Benton City, WA
Held at the Tri-Cities Shooting Association, otherwise known as Rattlesnake, the RCBC was a two day match put on by John Hauptman. Thank you to John and all of his volunteers and MGM Targets and In Motion Targets for all of your efforts and props. I arrived Friday afternoon to take advantage of a sight in option up on top of the range at the 1000 yard line. As I was driving over from Seattle the rain seemed to get heavier as I approached Rattlesnake Mountain. I saw the darkest cloud just on top of our spot. Like clock work at 3:00 on the dot as I pulled up to the line the biggest rain and wind squall descended upon us. Everyone that was on the line ran for their cars. I got out for about 5 seconds to video the craziness. We let it run its course for about 20 minutes and it managed to calm down enough to put some rounds down range. I still have not been able to load my own ammo for my 6.5 Creedmoor yet and I was using the factory load I still had.
I already knew from the last match that anything over 700 yards would be iffy. I was positioned next to Ken Hagan who built my rifle and he was shooting his which was built at the same time. He had his hand loads with him. I had him spot my shots, using my factory rounds, at the 1000 yard piece of steel and we could not see any impacts. He handed me one of his rounds and I put on same dope he was using and ping!, a first round hit on the steel. Definitely an ammo issue. Well I just needed to get through this match as best as I could. A friend who owns LakOrr is making a batch of 20 rounds for me about 1/2 grain difference so I can do a node test. I have a ton of lovely Nosler 6.5 CM brass! Then I will have him make the batch of the chosen load. Can’t wait! It will be awhile before I accumulate all the loading equipment again so for now this works really well and I am very thankful. LakOrr is awesome by the way. Saturday morning we had an early registration of 7am and the skies were blue yet cold. And shhhhh, hardly any wind.
Day one the match was held at the lower pistol bays that are normally used for uspsa, 3gun or cowboy action. But the hills roll up beyond the bays making a perfect natural berm for long distance targets to be set up. This was a team match and I partnered with Kate Redell. Other than spotting for each other and the stage that required partner body support, it really was shot as an individual type of match. To make the stages more challenging they set up and built props to shoot from. We had perhaps one too many stages scheduled. Several squads, including mine were backed up and shot in to the dark that evening. I was one of those that had to and I could not see any targets. John mixed in some pistol in to three of the stages. They did not count for score but you had to get through them in order to continue to the rifle portion. Off at the far left end of the range is where the longest targets were staged. Scattered across the hill side to about 900 yards there were 5 targets. You had to start with the farthest target than go back to the closest and work your way back out to the farthest again. 2 rounds per target in 3 minutes. (All stages were 3 minutes) Every stage required you to hold/wear/carry all of the gear you came with. When the timer starts you then can put everything down and set up as you need to. The only extremely awkward stage on Saturday was the scaffolding stage. It ended up being thrown of out of the match because one of the targets broke. I was bummed because because I actually hit two out of the four. There were four angle ramps that were very slippery. Nothing was going to keep you from sliding down. We had to shoot at a target with hostage once from each angle of ramps. Some people put a hook on the end of their slings and attached it to the top of the ramp and the other end to their belts to hold them up. In my case on a reverse incline I stuck my toes in a gap at the top of the ramp and lied on my stomach upside down and shot from there. It worked! I hit the target. A lot of effort for only 4 points in the match. Originally there were a total of 8 points but since one target broke they threw the stage out.
Our last stage of the day was when it became dark. I was the second to the last shooter and by the time I ran up to the rifle portion I could not see a thing. The whole stage was a comical disaster for me. You had to start with pistol loaded at the ready and backpack and rifle on or slung. The not so comical part of this stage for me was that I had a squib in my pistol at the first couple of rounds. As is awesome in the support of the shooting community, the squad yelled for a back up gun and they brought me Travis Gibson’s open gun. Really? I am spoiled now. Red dot on target. Done. And fast! And thank you again Travis for getting the bullet out of the barrel of my pistol later. I then ran up and finished the next set of pistol steel, cleared it and set it down. I turned to run to the rifle section and tripped over the edge of the berm. Flying face first and muzzle first in to the dirt. I think the muzzle went about a foot in to the dirt. When I got to the rifle spot I hung the rifle upside down and started tapping the muzzle and I swear a pound of dirt fell out. Just hoping I had enough of it out. We had to set up some tri-pod or bi-pod support to see these steel targets out at 400 yards. Not very far but by the time I set up they disappeared in the darkness and I timed out. What a cluster of errors! But I was cracking up the entire time. What are you going to do? Just keep hammering at it. Day two was a bit more tame for position shooting.
Sunday we met at the top of the range at the 900 and 100 yard lines. Not sure why but the wind gods were nice to us and provided a very calm day. The sun stayed behind the clouds though which made the day pretty chilly. This day is where having a shooting partner was mostly necessary. We had to shoot from a bench “off of” our partner. There were 6 targets only visible from a higher platform so you did need the extra height of a pack and/or…human. The 6th target was not visible at all and you had to know which bush to aim at and lob your round in to the target. Impressive for those that did it. So I have shared here the butt shot of Kate my partner. And to be fair I posted my butt shot also. Be nice in your comments! Caveat of shooting off of a human? Timing the breathing! The only stage that was more difficult than it looked was the rock wall stage. Again the targets were not visible by just placing your rifle on the wall. You needed quite a bit of elevation but you had to touch the wall somehow. If using the wall you needed a pack and a long bi-pod legs on top of that. But that was wobbly on its own.
I pulled out my stick bi-pod and extended it so it fit under the butt stock as rear support. This seemed to be quicker than setting up a tri-pod. I saw others set up the Hog saddles on tri-pods an sit on the wall. One half dozen the other! The rest of the stages were mostly prone but involved various distances and smaller targets. Even at 1000 yards I had only 1/2 MIL of wind hold. Nice day for Rattlesnake.
Again I had an awesome squad to shoot with. I am still meeting new people in this game and love it. Kate my partner shot really well and carried us through to 20th place out of 41 teams. Smack in the middle! Her husband Jesse and his partner Travis Gibson took 2nd team overall. Nice shooting guys. First place team went to Jon Pynch and Brian Pence. First place individual was Brian Pence, 2nd Jake Vibbert and 3rd to Eric Blais. A huge thank you to the sponsors who donated some great prizes and make these matches come together (In no specific order) – H&H Precision, Tactical Supply, B&T Industries, R Bros Rifles, Copper Creek Cartridge Co., Defiance, Sage Flats Shooter LLC, Thunder Beast Arms Corp., Nightforce, Magpul, Goose Ridge Estate Winery, MGM Targets, In Motion Targets, Black Rifle Coffee Company, Sawtooth Rifles, Dynamic Metals, RTAC Precision, Sierra, Ridgeline Graphics, HSSS, Kahles, Riverman Gunworks, OAF.
Of course an even bigger thank you to my personal sponsors and shooting team – Team H&H Precision, Rainier Arms, ESS Eye Pro, Accu-Grip, Leupold Optics, Nosler, Killer Innovations, MEGA Arms, Lawson & Palmer. Hopefully I did not forget anyone. A great match for a first annual. John made some mention that next year’s match will be “more active”? He said something about wear your tennis shoes. Here we go!