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August 7th, 2022

Sunday Gunday: Marksman Inspired by Grandfather’s Legacy

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather

Jeff Hansen of Utah now holds Distinguished Rifleman Badge #2561. Jeff’s journey to Distinguished status began with a box filled with his grandfather’s old shooting medals, which led him to the Camp Perry National Matches in Ohio.

Though he had no intention of shooting competitively, only arriving to see the ghosts of his grandfather and uncles, he was so moved by the ambiance of Perry that he began his own marksmanship career — eventually leading him to a prestigious Distinguished Badge.

At the 2022 National Matches, Jeff fired his best scores yet. In the National Trophy Individual (NTI) Match, he reached an overall score of 487-9X for 52nd overall out of nearly 790 competitors. And at the 600-yard line he shot an outstanding 199-5X out of a 200 possible.

“He was on the range with me shooting that 199″, Jeff said of his grandfather. “I felt like he was right there when I finished up. I just hope other people see this and see what I’ve tried to do – if I can do this, they can do this”, he said. “Chase that dream”.

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather
Left to Right: Alvin Hansen, Ray Hansen, and Jeff’s Grandfather Lou Hansen at Camp Perry.

Inspired by My Grandfather to Become a Distinguished Marksman

Article based on CMP Report by Jeff Hansen

Jeff Hansen earned his Distinguished Rifleman Badge in 2022 – a journey which began with his Grandpa’s own marksmanship tales from the 1920s and 1930s.

As early as I can remember, my grandfather, Lou, was a huge influence in my life. He was a great marksman. My dad, Ed Hansen, would tell me about the hunting trips they would go on and how Grandpa would make incredibly long shots to get an amazing bull elk or mule deer, only taking one shot to do so. He was always taking me hunting and fishing and shooting – lots of sleepovers where I didn’t actually sleep much, if any, because I would be so excited for the adventures that were going to happen with him the next day.

Whether it was hunting ducks, pheasants, chukars or just shooting, it didn’t matter. It was always an awesome experience with him. Life was great. Then, we got some tough news – my grandfather had leukemia. He fought a courageous battle with it for a couple of years, then in 1978, when I was 8, he passed away. Needless to say, I was devastated.

Inspired by Grandfather’s Shooting Medals
Not too long after he passed away, my dad brought home a box from Grandpa’s. It was full of medals. He carefully removed them and told me they were from when my grandfather competed in rifle matches with his brothers (Alvin Hansen, a U.S. Army veteran of World War I in France, Ray Hansen, and Oscar Hansen) at Camp Perry, Ohio, in the late 1920s to 1937.

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather
Shooting medals from 1920s and 1930s with picture of Lou Hansen and his brothers.

My Grandpa was really humble – never said much about his trips to Camp Perry or his accomplishments there. Seeing the contents of the box, my grandfather became an even bigger hero to me. The medals he earned that impressed me the most were the three President’s Hundred brassards from 1935, 1936 and 1937 – along with many others.

I grew up looking at those medals thinking I wish I could do that maybe, someday. My life moved forward. My dad, a U.S Air Force veteran, and I both loved hunting, fishing, and shooting and still went as often as we could. Later, I got married and now have three daughters and one son. As my family grew up, we also enjoyed hunting, fishing, and shooting together.

Then, life threw some blows. My dad passed away suddenly in November 2014, and my mom fought a fierce battle with cancer for a few years before passing away in March 2018. Not long after she passed away, I found myself hanging [my grandpa’s] medals on the wall in my own home. Seeing them there got me thinking about how awesome it would be to go to Ohio and watch the President’s Match – not shoot, just watch.

In July 2018, I went. I’ve got to admit there were a few tears in my eyes driving between the two iconic lighthouses at the entrance to Camp Perry. I loved it.

The year I came happened to be the year SFC Brandon Green of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit cleaned the President’s Match — a record that still holds today. I got to talking to one of the Army Reserve team guys, asking him questions about competing, and he couldn’t believe I was there just to watch. I showed him some pictures of my grandfather’s medals, scorebook, and of Camp Perry in the 1930s. Matt Goad and Jon Arcularius of the Army Reserve team came over to look at them.

They said, “Hey, you can’t come all the way out here with a family history like that and not shoot here!”

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather

They offered to sign me up for the NTI match the following day and even said they would get a rifle, ammo, and anything else I would need. That was so awesome, but I couldn’t make it work – I was flying back home the next day. Although I didn’t shoot, they did get me all the information I needed to get started.

