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April 29, 2001

Our first Creedmoor match was held on Sunday, April 29 and we had 7 competitors. Actually, the light turn-out helped us determine what kinks needed to be ironed out. We shot the relays pretty much in manner as they are conducted at Raton except that we shot at all 3 distances simultaneously. The first group of shooters started preparations while the spotters went down range to the hides.

Due to having to shoot in a rotation, i.e., the competitor for 800 first, then 900 and finally 1000 yards, there was no real rhythm to the shoot. After the 800 shot, the 900 shot came, then the 1000 yard.

What we decided for future matches, assuming we have enough competitors, is allow each competitor to fire the entire group of targets, (800, 900 & 1000) pausing only to repaint and to allow shooters to clean rifles and move to their next shooting position. By doing this, with a 20 minute maximum to complete the relay, we can get the match completed in a more timely manner.

Based on the speed most individuals shoot, we anticipate that we can get the time frame down to 15 minutes per relay. With enough radios, we can have a discreet channel for each distance so that there will be non-interrupted communication at each range. This will allow each distance to shoot uninterrupted, as quickly as they desire, within the maximum time limit.

This means that the down-range spotters will be there up to an hour but that will be a one time duty. That group would rotate back to the firing line to spot for the previous group of spotters who would be one the firing line.

OK. We were the guinea pigs for the first match and those who want to compete at future matches will benefit from our from our experiments. We have determined that some additional work is going to be needed on the Creedmoor Range. We need to scrape the ground in front of the targets to make sure we can spot short hits. At some point, we’ll need to construct berms behind the 1000 target to assist spotting misses. One possibility for the short term will be to build some sort of wooden frame behind the target that we can then staple some form of paper or polypropylene sheeting to. This would be a great aid in helping to determine misses that are high or wide until the berm can be constructed.

As usual, low shots were generally pretty easy to spot from the dust kicked up. Wide shots were very difficult if they didn’t hit the ground. They were generally lost in the trees or shrubbery. Sitting in the hides is a pretty interesting experience because you can actually hear the bullet pass overhead. When sitting in the 821 yard hide, the hits on the 800 and 900 yard target begin to make it sound like you’re sitting inside a bell tower. The difference in sound between the standard target steel and the 36" bullseye gong becomes readily apparent after a few hits.

The Creedmoor match is actually pretty relaxing to shoot. You’re on the line about 25 minutes, perhaps less, and then you get to spot, both up-range and down-range. Trust me when I tell you that you’ll learn a lot about bullet flight and the effect of winds while sitting in the hides.

David "Hawkeye" Pierce and I were sitting in the hide behind the buffalo berm doing the spotting chores for the 900 & 1000 yard targets. We got to the point where we could almost predict that the bullet strike was going to be left, right, short or high based on what the wind was doing in the trees just prior to the shot.

Seeing the results at the targets and noting what the wind was doing in the trees really assisted both Hawkeye and myself on our final relay at 1000 yards. We found that we really needed to note what was happening at the flag on top of the ram line.

In the next weeks, I’ll be looking for some large flags or wind socks that we can mount down range at about 600, 825 and 950 yards. The closer in flags help but we really need to get some kind of visual on what conditions are further down range. This will be addressed as quickly as possible.

Until the next match,
Hold Center,
Tom Berwick

Competitor

800 Yd

900 Yd

1000 Yd

Total

Tom Berwick 80 - 2x 74 - 1x 56 210 - 3x
David Pierce 80 70 60 210
Gary Krutilek 74 66 60 200
Fon Stonum 70 - 1x 68 44 182 - 1x
Wayne Lovell 74 - 1x 58 48 180 - 1x
Nick Nickelson 52 - 1x 56 - 1x 66 174 - 2x
O. J. Riddles 46 40 12 98