Just returned from shooting the Wyoming Tactical Rifle Championship. This was my 7th year competing in it. It's a three day team match, with the first two days having to run field courses both morning and afternoon, and the last day being a team on team bracket elimination.
The team consists of a Long Range precision shooter, and a carbine shooter. Carbine is restricted to a 223/5.56 with a max 77-gr bullet, and barrel length no greater than 18"
This video is from one of the teams who competed last year on a field course:
The way the field courses works, you have to navigate a course that has several stages. The course is one to two miles in length, and you have two hours to complete the course. You have a starting point, and a finish point, which is usually your last stage. You have a dedicated RO who accompanies you on an ATV or UTV while on the course. When you arrive at a stage, the RO will notify you of the number of pistol, carbine, and rifle targets you have to engage at that stage. You have to locate, range, and then engage those targets. Points accrued for hits, penalty points subtracted for misses and/or failure to engage. If you cannot find a target, you cannot engage it. All targets must be engaged twice. There occasionally are some bonus targets out there, but no points lost on those if you miss or don't engage them.
The team on team event takes place on two identical courses set up side by side. Teams are allowed to place carbines and rifles at the firing line, along with ammo and placed in a plastic tub. Pistol mags can be loaded, but carbine and rifle mags are empty with loose ammo in the plastic container.
Both teams are back 20-ft from their shooting positions. At the go command, teams run forward. One person starts engaging a Texas star with a pistol while his teammate started loading mags. Once the Texas star is successfully completed, there's a steel popper that needs to be engaged and forced to fall. Then the carbine shooter gets on a swinging platform and starts engaging another Texas star at 120-yards, once completed, he moves on two steel targets at further distances. Once those targets have been successfully engaged, the rifle shooter gets on the platform and starts engaging steel plates, with the last being steel poppers.
Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.
I'm the rifle shooter, shooting a Beanland built 6.5x47L. My partner, the carbine shooter shooting a precision AR with 3-15 Burris XTR II scope, and suppressed.
First field corse Saturday morning, We quickly find that my partners AR is not holding zero, and we do the best we can. Try spotting for him, but tall grass and distant targets show no signature for misses. We finish with a subpar score, but not the worst, probably lost 100-points because of those misses?
At lunch, we remove the suppressor, add a brake, and re-zero the scope. Looks like the heat from the suppressor was causing the problems.
Next three field courses we shoot well, except we miss more pistol targets then we should have. By the end of Saturday, we are in 5th place. That first stage hurt us badly, and guess that if we had done well there, we most likely would have been in 3rd place at that point.
Sunday morning, we're shooting against another team, where I've shoot with those guys at the Raton matches. I'm first up shooting the pistol, clear the Texas star with six shots, and miss the popper on my first shot, do a double tap on it after that because it's not falling fast enough. Clear and show clear to the RO, who yells "Pistol Clear!", allowing my partner to start engaging carbine targets. As I'm loading magazines, I'm wondering why it's taking him so long to get through those carbine targets. As I look up to place a loaded magazine on the platform, I see he has to manually cycle the bolt just about every shot because the empty cases are not ejecting. He finially gets through those targets when I hear the Spotter for the other team yell "hit, one rifle". I get on the platform, and take a shot, miss. Load a fresh round, and then the head RO yells "TIME". We are eliminated.
Upon examination of his carbine, we find the bolt and bolt carrier are carbon'ed up so bad that we cannot take it apart without first douching it with EWL.
With the other teams building points, and us dead in the water, we end up in 8th place for the match. It's frustrating when technical problem cause you fail in a match. However, this is one of my favorite matches, and enjoyed the hell out of it.
Can't wait till next year.
Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.
I'm in the process of analyzing what went well and what didn't at the Raton two-gun match. I burned 199 rounds of 223 ammo on 96 carbine targets. Actually there were 100 carbine targets, but I timed out and didn't engage 4 pieces of steel on one stage.
Of those 96, 21 were small IPSC paper targets. Paper was scored as best of two hits, with A&B zones counting 1/2 point, C zones 1/4 point. I probably averaged a little over 3 rounds per paper -- call it 3-1/4 per. So, 79 rounds in paper, and I scored 100% of the possible paper target points.
That leaves 120 rounds for 75 steel targets, or 1.6 rounds per target. If I discount my loose suppressor faux-pas on the first stage, my 9-stage carbine performance was probably closer to 1.4 rounds per target.
I shot with a guy who finished 5th in the match -- a precision-rifle-based shooter who really knows how to shoot a carbine, too. I suspect his carbine performance was closer to 1.1 or 1.2 rounds per steel target, as he rarely missed anything within 200 yards. Furthermore, he shot the carbine noticeably faster than I.