I loved every minute of my first Camp Perry trip. It was because of the people there, showing me such kindness and taking me under their wings, that I thought, “I’ve shot all my life and hunted, and I’ve always liked marksmanship. This is something I can do.”

When I got home, I ordered a White Oak upper and started changing parts on my AR-15 to make it ready for matches. I was ready in the spring of 2019 and started shooting mostly small matches.

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather
Grandpa Lou was humble and never talked about his achievements at Camp Perry.

At first, all I wanted to do with my rifling career was get a President’s Medal — following in my Grandpa’s footsteps. I didn’t know what “going Distinguished” was all about. I got a Silver Achievement Medal in the first match I went to, then started to go to more matches. Through that, I caught wind that winning President’s is one thing, but you’ll get to President’s if you excel your skills and go Distinguished. So, that became the new goal.

By summer, I was traveling to EIC matches and earned my first points at Nampa, Idaho, on July 21, 2019. After that, it was time to head back to Perry for the President’s and the NTI.

I didn’t do as well as I wanted, but it was an amazing experience to be competing where my grandfather had. I struggled the rest of the year and didn’t earn any more points until 2020. It was tough trying to find matches during COVID, but I ended up earning 12 more points by the end of the year. I missed a hard leg at Twentynine Palms, California, by X-Count, and things got tough after that.

I figured I needed to step up the way I was practicing, so I got a Shot Marker electronic target system and some wind flags so I could practice full distance. I’m very lucky that I can practice 30 minutes from home any time I want on public land.

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather
At the 2022 National Matches, Jeff fired a superb 199-5X at the 600-yard line.

Starting in the first part of December, I had some extremely hard things going on in my personal life, and I didn’t feel like practicing. I didn’t even pick up my rifle for two months. I missed the first EIC in Phoenix in January, and before I knew it, February was half gone. Then, one of my friends talked me into going to the Western CMP Games in Phoenix in March.

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather

Practice was tough, and sometimes I wondered why I was even trying. Tons of things were going wrong, and I was about DONE. I wanted to quit, many times. [But then] Western Games was fun, and I did well, but gained no points.

Navy Matches were coming around at the end of April, so I practiced as much as I could and made the trip. With several friends going, it would be great getting together after the matches and have a good time. I shot well the first day as well as on that Saturday. I even shot my personal best National Match Course score. Then Sunday, May 1, was the real test – the EIC match.

I struggled in standing and dropped a few more points than usual. Sitting was the same – rapid prone was good. Slow prone went well. The wind had some fairly big changes, but I worked through it and ended up with 477-11X. I figured there’s no way I’m making the cut for a hard leg this time and headed to the pits to finish out the match. We finished and waited for the results.

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather

When the results were posted, I couldn’t believe it – I FINALLY GOT THAT HARD LEG! I did it. On top of earning my goal at last, it’s awesome to have my friend Jeff Lovat (#2383) be the one to present me with my Distinguished pin. (That President’s Hundred medal is still out there – maybe next year!)

The Honor of Earning the Distinguished Marksman Badge
Though I certainly enjoy earning my Distinguished Badge, the greatest thing I have gained from accomplishing this is without a doubt all the friends and people I have gotten to know along the way. To all my shooting friends, thanks for not letting me quit – part of this accomplishment is yours too.

To all of you that are working toward that goal, don’t ever quit. Keep practicing, and your day will come. Never quit until you reach your goals.

No matter what, I do know one thing. When I walk that stage at Perry at the 2022 National Matches and get my Distinguished Badge officially presented to me — well my father, my grandfather and his brothers will be walking it with me.

About the Distinguished Badge Program

To earn a Distinguished Badge, a competitor must earn 30 Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) points or more in a qualifying competition. Individuals earn the 6, 8 or 10 “leg” points based on score and a percentage of match participation, with at least one “hard” leg, worth 8 or 10 points. Currently, the CMP administers Distinguished Badges for:

Service Rifle
Service Pistol
.22 Rimfire Pistol
Junior Air Rifle
Smallbore Rifle

International Shooter
Distinguished Marksman Badge
Distinguished Air Rifle and Air Pistol
Distinguished Service Revolver Badge

To lean more about the Distinguished Badge Program, visit the CMP website.

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July 30th, 2019

President’s 100 Match at Camp Perry — A Great Tradition

President's 100 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago
Looking downrange at the 600-yard targets. All Camp Perry photos courtesy Dennis Santiago.

