ‘St. Patrick’s Day Blessing’.) Hope you all have a great St. Patrick’s Day and enjoy the festivities wherever you may be, whether be you Irish by birth, heritage, or aspiration!”

Ireland F-TR St. Patrick's Day March 17

Irish Rifle (Crafted by Enda Walsh of Custom and Precision Rifles Ireland)
Ireland Gun Stocks

Irish Shooting Range (National Shooting Center, Tullamore, Ireland)
Tullamore Range Ireland Rick Jensen F-Class

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March 17th, 2014

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to Our Readers!

F-TR irelandThe folks at F-Class Team Ireland wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day and F-TR Ireland sends greetings from the Emerald Isle….

Wishing all our friends and fellow-shooters at home in Ireland and around the Globe all the very best. Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Beannachtai na Féile Phádraig! Hope you all … enjoy the festivities wherever you may be, whether be you Irish by birth, heritage, or aspiration!

Big May Match at Midlands in Ireland
The NRA of Ireland (NRAI) invites shooters to the inaugural F-Class Emerald & Ireland Long Range Challenge, to be held at the Midlands National Shooting Centre of Ireland (MNSCI), May 30 through June 1, 2014. The Long Range Challenge will be shot at 1100 and 1200 yards on May 30, followed by the Emerald match on May 31 – June 1. The Emerald will be shot at 800, 900, and 1000 yards, complete with a shoot-off for the top 10 competitors.

F-TR ireland

Guns of EIRE
Here are the custom guns crafted for the FCWC 2013 F-TR Team Ireland. Compliments to Francie McFadden of NGSS and Edi Graeff of PSE Composites for the work. (Photo courtesy of the UK Varminting website.)

F-TR ireland

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November 8th, 2013

Across the Atlantic: European F-Class Championships at Bisley

F-Class European Championship Bisley Rutland England Great Britain Joe Melia Paul Eggerman

Credit Des Parr for providing match details found in this report.
The 2013 European F-Class Championships are now history. Congratulations to new F-Open Euro Champion Joe Melia of Ireland, and new F-TR Euro Champion Paul Eggerman of Germany. Held at the Bisley Ranges in England, the European Championships drew top shooters from all over the Continent, plus the U.K. and Ireland. Following the individual competitions, national teams competed, and Great Britain emerged the big winner. British teams won gold in F-Open, F-TR, and the Rutland Cup. Hail Britannia!

On the GB F-Class Association website, Des Parr authored a great day-by-day account of the Euro Championships. Des writes: “The 2013 European Championships had a little of everything to keep everyone happy — some very light winds to please the trigger pullers, some very strong winds to please the wind-readers and only a little rain to please everyone! Friday was notable for having remarkably calm and steady wind. This enabled everyone to really see what their rifles were capable of in near to ideal conditions. The result was predictable; some very high scores.”

Individual Championships
In F-Open division, senior Irishman Joe Melia shot 457.39 to capture the title. Des Parr notes: “Joe got a rousing cheer from all his fellow competitors, indicative of his good standing. In second, it was another medal for Ireland, this time the fiercely competitive Anthony Dunne used all his experience to rack up 453.38. In third place was the new GB Captain from Wales, David Lloyd with 452.33.”

In F-TR, the Germany’s Paul Eggemann shot a superb score of 447.35 to win the individual title, ten points ahead of his nearest rival. Ukraine’s Sergei Baranov took second with 437.22, while his countryman Sergei Gorban finished third with 436.26.

Links to Full European F-Class Championship Results
F-Open Championships Results | F-TR Championships Results | Team Championships Results

TEAM COMPETITION
8-Man Event — Top place went to Team GB with 1084.58. Second place was taken by Italy with 1035.46 and in third was BDMP Germany with 1021.32. In F-TR, first place went to Team GB with 1007.32, with Team Italy second (987.31), and Ukraine third (978.26).

4-Man Rutland — There were ten, 4-man teams in the Rutland Competition. In F-Open, Winning Team GB was steered to victory by captain Peter Hobson with a super 524.19. France Open 1 took second with 522.17, while the Europe Open team was third with 497.22.

Irish Teams won silver and bronze in the 4-man Rutland Match at the European Championships.
F-Class European Championship Bisley Rutland Ireland


In related news, Forum member Gary Costello from the U.K. won the GB/Euro National League title for 2013 with a total of 71 points. This multi-match title is based on the best of four (4) League Championship Competitions throughout the year. Gary explains: “We have eight shoots in total, this championship is open to GB F-Class Association members and includes shooters from France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, Ukraine and several other countries. Most of these countries have maximum 300 yards to shoot so the UK is the closest place to compete in long-range competitions. That’s a bit amazing considering the size of the UK to Germany for example.”

F-Class European Championship Leagu Bisley Gary Costello 300 WSM

Gary used a 300 WSM built by Gunsmith Peter Walker, with a Nesika L action, Benchmark barrel, and a March 8-80x56mm scope. Gary told us that it took some time to master the 300 WSM, which has more recoil than a .284 Win, but in the end, Gary’s choice of caliber helped carry him to victory over a long season of hard-fought competition. Finishing second in League standings was Mark Daish with 70 points, while Des Parr took third place with 64 points. (Point totals based on best four matches.) Complete 2013 GB F-Class League Results are available on the GB F-Class Association website.

Photos courtesy F-TR Ireland and Gary Costello.
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March 17th, 2013

For St. Patrick’s Day — A Salute to Irish Shooters

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to our readers around the world. As an Irish-American whose great-grandfather was born in County Donegal, I’m proud to wear green today. But lest readers think that Ireland is only a land of shamrocks, lucky leprechauns, and Riverdancers, be aware that Ireland has an active community of precision shooters. In 2011, the National Rifle Association of Ireland unveiled the beautiful new 1200-yard range in Tullamore, at the Midlands National Shooting Centre. Also in 2011 Tullamore was was the site of the first modern-era Creedmoor Cup Challenge Match between Irish and American Teams. The Yanks won that year, but that was just the beginning of a great rivalry.

Tullamore Range

Midlands National Shooting Centre of Ireland
National Rifle Association of IrelandIn the year 2000, the National Rifle Association of Ireland (NRAI) was formed. One of its primary goals was to promote fullbore target shooting in Ireland. The NRAI needed a home and that home was found on the bog of Derrymore in Blueball just outside Tullamore in County Offaly. In 2000, a 400-yard range was built on the site. Three years later the 600-yard “Windmill” range, the first of its kind in modern Ireland, was also built to allow for mid-range target shooting. The site was christened the Midlands National Shooting Centre of Ireland (MNSCI) and with it the story of Irish F-Class began. No sooner had the 600-yard range been built at the MNSCI, when the NRAI formed a national F-Class league bringing together like-minded shooters from all over Ireland.

tullamore range ireland Midlands

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