Cutting to the chase, that means I shot maybe 3 more carbine rounds per stage, and burned more time on the clock with a slower shooting cadence. I ran out of time on most stages, leaving precision rifle targets points on the table. An additional 30 seconds would have noticeably improved my scores on a few stages.
Shoot fast, don't miss. Words for the day.
The Precision Rifle Series has a more or less standard skills stage, for which the time to complete the stage is used as a tie breaker. The stage has three 12" plates at 400 yards -- there should be 25 yards from the left plate to the center one, then 50 yards from the center plate to the right plate. Six possible points -- shot left, center, right, right, center, left.
In our last PRS match, a buddy shot it in a blazing 20-ish seconds. Offgrid did well, too, with a time around 30 seconds. Me, not so much. I was wind beotch for my squad, blew a wind call on the first (left) target, and took two shots to hit it. Flustered, I moved all the way to right target, hit it, at which time the RO called me back to center target. From there things went OK. So I scored all 6 points for the stage, but time wasn't great at roughly 55 seconds.
I had limited shooting time yesterday, but I tried my range's version of the PRS skilz stage. Left target at 450 yards, center at 465 yards, right target at 441 yards. Target spacing was larger than PRS -- roughly 100 yards from left to center, then 75 yards from center to right. The substantial gun movement from side to side made things a bit more interesting.
First time through with a 308 bolt action was 55 seconds. Then 50 seconds. And finally a 35 second woo-hoo.
Tried it again with a AR-15. 60 seconds, then 55 seconds, then another 35 second yee-haw. Others could do this faster, but 35 seconds is pretty much the limit for my current stage of skills development. When the wind got nasty a little later, my AR time was over 90 seconds -- and I burned quite a few rounds to hit the center target.
This is good practice, the type of which I need to do more frequently.
The second drill I worked on was reticle holdovers, rather than dialing elevation. The target array was:
321 yards at my 10:30
496 yards at my 10:30
450 yards at my 11 o'clock
384 yards at my 11:30
465 yards at 12 o'clock
441 yards at my 1 o'clock
Order of fire was 321 yards, 384, 450, 496, 465, 441.
I dialed 8 MOA elevation for 450 yards.
321 yard hold was 3 MOA under
384 hold was 1.5 MOA under
496 hold was 1.5 MOA over, and the other three targets were at the correct elevation
My best run on this drill was around 45 seconds, done with the 308 bolt action. Times tended to be in the 50-55 second ballpark with both the bolt action and the AR. Winds weren't kind at the time of these drills, so I was missing targets on most strings.
to shoot the 1,2,3,3,2,1 skill challenge around the 20 second mark. Can't hang around and watch impacts, shoot and move. Those seconds to wait and watch each impact adds up. Oh, you can't miss!
Understood. I need to get there for pure speed, however in my neck of the woods the winds are generally challenging enough that I need some impact feedback. Baby steps -- need to consistently stay in the 30-ish second ballpark first.
Did I mention my uncanny ability to miss?
Fun when this happens. Silly easy Dasher!
fritz give this a try, get on the first target, admire your perfectly centered hit/wind call, blast away at the other targets with out waiting....
Hey, when I get a perfectly centered hit, I may admire it for quite awhile. Even get out the camera for a photo op.
Yep, that's a good plan. I'll work on that the next time I practice PRS skilz stage. My left-to-right PRS target array swing of 175 yards needs to be smaller. I ordered some new steel from D-M Targets with the cert I picked up at the ELR match prize table. Maybe after the Craig match I can sink some more T-posts.
As for the Dasher's chrono numbers -- I think you still need to tighten up the MV variation a bit. Shot #4 would have been a flyer.
Back 35 or so years ago, when I lived in Montgomery County MD, I rode the bus to work. A regular seat mate was a member of the Army rifle team, on his way to a desk at the Pentagon. I asked if they shot at 1,000 yards, affirmative. I said "you use iron sights, right?", and his reply was "anybody can hit it with a scope".
Well alrighty, then. He should have seen the pretty darn clean 10" square target at 1,000 yards from this weekend's match in northern Colorado. I guess "anybody" didn't sign up for the match. Otherwise, there wouldn't have been any paint left on that piece of steel.
The weekend's National Rifle League match near Craig was really quite good. As usual, the top dudes rose to the top of the heap. As it sometimes occurs, I did my best to keep average scores down. I sucked canal water on the first day, then only partially de-ass-hatted myself on Sunday, finishing a little better than middle of the pack. Offgrid shot solidly, and our buddy Scott did really well. Alpine was one of the match directors, so technically he didn't miss a single shot.