Our friend Dennis Santiago is at Camp Perry this summer. Yesterday (7/29/2019) he competed in the historic National President’s 100 Match. This is a huge event. in recent years, there have been over 1000 ranked competitors from throughout the nation, making this one of the biggest rifle events of the year.

The President’s 100 Rifle Match is richly steeped in history. This unique match was first held in 1878. Here’s the view from the line at 600 yards:
President's 100 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago

The 2017 President’s 100 Rifle Match was a tightly-fought affair, with the top five shooters separated by just two points. SSG John Cogshall (ARNG) shot superbly to take the top position and President’s Rifle Trophy. The top 100 competitors overall in the President’s Rifle Match are designated as the President’s 100. They receive President’s 100 medallions and certificates. GET full match results.

Top Five Shooters at 2019 National President’s 100 Match

1. SSG John Cogshall (ARNG) 390-14X (Trophy Winner)
2. SGT Thomas Colyard (SC, USMC) 389-16X
3. Sean Prosser (PA) 389-12X
4. Greg Troxell (TX) 388-11X
5. John Hefner, (TX) 388-13X

Note: SFC Brandon Green, USAMU, who holds the course record at 400-20X, also shot a 388-13X but was ranked sixth by tie-breaker.

President's 100 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago

President’s 100 Shoot Off! — The Top 20 shooters face off while everyone watches, wishing the best for every one of them. This is what attending a family gathering is for us.
President's 100 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago

President’s 100 Course of Fire
There is a three-yardage, four-stage Course of Fire for the President’s Rifle Match Course of Fire. Firing is done on the SR target at 200 and 300 yards and the MR target at 600 yards. Scores in stages 1-3 determine the President’s 100 and the final rankings of competitors in 21st place and below. Scores in stages 1-4 determine the match winner and the final rankings in places 1-20. If there is a tie for first place (equal total and X-count), the tied shooters will continue to fire one-shot-at-a-time until the tie is broken. No sighters are permitted in National Trophy Rifle Matches.

President's 100

Origins of the President’s Match
Dunfey USAMU President's MatchThe National Rifle Association’s President’s Match was instituted in 1878, as the American Military Rifle Championship Match. In 1884, the name was changed to the President’s Match for the Military Rifle Championship of the United States. It was fired at Creedmoor, New York until 1891. In 1895, it was reintroduced at Sea Girt, New Jersey. Today, the match is held at Camp Perry, Ohio.

The President’s Match was patterned after the Queen’s Match for British Volunteers. That British competition was started in 1860 by Queen Victoria and the NRA of Great Britain to increase the ability of Britain’s marksmen following the Crimean War.

The tradition of making a letter from the President of the United States the first prize began in 1904 when President Theodore Roosevelt personally wrote a letter of congratulations to the winner, Private Howard Gensch of the New Jersey National Guard.

After a hiatus in the 1930s and 1940s, The President’s Match was reinstated in 1957 at the National Matches as “The President’s Hundred.” The 100 top-scoring competitors in the President’s Match were singled out for special recognition.

CLICK HERE for history of the President’s Match.

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July 23rd, 2019

The Road to Camp Perry — Dennis Drives to Ohio

 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago travel National Matches California Ohio Route 66
All Camp Perry photos courtesy Dennis Santiago.

Our friend (and fellow Californian) Dennis Santiago recently drove across the country, all the way to Ohio. His mission? To attend the CMP National Matches at Camp Perry. This has become an annual pilgrimage for Dennis, who writes: “My goal is to spend time with as many of my friends as possible — the friends I’ve known and hang out with throughout the year, the ones I only see once a year at Camp Perry, and the many I’ve only conversed with on social media and will meet in person for the first time. More than anything, Camp Perry is where I come home to my shooting family. My mission is to celebrate my love of this sport with them.”

Here are some photos of Santiago’s successful journey across the USA to Ohio. He’s done the road-work, now it’s time to buckle down and shoot 10s and Xs across the course.

 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago travel National Matches California Ohio Route 66

 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago travel National Matches California Ohio Route 66
“Get your kicks on Route 66 — in Manuelito, New Mexico.” — Dennis Santiago

 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago travel National Matches California Ohio Route 66
“The heartland is an ocean of corn. It is an amazing thing to see how much food we make.” — Dennis

 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago travel National Matches California Ohio Route 66
“Arrived and I’m hungry… at Camp Perry National Rifle Competition, Port Clinton, Ohio.” — Dennis

 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago travel National Matches California Ohio Route 66

Advice for First-Time Visitors to Camp Perry

Dennis first competed at Camp Perry in 2016, writing about the experience in his Dennis Talks Guns Blog. Here are some of Santiago’s tips for first-time Perry competitors:

 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago travel National Matches California Ohio Route 661. Walk the Base. Do not drive around. Get used to walking. Walk from your hut to everything. Walk to the administration buildings. Walk to the ranges. Walk to commercial row. Walk to the CMP North Store. Walk to the CMP or Army trailer to have the triggers of your rifles(s) weighed. Walk. This is your primary mode of transportation while on base.

