This past weekend, I took part in my first ever PRS match. Let me say right at the start that I had a great time overall and that I knew even before I got to the range that my equipment and experience were completely inadequate.
I am 6'4" and a big guy. I am in my latish 60s. I do walk 3 miles every morning around sunrise. I do have arthritis in my knees and my left hand. (Other places as well, but those are the areas that I notice the most.)
For this foray, I selected the only rifle that I have with a minimum 10 round magazine and that I could load mag-length ammo that would reach 1000 yards "reliably." This was my AR-10, with its 20-inch barrel. On the rifle I have a March-FX 4.5-28X52 HM riflescope with the famous FML-PDK reticle; the brother of the FML-LDK reticle.
I looked around for my 10-round magazines and could only find higher capacity ones for my AR-10. I was going to have to hang a big mag under a very heavy rifle. Not good. Next up, the bipod. I could not use my F-Class bipods and the only thing I had was a flimsy affair. Oh wow, this is getting better by the minute.
I could not use any of my long-range F-TR ammo or bullets so I loaded 100 rounds with the Nosler .308 175gr Custom Competition bullet last Thursday. I went to my local range on Friday afternoon to zero the scope at 100 yard and get an MV with my trusty Magnetospeed V3. I was hoping for something around 2600FPS but came up with 2500FPS on the nose. I was very happy that my final 5-shot group showed a waterline that was near perfect; worthy of F-class ammo. Not bad out for an AR-10 with a stock barrel.
I went back home and ran the numbers on JBM from 300 to 1000 yards, every 50 yards. I had received the course of fire via email and the distances ran from 390 to 1000 yards. I had set the March’s 0 at 100 yards, so I got all the distances for each of the stages and wrote down the MIL come ups from 100 yards for the various targets. It ranged from 1.9 MIL to 12.4MIL. This is a big slow .308 bullet. I had set the windage for 10MPH, just to get a flavor of the holds at various distances.
Saturday morning, I’m driving to Anderson, TX at 5:30AM. I finally get there and notice right away that it’s a great range, and that PRS shooters are insane maniacs with a need to demonstrate, well, something.
Car bodies, helicopter carcass, big-ash tires in the ground, rails, stairs, rungs, huge concrete pipes, and lots of metal plates hanging at various places in the two ranges. BDD, what was that all about? There were about 20 shooters and a couple visitors who came just to watch for the first visit. They were the smart ones.
I looked at the rifles people had brought and while I had thought mine was woefully inadequate, I was now certain of that. Undaunted, I was going to do this. We got split up into three groups, and mine was the training group. I was the only one with a .308 and a gas gun. Everyone else was running some form of detachable mag-fed bolt action. Most had brakes or suppressors on them. They were all long barreled heavy rifles. It reminded me of F-TR rifles with skinny barrels and magazines. My little stubby heavy AR-10 looked very forlorn alongside these rifles.
There were 7 stages: all timed for 90 seconds. The maximum round count was 12, with the average being 8 rounds. There were lots of varying distances for each stage and different types of targets. It looked very festive out on the ranges with all the various targets and colors and stuff. Very confusing for this old man who is so used to square tan targets with black aiming points.
I shot every stage but had to quit halfway through the last one when my left hand locked up tight. I could not handle the AR anymore, just called stop, and painfully made clear and put away my stuff. Prior to that I had done quite well, engaging all the targets, and scaring most of them by hitting around them. I got some hits, but the only stage where I did “ok” was the long range one where we had to hit the same two targets at 900 or 1000 yards, I don’t remember. The group leader saw my first shot impact and told me where it was. I corrected from that point on and was rewarded with “impact” several times. Even as time was running out, I was able to get one last round in. The timer called out “Impact, 5 seconds” right after my penultimate shot and I was able to get the last one in, because I didn’t have to run the bolt and I had kept in position (prone, thank God.)
On another target at 600 yards (I think), there was an array of small circles hanging from a horizontal bar. They call that a TYL “Test Your Limit”. You had to hit the largest one first, then if you connected with it, you moved to the next smaller one, and so on. On the extreme left, there was an IPSC target with the head level with the plates on the right. We were told, “don’t shoot the IPSC, shoot only the plates on the right.” When it was my turn, I immediately shot the IPSC target in the head. Perfect waterline with the plates, but I had not accounted for the wind. So much was going on. Anyway, I corrected and got a few hits.
