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May 12th, 2024

Today is Mother’s Day — Celebrate with Your Mother

Nancy Tompkins Sherri Jo Gallagher michelle Sierra bullets Mid tompkins
Left to Right, Sherri Jo Gallagher, Mother Nancy Tompkins, and Michelle Gallagher — All Champions.

Nancy Thomkins Sherri Jo GallagherHappy Mother’s Day
Today we want to wish Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms around the world. All of us must remember that we literally owe our lives and our well-being to our mothers, who brought us into the world. Without the love, support, caring, and nurturing of our mothers, none of us would be here. So to mothers everywhere, we say:

“Thank you. Bless you. May your lives be filled with happiness today and everyday.”

At the top is a cherished photograph of the one of the greatest moms in the shooting community, Nancy Tompkins, along with her two little girls (who both turned into pretty darn good shooters themselves). On Nancy’s right is Michelle Gallagher, multi-time National Long-Range Championship. On the left is Sherri Jo Gallagher, who was the second woman in history to capture the NRA National High Power Championship at Camp Perry. Who was the first woman ever to accomplish that feat? You guessed it — Nancy Tompkins, Sherri’s mom, was the first-ever female High Power Champion. Nancy is married to another great shooter, Mid Tompkins. This is truly America’s “First Family of shooting”.

Nancy Tompkins Sherri Jo Gallagher

Nancy Tompkins long range prone shooting bookNancy Tompkins is one of the greatest long-range shooters in American history. She has won the National Long Range Championship 5 times (1986, 1997, 1999, 2003, and 2015), the across-the-course National High Power Championship (1998), the Metric Smallbore Nationals (2012), and the Fullbore Nationals (2012). She has also been the Wimbledon Cup winner (1993) and a 7-time Leech Cup winner (1995, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2011 and 2012). She has won both team and individual medals in the World Championships and has been on 8 Palma Teams (as both a shooter and a coach).

Tompkins’ treatise, Prone and Long Range Rifle Shooting, is a must-read for serious Palma, F-Class, and High Power shooters. The revised Second Edition includes F-Class equipment and techniques, and newly updated information. Topics include Mental and Physical training, Reading Wind and Mirage Shooting Fundamentals, International Competition, and Loading for Long Range.

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
February 8th, 2024

Build Your Shooting Skills with Multi-Discipline Training

Michelle Gallagher Cross Training

Guest Article By Michelle Gallagher, Berger Bullets
Let’s face it. In the world of firearms, there is something for everyone. Do you like to compete? Are you a hunter? Are you more of a shotgun shooter or rifle shooter? Do you enjoy running around between stages of a timed course, or does the thought of shooting one-hole groups appeal to you more? Even though many of us shoot several different firearms and disciplines, chances are very good that we all have a favorite. Are we spreading ourselves too thin by shooting different disciplines, or is it actually beneficial? I have found that participating in multiple disciplines can actually improve your performance. Every style of shooting is different; therefore, they each develop different skills that benefit each other.

How can cross-training in other disciplines help you? For example, I am most familiar with long-range prone shooting, so let’s start there. To be a successful long-range shooter, you must have a stable position, accurate ammunition, and good wind-reading skills. You can improve all of these areas through time and effort, but there are other ways to improve more efficiently. Spend some time practicing smallbore. Smallbore rifles and targets are much less forgiving when it comes to position and shot execution. Long-range targets are very large, so you can get away with accepting less than perfect shots. Shooting smallbore will make you focus more on shooting perfectly center shots every time. Another way to do this with your High Power rifle is to shoot on reduced targets at long ranges. This will also force you to accept nothing less than perfect. Shoot at an F-Class target with your iron sights. At 1000 yards, the X-Ring on a long range target is 10 inches; it is 5 inches on an F-Class target. Because of this, you will have to focus harder on sight alignment to hit a center shot. When you go back to the conventional target, you will be amazed at how large the ten ring looks.

