North Dakota XTC Regional - William Coulter Range | Forks Rifle Club
This past weekend, the North Dakota XTC Regional was held in Grand Forks. The forecast earlier in the week showed a chance for wind, rain, heat, and what else in ND? More wind… 19 brave souls still took their talents to the range just Southwest of town to see who would emerge as the champion. The weather for Relay 1 was as nice as I have ever encountered on the range, a very slight breeze allowed you to focus on shot execution in standing and that is just what Russ Theurer did. He shot a FANSTASTIC 196-4X. I was not able to compete with that level of standing today. I ended up with a decent, but lower than should have been 191-4X. The SD bearded one (Aaron G) also broke 190, with 1X.
Sitting has been a major disappointment for me this year. I have shot some good scores while training, but at matches I have left way too many points on the table. Losing 50 lbs definitely would be the long-term solution, but that isn’t happening this summer. On Tuesday night, I shot a string of standing practice and then tried a couple variants to see if I could improve. I went back to a crossed ankle position but simply can’t get my right elbow onto my knee. I tried this funky chicken position and was able to shoot 2 200’s with the highest X counts I have ever shot. So, I planned to use it at Grand Forks. It either would be good or a train wreck. I was fortunate that it worked pretty well again with a 199-9X for sitting, but the pistol shooter continues to school us knuckle dragging highpower shooters on rapid fires. Travis Jorgenson got the only clean with a 200-8X shooting his 6.5 Grendel.
The weather was building throughout the day, and we were able to get 1 string of 300RF shot before we put the targets away and headed for shelter from the rain for a little over 2 hours. Stories were told, and other recollections as we waited for the weather to pass. When we got back to the line, the ND wind came with it. We had SERIOUS wind; buffet your position-type of ND wind. At 300 I was able to claim the match with a lone 9 lost at 3 o’clock followed with 11X’s, but there were 2 other 99’s fired by Travis and Russ T and 98’s by Coby D, Tommy T and Ryan Karrar. It was a close match going back to 600.
600 - well, this was not fun. The wind was switching, and velocity up to 20mph. Direction changes were causing 8’s and 7’s to appear. It was not going to be a clean day for sure. We have all had matches where you get unlucky, and other matches where you get lucky. This was a luck match for me, I was able to find the middle in sighters but a couple record shots in got pushed when the shot broke for an 8, a couple shots later the same thing another 8. I was then able to string a bunch of 10’s before 2 nines, where I did not believe the wind had let off (mental note, 9’s mean there has been a change… duh). Others on the string got unluckily out of sync with the wind and when they corrected it doubled the poor outcome… It happens, and it sucks - been there many times. After my 194-7X, Travis J was next high with a 192-5X, Aaron G also was able to get in the 190’s with a 191-5X. For the conditions, these were good scores. Tommy had a 189-6X and Coby a 187-4X. It was tough!
When all was over, I was able to climb up the leaderboard with solid RF and a good final 600. 783-31X for my first XTC overall Regional Gold. Travis J got ahead of Russ T by X’s for the silver and Russ ended with the Bronze. Tommy T, myself and Zach Struble then went down and pulled targets for Travis/Garth, Aaron/Alex Flores, and Coby/Karrar. Many pulled out their bolt rifles with better ballistics, which was the right call. The results were not posted, but I believe that Garth and Travis took the bragging rights.
Other scores of note - Rick Kraft shot an Expert score, he is making good progress! Aaron Hanson who has shot very little position had a near expert score with a really good 185-1X at 600 from a service rifle. Zach Struble shot a F-Class gun, with only a 3 round magazine in 6.5PRC but still was able to get almost all the rounds off in the rapid events, to me that is quite the feat! Well done guys!
Day 2 was Leg Day - We were able to get over the required 6 shooters to award a 6 point leg, but not 16 to award a hard leg. There was more wind in the AM, coming from a more normal NW direction. Ryan Karrar continued on his quest for distinguished starting out with a solid 200 line. 96 standing and a clean Rapid fire. That is a great way to start a leg! I also had a 96 standing (with my match rifle mind you) but the funky chicken sitting position was not as awesome with a 96 in sitting rapid.
Back to 300, I post another 96 and Ryan had a misplaced group for a 91. 600 the wind was consistently inconsistent. I waited for about 3 minutes at the start of the string and was glad I did as the wind and mirage totally flipped around. I was lucky to get a X for my first shot and then kept them going down range as quickly as I could, holding off to the 10 ring and then 9 ring later in the string to keep the shots in the 10 ring. That was my first clean at 600 with this rifle and the first time I have cleaned 600 with no sighters. Ryan had some ammo that was being non-cooperative and switched mid string. He was able to finish with a 186. All these scores are from memory as we don’t keep a score board in CMP Matches since the scorecard is used the whole day.
I earned a CMP gold with my MR shooting a 488 and Ryan K got another 6 pointer getting him to 20 points now for distinguished. Rick Jorgenson had a 453? And earned a Bronze pin, Rick is shooting his Service Rifle pretty darned well with a scope, after a 754 last week in Rolla. Fun to see others have some good scores. It was a day of plenty of misplaced groups, the winds changed just enough that without a good zero it was easy to pile up shots in the 9 and 8 ring in rapid fires.
The Garand Match was shot after the completion of the leg (I do not have results), but Tommy T and I headed west to be rewarded with a post-match snack in Cooperstown. The Grand Forks range was in excellent shape, you would swear it is a golf course. We are all glad it isn’t wasted for such a hobby. Tom Reiten and Denny Coulter completed all the match official duties and ran another great set of matches, we all appreciate their effort.