I only ever saw my impact at the 1000-yard range, because there was a berm behind it. I never saw my trace. The AR-10 bounced a lot and I had a lousy bipod. My come ups were not reliable, so I had to fudge stuff and remember from stage to stage to do that.
Overall, it was a dismal affair and I had a ball. I was dialing for almost every shot and the BIG-ASH numbers on the add-on elevation knob on the March-FX 45-28X52 came in handy for this old geezer. Yes, I was the oldest one there and it was hard. At one point, you started the stage at port arms and then got on your knees to rest the rifle on the barricade and shoot. Getting on my knees is an adventure, getting up is almost a bridge too far and I had to do that twice in 90 seconds. I ran out of time.
On another stage, we had to rest the rifle on rungs and shoot. That didn’t work well for me as I sway a lot. It’s very hard for me to stand up and be still, it’s impossible to try to aim a heavy rifle, even with it resting on a rung. Did I mention that I sway a lot. That’s great for dancing, not good for shooting offhand.
I would love to build a rifle for this game and get into this discipline, but that’s not going to happen. I’m too old and the health challenges are inescapable. I am going to try it again at some point. I did buy a couple of 10-round mags for my AR-10, and I will work on my ammo; I’m thinking of using the 180gr JLKs that I have, if I can fit them in the mags. I’ll get a better bipod but that’s going to be the extent of my upgrades.
As a note, I used the MD on my March-FX 4.5-28X52 and set the side focus to about 400 yards to not have to play with the side focus throughout the day. I shot at around 18X all day, and I love the PDK reticle; it is busier than the one I use in F-Class, but it is perfect for PRS. The one time I did see my impact, the grid underneath the aim point allowed me to figure out the required correction. With a brake and a longer barrel, it would be MUCH easier to stay on target and take advantage of the PDK reticle.
I never touched the windage knob and indeed, I was very happy to have it covered up, what with all that gymnastic stuff. I was always mindful of the elevation, so that was not an issue, and again, I love that BIG elevation knob with the huge numbers.
Thanks for the report. I often wonder what a match like that would be for the old and arthritic with marginally-suitable rifle and gear.
And congratulations on doing as well as you did.
“The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”
— Bertrand Russell
And now, you know the answer to that question and you can sleep at night.
I never wondered what the outcome would be; but I was wondering about the depth of failure and how badly would I do.
I actually did better than I expected. But not by much.
|Like a party |
in your pants
"Getting old ain't for sissy's"
|Retired, laying back |
and enjoying life
At 76 that's why I stick to shooting at something that allows me to sit. I'll leave the acrobatic shooting to you youngsters.
Freedom comes from the will of man. In America it is guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment
This post is inspirational for me.
“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
Well, thank you hrcjon.
I also agree with low8option's post and I am reminded of a shooter at my club, who turned 80 earlier this year. He comes out every once in a while and now shoots F-Open. He was a sling shooter for 50+ years and has been with the club for decades. He is an inspiration to me and he is a LOT of fun to talk with and trade competition stories. I hope to keep seeing him at the club.
I purchased a pair of 10-round magazines for my AR-10 and they came in yesterday.
I also spoke with the match organizer (he's a friend who conned me into coming out in the first place.) He told me there was one more match this year and it was going to be even more of a pretzel-producing affair, but that come the new year, there would be tamer matches. He did say the one I attended was "more physical than usual." Then he asked me how old I was since I was complaining about various ailments and he was a little shocked when I told him. I may not look my age, but I do feel my age.
So, yes. I am going to go back and do it again in the new year. He said they had discussed it and could probably get me a rifle to try out. I thanked him and said I would stick with my AR-10 and get my load profiled before the next outing. I have proper mags now, I'm thinking of a bipod that's better than what I have but I'm not spending Ckye money; I do that and then some, for F-TR, not this PRS hang-by-your-toes-and-shoot crap.
I have started measuring a possible load with my 180 JLKs and fitting them in the magazines. If I can do that, this could get really interesting. I have no delusions about winning, I just want to shoot it and get some hits out there.