Michelle Gallagher Cross Training

Also, most prone rifles can be fitted with a bipod. Put a bipod and scope on your rifle, and shoot F-TR. Shooting with a scope and bipod eliminates position and eyesight factors, and will allow you to concentrate on learning how to more accurately read the wind. The smaller target will force you to be more aggressive on your wind calls. It will also help encourage you to use better loading techniques. Nothing is more frustrating than making a correct wind call on that tiny target, only to lose the point out the top or bottom due to inferior ammunition. If you put in the effort to shoot good scores on the F-Class target, you will be amazed how much easier the long-range target looks when you return to your sling and iron sights. By the same token, F-Class shooters sometimes prefer to shoot fast and chase the spotter. Shooting prone can help teach patience in choosing a wind condition to shoot in, and waiting for that condition to return if it changes.

Benchrest shooters are arguably among the most knowledgeable about reloading. If you want to learn better techniques about loading ammunition, you might want to spend some time at benchrest matches. You might not be in contention to win, but you will certainly learn a lot about reloading and gun handling. Shooting F-Open can also teach you these skills, as it is closely related to benchrest. Benchrest shooters may learn new wind-reading techniques by shooting mid- or long-range F-Class matches.

Michelle Gallagher Cross TrainingPosition shooters can also improve their skills by shooting different disciplines. High Power Across-the-Course shooters benefit from shooting smallbore and air rifle. Again, these targets are very small, which will encourage competitors to be more critical of their shot placement. Hunters may benefit from shooting silhouette matches, which will give them practice when shooting standing with a scoped rifle. Tactical matches may also be good, as tactical matches involve improvising shots from various positions and distances. [Editor: Many tactical matches also involve hiking or moving from position to position — this can motivate a shooter to maintain a good level of general fitness.]

These are just a few ways that you can benefit from branching out into other shooting disciplines. Talk to the other shooters. There is a wealth of knowledge in every discipline, and the other shooters will be more than happy to share what they have learned. Try something new. You may be surprised what you get out of it. You will certainly learn new skills and improve the ones you already have. You might develop a deeper appreciation for the discipline you started off with, or you may just discover a new passion.

This article originally appeared in the Berger Blog. The Berger Blog contains the latest info on Berger products, along with informative articles on target shooting and hunting.

Article Find by EdLongrange.

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
February 9th, 2023

America’s Shooting Sports Heritage — NRA Perpetual Trophies

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 original 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.

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
August 20th, 2022

Improve Your Shooting Skills with Multi-Discipline Training

Michelle Gallagher Cross Training

Guest Article By Michelle Gallagher, Berger Bullets
Let’s face it. In the world of firearms, there is something for everyone. Do you like to compete? Are you a hunter? Are you more of a shotgun shooter or rifle shooter? Do you enjoy running around between stages of a timed course, or does the thought of shooting one-hole groups appeal to you more? Even though many of us shoot several different firearms and disciplines, chances are very good that we all have a favorite. Are we spreading ourselves too thin by shooting different disciplines, or is it actually beneficial? I have found that participating in multiple disciplines can actually improve your performance. Every style of shooting is different; therefore, they each develop different skills that benefit each other.

How can cross-training in other disciplines help you? For example, I am most familiar with long-range prone shooting, so let’s start there. To be a successful long-range shooter, you must have a stable position, accurate ammunition, and good wind-reading skills. You can improve all of these areas through time and effort, but there are other ways to improve more efficiently. Spend some time practicing smallbore. Smallbore rifles and targets are much less forgiving when it comes to position and shot execution. Long-range targets are very large, so you can get away with accepting less than perfect shots. Shooting smallbore will make you focus more on shooting perfectly center shots every time. Another way to do this with your High Power rifle is to shoot on reduced targets at long ranges. This will also force you to accept nothing less than perfect. Shoot at an F-Class target with your iron sights. At 1000 yards, the X-Ring on a long range target is 10 inches; it is 5 inches on an F-Class target. Because of this, you will have to focus harder on sight alignment to hit a center shot. When you go back to the conventional target, you will be amazed at how large the ten ring looks.

Michelle Gallagher Cross Training

Also, most prone rifles can be fitted with a bipod. Put a bipod and scope on your rifle, and shoot F-TR. Shooting with a scope and bipod eliminates position and eyesight factors, and will allow you to concentrate on learning how to more accurately read the wind. The smaller target will force you to be more aggressive on your wind calls. It will also help encourage you to use better loading techniques. Nothing is more frustrating than making a correct wind call on that tiny target, only to lose the point out the top or bottom due to inferior ammunition. If you put in the effort to shoot good scores on the F-Class target, you will be amazed how much easier the long-range target looks when you return to your sling and iron sights. By the same token, F-Class shooters sometimes prefer to shoot fast and chase the spotter. Shooting prone can help teach patience in choosing a wind condition to shoot in, and waiting for that condition to return if it changes.

