So you want to shoot your first precision match.

So you want to shoot your first precision match

I was recently asked by a mutual friend, if his friend should shoot the BCRA Precision Rifle Championship happening in Chilliwack, June 23-25, 2017.  My answer to these questions that pop up from time to time is inevitably a resounding and emphatic YES  get out and shoot a precision match!  (Or any match for that matter!)  It seems like it could be a daunting thing to come out to a match for the first time; especially when it’s two full days, and long range.   This couldn’t be further from the truth!  You will encounter so much help to get you going, as well as tips along the way to make your first time out a memorable, and fun time.   Everyone, in my experience, has been very helpful and welcoming to new shooters; especially people that are tentative.

 

What is it like?

The match is three days long – with the first day (Friday June 23, 2017) being a zeroing day.   Here is the run-down:

  • Friday – walk-backs/zeroing.  This day gives you time at each distance, confirming your zero at each distance, and making sure that your dope matches what you are seeing on target. Typically this is done with a partner via radio to mark your hits on target. (Please see bold edit at end of the page for current information on walk-backs)
    • Targets – bring these for walk-backs
    • Bring a radio if you can, to communicate with your partner in the butts (if not – make sure that you guys hash out how you will mark your targets after each shot)
    • Enough extra ammo to shoot anywhere from 1-20 rounds per distance
  • Saturday – longer ranges.  This day usually starts back at 600m with a cold bore shot and finishes the day up at 400m.   You’ll be shooting some fairly small targets at 600, as well as movers.
  • Sunday – closer ranges.  This day is from 1-300m – featuring the infamous “Dots of Doom” which is a variation on this guy here. This day will also feature some positional shooting, like off a modified rooftop.

What do I need to do if I have never shot that far?

Here is a basic way to get out there and shoot this match.  With your rifle of choice, I would suggest doing the following:

Before the match:

  • Buy 3-4 different types of ammo in your caliber of choice. Cheap ammo up to match ammo.
  • Confirm your zero at 100m
  • Get some range time in with this ammo, see which one works best in your rifle by shooting some groups at a distance you are comfortable at – 100m?
  • Once you have decided, based on your targets from above, choose that ammo for the match
  • Most boxes of ammo will have velocity data on the side, for 100m – from this you can calculate your drops at all distances 1-600m.
    • Smartphone apps like Strelok or iSnipe, or a website like Vortex’s LRBC can help that out
    • Print this out on a 3×4 card for the match – should look like this:
    • Precision match example dope chart

      A sample dope chart for Federal Gold Medal Match, 168gr

Match day:

  • Come to the Friday walk-backs and confirm your zero at 100m
  • Using the dope from above, shoot from 1-600m
    • Validate the dope you calculated works for you and you are making hits on target (your partner will indicate these for you)
  • Shoot the match on Saturday and Sunday, and most importantly
  • HAVE FUN!

I generally look at it this way – if you take away the fact that you are shooting a competition, you are being given the opportunity to shoot out to 600m, on a military range for 3 full days for a very cheap price.  It’s not often, in practice we get a chance to do this.

What to bring?

There is some basic stuff to bring with you for each day – I’ll go over some of the basics of what you should bring with you:

  • Rifle!.  Typically you will shoot off a bipod, and shooting bags.
  • Your scope of choice, pre-zeroed.  Ideally you should have a scope with target turrets for easier adjustments during the match
  • Ammo.  Bring enough for the match, and walk-backs.  The round count will be released with the course of fire.  Bring a bit more just in case
  • Something to shoot on, like a shooting mat
  • Ear protection
  • Eye protection
  • Dress for the weather, and then bring contingency clothing!   Chilliwack at this time of year, can go from torrential rain to 30+ all in the same weekend.  I suggest bringing shorts as well as rain gear.   This is up to you – check the weather beforehand.
  • Sunscreen if there is sun – prone in the scorching sun for 8 hours is a recipe for a sunburn
  • Water  – see above.   Stay hydrated
  • Snacks.  Keep fed so you have energy
  • A hat is always good as are sunglassess if it is sunny
  • Good footwear
  • A backpack for ammo and the incidentals above
  • A case for your rifle if you choose
  • Targets.  You will need to provide your own targets for walk-backs
  • Radios.  If you have ’em – it will make your walk-backs way easier as you can communicate with your partner in the butts for walk-backs

 

Post-script.

Here are some handy links to check out for match information, sponsors and retailers.

See you there!!!!

 

**Ninja Edit** Thanks to Reno over at JSA – he has informed me that walk-backs are 3-600m, so knowing your 1 and 200m zeroes is imperative!!