Thanks for the report! It sounds like you had a good time and I’m glad you’re going back for more. I always learn stuff from your posts! You and some of the folks posting in your thread. When I see those names, I take a minute and read because chances are very high I’m gonna learn some things! Thank you
Well outside the wheelhouse of anything I own, but does sound like fun.
Wasn't aware there was a range out there, we've got some friends in Richards & my parents live on the other side of Anderson in Millican.
The Enemy's gate is down.
I am 68 yrs old and started shooting PRS at a local range, 3 years ago. It has been a challenge for me with both knees and one ankle being replaced, but I am slowly getting better at it all the time. I started with a Savage 10 in .308 and a cheap scope and are now shooting a 6.5 CM with a Kahles 624i, the only thing left of the Savage is the bolt and reciever. I enjoy the matches a lot and am looking forward to the next one. Now if I just had more Primers!!!!!!!!
|Knows too little |
about too much
Great report!! I USED to shoot PRS also. I find at 70 now, F-Class is a better competition for an old man. Much less climbing and running around.
TL Davis: “The Second Amendment is special, not because it protects guns, but because its violation signals a government with the intention to oppress its people…”
Remember: After the first one, the rest are free.
Seriously think tweaking a 180 load is going to make a difference at the next match? If I were shooting a three 'O' hate in a PMS match, would load 155's
Good on you for shooting the match!
NikonUser, you probably just saved me a couple grand and a back injection or two. I had no idea there was so much acrobatics involved. Sounds worse than IPSC.
“We seem to be getting closer and closer to a situation where nobody is responsible for what they did but we are all responsible for what somebody else did.”--Thomas Sowell
|Chilihead and Barbeque Aficionado|
I enjoyed reading about your PRS experience, NikonUser. Good for you for trying the sport! I don’t compete, but I put together a Tikka .308 bolt gun that I enjoy shooting at the range. PRS sounds like more stress than I would like to endure. My days of run and gun are behind me!
2nd Amendment Defender
The Second Amendment is not about hunting or sport shooting.
Well offgrid, you know I respect the heck out of you but in this case, you are completely wrong. There is a BIG reason why F-class does not use the 155 Palma bullets at 1000 yards: It's because there are far better bullets for that. I have lots of 180JLKs left over from my days of using those bullets in F-class. Heck, I was Texas State F-TR Long Range Champion in 2014 with those bullets.
If you spend any time with JBM, you can see that my current load with the 175gr does not get to 1000 supersonically. I can push the 180s at 2500FPS out of the 20 inch barrel and JBM shows I will be at Mach 1.12 at 1000 yards. I don't think I can push the 155 Palma much faster than 2700 in the 20 inch barrel, and JBM shows Mach 0.98 at 1000 yards. If I can push them to 2800FPS (doubtful), they will get there at Mach 1.03, just a little less than my 175 Nosler CC @ 2500FPS.
The difference in elevation between the 180@2500 and the 155@2700 is minimal. The wind deflection on the other had, is substantial. That's why we don't use the 155 Palma in F-Class, they get murdered in the wind.
The Palma competitors have to use the 155 Palma bullet in International competition, and they push them at 3000FPS with their 30 inch barrels, but when they can use better bullets, they leave the 155s at home. Where they belong.
I just wanted to catch up with all the great comments on this thread.
I want to thank everyone for the very nice words and thoughts. I was a little reluctant to even post the story, but I hoped that someone might get a kick out of it. I never thought it would inspire some and I'm very glad, and humbled, that it did for some of you.
I love shooting competitively; I love the camaraderie and the challenges. After 40 years of competition, I know my limits but I also know that I can sometimes pull off some great scores amid all the ordinary ones. I refer to these amazing shots as my "come back shots," the ones that make me want to come back and try again.
They are getting fewer and further between but they still occur.
This PRS trip, not really a journey, is just another excuse to get more shooting and play with a different rifle.
After some years of Fullbore with a .308, I did years of IPSC in the 80s and that was intense. Yes, I was running around with my Sig P226 in 9mm, shooting minor and having a great time and accumulating trophies and plaques. Then I went back to rifles and High Power Competition, my first love, so to speak.
We'll see how this PRS stuff goes, in the meantime, I have a 1000 yard F-Class match coming up this weekend.
|Powered by Social Strata|