I always start to get nervous about this time of year. I am one month away from US Long Range Nationals held at Camp Perry. My head spins with normal questions like, Will I do well? Is my rifle going to hold up? Did I load my ammo perfectly? Will I hold my own on the team events? But then I get out there on the firing line, get in to my shooting jacket and hook my sling to the rifle. At that moment everything disappears. I am not saying my nervousness is completely gone but I get in to my zone and do my very best with what I’ve got. And for my team mates, I do my best to hold a perfect sight picture every shot. But this year is quite a bit different than any past experiences at Nationals. This is my first time trying out for one of the coveted spots on The US Palma Team chosen for the 2015 World Championships. Now I can add this to my list of nerves.
I have been a participating member of the US national Team for a little over a year now. The last World Palma Championship was held in Australia in 2011. I had just been invited to be part of the Development team two months prior to them leaving for the match. I was asked to go as an alternate and to at least compete individually. That of course was too late of notice for me. So now I can officially try out for the Palma team. NRA, CMP and Camp Perry have drastically altered the schedule of all national matches to accommodate our tryouts this year and the World’s next year. If I did not mention it, the World’s will be held in the US this time at Perry. So for two years in a row all of the National matches had to move up one week. I am sure I can hear the pistol and high power people rolling their eyes now. Sorry everyone. We have added an international Full Bore event after long range this year acting as a practice for World’s next year. This full bore week is also our tryouts for the Palma team spots. We will have many of the international teams joining us this year as well. This is normal to have visiting teams practice the year prior at the World’s home range.
If you are not familiar with Full Bore it is shooting at a variety of distances rather than only at 1000 yards which is long range. We must use our bolt action rifles in 308. The bullet weight can be no more than 155.5 gr. And of course this is all iron sights. The distances are 300, 600, 800, 900 and 1000 yards or meters. We also shoot 2 or 3 to a mound instead of individually. The three shooters take turns shooting and scoring for each other on the same target within a specified amount of limit. The shooting distances are mixed up and the match runs about 5 days. We shoot individual as well as team matches. International targets are used which I feel are more difficult. For instance the 300 yard bulls-eye X ring (V-bull)is about half of what the US version is. I believe it is smaller than 1 MOA. This is the ultimate test for holding hard.
A new and exciting development for long range was just decided this week. Well, for me anyway! Four women are teaming up for the Romanian, Herrick and Palma team events. I am honored to be part of it. The women I am shooting with are Nancy Tompkins, her daughter Michelle Gallagher and Trudie Fay. That is some talent right there. You have no idea how excited I am! I pray for our success! Girl Power!
Oh yes, please send your prayers my way for the Palma team tryouts! Thanks!