 

BCRA precision match

Precision Rifle Championship poster

Branding and logos

Amputee Shooter Branding!

 

You may notice some uniformity across my social media presence now with some branding!  A big thanks to Douglas for banging out these logos!  After 3 years, I made the next step and got a logo designed so that I am able to unify my social media platforms!  If you are a gun person, and want some logos or graphics done – head on over to Douglas’ Facebook page and send him a message – he does great work, and his turn-around time is very quick.

 

I will also be using these, hopefully to watermark images I take and upload to my blog – making my brand more identifiable and recognizable.  If you are looking for images to hotlink – please don’t hesitate to reach out and I can provide hi-resolution copies of these for cross promotion.

 

Logo Black

Logo Black

Logo White

Logo White

Logo Landscape White

Logo Landscape White

Logo Landscape Black

Logo Landscape Black

2017 – Goals, achievements and looking forward!

Hello 2017!

It’s been a while since I’ve had an update here, and that is entirely on me. I took a brief break after NSCC this year to regroup, gather my thoughts and put my eyes on the future; for shooting and for where I want to go with that.   I apologize for the radio silence – I think 2017 will be a good one for me and for shooting.  The BCRA Precision match is coming up in a number of months, as well as NSCC again in the end of August in Ottawa.  Without further adieu – here are the straight goods.

New Facebook photo for 2017

New Facebook photo for 2017

 

 

CTV News clip.

I was approached by CJ Summers in the latter half of 2016, inquiring if I would like to have a story done about me being a disable shooter; to me this sounded like a neat idea thinking that he might be doing a story for a small online publication or Facebook group.  What it turned into in the beginning of 2017, was an interest from CTV to do a 2 minute segment with me and air it on prime-time news here in Vancouver.  So we hit up the range with my AR and precision rifles, as well as Jason from CTV– where I got to sit in front of a camera and get interviewed.

2017 - my debut on prime time news on CTV

2017 – my debut on prime time news on CTV

Overall it was a very positive experience – they didn’t spin the piece to be anti-firearms, they really showcased me as a regular guy that likes to compete across this fine nation, and aired on a huge local news station.   We talked a lot about me shooting without my hand, what I love about shooting and how I got into it, and what keeps me here.

Big thanks to CJ for making this happen!  I was floored by the positive feedback I got – I didn’t see a single negative comment about it.  The other part I liked was how I was able to bring to a mainstream media outlet, an objective commentary on firearms and the shooting sports.  All too often we get vilified in the press so it was really awesome to see it in a positive light.    I was even recognized a couple times because of it – that was weird.

You can check it out here: http://bc.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1032460

 

Slam Fire Radio.

Shortly after this piece aired, I also recorded an episode of Slam Fire Radio with Adriel of The Hunting Gear Guy blog, that should be going live Thursday, January 26th 2017, so check out their Facebook page or their website – I’ll also post it up here and on my Facebook page when it’s available.   Adriel and I chatted for about 45 minutes talking about various topics relating to precision rifle, reloading and shooting matches.  We got to touch on a lot of things I did in the CTV piece, but it will be a bit more lengthy and I go on a bit more on tangents!  Big thanks to Adriel for asking me on the show.

 

Another form of competition – paralympics.

I reached out earlier this month as well, to the paralympic shooting team, and ended up having a conversation with the coach of the team to find out how I can get involved.  I think 2017 is the year that I take my shooting further and I am going to try to get really into some competitive matches and focus on my marksmanship skills.   This is very preliminary thing but it is something that I want to focus on this year.  There are some qualification matches that I am going to look into; one of them being a national match in Toronto.

I would love to add to my long-term goals ‘competing in the paralympics’; so I think I am going to actively work towards making that happen.  I feel there is a lot of opportunity for me as an amputee and a shooter with this – so I am going to add it to my list of things this year to practice.

The Shooting Federation of Canada and the ISSF Website has a lot of good information on it.  Unfortunately it looks like it is a lot of self-driven practice so that is going to be a challenge.

A couple of items that I am going to need to take on myself:

  • Track down an air rifle for practice
  • Find mentorship
  • Work out a practice plan that I can implement and maintain

 

Sponsorship and goals

I know that I had this on my goals for last year – unfortunately I did not work on it as I should have last year, so I am pushing it forward to this year.  I’d like to be able to have some sort of sponsorship this year to supplement the outlay for gear and flights and such.  This is a big TBD as I have legitimately no experience with this.  Putting a pin in this, as a reminder to me of what I want to accomplish out of 2017.