2. Go Shopping. It’s called Commercial Row. It is the best shopping mall for competitive shooters ever. The sale prices here are Black Friday quality. You stock up on supplies. You can buy elusive powders in quantity with the same lot number. Same with bullets and primers. I stocked up. Everything you need to keep making your pet loads — except brass. This is a service rifle tournament. Pretty much everyone is using LC or WCC cases.

3. Learn about the Perils of Perry. It rains at Camp Perry. Sometimes that rain comes with lightning. When that happens range controls issues an evacuation order. Depending on where you are and how much time you have, you either grab your stuff and make for a sheltered structure or leave your stuff under whatever rain cover you have and leave it there until the storm cell passes.

Coming Soon — The President’s 100 Match
In past years, Dennis has competed in the historic National President’s 100 Match, which takes place on Monday, July 29th this year. This is a huge event — in recent years there were over 1100 ranked competitors from throughout the nation, making this one of the biggest High Power events of the year.

Presidents 100 Match

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July 11th, 2018

Camp Perry National Matches Events in July and August

Camp Perry summer 2018 CMP National Matches
The 2018 National Matches at Camp Perry Ohio kicked off with the NRA Pistol Championship, July 8-13.

The National Matches moved to Camp Perry, Ohio, in 1907 and continue to take place every summer on the shores of Lake Erie, though the NRA High Power Rifle Championships have moved to Camp Atterbury, Indiana. Drawing well over 6,000 annual participants, the National Matches have become a huge, national shooting sports festival. There’s nothing quite like it. Competitors range from beginners to many of the world’s best marksmen. Conducted throughout the month of July through the first week of August, the Camp Perry National months offer a spectacle of shooting with a wide variety of rimfire and centerfire disciplines, with both modern and vintage arms. If you’ve never been to Camp Perry, it is a “bucket list” experience for any serious shooter.

Camp Perry 2018 National Matches

Camp Perry summer 2018 CMP National MatchesThe National Matches at Camp Perry
The National Matches include Small Arms Firing Schools and a series of CMP National Trophy Rifle and Pistol Matches and CMP Games Events as well as NRA Championships that are held in connection with the National Matches. The National Matches at Camp Perry begin with the NRA National Pistol Championships. For 2018, the CMP has added CMP Smallbore and Long Range Matches to the month-long schedule. The CMP fulfills its responsibility to conduct the National Matches through a working partnership with the Ohio National Guard.

The First Shot Ceremony officially opens the National Matches. This year Maj. Gen. Clark W. LeMasters Jr. addressed assembled competitors, match officials, VIPs, volunteers, and spectators. After Gen. LeMaster’s concluded his speech, he had the honor of firing the ceremonial “first shot” of the National Matches, officially signaling the opening of the National Matches. (Read First Shot Ceremony News Report.)

Camp Perry summer 2018 CMP National Matches


Camp Perry 2018 NM Calendar | CMP National Matches Program

Camp Perry summer 2018 CMP National Matches
The John C. Garand match is a Camp Perry classic. Note the signature Garand clip in the air.

Camp Perry summer 2018 CMP National Matches
The National Trophy Junior Team Match attracts squads of young shooters from around the country.

Camp Perry summer 2018 CMP National Matches
The Springfield M1A Match is popular every year. Here an amputee shooter competes in 2017.

Vintage Sniper Team Match

The 2018 Vintage Sniper Rifle Match will be held August 3, 2018 on the Viale Range. This two-man team competition using scoped rifles of WWI and WWII Vintage has become of of the most popular rifle matches held at Perry. Over 250 teams have competed in recent years. Many competitors use the M1903 Springfield, but you’ll also see scoped M1 Garands, K31s, Mausers, and even a Lee-Enfield or two. (Semi-Auto shooters are scored separately).

Camp

Serious smallbore rifle competition returns to Camp Perry this year. Smallbore competitions have been slotted into the Camp Perry National Match schedule July 16-22, 2018, though the NRA National Smallbore Championships will still be held at Camp Wa-Ke-De in Indiana. The CMP will host a new series of smallbore events in July at Camp Perry, the Mecca of competitive shooting in the USA. This way elite smallbore competitors, with their premium match rifles, can enjoy the famed Camp Perry ranges. Of course, the CMP also will continue to offer the hugely popular Rimfire Sporter Match, which attracts hundreds of competitors each year.

