Monday, January 13, 2014

2014 Arizona State Service Rifle Championship January 10-12, 2014

                                             BEN AVERY SHOOTING FACILITY
                                                       DECEMBER 10-12, 2014

This past weekend, shooters from around the country gathered here in shooting heaven for three days of friendly competition at what is arguably the best 100 point range in the country. Fridays 600 yard matches brought in some of the top sling and F Class shooters from the southwest and beyond, Saturdays 80 shot Regional course of fire witnessed a strong contingent of Marines landing on our doorstep, and Sundays "Leg" match provided some hope for the future of high power shooting as a fair number of juniors were in attendance. Weather wise the three day affair was conducted under mostly clear skies that featured docile winds and daytime high temperatures in the low 70's. All in all our desert playground showed its very best for those who came to join in on the shooting fun and here are some of their stories.
The first matches of the three day weekend were conducted Friday at 600 yards and drew 40 hopefuls consisting of a mix of palma, any and service rifle shooters in the sling and a scattering of F-TR and F-Open shooters. The two F divisions were combined and Gentleman Jim Murphy, now driving an F-TR rig, wasted no time pinning the ears back on his bipod and belly-benchrest brethren by first creedmooring Battling Bill Berta in the first match of the day; eclipsing Bob Bairds wonderful one down 14X effort with a stellar clean with 11X's in the second. Then, in the third and final match of the day, the soft spoken Kentuckian demonstrated that riding roughshod over the Open division was no fluke by besting all comers with a strong 198-12X effort. Jim credits his Berger 168 grain Hybrids for the strong mid range showing and though that may be true to some extent, I'm sure being a first rate shooter also figured in to the equation. Should he choose to campaign his 308 through the Berger Long Range Nationals next month I would speculate that the F-TR division will indeed have it's hand full with this talented shooter.
In the days class battles amongst the sling shooters, Marine Reservist Jesse Bragg drove his AR to two victories in the combined Marksman/Sharpshooter class, that included a sterling 200-10X score in the second. Steve Rossi made his presence known in the third by posting the winning score, a solid 194-4X effort, with his palma rifle. In the Master Class Jeff Miles lit up the scoreboard in the first, with a fine 199-6X with his service rifle. In the second, it was Marine Reservist Chuck Keith edging Miles out by a single point for the class win and in the third match of the day, local junior shooter Jaden Swartwood piloted his AR to the winners circle with a beautiful 199-7X effort. All in all a fine showing by many in the Master Class and I think there may be some HM cards coming to some in the very near future! Speaking of High Masters, when you dangle a mostly tranquil day in front of some of the areas best trigger pullers I can assure you there will be some stellar scores and this bunch did not disappoint as no less than ten "clean" scores were posted by the nine division hopefuls. Rick Curtis led the way through the first two matches with 18X and 16X efforts respectively and Nancy Tompkins, in her first match since her carpal tunnel surgery side-lined her two months ago, put up a solid 15X score to claim the match three victory over mini-me Doug Frerichs's 12X performance. Other notable accomplishments were in evidence as Justin Skaret steered his service rifle to a trio of good scores, 198-9, 199-8 and 199-8 respectively and Chuck Fryer put up some very good scores with his brand new palma rifle with a pair of 197's in the first two matches! Without a doubt Friday will be remembered by most as just a great day to be out on the range with friends and personally I feel blessed to share the same patch of earth with so many good hearted souls!!

Saturday dawned a bit colder than the previous day but thankfully the same tranquil winds took the sting out of what could have been a very chilly morning for the forty-four participants in the 80 shot XTC event. In the standing match Jaden Swartwood continued his winning ways by posting the top score by one X over Marine Reserve Rifle Team Major Charlton Evans. Going into the rapid fire stages Evans caught fire, blistering the pack with a withering 13X clean at 200 and creedmooring civilian service rifle shooter Paul Shumway's 200-9X effort at 300 giving the Marine Major a one point edge over former National Service Rifle Champion Eric Swearingen going back to 600!

In the Class battles Swartwood kept the pedal to the metal in the Master class by putting up a strong 199-13X score in the 200 yard rapid fire match only to stumble at 300 with a disappointing 193 putting him 16 down on the day. Meanwhile Tanner Fadely and Bronson Scott recovered nicely from their humble starts on their feet and with winning in mind began to reel in the unsuspecting Swartwood with solid efforts in the rapid fire stages to close within five points of the wiry youth going back. The Expert Class witnessed intermediate junior Donnie Smith making his presence on the line felt with back to back class wins in the standing and sitting rapid fire matches as well as a second in class score at 300 rapid to lead the upper classmen going back to 600 down a mere 16 points. It should be noted that 14 year old Ryan Hayes who, come January 20th will become Arizona's youngest ever shooter to achieve a High Master rating in Long Range, lay lurking like a Habu in an Okinawan quonset hut, just waiting to strike.

The combined Sharpshooter/Marksmen class battle erupted like Mt Saint Helens as Dick Malone grabbed the class win in both the standing and sitting rapid fire matches, only to be handed a defeat at 300 rapid by the graceful and engaging Ms. Sara Nguyen. Her solid 190-5X effort was head and shoulders above the rest and would have finished well in the Expert Class, but nonetheless Malone remained the man to beat with only the longest line left on their ever diminishing plates!

It is often said that these matches are won standing and lost at 600 and the results of the last match of the day Saturday certainly supports that position. Starting with the combined SS/MK division Steve Speer coaxed a respectable finish out of his M1A to grab the class win in the prone slow fire event, but his less than stellar start standing, relegated him to a third overall class finish. Mike Dawson, who started off down to Malone, had steadily moved closer all day and just needed a strong finish to nab the class "W" but alas it was just not meant to be as his 174 slow prone score eviscerated all hope of that outcome. In the end Malone hung in to take a convincing combined class victory by 10 points over Dawson. The Expert class witnessed a Hindenburg like catastrophe as Smith literally crashed and burned at 600, relegating him to a distant third place class finish. Veteran shooter Phil Meyers turned in solid scores all day long to claim second place among the Experts, but in the end it was Ryan Hayes who got it done the best and one of these days when this young man learns to shoot on his feet, watch out world! In the Master Class Fadeley, on the strength of firing the fourth highest score on the line at 600 cruised to victory by two over Scott and three over Swartwood to claim both the Master class and Hi Junior awards!
The battle for the title of State Champion was to be decided in a convincing fashion as both eventual third overall finisher Jesse Bragg and  second place finisher Swearingen, had less than stellar results at 600. Evans on the other hand continued his string of match victories that had begun at the sitting rapid match by firing the highest score of the day at 600; thus winning the overall title with a solid 791-30X's! Well Done Major, well done indeed!

As of this writing I have not received the CMP EIC results from Sundays match. I do know that Ryan Hayes won it and the only "leg" with a very good score of 488. The weather was great and we had 18 shooters, five of which were already distinguished. When published, full match results will be HERE
In closing I just want to thank all the folks who make these matches happen including Mid Tompkins for publishing the match program and for the stat work, Peter Church and Richard, for making the best targets around, Jim Hahn for his tireless efforts at keeping out comm systems going and to ASRPA President Noble Hathaway for coming out to present awards. All of you are key to the success we enjoy with these matches!

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Have a great week, I will get the Coming Events email out tomorrow and I hope to see you on the line very soon!


Paul D. Mitchell said...

A competition can influence everyone to shoot accurately. Specially it helps more the younger. I just knew it and it is really a good idea. Thanks for sharing the news.
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James said...

Indeed competition makes you learn eagerly. Takes you to precision.