It was a neat location in which to shoot. Lots of smaller canyons and draws, with enough subtle wind changes to #$%&@ with us. Target distances varied from a high-angle downward shot of 70 yards to long shots of 1300-ish yards. Close to half of the stages were shot from prone. Others were from tree branches, tripods, hay bales, tires, slings, and tank traps. Personally, I didn't think much of the stages with tree branch shots. Mongo needs lots of practice shooting from props and barriers.
We shot virtually the same stages on the second day, but with reduced time and with less support gear. For example, if we used a tripod and a rear bag to support the gun on Saturday, only a tripod or a rear bag was allowed on Sunday.
Personal highlights -- if anything I did could be considered "high":
- scoring 5/6 hits on IPSC-sized steel, while slung in standing, kneeling, and sitting positions. I timed out and didn't get to the prone target.
- Getting the second fasted time (23.2 seconds versus the winner's 22.4 seconds) on the pistol stage. I shot 12/12 on the dueling tree, with a Caracal pistol provided for us. Winner received a new Caracal pistol. Second place received the first loser award. My only "clean" stage and the points were thrown out of the match scores.....
- The tripod stages were fun, but I sadly realize that my tripod & head were designed to support a 35mm SLR camera, not a porker precision rifle. Shopping for a new setup now. Really Right Stuff tripods are effin' expensive. Hello Top Ramen for dinner.
- Some of my squad thought the hay bale stage sucked, but I thought it was cool. Four different shooting positions from a barrier-style stack of bales, with four IPSC steel steel targets partially hidden behind a stack of bales, maybe 500 yards away. Resting the front of the rifle on haybales, I supported the buttstock with a tripod leg on the first day and my pack on the second day. Fun in its own warped way.
I’m curious what setup you use.
Not that our equipment and demands are at all similar, but after offgrid introduced me to shooting with a tripod and rear support, I acquired a small tripod and “cradle” from Precision Rifle Solutions.
I purchased the “medium” Slik tripod and the SSP-1 cradle to use primarily with Tikka rifles. And although I haven’t used it very much, I also have an SSP-2 cradle for use with a TRG-22. The tripod isn’t very large (it can’t be used from the standing position, for example), but I have found it perfectly acceptable for use from sitting or kneeling positions. It’s quick to set up and I have had no problems with its supporting the rifles.
One thing I did discover was the common tendency of a ball head to allow the cradle to tip over unexpectedly and try to dump the rifle on the ground. It is of course possible to crank the friction screw down to make that at least more unlikely, but I finally realized that for my shooting I didn’t need a head between the tripod and cradle at all. The head now lives in a box with countless other photo accessories that I may use someday. I can pan the head (if I don’t want to just turn the tripod) by loosening the center column, and because the cradle is just a cradle and doesn’t grip the rifle, I can make enough left/right/muzzle up/muzzle down adjustments simply by rotating the gun to the desired attitude.
Removing the ball head also made the package more compact. I currently carry it and the shooting sticks that offgrid recommended in a basic utility pouch on the back of a vest.This message has been edited. Last edited by: sigfreund,
“... try not to shoot any friendlies ….”
IIRC it's a Gitzo carbon fiber 4-section tripod and a Manfrotto grip ball head with ergo handle. I have bipod-type rear sticks from one of the local sporting goods dealers. This front/back 5-leg support works pretty darn well at something like Raton's stage #7, where we have 5 minutes to set things up for 5 shots at 5 targets. The five targets are set up for some panning left to right, but minimal height variation.
IIRC over the weekend we had 2 minutes for 8-10 shots at 4-5 targets, depending on the stage. There were some pretty big changes in both panning and vertical from one target to the next. On one stage we were able to futz with gear for 60 seconds while the prior shooter was getting his hindquarters off the line. As in limited time. At one tripod stage, my squad (I didn't shoot with offgrid) used ball-head tripods for front support and a leg of a second tripod for rear support. Even the best shooters in our squad only got to 4 of the 5 targets, limited to 7 or 8 shots of the 10 allowed shots -- in 120 seconds.
For the next day we were allowed only one tripod and a sling -- no additional bags, secondary tripods or shooting sticks -- and the time was reduced to 90 seconds IIRC. I think only two guys in our squad shot at the 4th target. I was just lining up the 4th target when time was called.
When the rear support isn't allowed, I use downward pressure on the front part of my sling to stabilize the rifle. I pull the sling down onto one of the tripod's legs. This downward pressure overloads the ball head's friction capabilities, even at its full friction setting, causing the ball to collapse maybe 15-20 degrees to the left. Not so good. By the way, such shots are often done at some variation of a kneeling height.