Camp Perry Petrarca range electronic targets

The smallbore matches will be fired on Rodriguez Range at Camp Perry under a covered firing line. Shooters Technology will provide a scoring App that allows instant scoring for quick results. Finals will be conducted on the CMP’s Electronic Targets installed on the Camp Perry Petrarca Range.

Photos courtesy CMP Zenfolio 2017 Photo Archive.
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July 18th, 2017

Camp Perry Report — The National President’s 100 Rifle Match

President's 100 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago
All Camp Perry photos courtesy Dennis Santiago.

Our friend Dennis Santiago is at Camp Perry this summer. Yesterday (7/17/17) he competed in the historic National President’s 100 Match. This is a huge event — this year, there were 1109 ranked competitors from throughout the nation, making this one of the biggest High Power events of the year.

The President’s 100 Rifle Match is richly steeped in history. This unique match was first held in 1878. Here’s the view from the line at 600 yards:
President's 100 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago

The 2017 President’s 100 Rifle Match was a tightly-fought affair, with the top five shooters separated by just three points. Justin Utley from Texas shot superbly to take the top position and President’s Rifle Trophy. The top 100 competitors overall in the President’s Rifle Match are designated as the President’s 100. They receive President’s 100 medallions and certificates. GET full match results. (Click Link then “Results” tab).

President's 100 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago

Top Five Shooters at 2017 National President’s 100 Match
1. Justin Utley (TX) 396-17X (Trophy Winner)
2. SFC Brandon Green (GA, USAMU) 394-20X
3. Robert Taylor II (CA) 394-11X
4. MAJ Samuel Freeman (NC, USAR), 393-23X
5. SGT Ben Cleland, (OH) 393-19X

President’s 100 Shoot Off! — The Top 20 shooters face off while everyone watches, wishing the best for every one of them. This is what attending a family gathering is for us.
President's 100 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago

Dennis Says Camp Perry is about Friendships as Well as Marksmanship
This is Dennis Santiago’s second year at Camp Perry. He will be competing in a number of events: “This will be my second year attending the National Matches at Camp Perry. It will be my first time navigating CMP week using a scoped service rifle. I hope to do well at the Oliver Hazard Perry, President’s 100, and National Trophy Individual (NTI). I will be shooting with the California Team again and one of my goals is to help our contingent do well in the team matches, the Infantry Trophy match aka ‘Rattle Battle’ in particular. I am also looking forward to shooting my M-1 Garand at Camp Perry[.]

But most of all, my goal is to spend time with as many of my friends as possible — the friends I’ve known and hang out with throughout the year, the ones I only see once a year at Camp Perry, and the many I’ve only conversed with on social media and will meet in person for the first time. More than anything, Camp Perry is where I come home to my shooting family. My mission is to celebrate my love of this sport with them.”

Origins of the President’s Match
The National Rifle Association’s President’s Match was instituted in 1878, as the American Military Rifle Championship Match. In 1884, the name was changed to the President’s Match for the Military Rifle Championship of the United States. It was fired at Creedmoor, New York until 1891. In 1895, it was reintroduced at Sea Girt, New Jersey. Today, the match is held at Camp Perry, Ohio.

Dunfey USAMU President's MatchThe President’s Match was patterned after an event for British Volunteers called the Queen’s Match. That British competition was started in 1860 by Queen Victoria and the NRA of Great Britain to increase the ability of Britain’s marksmen following the Crimean War.

The tradition of making a letter from the President of the United States the first prize began in 1904 when President Theodore Roosevelt personally wrote a letter of congratulations to the winner, Private Howard Gensch of the New Jersey National Guard.

After a hiatus in the 1930s and 1940s, The President’s Match was reinstated in 1957 at the National Matches as “The President’s Hundred.” The 100 top-scoring competitors in the President’s Match were singled out for special recognition.

CLICK HERE for history of the President’s Match.

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July 17th, 2017

The Camp Perry Experience … with Dennis Santiago

Dennis Santiago Camp Perry 2017 CMP National Matches
Dennis Santiago Camp Perry 2017 CMP National Matches

Our friend Dennis Santiago ventured to Camp Perry this year to compete in the CMP rifle matches. He will be shooting individually, as well as with a rifle team from California. Here is an insider’s view of the “places and spaces” at this historic venue. You can see that the accommodations can’t be called luxurious. Thanks for the images Dennis — good luck at the President’s 100 Match today!

