Nightforce NSX FFP 3.5-15x. Too much scope for the "gully run" paper IPSC targets at 3-20 yards, but really helpful in most stages.
In the field stages I rarely had targets closer than 400 yards. Our first field stage had a 6" or 8" plate at 630 yards, which I believe I hit on the 3rd shot.
One stage had a 12" plate at 900 yards. I scared the plate a bit, but none of us could see the impacts in the grass around the target. I did make a 2nd round hit on an 850-something-yard target on another stage, but missed the 400- and 500-yard targets nearby, with 3 or 4 rounds each.
Evidently a few years ago, this match could be adequately shot with lower powered scopes on the AR. It seems to be evolving so that the AR guy must be a precision shooter, but still deal with an occasional contact-distance stage.
Every gun website has threads which tout the "sub half MOA" capabilities of a shooter's AR. Sometimes with "all day long", sometimes with "when I do my part". Hell, even the 20" Krieger / SI Defense I used in this match has a few 5-round groups in the .3's at 100 yards.
IF, and I mean IF, "all day long" accuracy is true, then a one-hour field stage should be a piece of cake. That's only 16 targets for this lowly AR-guy. (Alpine did the heavy lifting with 32 targets per field stage.) For each field stage I carried eight 20-round mags, with the assumption that I could blast away with up to 40 rounds per position, with only one mag change.
I started each position with a full 20-rounder in the rifle and a second full mag on my belt. IIRC, I never got to the second mag at any position. So I threw the partial mag in the pack and pulled out a full one for the next shooting position.
I guess if I were "sub half MOA all day long", one 20-round mag would have worked for an entire field stage. The targets were in the 1-3 MOA ballpark, after all. Furthermore, I could have left the ejected round (while clearing the rifle) on the ground and moved on. In...my...dreams.
Reality sucks. Frickin' ARs. But the match was really, really fun.
Thanks. I find it … ah … interesting how certain competitions evolve. If the match fills up with people who are prepared and equipped to shoot it, then by definition it’s on the right track. I often wonder, though, how many potential participants look at something like that, say, “That looks like fun,” but then think, “A plate at 850 yards!? I don’t have—and won’t ever have—an AR set up for that sort of shooting.”
“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
I talked to a few of the AR shooters with low-to-mid power optics, and they were challenged by the longer targets. The Sidewinder dope card on my AR was initially set up for 200-650 yards, in 50 yard increments. When Alpine heard that the next day's field stage included a 900 yard target, I made a second card for 700-900 yards. I didn't expect to hit the 900 yard target, but would engage it with 2 or 3 shots -- and thus not incur a failure-to-engage penalty.
Some of the AR shooters weren't using 223 chambers. I know there were rifles in 22 Nosler, 6.5 Grendel, 6 Creedmoor, and 308 Win. I believe the winning team's AR-guy used a 22 Nosler. Mongo find 22 Nosler interesting.
Of course if I were any good -- a 14.5" upper, red dot with a 3x magnifier, and 55 grain Wolf FMJ would have kicked ass. On second thought, such a setup would have been great for that gully run stage.
Bottom line -- these types of competitions aren't for everyone. Equipment selection must consider their benefits and challenges in relation to the various courses of fire. But ultimately the guys who shot fast, ran fast, and didn't miss rose to the top. And they probably would have done so regardless of which firearms were in their hands.
I would tell that potential participant that's just one target. That one target will get very few hits on it even from the best shooters and even from other semi 6/6.5 calibers. That one target will not decide a match. Guessing if a AR shooter hit everything 500yds and in, high AR score.
We made friends with the father/daughter team that placed second to last -- both this year and two years ago. Their firearms were a little more up to the task this time, but still lacked some capabilities. Evidently their bolt action rifle took a dump on sight in day, so both of them shot AR-15s with low-to-mid power optics. The 600+ yard targets were WTF lobs for them, however they did hit a few of the long shots. I'm pretty certain they will return, maybe even enter similar matches -- like Wyoming Tactical and Team Safari. These folks aren't millennial snowflakes.