Benchrest shooters are arguably among the most knowledgeable about reloading. If you want to learn better techniques about loading ammunition, you might want to spend some time at benchrest matches. You might not be in contention to win, but you will certainly learn a lot about reloading and gun handling. Shooting F-Open can also teach you these skills, as it is closely related to benchrest. Benchrest shooters may learn new wind-reading techniques by shooting mid- or long-range F-Class matches.

Michelle Gallagher Cross TrainingPosition shooters can also improve their skills by shooting different disciplines. High Power Across-the-Course shooters benefit from shooting smallbore and air rifle. Again, these targets are very small, which will encourage competitors to be more critical of their shot placement. Hunters may benefit from shooting silhouette matches, which will give them practice when shooting standing with a scoped rifle. Tactical matches may also be good, as tactical matches involve improvising shots from various positions and distances. [Editor: Many tactical matches also involve hiking or moving from position to position — this can motivate a shooter to maintain a good level of general fitness.]

These are just a few ways that you can benefit from branching out into other shooting disciplines. Talk to the other shooters. There is a wealth of knowledge in every discipline, and the other shooters will be more than happy to share what they have learned. Try something new. You may be surprised what you get out of it. You will certainly learn new skills and improve the ones you already have. You might develop a deeper appreciation for the discipline you started off with, or you may just discover a new passion.

This article originally appeared in the Berger Blog. The Berger Blog contains the latest info on Berger products, along with informative articles on target shooting and hunting.

Article Find by EdLongrange.

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
January 2nd, 2022

NRA Perpetual Trophies — Connecting Past to Present

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 original 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.

Permalink - Articles, Competition, News 1 Comment »
March 16th, 2020

Challenging Conditions at 2020 Cactus Classic in Arizona

Arizona is warm, dry, and sunny right? Well not always. This past weekend, rain fell in droves on the Friday practice day for the 2020 Cactus Classic 100/200 yard Benchrest event. Yes, it was Friday the 13th! But then the rain clouds receded, and visitors were greeted to a stunning rainbow.


Rainbow photo by Michelle Gallagher.

The two-day match got underway on March 14th in relatively dry but windy conditions. That created challenging conditions for the competitors — even with windflags set up to show wind velocity and angles.

One of the best matches of the year, the Cactus Classic attracts many of the nation’s top “point-blank” shooters. These aces compete with 10.5-lb Light Varmint and 13.5-lb Heavy Varmint rifles, nearly all chambered for the 6PPC cartridge. Many shooters run their LVs in HV classes as well, for simplicity (and to save money — one rifle costs less than two). In this game, the vast majority of shooters load at the range between relays. That lets them tune their loads to the condition — something that can help when you’re trying to shoot tiny dots.

Cactus Classic Benchrest LV HV Ben Avery Phoenix Berger

With all the interest in F-Class, PRS, and ELR, we sometimes forget that plenty of folks are still competiting in Short-Range Benchrest disciplines, with standards of accuracy we can only envy. For a PRS shooter, a good 100-yard, five-shot group would be half-MOA. For a benchrest shooter, a good group at 100 would be in the “Ones”. That’s smaller than 0.200″ center to center for five shots. And the small group of a Relay is often in the “Zeros”.


Conditions were wet on Friday the 13th before the 2020 Cactus Classic.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
September 30th, 2019

Raton Remembrances — Photos from the F-Class Nationals

Michelle Gallagher 2019 Raton NM F-Class National Championships Nationals f-Open F-TR

Michelle Gallagher is one of the nation’s top rifle shooters and team coaches. A past Long Range National Champion, Michelle is part of America’s “First Family” of Shooting, being raised by Mid Tompkins and Nancy Tompkins, both rifle champions in their own right.

Michelle, who works for Sierra Bullets, was at the 2019 F-Class National Championships in Raton, New Mexico. At the event, Michelle captured some great photos of the competitors and the New Mexico countryside at the NRA Whittington Center. This year’s Nationals were very challenging competition, with truly brutal winds on some days. Here is Michelle’s Photo Essay on the 2019 F-Class Nationals.