Rodriguez Range. This is Camp Perry.
Dennis Santiago Camp Perry 2017 CMP National Matches

Dennis at Camp Perry with Jim Laughland, the man, the legend.
Dennis Santiago Camp Perry 2017 CMP National Matches

Life in the Pits…
Dennis Santiago Camp Perry 2017 CMP National Matches

“Hut Life” — a view of Hut Row at Dawn’s Early Light.
Dennis Santiago Camp Perry 2017 CMP National Matches

“You don’t have to live like a refugee.” Well … unless you are bivouacked in a
prisoner of war encampment. It’s good to have friends with cameras.

Dennis Santiago Camp Perry 2017 CMP National Matches

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September 15th, 2016

Dennis Does Perry — Two Weeks at the National Matches

Dennis Santiago First Time Camp Perry

This summer, our friend Dennis Santiago made his first-ever pilgrimage to Camp Perry, Ohio to compete in the National Matches. He recounts his experience in a fascinating, informative, and often humorous story on his Dennis Talks Guns Blog. When you have a few moments to spare, you should definitely read Santiago’s account of his First Time at Camp Perry. This is much, much more than a match report. Dennis gives insights into the human side of the experience — and the little things that make Camp Perry so special. CLICK HERE to Read Full Camp Perry Story.

Dennis competed in a number of events during his two-week stay. Shooting “classic” service rifle and his new scoped, “modern AR” service rifle Dennis competed solo (in Presidents 100 and NTI matches among others) and also as a member of the California Adult Team in the 4-man NTT match.

Santiago’s First Time at Camp Perry report is a “must-read” for anyone contemplating a Camp Perry visit. Here are some highlights — but honestly folks, do read the entire story — it’s well worth it.

First Time at Camp Perry, by Dennis Santiago

Perry Ain’t Like Home

Iron Sights and “Perry-Vision”
This range is kicking me hard. I tell people about how hard I was pushing my eye into my aperture. They smile that “welcome to Camp Perry” smile again. They ask what sights I’m shooting on my A2 and I tell them I’ve got an 0.050″ front and 0.038″ rear to maximize depth of field. They smile more broadly and tell me my problem is that I’m from the Western provinces where the sun is bright and the ground is devoid of flora. Lots of light. It’s green here and we have clouds I’m told. Not nearly the same ambient lighting. You have the wrong sights my son. Where the green grass grows you want a big fat 0.072″ front the size of an aircraft carrier deck and a huge 0.046″ hole in the morning and maybe close it down to an 0.042″ rear aperture later if the sun comes out. But that desert glare sight system of yours will lose you about 5-8 points in these parts. Well there you go. Learn something every day.

Baptism at Camp Perry

One’s first visit to Camp Perry is a series of baptismal rites. I shall now enumerate them…

Walk the Base. Do not drive around. Get used to walking. Walk from your hut to everything. Walk to the administration buildings. Walk to the ranges. Walk to commercial row. Walk to the CMP North Store. Walk to the CMP or Army trailer to have the triggers of your rifles(s) weighed. Walk. This is your primary mode of transportation while on base for the next couple of weeks.

Go Shopping. It’s called Commercial Row. It is the best shopping mall for competitive shooters ever. The sale prices here are Black Friday quality. You stock up on supplies. You can buy elusive powders in quantity with the same lot number. Same with bullets and primers. Everything you need to keep making your pet loads. Oddly, not cases. This is a service rifle tournament. Pretty much everyone is using LC or WCC cases. I stocked up. Then I began politely watching my expected cubic feet and gross weight capacity for the drive home as other people asked if I could take stuff back for them instead of shipping their loot.

Learn about the Perils of Perry. One, evacuate the range. It rains at Camp Perry. Sometimes that rain comes with lightning. When that happens range controls issues an evacuation order. Depending on where you are and how much time you have, you either grab your stuff and make for a sheltered structure or leave your stuff under whatever rain cover you have and leave it there until the storm cell passes. This happened on squadded practice day. There was no squadded practice. There was learning to make a better rain cover for the next two weeks because it’d probably happened again. I was particularly proud of my final design which involved a very large tarp and many bungee cords. Modern art to be sure. I received many compliments.

Peril Two — Cease fire, boat in the impact area. One has not truly been to Camp Perry until your shooting string is put on hold while range control sends someone out to tell an errant yacht or jet ski that it’s not a good idea to go into that area with all the buoys with the signs on them that say, Danger. Live Fire. Keep Out.

