Benton City, WA
110 degrees. At least it was a dry 110? To have this kind of heat in June in the NW is very unusual. Not as many people turned out for the match this year because of it, but the match still went on. We shot at the famous, or shall I say infamous Rattlesnake Shooting Facility known for extreme wind conditions. They have a rule that if temps go above 100 they will shut down the match. We started an hour earlier in the morning and still had to cut the third stage each day out of the match. We also did not get to shoot the Leg match. (Washington state has started a State long range Distinguished program. This would have been our first opportunity to accumulate Leg points.) I guess we will try again next year. We also were very lucky with the wind conditions. We mostly had head on fishtail winds. Still very difficult but not the typical 10 – 15 minutes of full value we usually have. This also allowed us to keep the temporary canopies on the firing line to shade us a little bit. John Hauptmann our match director was responsible for the tents and we were thankful. The worst part really was pulling targets. There is no overhead cover so you are in direct sun in a cement baking box. But we survived. We had a fairly even mix of F-TR, F-Open and Palma sling shooters.
It was nice to see at least one other female competitor. Heather McGuire from Oregon who recently got her Master rating for F-Class made the trip up. And the two of us each took 2nd overall in our categories. Girl power. Gary Rasmussen, who is also a US Palma team coach took the championship in the sling category for the second year in a row. Great shooting by Gary again. He and I were neck and neck by two points both days. Wayne Budbill took 3rd. F-Open winner was Tod Hendricks and the F-TR winner was Jay Christopherson. I had not been to a local Washington match for a while so it was nice to have all of the best here to shoot with. Not to mention everyone is great to hang out with after hours. We found some decent restaurants in Richland. This crowd is either brewery or winery fans. The Tri-Cities area has a lot of both to offer.
This was the first match I have used the new Eagle Eye Precision Ammunition 308 brass. I used the exact same load as I do with Lapua brass and I shot extremely well. Even with the heat I had no pressure signs. They do not sell the brass but I have fired their 308 175 grain ammunition and it is the best out of the box I have shot. You can re-load the brass for any use after that. It is awesome stuff.
On the drive over to the match last Friday I made a point to stop and visit Tactical Supply in Yakima, WA. A very successful business of an indoor shooting range as well as retail store and firearm manufacturing. Tactical Supply has jumped heavily in to the precision rifle game and now offers matches about once a quarter in Yakima. It is nice to go in a store and see so many fabulous rifles on the wall. They work closely with Ted of American Rifle Company who builds the Mausingfield actions. I met Austin and Judah and got a tour of the range and store. We took some photos and they sent me on my way with a great Tactical Supply tee and stickers. And an iced coffee from their in house coffee bar for the next hour of the hot drive ahead. If you are in the area make sure you stop in. It is an amazing shop and the indoor range is awesome and has the best air system ever. No lead contamination happening there! You can find them on-line as well.
My only complaint for the weekend was the drive home on Sunday. I-90 becomes a parking lot for 30 miles from the weekend sun worshipers coming back to the west side of the state. My 2.5 hour trip took 4 hours. So I found a great station on Sirius called Road Trip tunes and did as they said and cranked up the volume. Just before I hit the traffic a state trooper pulled me over for not having a front license plate on my car. I still have never put them on because it is a beautiful car and I don’t want to ruin the look. It is a law to have them in our state on the front of the vehicle also. She asked of course if i had firearms in the car (my plates are custom with RIFLGAL) which I told were in the trunk. She came back and handed me my license and let me go. Thank you Lady Trooper! I Heart you!