Wow. Just amazing accuracy.
I shot in the Raton 2-rifle match over the weekend. The match is 8 stages (4 per day) where we engage targets with both precision bolt action rifles and AR15-type carbines. Each stage had 5 precision targets, at distances of roughly 300-800 yards. Each stage had 10 carbine targets, at distances varying from 10 to 400 yards. Five minutes total time per stage, with 3 or 4 shooting positions per stage. The match borrows from both PRS and 3-gun disciplines. This is one of my favorite matches of the year.
I believe this was the 5th or 6th time I've entered the match. This was my best finish -- in the top handful of 45-ish competitors. I received a cert from Thunder Beast for a free suppressor. Woo-frickin-hoo!! I now just need to consider my options on what to do with the cert.
I spent substantial time on AR15s during the off season, some of which I documented on this thread. Two things really helped my performance this year -- understanding the negative effects of switching between ammo types during the match, and practicing non-prone shooting. This was my first year of scoring all possible carbine points on every stage. Furthermore, a little faster times in the carbine portion allowed me to get more shots off with the precision rifle.
I discussed using only match-grade carbine ammo for all targets, regardless of distance. The 3-gun guys on my squad found this interesting, as did an RO and one of the photographers. My squad mates noted that my hit percentage on 300-400 yard targets was very high. In this match we can fire as many carbine rounds as we want to score a hit -- misses only waste time, they don't penalize us for points. I suspect my performance for the long carbine targets was about 1.5 rounds to score a hit. One of the 3-gunners in my squad generally punched 5+ rounds at the long steel to score a hit.
Things I still need to work on:
- Positional shooting with the carbine. The 3-gun specialists in this match are amazing to watch. They get into positions fast, and they are pretty stable in marginal positions -- like standing and leaning up against a tree trunk. They can put three rounds very quickly into the A-zone of a really small IPSC-type target.
- Getting into precision positions faster. Many of the stages required a bag up front and a tripod leg for rear support for best performance. I was stable and shot well from such positions, but I consumed more time than necessary. IIRC on 3 stages that ended with precision targets, I had a bullet in the air as time was called. Fortunately, 2 of those rounds hit steel and counted.
- Trying not to get too creative with gear and positions. Simple often works best. For my squad, the final precision targets were shot prone-ish with the rifle "touching and over" an 11-inch tall wood fence. I shot it using my bipod legs extended to full height, as I did successfully in a similar stage last September.
But things were a big different this year. My barrel ended up touching the top of the fence, I wasn't getting a good cheek weld position, and cross winds were stiff and variable. I ended up throwing most shots high, and left or right. Left/right was due to not figuring out the wind. The high part was due to putting too much cheek pressure down on the buttstock. Unfortunately, our whole squad of 5 had the same accuracy issues.
After we finished the official scoring for the stage, I re-shot the low fence as follows:
- small game-changer bag on the top of the fence
- rifle fore end resting on the small bag
- large rear bag supporting the buttstock
- shot from prone, with my shoulders a fair distance off the ground
A bit of a funky position, but it worked. My POI elevations on targets of 350-650 yards were spot on. Had I shot this way in the match and cleaned the precision targets, I would have won the match.
It was great to get out and shoot again.
Oh well, looks like yet another year that the Mensa Society won't be sending me an application to join.
Just completed a bit more post-match cleanup, and began preparations for the next one. I fired 173 rounds of 223 ammo over the match. I used 20 to confirm 100-yard zero and elevations out to 500 yards. This left 153 for the match.
I engaged all 80 targets. Of these, 12 were reduced size IPSC targets -- where only the best of two hits were scored. I put three rounds into every target, plus an extra here and there to be certain. Probably 40 rounds fired in total.
This left 113 rounds for the 68 steel targets, which calculates to 1.66 rounds per target. I suspect I had the worst hit ratio on the marginally-supported shots at the 5-6" targets at 100 yards. These were shot while resting the carbine on a tree trunk or tree branch.
