Saturday, June 7, 2014

Today at the Range

Apart from all the basics, you just have to get out to the range. Today was the monthly CMP sponsored Garand Match at our club. The Civilian Marksmanship Program was created by Congress in 1903. It's purpose was to train civilians to be marksmen. It has gone through some changes, but it still sells rifles and ammunition, establishes the rules for competition, and provides training.

I was shooting a 1903-A3, there were also M1-As, Garands, and AR-15s in today's match. In a Garand Match, it's the historical U.S. military rifles in .30 caliber that qualify for score. We allow anyone to participate, setting aside the scores from other types of firearms.

It's 30 rounds for score. 10 prone slow-fire, 10 prone rapid fire, and 10 rounds off-hand (standing). Possible score of 300 (HA!). To score 300, every round would have to hit a 3 inch circle at 100 yards. The off-hand string is what usually separates the scores. Standing, no sling, iron sights, with a long, heavy rifle. The front sight dances around the target as you try to stabilize things and make a firing decision, then get a 7 to 8 pound trigger to let off while you're still somewhere near the bull.

There's no secrets. It just requires practice. I shot a 267.

I also got to spend a sunny morning with some friends and enjoy the experience of shooting a match with a piece of American history.


Differ said...

267 sounds pretty good...though I have no reference. I probably should get involved with CMP; I certainly need to improve my marksmanship.

Dave H said...
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Dave H said...

One of our instructors yesterday quoted Gen. George Patton's statement that the M1 Garand was "the greatest battle implement ever devised." Then he continued, "But Patton never had to lug one across Europe."

It's not a light rifle by any means, but it's still a darned fine rifle. It does pretty much what you tell it to do, every time.

Does the CMP provide ammo for the monthly matches?

Differ: I do recommend attending CMP matches. You don't have to have a 1903 or M1. Some of the guys I met with yesterday talked about shooting matches with AR-15s and Mausers in various calibers. One of the instructors said they try to discourage AKs and SKSes though. That might be a local thing though.

Jeffersonian1 said...

267 is pretty good. My personal best is 276, 2nd place of 26, and that was years ago. My last try was only 227.

Dave H., some clubs include CMP ammo in the match fee, some require it to be used to level the field, others allow your handloads or sell CMP rounds separately. You'll be required to use club/CMP ammo if you're using one of the club's loaner rifles.

ASM826 said...

I was shooting reloads. The rules and expectations have become relaxed with final end of the sales of 30.06 surplus ammo.

My best is a 283, with the same rifle I used yesterday.

knirirr said...

I've never shot using those rules, but based on your description that seems like a very good score. I'd think I was doing well to get 150 points.

Unfortunately, limited as I am by range access and punitively expensive ammunition, anything above mediocre rifle shooting is unlikely to be attained.

Goober said...

ASM, maybe you can talk about knirirr's response about not having access to a range.

Personally, I never fired a single round at a range until i was well into adulthood (and I fired my first rifle when I was a little over two years old). I gained my shooting ability quite organically. i took rifles into the wild and shot things. I picked a rock, tried to guess how far it was from me, and shot it. Then I'd walk a ways, find another rock and do the same thing.

For precision sighting, i'd staple a target to a fencepost and pace off the distance.

I graduated at an early age to picking off jackrabbits and ground squirrels at stupidly distant ranges for fun. I had a .30-06 in my youth, and the best thing about the .30-06 is that there was a metric shit ton of super cheap ammo available in military surplus stores.

I shot the barrel out of that rifle, which for a non-magnum takes 8 to 10 thousand rounds, and I don't recall ever once in my entire life firing that particular rifle at an established range.

I can't imagine where you live that you don't have at least SOME wilderness available to you where you can shoot a few rounds every so often. Maybe I'm wrong.

knirirr said...

I can't imagine where you live that you don't have at least SOME wilderness available to you where you can shoot a few rounds every so often.

There's not really anywhere near me that's sufficiently remote that I'd feel comfortable firing a full-bore bolt-action rifle. In any case, to fire anywhere but an approved range is illegal where I live.

The closest full-bore range to which I have easy access is 90-120 minutes' drive away (depending on traffic). If money were no object then I could go there regularly and do some decent practice, but the range fees, fuel and ammunition costs render this prohibitive.

I do have much easier and cheaper access to a .22 range (up to 100m) and I'm on the look out for a decent .22 semi-auto (ideally one which can be used left-handed) so I can at least practice with that.