Shooting Gear

I brought two rifles with me to Camp Perry. The first was my iron sights-configured AR-15. Being my very first trip to the Nationals, I wanted to check off a bucket list item to shoot irons at a National Match. The gun has a Geiselle trigger and an upper I assembled from White Oak Armament parts. The barrel is a Krieger that had 3,800 rounds arriving at Perry. The sights are pinned 1/4×1/4s. I run Sierra 77gr SMKs short line and 80gr SMKs seated .015″ off the lands Long Line with it.

Dennis Santiago First Time Camp Perry

The other rifle I brought was for NRA week. It’s a 2016 Rule Service Rifle, Optic. It has a collapsible UBR stock and a Geiselle Mk VII quad rail. The barrel is an older DPMS .223 that was cryo-treated back in the day. Round count on arrival at Nationals was around 1,800. Same ammunition combination [as the iron sights rifle]. The chamber on this barrel has a shorter throat so I brought a Lee Hand Press with an RCBS competition seater die to set the 80gr SMKs back to proper jump for NRA week. The sighting system for this gun was one of the very new Nightforce 4.5X Competition SR’s with the CMP R223 reticle. Parallax is set to 200 yards. It’s mounted using Nightforce’s superbly engineered AR-15 service rifle Unimount.

Members of the State of California Teams at Camp Perry. Dennis is front row left.
Dennis Santiago First Time Camp Perry

Coaching — When It All Comes Together, at Last

I coached one of the California teams in the NTIT Rattle Battle match. This was the day I finally began to be comfortable at Camp Perry. Walking up and down the field, first as a verifier and then as a coach, I felt back in the game. At team matches you get to confer with your teammates comparing wind calls and observing the effects of their calls as the shooting members of their squads send rounds downrange. You watch the traces of bullets arcing in the air going left or right of the bull’s center depending whether or not the call was right. This process was cathartic. I began to remember that I really can read a range once I get the hang of it.

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July 26th, 2016

Optics-Equipped Service Rifles Dominate President’s 100 Match

President's 100 match

President's 100 match March Optics 1-4.5x24mm Service Rifle

When the NRA and CMP issued new rules allowing the use of 4.5X optics for Service Rifles, some asked: “will scopes really make a difference?”. The answer is a resounding “Yes”, based on match results just in from Camp Perry. In the prestigious National President’s 100 Match fired July 25th, the first-, second-, and third-place finishers all had scopes. Keith Stephens won the match, SFC Evan Hess took second, and Hugh Reich finished third — an all-optics Podium. Both winner Keith Stephens and third-place Hugh Reich were running March 1-4.5x24mm scopes on their rifles. And there were many other optics users among the Top 20 competitors in the President’s 100 Finals. (The President’s 100 Match concludes with a single 10-round shoot-off at 600 yards, fired by the best 20 shooters from the prelims.)

2016 President's hundred 100 match winner Keith Stephens March scope

The March 1-4.5x24mm scope was designed expressly for Service Rifle competition and tactical applications (it will focus down to 10 yards). This first-focal-plane optic features 1/4″ MOA clicks and optimal eye relief for AR-type rifles. March’s optics experts tell us: “This scope was specifically designed for the Service Rifle match shooter. Oversized tactical turrets allow for easy windage and elevation adjustments. High-quality ED (low distortion) lenses provide superior image resolution”. Current retail price for this scope is $2338.00 from Bullets.com.

That is a significant investment to be sure. But if you asked President’s 100 Match Winner Keith Stephens, he’d probably tell you his March 1-4.5x24mm scope was worth every penny…

March Service Rifle Optic scope 1-4.5x

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July 25th, 2016

National President’s 100 Rifle Match at Camp Perry

2016 President's hundred 100 match winner Keith Stephens March scope
Keith Stephens won the prestigious 2016 President’s 100 Match at Camp Perry, as well as the Alice Bull Trophy for the highest-scoring civilian.

Our friend Dennis Santiago is at Camp Perry, where today (25 July) he is shooting the National President’s 100 Rifle Match — a competition steeped in history. First fired in 1878, this match was incorporated into the National Match program in 1903. The President’s Match was modeled after the famous British Queen’s Prize Match. Originally, the Match winner received a letter of congratulations from the President of the United States.