Congratulations and thanks for the report as always.
“I am prudent, you are fearful, he is panicking.”
Hey Fritz, give me a call. My voice calls and txt are not getting through to you, or you're ignoring me?
Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.
Nice work fritz!
So what are you going to do with the Cert? If you get a can, might as well get a 338 Ultra. If you do that, you know how these things work$$$$. Build a rifle around the can! Isn't your three O hate barrel long in the tooth? Buy a magnum bolt from Defiance for that action, chamber a 6.5PRC. Factory PRC ammo is loaded at SA mag length.
Sell the Cert, fund your 40X conversion? There's now 6 22LR monthly PMS matches on the front range.
Good luck this weekend. Find target, range target, shoot target. Ain't nothing to it!
The four other guys in my squad at the Raton 2-rifle match specialized in 3-gun competition, but were branching out to precision rifles. Two of the guys were fairly capable long-ish distances shooters, and the other two were in the early parts of the learning curve. All four shot their ARs quite well out to 200-ish yards, but accuracy suffered beyond that on our 8-12" targets at 300-400 yards.
It appears they generally shot their ARs with red dot sights in 3-gun matches. All 4 used LPV optics in this match to start.
The 2 who were less experienced with precision rifles had serious cycling issues with all their ARs -- AR15 carbines and AR10 precision rifles. They may have completed only 1 or 2 stages each where their rifles ran without issues. Problems included:
- No extraction after firing a round. Most of the time this was cured by dropping a mag and running the CH a few times. At least 3 times the cases were stuck hard enough in the chamber that a cleaning rod was required to remove the empty cases.
- A few times the lack of extraction became so bad that the AR15s and AR10s became single shot rifles. Frustration mounted and scores suffered.
- Double feeds. Maybe 5 were so bad that mortoring the rifle was required.
- No feeds.
- Pierced primers got stuck in the AR10's BCG, taking the rifle down for the stage.
During lunch breaks I discussed the problems with the guys. They futzed around with gas volume (adjustable gas blocks) overnight & during the day, switched uppers overnight, inspected extractors overnight, and did some cleaning overnight. They asked if I had ever experienced cycling issues in a match, as my AR15 performed flawlessly -- even after falling over into the fine talcum-powder-like dirt on one stage. I stated my only issue in a match was a magazine that double fed twice, which was Team Safari match with offgrid. I isolated the problem to a Magpul Gen 2 20 round mag, threw away the mag, and didn't have anymore problems.
Their guns were reasonably lubed during the day, but were a little dry for my tastes by the end of the day. Their magazines were all from Magpul -- I did not look at their mags carefully. All their ammo was hand loaded, and the 223 ammo seemed fairly normal. However, their AR10 6.5CM and 308 Win ammo was loaded a bit too hot for my tastes with a semi auto. Pretty certain this was a major factor in the AR10 cycling issues. Maybe their 223 ammo was a little hot, too.
We discussed cleaning practices. I stated my ARs receive quick clean and re-lube after as little as 30 rounds. They stated cleaning intervals occur at no less than 500 rounds, but as much as 1,000 rounds. We then compared BCGs. At the end of the second day, my NiB coated BCG was still slightly damp with lube, definitely showed the effects of carbon fouling from suppressed fire, but didn't look all that bad. They were amazed how little carbon fouling was on curved cone part of my bolt. Their BCGs were....dirty, and a bit dry.
I am sitting here in open mouth amazement at that and your descriptions of the problems people had.
“I am prudent, you are fearful, he is panicking.”
Day 1 of Steel Safari, north course. Not so bueno.