Michelle Gallagher 2019 Raton NM F-Class National Championships Nationals f-Open F-TR

Michelle Gallagher 2019 Raton NM F-Class National Championships Nationals f-Open F-TR

Michelle Gallagher 2019 Raton NM F-Class National Championships Nationals f-Open F-TR
Father Ken Klemm and Son Ian Klemm shot together in F-TR Team Matches. Individually, Ian was second overall in the 1K F-TR Nationals, while Ken finished as High Grand Senior.

Michelle Gallagher 2019 Raton NM F-Class National Championships Nationals f-Open F-TR

Michelle Gallagher 2019 Raton NM F-Class National Championships Nationals f-Open F-TR

Michelle Gallagher 2019 Raton NM F-Class National Championships Nationals f-Open F-TR

Michelle Gallagher 2019 Raton NM F-Class National Championships Nationals f-Open F-TR
Three talented lady shooters: Michelle Gallagher (L), Nancy Tompkins, and Madison Bramley.

Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
July 13th, 2019

Honor & Glory in Stunning Silver — The NRA Perpetual Tropies

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

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.

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

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 silver-smithing 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.

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 original 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.

Permalink - Articles, Competition No Comments »
May 12th, 2019

Celebrate Mother’s Day Today

Nancy Tompkins Sherri Jo Gallagher michelle Sierra bullets Mid tompkins
Left to Right, Sherri Jo Gallagher, Mother Nancy Tompkins, and Michelle Gallagher — All Champions.

Nancy Thomkins Sherri Jo GallagherHappy Mother’s Day
Today we want to wish Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms around the world. All of us must remember that we literally owe our lives and our well-being to our mothers, who brought us into the world. Without the love, support, caring, and nurturing of our mothers, none of us would be here. So to mothers everywhere, we say:

“Thank you. Bless you. May your lives be filled with happiness today and everyday.”

At the top is a cherished photograph of the one of the greatest moms in the shooting community, Nancy Tompkins, along with her two little girls (who both turned into pretty darn good shooters themselves). On Nancy’s right is Michelle Gallagher, multi-time National Long-Range Championship. On the left is Sherri Jo Gallagher, who was the second woman in history to capture the NRA National High Power Championship at Camp Perry. Who was the first woman ever to accomplish that feat? You guessed it — Nancy Tompkins, Sherri’s mom, was the first-ever female High Power Champion. Nancy is married to another great shooter, Mid Tompkins. This is truly America’s “First Family of shooting”.

Nancy Tompkins Sherri Jo Gallagher

Nancy Tompkins long range prone shooting bookNancy Tompkins is one of the greatest long-range shooters in American history. She has won the National Long Range Championship 5 times (1986, 1997, 1999, 2003, and 2015), the across-the-course National High Power Championship (1998), the Metric Smallbore Nationals (2012), and the Fullbore Nationals (2012). She has also been the Wimbledon Cup winner (1993) and a 7-time Leech Cup winner (1995, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2011 and 2012). She has won both team and individual medals in the World Championships and has been on 8 Palma Teams (as both a shooter and a coach).

Tompkins’ treatise, Prone and Long Range Rifle Shooting, is a must-read for serious Palma, F-Class, and High Power shooters. The revised Second Edition includes F-Class equipment and techniques, and newly updated information. Topics include Mental and Physical training, Reading Wind and Mirage Shooting Fundamentals, International Competition, and Loading for Long Range.

Permalink News 1 Comment »
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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June 26th, 2017

Top 50 Female Competitive Shooters — the SSUSA.org List

Top 50 Fifty female lady competitive Shooters

While the majority of competitive shooters are male, some of the very best shooters are female. Competitive shooting is one sport where men and women do compete head-to-head at the highest level. You won’t see that in tennis, or cycling, or basketball, but in shooting, it’s not unusual to see a talented lady on top of the podium. There still are gender-based classifications in some shooting disciplines, but in F-Class, NRA High Power, and Benchrest women can and do compete on a par with men. These talented ladies have proven themselves capable of winning National and International Championships against all comers.