National President's 100 Match Camp Perry 2016 Dennis Santiago

In the President’s Rifle Match, all competitors fire 10 shots standing, 10 shots rapid prone, and 10 shots prone slow fire to determine who makes the President’s 100 list. The top 20 shooters then advance to a final where they fire a 10-shot stage at 600 yards. This 20-marksman Finals Shoot-off now concludes the President’s Rifle Match.

CLICK HERE for Results of President’s Match and Other National Trophy Matches.

Origins of the President’s Match
The President’s Match originated in 1878 as the American Military Rifle Championship Match. In 1884, the name was changed to the President’s Match for the Military Rifle Championship of the United States. It was fired at Creedmoor, New York until 1891. In 1895, it was reintroduced at Sea Girt, New Jersey. Today, the match is held at Camp Perry, Ohio.

Dunfey USAMU President's MatchThe President’s Match was patterned after an event for British Volunteers called the Queen’s Match. That British competition was started in 1860 by Queen Victoria and the NRA of Great Britain to increase the ability of Britain’s marksmen following the Crimean War.

The tradition of making a letter from the President of the United States the first prize began in 1904 when President Theodore Roosevelt personally wrote a letter of congratulations to the winner, Private Howard Gensch of the New Jersey National Guard.

After a hiatus in the 1930s and 1940s, The President’s Match was reinstated in 1957 at the National Matches as “The President’s Hundred”. The 100 top-scoring competitors in the President’s Match are singled out for special recognition.

CLICK HERE for history of the President’s Match.

Videos from Camp Perry 2016

Relay Four of the President’s 100 Rifle Match. Shooting offhand, 150 guns at a time.
Rain, thunder, lightning, storm cells. “Load and be ready!” — Not.
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July 30th, 2013

Troy Lawton Wins 2013 President’s Rifle Match

Troy Lawton of Columbus, Georgia won the prestigious President’s Rifle Match this week at Camp Perry. This is a 40-shot (total) High Power Match that includes a pressure-packed 10-shot “Shoot-off”-format final stage. Lawton held onto the lead in the President’s Rifle Final stage shooting an aggregate score of 395-18X. Jared Perry, the 2012 President’s Rifle Match winner, finished 2nd with a 392-15X and Justin Utley, firing a 100-2X final stage, finished 3rd with a 392-11X. The cut-off score for the President’s Rifle 100 is 284-8X.

Troy Lawton President's Rifle Match Camp Perry

Troy Lawton President's Rifle Match Camp Perry

About the President’s Rifle Match
The President’s Rifle Match is a National Trophy Rifle Match. It was first fired in 1878 and was incorporated into the National Match program after the Nationals were established in 1903. The President’s Match became uniquely prestigious because it was modeled after the famous British Queen’s Prize Match and because the winner formerly received a letter of congratulations from the President of the United States.

In the President’s Rifle Match, all competitors fire 10 shots standing, 10 shots rapid prone and 10 shots prone slow fire to determine who makes the President’s 100. The top 20 shooters advance to a final where they fire a 10-shot stage at 600 yards directly in front of spectators. The exciting 20-marksman Finals Shoot-off now concludes the President’s Rifle Match. This enables shooters who are in contention for first place to finish the match together on the same range at the same time in front of their fellow competitors.

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August 11th, 2011

Powers Wins Prestigious President’s Trophy Match

By Steve Cooper, CMP Writer
Civilian shooter Konrad Powers, 41, of Carol Stream, IL won the storm-shortened 2011 President’s Rifle Trophy Match at Camp Perry Monday, 1 August, with an aggregate score of 295-8X out of 300 points possible, topping SSG Ty Cooper, 26, U.S. Army and SGT Christopher Atkins, 24, U.S. Army Reserve, who placed second and third, respectively. Powers fired a 98-3X in off-hand shooting at 200 yards, 99-3X in rapid-fire prone at 300 yards and 98-2X in prone slow-fire at 600 yards with his service rifle.

In junior shooting, Tyler Rico, 17, of Tucson, Arizona placed first with an aggregate score of 288-8X in an X-count tiebreaker over James London, 17, of Statesville, North Carolina who finished with a 288-4X. Rico’s score also placed him 38th overall in the match. He fired scores of 95-2X, 99-5X, 94-1X in offhand, rapid prone and slow prone, respectively.

First fired in 1878, the President’s Rifle Match, a National Trophy Rifle Match, was incorporated into the National Match program after the Nationals were established in 1903. The President’s Rifle and Pistol Matches have become especially prestigious because the match winners traditionally receive letters of congratulations from the President of the United States of America. Shooters who place 100th or better in the match are given special recognition as members of the President’s Hundred, a distinction highly prized in both civilian and military circles.

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