Last guy out, already 80-ish degrees at 9am, 102 F when I finished. Winds 10-20 mph from the south-ish, which resulted in fishtailing tail winds for the first 5 stages. Winds from the left on the final 3 stages.
offgrid -- We started to the west of the caliche pit; on what was stage #2 in the past. Today's stages 1,7,8 were mostly unchanged from last year, the rest was new. I couldn't find targets with a darn. Ran out of time on 6 of 8 stages, really embarrassingly low score. Started prone when I should have been on tripod, and vice versa. Stability from tripod was tough, as the wind moved ME.
Stage 8, kinda sums up the day. You know the stage well, as we sucked on it in Team Safari. For the first time, I found the 510 yard rectangle in the moonscape. Found three of the four 600+ yard diamonds on the far ride, then started shooting.
Hit the 510 yard moonscape with 1/2 value wind from the left. Next, 660 yards on the far left. Held a full value of wind, needed 1-1/3 values. Moved right to 605 yard. Held just over a full value, missed left as I needed only 3/4 value. On to the far right 640 yard -- held full value, needed 1-1/3 value. Now back on binos.
Found a little POS diamond at 350 yards, low in the flats. Ten seconds left, dial elevation, hold about an inch left of 9 o'clock point. No wind, miss left, right where I aimed. Out with a big frickin' 1 point. Couldn't find a 640 yard diamond on the ridge, it was hidden by the rocks & shadows behind. Only the rebar top bar was visible, even the legs were hidden in the shadows.
offgrid, you'll love this one. Stage 6, a new 2x3. It sucked for the guy ahead of me, but it was the only stage I cleaned.
3 targets all large and easily visible without binos. 80, 100, and 120 yards. Pretty big plates, too. First position must be shoot from tall bipod or off-hand. Shooting over a bush, down angle of 40-45 degrees. Since my tripod's head only swivels 20 degrees, I had to shorten the front leg from full 3 segments to just over full 2 segments. Hard to balance, but OK.
Second position about 5 yards away, just over the edge of the ridge, sloping down, with loose dirt. Right leg of the tripod fully extended 3 segments. Left left collapsed to 2 full segments. Front leg on loose dirt, collapsed to just under 2 segments. Felt like I was doing a nose dive -- a bit surprised I didn't slip and fall forward. But out with a 6.
My RO called the stage one word -- "jacked".
First out tomorrow, 5:50 on West. Temps of 100+ expected again tomorrow. Wind forecast of 10-20, with gusts up to 35. Same for Sunday, too.
Safari day 2, west course. Similar stages to prior years, half 1x6 and half 2x3. I kicked butt on the 2x3s, got my butt kicked on the 1x6s. Just couldn't find all the targets on the 6-stages. Sometimes got lost moving between targets.
Much nicer to spend 4 hours in temps only up to 93 F, compared to the prior day's 5 hours in 102 F. Winds were already up to 20 mph on the ridges where we shot from, but my biggest wind hold was only 12 mph. Winds got worse during the walk out, and the drive back. I improved from total suck yesterday to only 3/4 suck today.
offgrid -- 2 targets were positioned so that they had to be shot through a tree or bush. The steel wasn't really visible from the shooting position, although the stand was. hmmm....
Did you take the shots? How did that turn out?
Conventional wisdom is that any small obstruction will destroy any chance of an accurate hit at any significant range, but I have read one discussion that said it wasn’t necessarily so.
“I am prudent, you are fearful, he is panicking.”
I did not take the shots.
The first would have been through a juniper tree -- target at roughly 250 yards, tree maybe 50 yards closer. I didn't take the time to range the target -- estimated the distance, about half way between a close and far target. I could only see the steel while standing tall on a rock, which was the designated shooting stance. The only way to get the rifle high enough for a clear shot was placing my left elbow on the top of the tripod for support. Not a high percentage shot, so I chose to lose that point and move forward to the second position. All three targets were easily shot from the forward position. Scored 5 of 6 on the stage, and came very close to using all my 5 minutes. Had I taken the shot through the tree from the rear position, I wouldn't have had the time for all three targets at the forward position. The best shooters got 6 on that stage, so they took the shot somehow. All shots had to be taken from a high tripod on this stage.
