Monday, November 28, 2011

Thankful for the Camp Perry Rifle Match

Tactical Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving means more than just family, friends and turkey followed by early morning Black Friday shopping.  For me Thanksgiving means family, friends, and turkey followed by the rifle pop-up match at Camp Perry.  This fun match benefits Friends of Camp Perry and is run by the Ohio Rifle and Pistol Association. 

The CoF involves 40 pop-up targets from 50 to 300 yards.   Excluding military and police I don’t know any other match that has reactive rifle targets.  It’s a blast and I look forward to it all year long
Pop-up rifle range - Camp Perry

The targets are half–size plastic humanoids.  They are colored either blue or red to prevent accidental cross-over.  You can choose your politics as you wish.

Pop-up in its foxhole.   

This year the CoF was a little more difficult than previous years.  All the pop-ups were either doubles or triples.  Triples will stand up for 9 seconds while doubles will be visible for 5 seconds.  The computer that controls the match puts 3 seconds between each group. 

Scoring is either hit or miss and the computer detects the bullet passing through the plastic and takes the target down.  It is by far the fastest and most fun rifle match I have ever shot.  

There are no winners or losers.  Your identity is simply your relay number and firing point.  But you can learn a lot from the print-outs which detail the distance to the target and if you’ve hit or missed.

The Tactical Side
If you can consider the possibility that you might need to engage multiple targets to protect yourself or others, shooting paper or steel isn’t enough.  I’m sorry, but it’s not.  It’s the fixed nature of the targets that prevents you from maximizing your potential.  Sure, Perry pop-up targets are located in specific locations, but you don’t know which ones will show up next.

There are several ways to shoot the match depending on your equipment.  If you’re young and your eyesight is still crisp and eagle sharp, you can use iron sights.  The rest of us need dots and scopes.

I’m shooting a 3x variable scope on an AR platform.  The first thing I learned is higher power means you can see the 300 target easier, but the smaller field of view prevents me from seeing other closer targets in time to engage them.  My scope only dials down to 3x, but 2x might be better as would a more expensive scope with large field of view.

You don’t shoot with a spotter, so it’s easy to miss the 150 yard target on the other side of your shooting lane while engaging another at 300 yards.  I can speculate that two shooters per lane, one with scope and other with a dot or iron sights, could very effectively control the lane as well as pick up the slack while the other reloaded.  That sounds a little like a sniper team, doesn’t it?

Since only one shooter uses a lane at a time there are several options on order of engagement.

Tactical Only: Engage each group of targets from near to far.  This makes several assumptions.  They all have the same weapon, that the 300 yard guy isn’t shooting an RPG.

Easy First: Quickly shoot the nearest, allowing accuracy to slide in the favor of speed.  The time you save is then used for the more difficult targets.

Hard First: The theory is take your time to hit the far one, then confident with the reassurance of your ability, speed into the easy one.

I Spy Method:  Shoot the target closest to cross hairs when the targets pop up.  Don’t waste time moving to the hard or easy target, just shoot what you see and then move to the next.

For me, I Spy worked the best.

The Weapons
The AR platform was the most common. 
With bells and whistles and a dot.  Note the black rubber block provided for support.
Basic model - skill provided by the shooter

I didn’t see any bolt action rifles this year.   

The venerable M1-Garand was represented as was the M1 carbine and the civilian semi-auto version of the M14.  

M-14 - Note the shooting glove - slings aren't just for carrying.
 I saw both FN Scar and FN FAL.   

Mono or bi-pod - - Stability is king at 300 yards.

 The former Soviet Union was represented with at least one AK47-type rifle.  

AK set up as a scout rifle. Shooter told me this made it almost too easy.

 I’m sure I missed all the other possible semi-autos.

The Garand was seriously handicapped by the 8 round N-block and the difficulty of reloading.  

Garand in 30-06    8 N-blocks plus one in the rifle - Busy shooter

 The M1 carbine has a reputation of being inadequate for distant killing power.  Still, in combat or in self-defense, a wounded man becomes a liability.  Few people choose to be shot with any caliber. 
M1 Carbine

Ability to pour fire into an area or target has always been significant.  One can only wonder that a Minute Man with his musket would have thought of a lever action 30-30 or the doughboy with his M1903 examining an AK47.

Quite possibly the most tactical aspect of the Perry Pop-up Match is learning your limitations.  And it’s fun too!

I hope to see you there next year!

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