A less-than-perfect weather forecast didn’t deter 42 shooters from showing up for ECNRC’s 2017 opener. 31 Sling and 11 F-Class shooters were treated to stiff winds and 38º on the thermometer when things got started at 9 am Saturday. The folks who had not yet removed their winter clothes from their vehicles held a distinct advantage in the early matches, while the less fortunate tried to keep their teeth from chattering long enough to get their shots off.
I always enjoy shooting at this range, but for one reason or another, I haven’t been able to get to one of their matches since April of 2014. The range was in beautiful shape, and James Melville & crew kept the match moving like a Swiss watch. Eau Claire’s matches always get a good mix of shooters from beginners to the most seasoned High Masters, and this match was no exception. Sling shooters out-numbered F-Class by a 3 to 1 margin, with 19 shooting Match/Any Rifles, 10 shooting Service Rifles, and 2 shooting in the new AR Tactical class. I am still in the process of getting loads sorted out for a new Palma barrel, so I packed up 4 loads with 2 different bullets to try to get some solid data.
The winds got a little tricky at times, and mirage came and went with little warning as clouds and light shifted. I eventually stopped looking for it, as it seemed to be lying to me anyways. Either that, or my zero was off, which is a distinct possibility as I had just put a new rear sight on the night before!
In the F-Class aggregate, Wisconsin’s own Jeff Dick took top honors, with his 786-33x beating out second place Kent Weigel by just 7 X’s. Jim Ivacia walked away with the Master class win, and Alex Walrath was top Sharpshooter.
After getting beat up a little by the wind in match 1, I managed to batten down the hatches the rest of the day to hang on for the win in the sling agg with a 796-48x. Dick VanValkenburg and Dave Simonson duked it out all day in the Master class, with Lil’ Dickie finally coming out on top with a 780-29x. Recovering M1A addict Jay Salinas used his new scoped Service Rifle to lay the smack down on the combined Expert/Sharpshooter/Marksman class with a solid 761-19x. I expect young Jay to be in the hunt for leg points this year after finally coming over to the dark (rifle) side.
Thanks to James and the ECNRC gang for putting on a great match, I hope to make it back again next year!
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