Second was on a 1x6. Target almost entirely obscured by a mid-sized mesquite bush, with a distance of about 350 yards. Could see the top horizontal rebar, but would have to guess the position of the steel behind the bush. The mesquite was less than 5 yards in front of the target. Mesquite has pretty thin branches and lots of small leaves, so just about any round will punch through. But I had targets in the open that were higher percentage shots, and I was running low on time. I didn't read a wind change very well on this stage, either, so it wasn't my best stage. The guy after me punched it as his first round on the stage -- the other targets were at 400-500 yards. However, he didn't do well with the targets in the open. All shots from a good prone position on this stage.
Okay, thanks for the explanation.
Sounds rough, to say the least.
“I am prudent, you are fearful, he is panicking.”
Day 3 of Safari -- I improved from 3/4 suck to 2/3 suck. Maybe I got lucky, but many of the top folks had bad days. I finished with an unspectacular middle-of-the-pack score. The guy ahead of me on South course was 3rd after the 2nd day, but he tanked on Sunday. My Sunday's score was 1 point higher than his for the 3rd day.
I still couldn't find a bunch of targets on the South course, even knowing where they should be. Offgrid, you'll love this. At the awards ceremony, Zak says he stood at the shooting locations with a radio, while Jimmie was out at the targets. For every stage on all three courses, they moved targets to make them harder to see. Craptastic.
My biggest shit show on the South course has the most memorable of the day. A 2x3 about mid-way through, targets at 250, 300, and 350-ish yards. Last year I cleaned it in 3 to 3-1/2 minutes, shooting off knee- and waist-high boulders. This time I saw the 2 close targets without binos, had all 3 ranged from kneeling-height tripod in maybe a minute. Drop to prone on a nice flat rocky area, 3 center punches in short order. Run about 30 yards forward to 2nd position, with rifle and rear bag only, for expected prone shots from a flat sandy area.
Starting in reverse target order, push the bolt forward and nothing loads. Ruh-roh, empty mag -- I forgot to reload after the prior stage. Toss the empty aside, dig mag #2 out of the cargo pocket in my pants. I shoot the far and middle targets without issues. Ruh-roh -- close target isn't visible. Get off the gun, and find it's hidden by a big mesquite bush mid-way to the target. I ran back to the first position, grab the tripod, and run back to position #2. My RO says I have one minute left -- plenty of time. Except I can't seem to get the rifle's Arca Swiss plate locked into my tripod head. Finally get it locked in, aim at the target, and realize kneeling position is too low. I can just barely see the top bar of the stand -- no strap and no target. RO calls out 10 seconds left, no time to raise the tripod. I guess where the plate is, fire through the bush, see a branch move, hear a load "ting".
Out with all 6 hits for the stage. Fortunately, style points don't count.
I started South course with an 8-10 mph wind from the right. Wind was straight at me by stages 4 and 5, allowing center-of-plate holds. Stages 6-8 had wind holds from the left, starting around 5 mph, increasing to 10-15 on the final long targets. Guys at the end of North and West courses said they needed wind holds of 15-25 mph on the final 2 stages, varying from one shot to the next.
I was RO'd one day by a guy who shoots the relatively new 6mm GT round. He had shot some buddies' 6x47 and 6 Creedmoor rifles -- and wanted something that offered better barrel life. A good shooter, this guy stated he competed in small bore at the national level. His take on the 6GT:
- very accurate round, easy to tune
- has enough MV to handle the more distant targets in PRS competition
- very light recoil
All of which I expected.
I saw George Gardner's video, which stated the 6GT fed well without modifying AICS mags. So...I had to ask. His take -- bullshit. In order to get 100% feeding in the worst conditions, while hammering on the bolt, he used a spacer kit and tweaked the magazine's feed lips.
IIRC he used an Impact action.