2017:

  • Compete at NSCC again in August. I will better my score from last year.
  • Compete at the BCRA precision match.  I will better my score from last year.
  • Obtain a match-legal air rifle – the below is what I was advised to be looking at
  • I will practice shooting at least once every two weeks.
  • I will have a blog post once a month.
  • Obtain 1 sponsor by the end of the year.

 

Links

Finally – keep in touch with me through my various social media methods:

Send It group banner

Send It group banner

 

 

 

Summer wrap-up, BCRA and NSCC!

Summer wrap-up!

 

I’d like to apologize for the radio silence over the last couple of months – my day job was incredibly challenging over the summer, and I was working a lot of nights.  Plus I had this whole wedding thing to do in July.  This didn’t leave me a lot of time for blogging and unfortunately I had to push this to the side to focus on family.   So that being said – here is a brief rundown of my summer!

 

Rifle shooters

Rifle shooters

BCRA Precision Rifle Championshop

June was my annual outing to the BCRA Precision Rifle Championship out in Chilliwack at Vokes Range.  This marks my third year in a row competing!   As usual, it was a great turnout of guys and girls, shooting a variety of targets back to 600m.   Sight-in day went well, and the data I had for my 6CM looked great!   We did our walk-backs and got our dope for the following two days.   Arriving at the range on the Saturday morning, we could all tell that it was going to be an uncomfortable day spent in the rain – it ended up dumping 20mm over the course of the day.

 

Starting the day, I almost immediately noticed that I was getting a sticky bolt.  I managed to only get through 2 of the days stages; as it progressively got wetter and wetter, I was seeing more and more pressure signs from my rifle – popping primers and sticky bolts.  I judiciously made the decision to stop firing.  The rest of the day was spent spotting for Ryan, and then booked it back home to grab my 308 that night.  Nearing the end of the day, I was also happy (not happy?) to hear that I wasn’t the only person experiencing popped primers and pressure signs from the rain – a couple other competitors had the same problem during the days activities.

JSA Tactical - good dudes, good gear

JSA Tactical – good dudes, good gear

 

Working through the challenges

Sunday rolls around and I made it home and back in time for the second day of the match, using a tried and tested rifle with a scope I had only shot a couple times before!  I had left the Primary Arms scope on my 308, and didn’t have time to swap it over and re-zero for day 2; knowing that it was zeroed from the last time I shot it – I went with it and figured we could work out any wrinkles along the way.   Another thing to note,  it was in MRAD and I had only shot MOA – so that was also challenging.

 

First exposure of the day is the cold bore shot at 100m, and Ryan’s advice was to take the shot and we could use the following ‘Dots of Doom’ to confirm zero.   I took my cold bore shot and Ryan was doubtful that it even hit the target – he couldn’t see a bullet hole on target.  Thinking that this would be a lot more of a challenge to finish the day – I was 100% happy to see that I nailed the cold bore, with a score of 100/100.   My confidence for the day was excellent – and I approached the rest of the shoot relaxed.   We went through a number of awesome serials, including modified prone through a barrier and ‘rooftop’.  Check out the course of fire here.  I was incredibly pleased to see that despite missing 4 serials on the first day – I still finished 13th place.

 

Picture courtesy of: https://www.instagram.com/pistolchampion/

Picture courtesy of:
https://www.instagram.com/pistolchampion/

 

 

Wedding!

Shortly after the BCRA match – I got to marry my best friend in a beautiful ceremony in Chilliwack, with a great view of the mountains and on a really beautiful day!   It was a fun-filled day of drinks, good food and a whole lot of partying with our friends.  We wanted to throw the best party we could to celebrate with our friends and family and it was exactly what we had hoped for.   I’ll keep this brief and just show a picture of after the ceremony:

 

 

NSCC 2016 – preparation!

With all the stuff going on before NSCC – I didn’t think that I was actually going to make it this year, but some last minute juggling of time and money, and I had my ticket booked and spot secured.  The previous month, I was wracking my brain on solving the pressure issues with the 6CM – after the BCRA match, I cleaned the hell out of it, JB’d the bore as per the cleaning regimen that is documented, and lo-and-behold, a load that was spot-on for velocity before, was now giving me between 100 and 175 more FPS velocity, bringing it up to around 3300 FPS.  The target velocity should be 3100-3150, so this was completely puzzling to me, and to Ryan.  I leaned on his expertise heavily on trying to troubleshoot this, and I will have a full post dedicated to it.

 

Too fucking early.

Too fucking early.

