Let me start by saying, “I have found my new sport.” I participated in my first tactical/sniper match yesterday in eastern WA. Sooooo muccchhh funnnnnn!! Way cool. Totally awesome. Why have I not been doing this already? No, I will never give up high power but I am more excited about this sport than even 3 Gun. There are a few big factors in this game.
Our friend Ken invited us to shoot this match. Held out on Forest Service land near Quincy it was a gorgeous backdrop to be at. It is very Grand Canyon like. We were lucky to have blue skies and minimal wind but it was pretty cold. Because there were quite a few newbies like myself they changed the format a lot to cater to us. We were allowed extra rounds. We had spotters giving our impacts. One does not get that luxury in a real match unless it is a team event. You need to be able to watch the trace of your own shot through the scope. This is where my argument or debate comes in about using gas guns vs bolt guns. Muzzle breaks help with the recoil but that extra movement of working the bolt can take you away from the target. The targets are tiny out there in a vast field. If you loose it in your sight then it is tough to find it again especially if you have your scope zoomed in. (This subject will be in my next blog entry) The targets were apparently much bigger than normal as well. I understand why they should be much smaller. If I can hit a 10 inch X ring at 1000 yards with iron sights I should be able to hit one minute targets with a scope. But I did not have the advantage of wind flags that I would have in High Power. I know, I am spoiled. Although a beautiful location for the match there come challenges. Well for me at least.
These matches are not held at designated rifle ranges or clubs. We were shooting on forest service land. Anything goes out there. This match was convenient because the course was right next to the road where we parked. But in many cases you never see your car all day. You get to hike out a few miles to the course. Which brings me to the “where does a girl go the the bathroom out here?” There is no clubhouse or even a portable toilet. Thank goodness Charles was there. He kept a lookout for me as I hid behind our car. I know!!!! Too much information right? But this is serious! Now when the matches go miles away from base and there are only shrubs and no rocks or trees to hind behind, things can get a little humbling I imagine. There were three other women shooting yesterday. I noticed two had gone off down the road together. You know what they were doing. So if for some reason Charles can not be with me at a match I will befriend quickly another female. A “pee-pal” if you wish. Wow, now I have officially plumbed the depths.
Back to the match. The course of fire was 7 stages. All targets were steel except the 100 yard stage that had paper targets with
quarter sized circles. There was a 900 yard prone stage with a large IPSC sized target. Shooting from “the roof” which was from the rock you see me on in the photo was at a tiny green coyote steel that was about 600 yards out. An offhand and kneeling stage and the more difficult than it appears stage of the wobbly tire. You had to shoot 3 targets from either side on top of tire and one had to be weak hand and then from the center of the tire. One thing I enjoyed about this type of match is that there is no set up or target pulling. My question for the future is can we get to the course of fire before hand? In 3 gun you can show up a day early and run through stages. Is this allowed here? My next challenge is learning fine details of scopes. There are so many reticle options to choose from. You find yourself getting hundreds of opinions. I need to head down to Leupold and take a crash course.
I want to give a couple of shout outs. Ken Hagen went through some effort to get us in to this match. He knew we only had our
308 match rifle that we basically had to load by hand since the scope on it blocked using stripper clips. He is a great gunsmith and is developing an action that will be top flight and a big name in the tactical world. He put together a couple of rifles for myself and our friend Steve to use. Mine was a 243 Win. He actually gave up his rifle for me to shoot the match. Which meant he did not shoot and hung out with us and coached. Not to mention the 100 rounds of ammo he provided. He had the scope perfectly sighted in with a cheat sheet for me of all the settings for every 100 yards. Wow was that beauty accurate. And the trigger! I think it was only 8 oz. It was a Timney trigger that is a 4-8 oz trigger. That took me some getting used to and I had a few shots that went off before I was perfectly on target. It is a single stage. I am used to a two stage. As I mentioned Ken is developing an action for this game that you will soon see at matches across the country. H&H Precision. It will be a couple more months before this work of art action will be ready. Thank you again Ken for everything! We had a great squad and we met some interesting people.
Our squad leader and match director Chris is owner of Benchmark Barrels out of Arlington, WA. See? Another great company out of the Pacific NW. I heard about them for the first time at Camp Perry last year. Benchmark sponsors the Australian shooting team. Those guys raved about them. Many at this match were using these barrels as well. We also had two guys that own Tactical Supply out of Yakima, WA. In business for four years now they have accumulated a strong following of competitive shooters and SF guys from the US and Israel that will come in to the store at all hours. They do have a brick and mortar location but their website is the recommended source for their products. They manufacture some of their own items as well. Not to mention I love their logo. I need a patch from them.
30CalGal – “Shoot Like A Lady! If You Can….”