Michael Furrer Wins in Montana
Saturday and Sunday June 3rd and 4th Granite Creek Montana. Beautiful weather, mid 70's, moderate winds. This was a team match with about 30 teams.
My Gear: Rainier Arms Team Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor, Defiance Action, Benchmark Barrel 1-8 twist. Mega Arms/Killer Innovations ORIAS Chassis. The rifle was built by Ken Hagen of H&H Precision. Scope is the Vortex Razor Gen 2 4.5-27 MRAD, Kestrel Applied Ballistics and Sig Kilo 2400 range finder. My ammunition is PRIME 6.5 Creedmoor.
This match, run by Bill Woods who interestingly was himself on the U.S. National Running Target Team (former Olympic event) with two World Championship silver medals to his name.
The match proceeds are donated to a couple of interesting charities: Stay in Step which is a benefit organization for veterans with spinal cord injuries and The "Unit Foundation" which is a benefit organization for the dependents of deceased members of Americas top anti-terrorist organization.
The match was held over a two day period, 5 stages each day. Rifle matches in Montana tend to have rather long ranges, usually with significant winds, this match was no exception. The two most interesting stages for me were the high angle stage and stage 9.
- High Angle: As the name implies, this stage was fired off basically a ledge overlooking a rather large canyon. The targets were arrayed along the canyon floor from 350 yards out to 1,000 yards. The angles, if I recall, were rather steep for the short range, probably 30% or more but were never less than 20% for the longer ranged targets. As most shooters know, when shooting steep angles, your line of sight distance and the True Ballistic Range differ. To keep it simple, it's the time the bullet is effected by gravity that matters, which means the horizontal distance is the key. I use a Flatline Ops (ACI) Angle Cosign Indicator to help me with this calculation, it is mounted right under my level on the left side of my action, I see it clearly with my left eye. The solution for us on this stage was that the majority of the distant targets were placed at an angle of 20 degrees, the math was fairly simple, we simply deducted about 5% off our line of sight difference, which in this game, was close enough. We nearly cleaned this stage.
- Stage 9: This stage hurt a few teams. This stage was a classic team stage with nine targets or so, arranged in a fish hook type pattern from about 600 yards to 900 plus yards. Each member of the team would get two shots at their target, alternating shooter and target as you progressed. If the first shooter missed his target with both shots, shooter 2 could take a shot at the same target. If he hit, the team would progress to the next target. On about the 4th target in the stage, my partner Owen missed his two shots, I took the recovery shot and missed! Thankfully there was one more way to recover and get back in the game: A 1,300 yard distance circular target which was maybe 20 inches. Owen took his shot and missed but I got a great wind call off that shot, adjusted one mil of right wind, fired and hit dead center. This got us back in the game and we finished the stage.
My take away from this match: 1st It's always fantastic when you have a great partner, who shoots well and calls his shots. 2nd Equipment that functions consistently, without fail. Don't scrimp on your gear, starting with your rifle, barrel, range finder and ballistic calculator. This is gear you can grow into over-time but try to buy the best. 3rd My ammunition in my view, one of the keys to success. A year ago I transitioned to PRIME ammunition. I simply didn't have enough time to chase components, prep brass and reload. I'm a junior rifle coach, a volunteer for the police, run a business and enjoy hanging around with my family, there just isn't enough time. I tried some PRIME ammunition, it turned out to have amazing accuracy. The reality is that to win in this game, you really only need about a half minute accuracy, conveniently, out of the box PRIME, exceeds that performance. I then checked the standard deviation, which ended up consistently being about 8, I haven't looked back nor do I question this ammunition.
Today I spend more time training, rather than sitting at the bench reloading. I'm nearly at the end of my shooting season and need to place my next year's order of PRIME 6.5 Creedmoor!