Thursday, February 9, 2012

Berger Bullets Long Range Champs --Just in!

   Wednesday morning dawned slightly overcast and 57 deg for the opening match of the Berger Bullets Long Range Championships  in Phoenix, AZ.  Almost 200 shooters would be on the line today, firing 3 strings of 15 shots and unlimited sighters, at 600yds in this warmup Mid-Range match.  Thursday they would move back to 800 yds for the Palma matches, and then Saturday, back to 1000 yds for the last two days of shooting both individual and Team matches.
  Mid Tompkins welcomed every one, by saying that this was the biggest participation for Ben Avery match in recent memory.  Indeed, more and more shooters are discovering  that 5 days of Top Notch shooting competition in the warm southwest is a great way to spend the 2nd week in February.
Capt. Bob Peasley at Berger Bullets
  This year many top prone shooters from the Mid West are attending this match-- Bob Peasley, Jay Johnson, Brian Myrnak, Phil Klanderud, SSgt Matt Griffin, Frank Fisher, John Andres, Jim Evenson,   Larry Miller, Bob Mead. and Bill Lair were all enjoying a chance to pull some triggers in the warm sunshine, and shoot some Long Range at one of America's premier Rifle Ranges -- Ben Avery, Phoenix, AZ.
  Bill Luth and I arrived at 0745 and saw that the Squading line was already stretching across the parking lot.  This was going to be a fun match.  Both of us had brought "Space Guns"--.223 AR match rifles, even though we would be competing aginst national class prone specialists firing everyting from 6BRXs to 6.5x.284s.  We both felt that the .223 loaded with good bunch of Varget behind an 80 gn match bullet, could hold its own against those wildcats at 600 yds. 
  Michelle Galegher, and Mid got this record number of shooters squaded in pretty good order, and after some additional targets were made up, first shots were going down range by 0930.  I was up first and saw that the prevailing condition was a 3 o'clock wind blowing a good ten mph with the flag sticking straight out more often than not.  I quessed 3 moa Right windage would do it, and fired a first sighter into the 8 ring down wind.  Going for Record at 4 moa right, I got the first shot into the Xring, and then broke one left that held for a 9. By working the windage Knob for every shot, I got off the line with a 148, down 2 pts  after losing one more pt to a gust.  In this crowd, my 148/150 was good for 20th place.  Maybe a 6 BR would have held that one  9 in the 10 ring, so my choice of calibers, might have cost me one pt already.   I spent the next 3 strings of fire in the pits, pulling targets, and listening to Sea Stories from Mike Sinclair, fellow Marine, who served a couple tours in Viet Nam as a Recon team leader.
 Match Two went good for me, as I was seeing the mirage well and had the confidence to make large changes as the wind varied from 1- 1/2 moa right  to 3.5 moa right, shot to shot.  I was able to take all 150 pts on my score card -- my first Clean in a good while, and good for 2nd over all behind Brian Lizt.  The mighty mouse gun was definatly holding it's own against all comers. 
Results  for 600 yd Berger match
   Going into Match Three, I knew I had a good chance for a high finish if I didn't blow it by doing something stupid.  By this time, the wind had veered to the SSE and was fishtailing to SSW catching people on  the wrong side for 7's and 8's if they were not constantly on the scope watching the mirage.  I saw a shooting window with the wind from the left now  - about 1 moa, and by paitently waiting each time the wind was from the right, I was able do score a 149, losing only one pt to my own bad shot low in the 9 ring. 
  It certainly was my best day on the range in a while. Having a good day once in a while is what keeps us coming back week after week.  We endure losing often, knowing that sooner or later we will have a good day and that makes ait all worthwhile.
  My 447-17x  for the day was good for 4th over all (3rd Palma rifle), behind Leo Ahern  448-25x,  Emil Kovan -447, Doug Frerichs 447-24.   Better than I expected, and it just shows that the mighty .223 can compete with the big boys and show off a little.
 It was a great day!

SSgt Matt Griffin at the Berger Bullets Long Range matches.

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