 

Suffice it to say, the day before I flew out – I was at the range getting my 308 match ready, swapping scopes and then loading the 200 rounds I needed for the next day!  Talk about last minute!

 

Holy hell that is a lot of gear.

Holy hell that is a lot of gear.

 

I managed to get everything done in time, and at the ungodly hour of 4am Ryan and I met at the airport for our trek back east.  As an aside – I’d like to say it’s really shitty of Westjet to jack up the prices of checked luggage – $30 for one piece, $70 for the second and $100 for the 3rd, making for almost 1/2 the cost of my flight in baggage fees.  Thankfully the girl at the counter was sympathetic and knocked that down for me.   I think next year – I am going to have to take a long look at if I can make it again.  All of this shooting is out of pocket for me as we don’t seem to have the same sort of sponsorship opportunities that our friends in the US do.   (Any sponsors out there want to help a guy out – email me at info@amputee-shooter.com)

So beautiful - heart and soul of Canada's shooting sports

So beautiful – heart and soul of Canada’s shooting sports

NSCC 2016 – weekend summary!

The first half of day 1 was walk-backs to get our zeros.  I was more than pleased that all the data that I had from last year, was almost spot-on this year as well! The match is all shot prone, and is a mixture of snap targets, movers, and fully indicated targets – it’s challenging and goes out to 800m.   Check out the course of fire.   I am not going to do a full run-down of the matches, but more highlight the positives over the weekend.

Always beautiful when the sun is shining

Always beautiful when the sun is shining

As usual – I met and shot with a bunch of awesome and friendly guys – being my second year, I was happy to see some familiar faces from last year, and to meet some new ones.  NSCC comraderie is amazing – with military, police and civillian all mingling and hanging out shooting the shit.  Lots of taking the piss on the line, and lots of support when things were not going 100% the way people wanted.  I highly recommend anyone that likes to compete, and can make it happen – to come to NSCC.

Not sure who let this goon on the range

Not sure who let this goon on the range

 

NSCC 2016 – pros and cons

My stated goal, on my Facebook page this year was to better my score from last year, and I accomplished just that.  2015 score was 300.12 and this year I eked out a 306.15.  My v-bull count went up and my overall score went up.  I left being completely happy with my performance there. Out of all the rounds shot, I only had 5  dropped shots, and one of those was a penalty for taking a shot at a trial-exposure.  Unfortunately we were far down the line, could not clearly hear the PA system and I mistook the target coming up, for the serial and fired a shot.  My mistake, and I owned up to it.

 

Shootin' and spottin'

Shootin’ and spottin’

By far the biggest highlight of the weekend was when Ryan and I won Match 63!  A 500m snap shoot at Figure 12 and Figure 11 targets.  Ryan got a perfect 50 with 5 V’s and I got a 48 with 4 V’s. Hearing my name called at the award ceremony at the end of the second day was something I won’t forget. This is my first time in a competition where I won anything.  I was riding a high and on top of that, I got to take home a sweet memento from the weekend.

First NSCC award!

First NSCC award!

Final thoughts

I had a fantastic time again and am really hoping that it is in the cards for me to get back there for 2017.  I want better my score over this year and last year.  I have 11 or so months to sort out rifle issues and practice practice practice!   I firmly maintain that if you are contemplating going to a match – just do it.  You won’t regret your decision as there are always amazing people to ease you into it.  I jumped in both feet first, and have not looked back since.

 

Course of fire and tasty beverage.

Course of fire and tasty beverage.

 

Fort McMurray fires, firearms storage.

If you are affected by the fires in Fort McMurray, Edmonton firearms retailer P&D Enterprises has offered storage for all restricted, non-restricted and prohibited firearms for 6 months, no charge:

 

“Free Gun Storage For Ft.McMurray Fire Victims

We are offering our safe, legal storage for firearms for Ft. McMurray fire victims for up to six months…for no charge. Please contact us any way possible or just bring them into the store without any prior arrangements. We can store non restricted, restricted and prohibited guns. Good luck to all those impacted by the fire. Phil, Dianne, Chris and Jodie.”

 

 

Also more info here for another spot:

 

“GUN OWNERS EVACUATING FORT MAC: there are 16 rough camping spots available at a range, 40 min east of Edmonton. Restricted’s and non are more than welcome. Access to fresh water, safe storage. Please contact me for instructions. THIS IS AT A RANGE SO YOUR ATT ALLOWS YOU TO TRAVEL THERE WITH YOUR R’S. Call me 1-844-243-CCFR (2237). Special thank you to Chris Russell.”