Tactical rifle match number two is now under my belt! I will say that I have been very fortunate to start off with the last JC Steel match and this one. They were both super challenging and what a way to throw myself in to this sport. Jim Findlay put on a great “Findlay Cup” event. The weather cooperated and it was actually perfect. Not too cold for the most part and hardly any wind. I was fortunate again to shoot the tactical rifle system by APO, Ashbury Precision Ordinance. They provided an “out of the box competition ready” system that included Leupold scope, range finder, range card based off of ammo and location etc, and all of the accessories mounted to the chassis. Again, APO is known for their Saber Chassis that is an easy drop in system for many Remington actions. My rifle was chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. Not only the rifle set up but I had 24 hour access to any of the techs at APO if I had questions or problems. Our squad for the day included 6 shooters and I really enjoyed meeting them and hanging out. Some we had met at the JC Steel match last month. As you will see in the photos we had a beautiful location for this match that included lots of hiking again. But this hiking was not necessarily long flat hikes like at the last match. This was the steepest grade hill I have ever climbed.
As I was climbing up the hill on our return I almost felt I needed some support lines. I was fearing vertigo to kick in and could picture myself teetering backwards with the weight of my backpack and rolling backwards down the hill. Okay, perhaps it wasn’t that bad but my heart rate certainly got a work out. Thanks Jim for the workout! I
was being filmed during this match so I think Andy, the videographer of Couch Creative Productions/Inner Bark, was able to capture the pitch of that hill. You will understand what I mean! Poor Andy had to hike with his heavy camera equipment. I have nothing to complain about. I may have lost count but I think there was a total of about 12 stages for the day including the night shoot after dinner. Let me tell you, it was difficult to pull myself back outside after a long day already and I had eaten a huge portion of hot, home made Mexican food they provided for the dinner break. Especially as the temp dropped drastically. “What do you mean I have to go back out there? I am ready for a beer and bed!” But the three night stages were fun. In two stages the targets were lit up by flash lights. I can’t remember the distances but I think about 100 – 150 yards maybe? On one we had to climb in to the cab of a pickup truck with our rifle and the door closed. You had 40 seconds to climb out and position on top of the hood and get 5 rounds off. I got 4 out 5 off and hit them all. I was surprised I could see the target. I don’t have a lit reticle but the target was big and glowing so I centered it as best as I could and made it. The other stage was on the boom lift again. This was one pretty difficult to see. The target was in between two reflectors. You could not see the actual target though and were told to just aim between them. Then as the lift moves up and down 20 seconds each way you had to get 10 rounds off. My reticle disappeared in the darkness and I had a hard time finding the target. I did not do so well on this one. But I am glad to get these experiences early on to plan ahead for future events. For the last night shoot stage they provided us with an AR with night vision and we had to get 5 rounds off in 30 seconds, offhand at 100 yards. Easy. I have never used night vision before. Super cool. Unfortunately we could not film any of this since Andy would have needed lights and that would mess up the shooter and interfere with the match. The day time match finished with about 9 stages.
Our first stage after the single cold bore shot was on one of the boom lifts. Sadly there were no helicopter shoots as we had thought. The lifts were the “helicopters”. Next time I guess. They set up a trailer park scenario with a variety of targets to engage. A “hooker” was in the doorway of the trailer. Poor girl, she was just trying to make a living. Then a car with bad guy passenger and driver and 2 bodyguards on each side of the car. These all had to be engaged while moving up and down on the lift and in a specific order. As you can see in the photo I have taken the scenario to heart and duct taped padding to my rifle to add to the trashy ghetto image. In the other boom lift stage we had different distances of targets while moving from closest to farthest and then come backwards on the way down. It takes quick thinking to remember elevation changes on the scope! I was finally able to use my MRDS mounted on top of my scope. We had some close range shots and the red dot worked great. Our squad had a long delay on the 3rd mover stage. One of our squad members whom I won’t mention, JD, oops, “broke” it during his string. I actually did very well on this stage. I like those moving targets. And this was all shot weak side as well. My method is to ambush it and it seems to work. For now. The rest of the stages were way out in the hills. We had one very long distance shot of 1350 yards. My range card went to 1250 and my scope maxed out a little above that. Using my Mildot Master I tried to figure out the rest by using the reticle. I did not make it. Apparently not many did. The RO could not even see the trace. Not sure if I over
adjusted or not. We had two stages that we could not use a range finder and had to use the reticle to get the distance. Again, my Mildot Master came in very handy. We had one stage that if you had engaged all of your targets up the valley and wanted the bonus round you had to run over to the orange post they pointed out and shoot the orange target from there. Yea right. That orange post was literally down and up a very steep hill that was at least 200 yards away. That was really funny ha ha Jim Findlay. I did not hear if anyone had even attempted it. I pictured many broken legs attempting that one. I have found that in just two matches I have gained so much experience for more matches to come.
There were many awkward positions and platforms to shoot from. When you have a limited amount of prep time and shooting time you have to be quick thinking and creative in your strategies. I feel the same way in 3 gun matches. Every match and stage is different. Pretty difficult to predict and practice for. I feel my previous competition experience has helped me a lot. I have been calm and I don’t get flustered. I am not going for speed right now. I am going for strategy and shots. Speed will come. I am just trying to take in the techniques and advice from the experienced guys out there. I definitely want to learn the details of using ballistics software. It has been nice to have range cards provided for me but what if there are sudden weather changes during a match? Some angles are very steep and can affect bullet drop etc. So much to learn! I felt I performed much better at this match than the last. I made many more hits. It may not sound like it from my placement but I am comparing myself to a huge group of awesome shooters with really high scores. I was 35th out of 46. I was the only gal out there! Come on ladies. Get in to this game with me! My favorite memory from this match you will see on the video when it is done. I had a moment on one of the boom lifts that a round got caught while feeding and I pulled out the mag and the round was stuck standing straight up. I didn’t have a free hand to take it out. I will let you see for yourself what I did in the video. I barely recall doing it but many jaws dropped. It was rather funny actually. An
Arnold Schwarzenegger moment.
Congratulations to Jesse Redell for winning the match. Super job. Thank you again to Jim for a great event. A special thank you to the hard working volunteers and ROs. To all of the sponsors, Seekins Precision, RBros Rifles, Jim’s Plumbing, Precision Tactical and NCW Gun Club and to the shooters who participated. There was room for more competitors. This is a great match. Make sure you sign up for it next year. This would have been a two day match if we had more. As it was, we were able to squeeze it in to one. Of course a huge thank you to APO for letting me abuse your gear. I mean, use your gear. I did put it through a work out as this sport requires. It stood up to the test.