Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Shooters News for the Minn Area - July 1, 2014

Next Weekend
I let my M-1 do the talking
   While we all get ready to celebrate our nations Independence Day Friday July 4th, service rifle shooters wanting to exercise their veteran M1 Garand, and M1A rifles will be heading to the Eau Claire Rifle Club to pull some triggers in that Club's annual 4th of July rifle match.  First up to the firing line in the morning will be the M1 Garand shooters competing in a 50 shot match. All shooting will be done from the 200 yd line will issued Ball Ammo.  The course of fire will be CMP course B.  Prone slow fire will be shot first so shooters can get good zeros for the rest of the match. 10 shot rapid fire matches, and a 10 shot standing match will follow.  Click Here for match bulliten.
this coming
  After a lunch break the match for M1A rifles will commence about 1pm.  Again the course of fire will be the 50 shot CMP course B, but this time all firing will be from the 300 yd line on the SR-3 target.  Click here for Match program

Dale Hanson at GRRC CMP Games
Closer to home for me will be the CMP Games match for service rifles at Gopher Rifle and Revolver Club to be held on Saturday, July 5th. I shot a couple of these fun matches last year at GRRC, and now finally I'll be able to get to shoot one this year. This is the last in GRRC's summer series of CMP matches, and I want to get to this one.  I'll be shooting in the "modern military"  with an match AR, so no prizes for me, but I do get to have some fun and shoot with the guys. This will also be a morning match using CMP course A (30 shots) at the 200 yd line from 3 positions. I'm ready !  Click here for match program and entry info.
  In the afternoon, there will be a second match for those who want to shoot the older "sniper" rifles (or whatever they have).  The shooters will split up into teams of two and fire 10 shots each at 300 and 600 yds -- alternating between shooting and coaching wind.  This should be a fun match.

Now let's get serious. 
All right, we tuned up our service rifles at the CMP games matches--It's time for some serious shooting -- an EIC Leg Match.  On Sunday, July 6th, the action is back at the GRRC range near Harris, MN., with the "must make" service rifle match of the year. Shooters will be competing for "Leg Points" with the top 10 percent earning another step up the ladder towards the coveted lifetime award of a"Distinguished Rifleman" Badge. These elusive points can only be earned at Leg Matches, and shooters are only allowed to enter 4 Leg matches per year. So, you can imagine the competition is hot and heavy between those who travel long distances to get their last few leg points, and any local shooters who aspire to be the best of the best.  Every Service Rifle shooter should attend the Leg match in your area. Even if you are just a beginner, you learn the most by shooting with the best shooters.
  Get a 'Leg' up on the competition!    Click Here for Leg match bulletin and entry info
Last Weekend  
"On the Firing Line Report"  --  State NRA Championship 

 From: Erik Rhode   
 2014 MN State Highpower Championships

June 29-29, 2014   

This past weekend, Minneapolis Rifle Club in St. Francis hosted the 2014 Highpower Championship matches.  This was the first time in recent history that MRC has hosted a major HP match, but judging by the way things went, it won’t be the last.

For the individual match, match director Mark Rohmann added the interesting twist of making it a 1000-pt aggregate instead of the usual 800.  The additional 200 points were scheduled to come in the form of a 2nd prone slow fire stage at the end of the day.  Matches at MRC always run very quickly due to the reduced course, and a 1000 point match usually takes about as long as an 800 at most other ranges.     Would it end up being a factor in the match?  Only time would tell.

This match has more history than any other in the MN shooting sports, and there is serious hardware at stake.  There are historic traveling trophies that go to the winners of the standing, sitting, prone rapid, prone slow, high service rifle, senior and grand senior categories, as well as the overall match winner.    The top prize is the “Governor’s Cup”, a trophy first presented to the winner of the state championship matches in 1940 by then-MN Governor Harold E. Stassen.  The winner of that first match was a gentleman named Owen B. Emswiler, undoubtedly a hard-holder.  Looking at the names of the next 75 years of winners is like reading a who’s who of MN shooting history.  Local legends like Sandager, Wadekamper, Sailor, Erickson, and Barth all have a part of their legacy engraved into this brass cup. 