In this match, if the team located all targets at all field stages, there weren't all that many mandatory AR targets beyond 500 yards. Most of the 500+ yard targets were 12" plates -- somewhat reasonable in calm conditions, but still not chip shots for an AR.
Thus comes the equipment trade off. Those of us with heavy pig precision ARs could engage the longer targets with reasonable confidence that we could hit them with a few shots. Well, in theory, anyway. But we suffered on the close-in assault stages, and our equipment weight slowed us down.
The guys with 14-16" lightweight carbines were fleet of foot, and breezed through the assault stages. But they struggled on the longer targets of field stages. As we moved from one portion of the field stages to the next, we could generally tell which type of carbine shooters were ahead and behind us. A slow, measured shot cadence generally meant a precision AR. A rapid shot cadence generally meant a lighter weight carbine.
Well, except for top teams. They were just pow - ting - pow - ting - pow - ting ......
Since receiving Dasher barrels 7 & 8, FF'd 100pcs through each. FF loads are very accurate, didn't go to waste, mostly dot drills at 100yds. After the FF'ing worked up loads for each barrel at 100yds with the new 115 Dtac's and 105 Hybrid's. Shot Dtac/Hybrid loads through both barrels last week on paper at 500yds. The Dtac loads slightly edged out the Hybrids in both barrels. Both barrels shooting exceptionally well, no surprise there!
Yesterday shot the last Raton LR steel match of the season with the new Bighorn TL3 action, just over 200rds on the barrel going into the match. Shot 50rds on the practice range 240-890yds Saturday afternoon, only missed two targets, wind. That's fun! Sunday morning before the match shot another 20rds, didn't miss in tougher wind. More fun! End of last year the match director changed several targets to make the course a bit tougher, shooters getting better.... This is the 12 or 13th year for the match, no one has shot a perfect score, think he wants to keep it that way. No doubt there's some mystique/challenge to that, fun stuff. A few matches ago he made a couple more changes, longer/smaller targets.... Me and my Dasher shot very well, TL3 action ran like a champ. Had my wind reading cap on nice and tight. On top of the wind shifts, velocity changes..... I managed to shoot a 58/60 for the win and set the high score for the new course layout Two misses. Been unusually wet in Raton this season, lots of vegetation. Target had high vegetation in front of it, wind swaying vegetation in front of the target, see target, not see... No big deal I'll time the shot. Timing didn't work out so well, hit something, didn't see my impact. After finishing that stage shot again for fun at that target, center punch. Other miss small diamond target off of a tripod, shot low making the wind call needing to be perfect, not so perfect, dang diamond targets. Couldn't be happier with how the Dasher shot. Raton match starts up again next February, can't wait. Thanks to jelrod1 for chambering me another laser!
A few months ago went from scopes with .5 mil wind hold hash marks to .2 mil. Been shooting the .5 mil reticles for several years. Now that I have lots of rounds/time on the .2, can't go back. With .2 mil can much more precisely hold/bracket wind, split the .2 marks and hold .1.
Very nice shooting offgrid. Congrats on the win.
Top three shooting Dashers. Peter and his Dasher you chambered shot a 57 for second! His barrel has 2300rds on it still shooting great, velocity hasn't dropped.
Following morning ranch duties, the afternoon was shooting time. Things began and finished on high notes, but the wind was just not fun for most of the day.
Started with FGMM 175 in the 308, with roughly 2 MOA steel. Progressing through 446, 609, 796, 906, and 1042 yards with only one miss. Then the wind pick up -- it took another 4 rounds to hit 1124 yards -- a little left, a little right, a little left, ting.
Finished the day with my 20" barrel AR-15, testing how well Hornady factory ELD-73 ammo holds vertical. Fortunately, the wind died down just as I began shooting. Mongo like ELD bullets -- 6 rounds in 4-1/4" vertical and 2-1/4" horizontal -- at 684 yards.
Hornady 75 BTHP ammo may have just been changed from my competition ammo to my training ammo. ELD-73 shoots at least as accurately as 75 BTHP, with a noticeably less drop and a little less wind drift.
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