Tomorrow, Alpine and I are off to the Nightforce ELR match in central Wyoming, for two days of launching long balls. Alpine is better suited to the task with his 30 Nosler. I will attempt area fire with my 6.5CM. The match booklet shows most targets at 800-1500 yards, with a few at a mile, and one at 2100 yards. In theory, I can dial elevation to 1800 yards and use reticle holds after than. In reality, my bullet goes transonic (Mach 1.25) at 1430 yards -- about the point where dope tables go out the window, and dumb luck becomes the deciding factor for hits.
The weather forecast is....interesting. Saturday brings winds of 9-14 mph in the morning, increasing to 16-21. Gusts of up to 34 mph. Sunday is supposedly a couple mph faster. I may be holding wind at the limits of my reticle. Yee-frickin-haw.
Good luck fritz. Just looked at the wind forecast, tough!
I'm shooting Sam's 22LR match today with the usual suspects. Wind forecast gusts to 25. He's going to have a bonus target at 200yds, hanging golf ball, one shot at it after each stage if still have time. DA in our house as I type is 11,720, 25mph at 200yds 3.2 MIL hold. Fun Stuff! Need me one of those "all day long guns" to hit that golf ball today!
Winds were tough on Saturday, then brutal on Sunday. We experienced 35 mph Saturday morning at one stage on the top of a knob. Shooting straight into the wind on that stage, I had to add quite a bit of elevation to get to the last target. Once off the knob, winds dropped down to 15-20 mph for us, and eventually became a tailwind for our final stages of the day. Long day on Saturday -- 12 stages, 8am start, left the range at 7:30pm. Lots of gun cleaning that evening, due to fine grit everywhere.
Sunday brought 30-35 mph winds on virtually every stage for the entire day. I heard of 50-55 mph winds from other squads on the knob that was bad for us on Saturday. Our squad saw the full cross-wind effect of the 30-35 mph for 8 of our 9 stages on Sunday. All of us had to dial some amount of wind into our turrets, as our reticles didn't have enough windage hash marks to hold all the wind. I started with 10 MOA of wind dialed, then increased to 15 MOA of wind dialed.
From a wind-only standpoint, this was worse than the Nebraska Battle of Breakneck match a few years ago -- the one with rain/sleet/snow and 35mph gusts on a few ridges. My eyes feel like the insides of my eyelids are covered with sandpaper. From what I heard, Sunday was a tough day to score well on any stage. I shot OK on Saturday, then sucked on Sunday. Alpine finished in the top third. I was a handful of positions back, and missed being in the top third.
The Tillard Ranch isn't as scenic as the prior Q Creek ranch. Both locations are in between massive wind farms. The difference is the Tillard's wind towers are close enough to be used for wind calls. I wouldn't be surprised if the wind farm near the Tillard Ranch has 200 towers.
“Tough” hardly seems like the word. I can only dimly imagine what it would be like shooting under such conditions.
A sort-of related question that you and other Colorado long range shooters may be able to comment on: Have wind speeds in the state generally increased over the years in your competitions?
When my wife and I moved to our home nearly 26 years ago, one of the things I noted was that it wasn’t very windy here as compared to not too far down valley or elsewhere like on the plains. (I dislike constant wind much more than cold and snow.) In recent years, though, typical speeds definitely seem to have increased. I mentioned that to a neighbor a couple of seasons back, and he agreed, saying that the jet stream had changed.
Is it my imagination and poor memory, or does anyone agree?
“I am prudent, you are fearful, he is panicking.”
fritz, you animal!
A couple years ago shot a day match in Cheyenne, never forget holding .7 mils at 100yds for 60mph. Wind beat the piss out of me, nowhere to get out of the wind. Had to shoot another match there in similar winds to say never again! I driven through the area near the Tillard ranch. Miles of 20' snow drift fences, commercial wind farms, nowhere to get out of the wind.... You animal!
How'd you do on the Shotmarker stage?
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