We were unsure of what kind of turnout to expect, as an ominous weather forecast was keeping fair-weather shooters like Duluth’s Lil’ Dickie VanValkenburg and Dale “Weatherman” Wickstrom at home in their pajamas curled up by the fire.  The weather turned out to not be a factor, as temps stayed in the mid-80’s all day with high humidity and gusting winds from the south.  Nothing we in MN can’t handle. 

As it turned out, 27 shooters braved the forecast to test their mettle against MN’s best.  It looked like the trophies were going to have to be earned, as among those 27 shooters were 6 different High Masters who already had their names scratched into the Governor’s Cup at least once.  As has been the trend this season, there was a healthy mix of classifications at this match, with 8 Masters, 8 Experts, 2 Sharpshooters a Marksman and 2 shooters not-yet classified.  It has really been great to see the recent influx of newer shooters breathing some life into the sport here in MN.   

Head Line officer Chris Hazelton called relay #1 to the line at 9:00 am sharp to get things underway.  As always, the day started off with the 20-shot standing match.  This is considered by most HP shooters to be the most daunting part of any match, and has driven many former OTC competitors into the ranks of prone-only shooters.  Keeping your shots inside of a 6” 10-ring at 200 yards from standing is no easy task, and small mistakes in technique or concentration can lead to disastrous results.  It’s also a very quickly diminishing skill set, as I continue to prove to myself this season by not practicing standing like I have in years past.  I managed to ruin a fairly decent string with one of the above-mentioned mental errors – my brain locked up my trigger finger mid-pull, and by the time it finally broke, the sights had passed just out of the 5-ring and into zero point territory.  That miss left me with a score of 180-2x for the standing match, and basically out of the running.  Oh well, at least the pressure was off and I decided to have as much fun as possible the rest of the day.  Jim “Big Match” Biles came out of hiding once again and followed up his recent Regional Championship Gold medal by winning the standing match with a fine score of 189-2x.  Topping the Master class was 2013 Service Rifle champ Scott Brabec with his 186-1x.  Rich Boyarski was the class of the combined Ex, SS, MM class with 180-1x.

In the 200-yard sitting rapid-fire match, I thought I had a chance to take that trophy home for the 2nd year in a row with my 199-7x, until “Tiny” Tim Thole blazed away for a blistering 200-10x to lock up the win.  Kevin Kuehl headed up the combined class with a commendable 194-06. 

When we got back to the 300 yard line for the prone rapid-fire match, things started to get a little dicey.  The wind was gusting from 15 to 20 mph and some relays were caught in mid-string switches.  Some shooters managed the conditions better than others, and again, Big Match Biles relied on his years of wind-reading experience and hard-holding to win that match with score of 198-7x.  New Master Jim Fernandez was hot on his heels, shooting a 198-6x to take the class win.  “Dynamite” Dean Gillette’s 192-4x rounded out the class winners by winning the combined group.

Next it was time for slow-fire on the reduced MR63 target.  Some might assume that shooting slow fire at 300 yards is only half as difficult as the full-course 600.  Those people would be wrong.  The 10-ring is only 5.85” across, and it takes full concentration to keep all 20 shots inside it.  The wind was still strong and gusty, but with time to evaluate the flags and mirage between shots, some good scores were posted.  Stevie “Wonder” Erickson put up the top score in the first slow fire match with an excellent 200-13x.  Right behind him was our match director Mark “Rottweiler” Rohman, missing the top spot by a single X, and winning the Master class with his 200-12x.  Ahh, now I’m starting to get why Mark likes having the extra slow-fire stage at the end!  Rich Boyarski won the combined class with a score of 184-5x. 

The second stage of the slow prone was when things got interesting.  A brief mini-storm swelled up and dumped heavy rain on the High Master relay for 5 minutes or so before blowing through.  This made me feel right at home, as I have been rained on at matches in each of the last 5 weekends.  Steve Erickson didn’t let it bother him either, dropping only a single point in the monsoon to win the second stage with his 199-12x.  Winning both slow fire prone stages earned him a 399-25x, and he will be adding his name one more time to the Prone Slow Fire trophy.  Mark Rohmann won the Master class handily with his 398-21x performance, once again proving that he is not to be taken lightly in the prone game.  Rich Boyarski’s name once again came up on top of the combined class, shooting a solid 193-4x for that class win. 

