My apologies for not writing here on 30calgal for a couple of weeks. I have been updating daily on Facebook but I know many of you do not use it. As you know I have spent the last two weeks at Camp Perry for US Long Range and Full Bore Nationals. The days were so long I never had a chance to write any articles. We had a couple of lightening and rain storm delays that caused some long days. This year at Perry the format was quite different than years past. An International Full Bore week was added after long range week. This was meant to act as a practice and tryout for members of the US Rifle Team in preparation of the World Palma Championship held here next year in 2015. Several international teams were here as an orientation for next year. The official US Palma team will consist of 16 shooters and 2 coaches. I and about 30 other members of the team are competing for one of those spots. Our tryout options were to be here for full bore week or go up to Canada this next week for the Canadian Nationals. I was originally invited to shoot with the US Team up there. About a month ago “life” happened and I had to cancel Canada and shoot US full bore instead. Then at the last minute again, “life” stuff unchanged. But then it was too late to switch squads around and rearrange the trip. I did have a successful although interesting two weeks of competition.
Long Range Nationals consists of shooting all matches at 1000 yards and one day of Palma which is fired at 800, 900 and 1000 yards. Each string at 1000 is a separate match in itself and then there is a grand agg of all for the week. Each match has a shoot off of the top scorers in each relay to determine the winner. In the year’s past I have made it in to at least one shoot off but no so lucky this year. I did however have success in my team events. For long range week we were able to choose our own teams. Last year I was coached by Nancy Tompkins on a coed team to an overall win. I called Nancy again this year to set up a team and she got back to me with an all ladies squad. What a squad it was. Nancy, her daughters Michelle and Sheri and then Trudie Fay of New Mexico. I cherished getting to know all of these ladies better and I hope we can choose our squad for long range next year. Now Sheri Gallagher has been an AMU shooting super star for many years. She is now a super star Golden Night. She took some time off to come back to Perry to shoot for fun and hang out with her family. Our squad had the best time. Lots of laughing. And X’s. We won the Palma division and 2nd over all of the Roumanian Trophy. We won overall Palma team for the Agg for the week. Way to go girl power!
Full Bore week followed long range. One thing I would like to point out is that we never have international style of shooting at Perry. Only because this is a practice for the Worlds next year did this occur. The base has really stepped up and made some needed changes to the Vialle range. Several more rows of range flags have been added and the 800 and 900 yard berms have been widened. Add the tiny ICFRA targets and you have yourself a Full Bore match. The 300 and 600 yard international targets have the tiniest V and 5 rings (X and 10 rings) you have ever seen. At 300 yards the Vbull is only about 2 ½”? In other words, less than one MOA. The slightest mishap in movement and you are in the 4 (or 9) ring. This is where the test of holding hard comes in. Even so, the level of shooters here will produce 14 V’s out 15 for record. I had a clean with 10 V’s one day and was 50th in the pack. The 8, 9 and 1000 yards are nearly the same size as the American targets. During the week we had mostly individual matches and then two team matches. I decided to shoot my Hall action Palma rifle this year at Perry. After two weeks of shooting the same zero’s at 1000 yards I had a freak malfunction during the Full Bore team match.
I lay down to shoot next to Gary Rassmussen who was coaching for me. I sent the first round down range, we get two convertible sighter shots, and the target went down. It stayed down for a while and then came back up with a miss. Yikes. Granted there was about 12 minutes of wind but Jim O’Connell was coaching next to us with the same wind. I got up, rechecked all of my sights. I compared it to my data book with the coach. Took another shot and another miss. WTF? The scary part now is the next shot would be for record. We checked everything again, even had a third and fourth party check. First round for record, a miss. Well poopy. (Not what I was really saying) I threw my car key at David Littlefield who was standing there to run back to my car and grab my Quadlock rifle and sights. We grabbed Michael Storer the next shooter to step in earlier as I set up my rifle. I used this rifle last year at Perry and had all of the settings for 1000 yards. My turn came back up and I did get my first round in the black. Whew. But did I feel like crap. I am just thankful this match was not the BIG one. It was more of a tryout/practice. But I still was hoping to shoot really well. You can’t always help gear malfunctions but you still feel terrible that you let your team down. My miss was not the one that got away to make us miss the Gold medal but it certainly did not help. I still, after the match can’t figure out what happened to my elevation. We did figure out I was way over the top of the target. The sights and bases have been dissected and I can’t figure it out. I believe it is with the sights and not the rifle. I thought perhaps the index plate was loose and moved but it was firmly in place. I will take it apart again when I get home. I finished the rest of the week with my trusty Quadlock and managed to share a Gold Medal in the next 4man team match I shot with. Justin Skaret coached us to a solid win.
I get to come home with 4 medals. With my all female team during long range we won Open Palma in the Roumanian Trophy and Silver medal in the overall of the Roumanian. During full bore we did still pull out the Silver medal in the 12man Commodore Perry Cup. (The match that I had the miss) But there were only three teams, – GB, USA and Canada. And then my 4 man team, US Team Skaret won a Gold for the Open Palma.
I wait now for the team coaches to choose the World Palma Team squad. I am not sure when the announcement will be made. Perhaps later this fall. There are so many great shooters to choose from. I wish all of us the best of luck.