It was a weekend full of surprises at NSRC’s 2-day MRP match. The first surprise was Denny Bertrand rolling into the campground at around 6pm on Friday evening, fresh off a 15-hour drive up from the great state of Texas. I hadn’t seen Denny in 2 years, so it was good to see his smiling face and hear some new jokes around the campfire.
A non-registered match this early in the season on a holiday weekend usually draws 12-15 people, so the 27 eager shooters lined up bright and early on Saturday morning were the next surprise. The lopsided ratio of sling to F-Class shooters was also somewhat surprising, with 20 sling shooters taking up most of the targets.
The condition on Saturday was the calmest I have ever seen at this club. NSRC is not known for big winds, but it does sometimes dish out complicated winds. Well, on this day it had neither. If I recall correctly, I shot every single record shot of the day with either ½ or ¾ MOA of right wind dialed on. The first 2 matches of the day were Any/Any matches for the sling shooters, so most opted for a scope in these matches. Steve Knutson exerted his dominance in the scope matches, and his 400-25x for the Any agg was tops, with Brad “Yipsy” Yliniemi and me following close behind with 399’s. In the combined Master/Expert/Sharpshooter/Marksman class, Chuck Diehl’s 198-10x Creedmoor’d Dick Van Valkenburg in Match 1, but Dick came back with guns blazing to take the combined class win in Match #2. Dave Holtegaard was also coming on strong in his first match shooting an Optics Service Rifle, and his 197-6x was good enough for 2nd in class in the 2nd match.
Bob Mead shot the only 2 cleans in F-Class all day, and he shot his first in match #1 with a blistering 200-12x to lay the foundation for the day. It was another Creedmoor decision in Match #2, with our lovely stat officer Mia going to the score cards to find Andy Jewison’s 197-10x just edging out Bob’s same score. Bob finished off the day by winning matches 3&4, and sealing the deal on the Saturday Aggregate with a rock-solid 796-48x. Newcomer Derek Steffes took 2nd place for the day with a very respectable 785-29x.
Back over on the sling targets, Brad Yliniemi fired matching 200-11x’s in the last 2 matches to win them both. Only down a single point for the day, Brad’s 799-49x had the Saturday agg in the bag, with me trailing behind by 2 points and 1 x. Dave Holtegaard stepped up to the plate and took first in the combined class in match #3, and 2nd in class in match #4. Bruce “Raw Deal” Rawlings would not be denied in match #4 and turned in his scorecard with a cute little 200-9x at the bottom. Nice shooting Bruce! Lil’ Dickie Van Valkenburg rode his new Lime Green shooting coat to the top agg score of the combined class, as his 783-31x just snuck by Dave H by 2 x’s.
No one was too surprised that Drew “Ramblin’ Man” Rutherford drove 7-ish hours to shoot an approved match, but we were all surprised to see him unload a shooting coat, glove, and sling from his car along with an iron-sighted rifle! Drew fought through the pain and shot the whole weekend in the sling class, and we were happy to have him. It is nice to see an accomplished F-Class shooter give our game a try, as shooters typically go the other direction, if they change at all. Good to get a different perspective on things.
On Sunday morning, the winds at 7 am were already putting Saturday’s winds to shame. The course of fire was a single 60-point aggregate, with 20-shot strings shot at the 300, 500, and 600-yard lines. I traded out my 6mm SLR “Any” rifle for the trusty Palma gun and Sierra 2156’s to get some much-needed wind reading practice in the more complicated conditions. The 2156’s paid dividends at 300, and my 200-17x topped Brad’s stage score by 4 x’s. Cap’n Bob’s 199 kept him in the hunt for the Sunday agg. Derek Steffes got off to a good start at 300 by leading the field with his 198-10x. Bob Mead was 4 points back at 194.04. Those little f-class targets were not going to give up the big scores and x-counts as easily today.
At the 500-yard line, the conditions got tougher yet. The wind was stiff coming in mostly from between 1 and 3 o’clock, with some oddball variations that would catch anyone not watching closely. Bob Mead’s experience paid off here, and he gained back 3 points on Steffes. My 199-13x topped the sling shooters, with my 2017 LR State Championship teammate Steve Knutson just a point back. Steve Erickson and Brad Yliniemi were close, shooting 197 & 196, respectively.
The condition stayed pretty much the same at 600, and it looked like results might be similar. Brad knuckled down and only let one 9 get away, which was very impressive in those fickle winds. Steve Erickson put his own decades of experience shooting at North Star to work and kept them all in the 10 and x-rings, aside from a single 8 lost in a big let-off. 198-8x was his score for the stage. The other Steve proved again that a .308 with 2156’s could still be competitive with his own 198-6x. My 197-9x was far from the top, but managed to be just good enough to hang on for the Sunday Agg with a 596-39x, 1 point ever Yliniemi. Since Brad was 2 points up on Saturday, Sunday’s 595-30x gave him the 2-day agg win with a total score of 1394-79x. Brad has really made great strides in prone over the last couple of years, and has proven to be as much the real deal on the ground as he is on his feet.
Cap’n Bob Peasley presided over the awards ceremony, and goodly amount of cash was dispersed to the leading shooters. In other important news, a somewhat historic event took place after the completion of the ceremony. The shooters who were still on hand witnessed the formation of the 2017 Palma Alliance. 2 brave sling shooters have banded together to make American Prone shooting great again. In the grand scheme of American history, will the founding of this mighty alliance rank with the signing of the Declaration of Independence? Probably. Look for more details elsewhere in this week’s newsletter!
Thanks to Cap’n Bob for running the match, prepping the targets, mowing the grass, and all of the other things he does on a regular basis for our club. It seems that every club has a few guys who do most of the work, and keep the wheels from coming off, and at our club, Bob is definitely one of those guys. Also need to give a shout out to the Shooter’s Wife herself for her excellent stat work – I can say without a doubt that this weekend’s scoreboard was among the most legible I have seen in all of the matches I’ve shot! 😉