Top 50 Women in Competitive Shooting on Shooting Sports USA »

To celebrate the skills and talent of lady shooters, Shooting Sports USA recently created a great article showcasing 50 of the most talented female shooters in the USA. This list includes Olympic gold medalists (in shotgun and air rifle), Pistol champions, Palma rifle shooters, PRS competitors, and 3-gun specialists. Here are some of the 50 notables from the list. CLICK HERE to see the whole list.

Kim Rhode Shotgun Top 50 Lady ShootersKim Rhode: One of a few household names on this list, Kim Rhode and her Olympic bronze medal performance in Rio last year made her a six-time Olympic medal recipient. Kim has won an Olympic medal on five continents. Additionally she won the Women’s Skeet Final at the 2016 ISSF Shotgun World Cup Final in Rome, Italy. She plans to “definitely [go] for Tokyo in 2020. If Los Angeles gets the bid for the next one, (even if they don’t) I’ll probably go to the 2024 Olympic Games. There’s no reason for me to stop at this point.” Kim was recently elected to the NRA Board of Directors. Editor: Kim is a once-in-a-generation shooter; we support her work with the NRA.

Ginny Thrasher Top 50 Lady ShootersGinny Thrasher: This Olympic gold medalist needs little introduction. Quietly arriving on the scene after years racking up smallbore and air rifle victories, Ginny Thrasher arrived at West Virginia University and made history. Not only did she win the smallbore championship at NCAA in 2016, but her performance at the Rio 2016 Olympics started a media frenzy. Winning the first U.S. Gold Medal of the Games will do that. Prior to glory on the international stage, Ginny was winning NRA smallbore championships as a member of Northern Virginia’s own Junior Acorns team.

Lena Miculek Top 50 Lady ShootersLena Miculek: The daughter of master shooter Jerry Miculek, Lena burst onto the competitive shooting scene in 2005 with five consecutive Sportsman’s Team Challenge Junior national titles. Moving on to 3-gun, by 2015 she had an astonishing 89 percent win rate. Lena was the 2016 NRA World Shooting Ladies Champion. Recently, she traveled to Russia to compete at the inaugural IPSC World Rifle Championship, along with her mother Kay Miculek, Ashley Rheuark, and Maggie Reese. Lena and Team USA’s women’s team won Gold in the women’s Open division, and Lena won a second Gold Medal as the Ladies Open Division Individual Champion.

Lanny Tracy Barnes Top 50 Lady Shooters

Lanny and Tracey Barnes: Both highly decorated Olympic biathletes, the identical Barnes twins have been on the World Cup circuit for over a decade. At the age of 18, they made their first World Junior Championship team and medaled in the World Junior Championships the next year. Lanny competed in the 2006 and 2010 Olympics, and Tracy competed in the 2006 and was an alternate in 2010. Lanny posted the best U.S. finish in 16 years in 2010 with perfect shooting. These days, the twins compete in 3-gun and Sportsman’s Team Challenge—and also are serious hunters.

Kirsten Joy Weiss Top 50 Lady ShootersKirsten Joy Weiss: Before making great trick-shot videos on YouTube, Kirsten Weiss was a smallbore rifle champion, winning high lady and second place overall at the NRA 3-position smallbore nationals in 2012. Remarkably, Kristen shot the any sight match with iron sights, while many of her fellow shooters were using scopes. For those new to rimfire, Weiss says, “It is almost always better to start with iron sights rather than a scope. Scopes can be a crutch, but interestingly enough they can also help in developing bad habits if your fundamental marksmanship skills aren’t developed yet.”

Nancy, Sherri, and Michelle — The Tompkins/Gallager Clan

There are three more ladies, champions all, who should be included in the Top 50 list. We would definitely add Nancy Tompkins, and daughters Sherri Gallagher and Michelle Gallagher to this list. Nancy and Sherri are the only two women in history to have won the National High Power championship. Michelle Gallagher has won the Long Range National championship and she also serves as the coach of the U.S.A. F-Open team at the 2017 F-Class World Championships. Nancy Tompkins has rightly been called the “First Lady of American Shooting” and rightly so. You won’t find a nicer person, or a more talented shooter. Sherri, currently with the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute Team, was an ace shooter with the USAMU squad who earned U.S. Army’s Soldier of the Year honors in 2010.

Accurateshooter.com Nancy Tompkins Sherri Jo Gallagher Michelle Gallagher

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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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