At the Steel Safari matches, we have a number of stages where a standing tripod position is pretty much mandatory. Time pressures are tough, and using shooting sticks as a rear support just won't work. The tall and stiff tripod game seems to be owned by Feisol and Really Right Stuff -- and they don't give their uber-nice gear away for peanuts.
Thanks, fritz, for all that.
In putting pressure on the gun with the sling and tripod, do you just pull the sling down along the leg? I don’t know how much pressure my little tripod would take without a leg collapse, but I think I’ll try that (assuming I understand correctly). At least I wouldn’t have to worry about the ball head tilting.
I do have tripods I can use from the standing position with the PRS cradles, but haven’t done much shooting like that.
“... try not to shoot any friendlies ….”
While I greatly admire all y'alls skills with scopes and long range shooting, you have to admit, a well trained (and well-practiced, for free) iron sight shooter can perform quite well. Isn't that what our WW2 (and prior) shooters had to do?
PS, I can't shoot a scope for shit, so I further admire your abilities.
I generally use a Rifles Only FTW sling. With the tripod, I unbuckle the sling in the middle, so the front and back halves dangle from their QD attachments.
I wrap the end of the forward sling once around a tripod leg, grasp the sling wrap around the leg, and pull down along the leg. Pull down force isn't trivial, but I don't know how many pounds of force.
I shot Palma and Fullbore for a long time starting in 1980s. It was slings, peep sights and coats, with a long-barreled .308 rifle. So I know first hand that iron sights will get you to 1000 yards and beyond accurately. The front peep sight was easily swappable for each yard line because while the aiming black stayed the same size, its apparent size changed with each yard line, and the goal was always to keep the aiming black well centered in the front peep sight and you adjusted the rear sight for each shot depending on the conditions. You actually did not see the bullseye, you just sent bullets at the aiming black and rebuilt your position every time after adjusting your rear sight.
We shoot along side slingers all the time, and the continually amaze me with their accuracy. We have some of the best sling shooters in the country and it's impressive to see them in action and look at their results. The biggest difference between shooting with a riflescope and shooting with iron sights is that you can fade and hold on the target with a scope and do not have to adjust for every shot, whereas you need to continually adjust the rear sight with iron sights.
That was the one thing with which I had problems at first in F-class coming from iron sights; I kept adjusting the scope and holding center as I had been doing for years.
Of all the ball-heads, leveling bases, clamps...I've had my grubby mitts on, shot rifles on, Really Right Stuff is the cat's meow. Especially for just using a tripod to support the rifle. I believe the RRS clamp is superior to the Hog saddle, better machined, better grip on the rifle, both sides of the clamp move as tightened, faster. The leveling head with 30 degree tilt is plenty of adjustment, very simple, built like a tank. I plan on picking up a the base/clamp over the winter for next season.
When using sticks for rear support, I do prefer the PRS saddle or not clamping the rifle if using a Hog or RRS clamp. Can make very fine elevation adjustments by simply sliding the rifle forward/back. PRS saddle with it's cloth liner, slides a bit easier/more freely.
At last years Steel Safari I followed/RO'd a shooter who had the RRS base/quick release clamp, dove-tail mount on his chassis. He also had a Primus mono trigger stick he modified, added a QD mount on the top of it, rail on the rear of of his chassis. He let me mess around with it, looked through his scope when on a target standing, very fast to adjust, rock solid, easily under a 1/2 moa of wiggle.
Good and bad seeing/put my hands on various gear.... Good to see what works, quality of product, what helps me hit more targets, bad $$$$.
Today was my first time shooting a regional 22lr match. Target banks were at distances of 55, 80, 110, 165, and 225 yards. All shots were from prone position.
We had steel targets in banks of five at 55, 80, and 110 yards. At 165 and 225 yards were banks of 10 targets. Targets varied in both size and shape. We shot each bank twice. There was a Know-Your-Limits rack at 55 yards. For just messing around, there was spinner target at 55 yards.
It was a square range with various side and backer berms. I was amazed at the subtle changes in wind speed and direction. Some banks were pretty reasonable to score well on, others not so much. Offgrid scored pretty well -- in the top five IIRC. I was maybe middle of the pack, making too many errors from both wind and technique.
The format was pretty low key. Buddies were ribbing each other in the middle of strings, high fiving for cleaning target banks. Lots of fun -- I have to do this again.
From my own practice standpoint, I realize I'm using too big of targets at my own range. I need to consider some smaller pieces of steel, or move my current ones further out. For a target or two in the closer banks, I aimed at the the bolt head on the plates -- the bolts appeared to be the largest part of the plate.
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