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

My goals for 2016

My goals for 2016

 

A brief look at my goals for 2016.  I do this exercise frequently at work, and have extended it to my personal life and by extension, into my practice and competition.   By using the philosophy of S.M.A.R.T. goals, you are able to define achievable and specific goals, with specific dates and tasks to complete.

So – for my goals for 2016, will be measurable, and achievable:

 

 

1) I will go back to NSCC and place in the top 10.

In the end of August, I will be travelling back to Ottawa for my second appearance at NSCC.  I will be in the top 10 of all competitors in the precision rifle category.   This will be an improvement from my 2015 finish which was 15th out of 68 competitors.

 

2) I will diversify my practice routines.

By December 31, 2016 I will be comfortable shooting in different positions with my Service Rifle.   I will practice shooting seated, standing and kneeling every time I go to the range.   Practicing my weaknesses as well as my strengths will only help to make me a better shooter.

 

3) I will place in the top 5 at the BCRA Precision match.

This year will mark my 3rd time shooting the BCRA Precision match.   My first, I placed in the bottom 5.  Last year I placed in the top 15.  This year I will place in the top 5.   More practice and more shooting this year will be my aim, with this, and NSCC as the endgame of that practice.

 

4) I will have 1 sponsorship by December 31, 2016.

This one will be a difficult task for me for a number of reasons.   I have no idea how to go about getting a sponsorship for shooting.  On top of that, in the grand scheme of things, I am a new shooter, and I don’t know how that will be viewed by vendors.   That being said – I will have a sponsorship by December 31, 2016.

5) I will pay for my entry to the GAP Grind in 2017.

I have made it a long-term goal to shoot the GAP Grind in Tennessee, in 2017.  This a grueling slog through stages from 200m out to 1200m, carrying all you need on your back.  This relies heavily on positional shooting, barricade shooting and endurance and time-based stages.    I look forward to it, but at the same time I need to get my fitness in order for it.

 

Additional footnotes for 2016 that I would like to accomplish:

 

  • Pick up a Schmidt and Bender PM II 5-25 scope for my 6CM.  Swapping scopes between rifles is a chore, and I would like to keep each of my precision rifles scoped.
  • Gain more exposure for and from my blog.   I will be taking earnings from things like gun photography, and investing it into this blog to get more exposure.  This will be in the form of paid advertisement on Facebook as a first step.
  • I will be re-branding this blog with a new logo early on in 2016.
  • Continue to practice with shooters that are better than me.  I can learn so much from people that are accomplished and decorated shooters.

 

I will leave you with this piece of advice from Keith Cunningham and Linda Miller – Marksmanship Tip Of The Day:

“Train with the best shooters. Your practice time will be well leveraged if you can spend time with good shooters. This is an application of the “power of the pack”: we raise or lower ourselves to the standard we’re around. We tend to copy the group; therefore, surround yourself with people who are where you want to go.”

 

 

Surgeon 591, 6CM

Surgeon 591, 6CM