Jim Biles had a solid lead over the rest of the field going into the last stage, but got caught in the rain and dropped more points than he would have liked, finishing with a 193-3x.  Would it be enough to hold on?  As the High Master relay headed for the pits to finish out the day, all were comparing scores and doing mental mathematic gymnastics to try to sort out how it was going to end.  It was a long 2 relays in the pits waiting to get back up to the 300 meter building to get the official results and fill our bellies with barbecued pork chops. 

When Mark and Steve “Stat Man” Knutson got the official scores posted on the big computer screen, Dean Gillette was the winner of the combined EX, SS, MM class with his score of 923-13x.  Rich Boyarski took second with his 911-14x, with class wins in 4 of the 6 possible matches along the way.  Jim Soderstrom led the Master Class with consistent scores in the mid-190’s all day after getting off his feet.  Craig Bennis turned in a 958-19x for second in class. 

The High Service Rifle shooter in this match is presented with a traveling trophy consisting of a large hand-painted jug commemorating our fallen soldiers.  This relatively new trophy has been in the hands of MN’s best SR shooters, and this year is no exception.  Tim Thole wins the 2014 Service Rifle trophy and will get to keep this beauty on his mantle until he has the chance to defend it in 2015.  Great shooting Tim, and congratulations on your win. 
Click for complete results

Erik Rhode 2014 State Champ
In a surprising turn of events in the High Master Class, Jim Biles’ second stage of the prone slow fire match dropped him down to second place for the day with a score of 968-23x.  Worth mentioning in 3rd place, was Grand Senior “Ancient” Omer Hamer with a 966-20x.   Omer has been a competitive shooter since before smokeless powder was invented, so finishing a state championship only 3 points out of the lead is no mean feat.

Tim thole Service Rifle champ
After my minor catastrophe in the standing match, this humble shooter managed pretty good scores for the rest of the day and squeaked past Jim at the end by 1 point  My 969-34x was the top for the day, so yours truly is the 2014 MN State Highpower Champion.  I am very happy with this unexpected win, and am proud to be able to put my name on the Governor’s Cup again. 

2014 trophy winners:   
 Standing Champion: Jim Biles    
Sitting Rapid Fire Champion: Tim Thole
Prone Rapid Fire Champion: Jim Biles
Prone Slow Fire Champion: Steve Erickson
Senior Champion: Jim Biles
Grand Senior Champion: Omer Hamer
Service Rifle Champion: Tim Thole
2014 State Champion: Erik Rhode

On Sunday, 4 teams assembled to vie for a chance at the 85-year old team championship trophy.  Teams from host club MRC, Gopher Rifle & Revolver Club, and one pick-up team led by past Service Rifle champ Phil Carlson were ready to challenge the returning champion North Star Rifle Club Screaming Weasels.  Weather was beautiful, and good time was had by all.  Upsetting the Weasels was not in the cards though, as their combined team score of 3100-86x left the competition in the dust.  This is the 5th consecutive state championship for NSRC, and we don’t plan on breaking that streak anytime soon.  If any other clubs want to see this trophy in their clubhouse, I’d suggest getting your team together early!
2014 MN State Highpower Rifle Team Champions:
North Star Rifle Club 'Screaming Weasels
Firing members:   
Kevin Bangen
Bob Peasley
Omer Hamer
Erik Rhode
Thanks to Mark Rohmann, Chris Hazelton, Steve Knutson, and everyone else who helped to make the 2014 state matches a success.  Can’t wait to get back to MRC for the next match!
 Best regards,    Erik Rhode
Thanks Erik for that Great Report.  You sure have stepped up to the plate this year helping write these reports on matches.  These reports of yours are read on the blog by 20 plus people a day from all over the country and those folk are learning about Minn shooting with your help. This helps promote shooting in our state and promotion keeps our sport going. I hope sometime we could get an F-class shooter on line writing rpts on that part of our sport and a Sm Bore position shooter.

Two weeks out 
July 12  --  CMP games match at Oak Dale - Click Here for Program
July 12,13  --  Long Range, Palma and F-class St. Championships -  Click Here for match program

That's All Folks !

1 comment:

NWOshooter said...

What a great report from Erik! I got butterflies wondering how it all ended up as I was reading along. Congrats on the win and the great writing!