Sunday was crazy early. We had to be at the clubhouse for a mandatory breakfast at 6:30am. Which meant we had to leave Dayton at 5:30. “Me not an early bird.” Thank you Charles for driving us there safely. But a great hearty breakfast was waiting for us made by staff and students of the Jubilee Youth ranch. An early start was needed so that the match could end at a decent hour to have awards and dinner and get everyone on the road home. I was worried about the weather because I heard the rain pounding down in Dayton all night Saturday. But we awoke to blue clear skies yet very windy and cold. Sunday was to be a “shotgun” start. Every squad needed to get to there first stage. We drove half way up the hill again and the got out and hiked. Ken Hagan and I started up the hill but took a wrong turn and took the path that brought us around the back side of the mountain. I think we hiked about 2 miles by the time we found our group at the farthest stage. They were waiting for us. Oops. I wish I had taken a photo. This spot looked like a scene from the Hobbit movie where Frodo and gang are on a journey hiking in the middle of nowhere and not a soul around. Our little squad looked engulfed in the
scenery. Those of you from Eastern WA or who have been there know the dry desert hills can go on forever. Day two brought us 8 stages.
Stage 1 – After we had just hiked this was a more active stage where you had to run with gear to the first spot to shoot. Only a few yards though. Our first 4 stages of the match were all on that north west side of the hill where the winds were screaming hard almost straight across.
Stage 2 – The cave again but had to shoot week side. Does not seem like a big deal but to train your left eye to find the scope and sight picture is not a quick response.
Stage 3 – Back at the metal stair case but we shot prone below it on the ground. This one was called Fast & Furious. A rack of tiny and I mean tiny hanging targets were to be engaged as many as you could in 1 minute. One guy won that event with 11 hits. In my mind he is a Superstar.
Stage 4 – A wall of tires in a pyramid. Had to shoot two rounds through each hole on different targets. All of stages have a time limit by the way. Most were about 2 minutes long. The fastest two minutes ever.
Stage 5 – This was fast paced. You had one minute prep time to set your rifle and get your sight picture then grab your backpack and go about 25 yards back to a post. Then the timer goes and you have to run back to rifle and start engaging targets. If you did not get back to the start post before your prep time was over it started anyway. So in other words there was not much prep time! There were three sets of targets at three unknown distances.
Stage 6 – The moving platform. I have done the moving platform in 3 Gun events. But that was with a shotgun and really was not super difficult. You have room for error. Not with an unknown distance of a tiny steel target. But like shooting offhand in high power you just have to time your wobble zone and trigger pull. Although in high power I have a huge target frame. You had to start in seated because of the angle of the first target and then get in to prone for the others. This all causes movement. Working the action causes movement. Breathing causes movement.
Stage 7 and Stage 8 – Both were stages of no
support position shooting. And the last stage of the day and match for me was the moving target. It was a steel target on a pulley going back and forth about 300 plus yards away. Not sure what got in to me but I nailed it on this one. A nice note to end the match on.
Having one match under my belt allowed me to see how this game works. Allowed me to see all of the really cool gear and accessories out there. The unique rifles and loads. Most people competing are in the world of making guns or accessories for this sport understandably. Greg Hamilton a member of our squad had a carbon fiber barrel. He was an awesome shooter and
works for Proof Research the maker of this carbon barrel. It was super cool. Made the rifle much lighter. The winner of the match was Travis Redell of R Bros Rifles. I asked him at the awards ceremony what he was shooting. He sort of laughed and said it is a design they had. “Well what is the caliber?” I asked. “You can call it 6.5WTF.” He said. I must have had my blonde hair moment because it did not sink in for a second. Oh duh… WTF. Ha Ha. He said it is a wildcat load a hybrid of 6.5 x47Lapua. I am always in awe of these people and companies that develop new products. I love that people have a passion for what they do. A bit of nerd in all of us.
One guy had a Bullpup bolt action rifle. Cool but wacky. I loved all of the different backpacks. APO has developed one with Mystery Ranch out of Montana. I want. Most others had the Eberlestock packs. Just place your rifle in its pocket and off you go. Walking with a rifle slung over your shoulder for miles gets a bit tiresome. These packs take that away. Now if they would just make it in a leopard print I would be
satisfied. We met Scott of Sunrise Tactical Gear who gave Charles and I rear bags. Super nice! One guy on our squad had a cool card called a Mil Dot Master. (Shown in photo) A cheat sheet to figure out unknown target distances as well as the changes if there are degrees on inclines etc. I am getting one of these. I think one of the biggest things I learned was how much abuse gear and rifles take.
Rifles, scopes, backpacks you name it. They must be strong. You stuff the rifle in a pack or sling it over your shoulder. You set them down in the dirt all day between stages. Poking rifles in and out of port holes made of wood, metal or rubber. Working the action non stop and changing positions quickly and slamming the gun down on whatever surface. I think this a truer test of the scopes. One person we spoke with that tests many products said the only scopes he has still not sent back to the vendor for fixes are Night Force and Premier. If you think about it these are all made of glass. How can they not break at some point? But that is the point. It needs to stand up to this sport. I would imagine that our service guys treat them pretty roughly as well if not more so. Your packs and clothes certainly taking a beating. In every stage I was sliding in to the dirt or using my pack as a support. In the dirt. Thank god it was not muddy. I am sure there will be matches like that. I was wearing one of my ski coats and it managed to come home in one piece and not stained. Dry dirt is good. I understand now why camouflage is the “color” of choice.
The awards ceremony was held back at the Jubilee cafeteria with a hot Mexican meal waiting for all of the tired and cold shooters. Congratulations to Travis Redell who took first place and his brother Jesse Redell took first in the 308 category. Thank you to the all of the volunteer RO’s and match organizers. To Jake the match director who also is a shooter and put this on for the first time. A special thank you to all of the companies who sponsored the event with cash and prizes. All of the entry fees and final sales of leftover prize table went to the Jubilee Academy. We had a great time meeting new people. Our squad was awesome. And of course a huge thank you to Ashbury Precision Ordinance. I am excited to get the rifle back for the next match which is the Findlay Cup and put it through more tests.