2018 Northern Great Plains LR Regional Championship - Fried Family Marksmanship Complex, ND.
Party Marty here, ready for the 2018 Northern Great Plains LR Regional taking place at the Fried Family Marksmanship Complex in Moffit, North Dakota. This range faces East, so don't expect a great sight picture in the morning. A little history, there have been very few clean 200's shot here; a hand full with a sling, and exactly 3 F-Class 200's (a little foreshadowing here).
Saturday's shooting started off with a few curious shooters asking me if I was really shooting a 308. Yep, with 155's! Safety briefing and we are off to the line. Been working on my wind reading and had a few good matches this year. I made a confident 8.5 minute call and took my first sighter. Pretty sure my scorekeeper (Morgen) and the rest of the line were laughing a little when my WIDE 8 came up. "Welcome to North Dakota!". Shot the majority of the string with 10 minutes of wind (while making confused eye contact with the flags). Hate to ruin the story here, but its windy there and the story doesn't end well for me! Felt OK with my 193-8x, but Tommy Thompson put up a 196-6x, and Morgen shot a 192-3x.
The F-Class shooters must have been in a tunnel on the end (funny! there isn't a large bush or anything to break the wind in a 1000 mile radius of the place). Kent Jensen shot a 197-4x and Drew Rutherford shot an impressive 196-4x with his FTR gun. Rumor has it that Drew's rifle is named Snowball and is made from a top secret material he developed in the lab.
Second string and the wind was building a solid 12 minutes with 7's and 8's on either side for fun. Rethinking this Palma Alliance Pledge with a 180-2x! Morgen's 190-2x and Tommy's 194-5x with the Any rifles made it look easy. Shhhhh, don't tell Erik! This is my own personal opinion, that between the wind and the morning sun, this is a scope and Any rifle range. There will likely be a staged intervention from the rest of the Palma Alliance for that comment.
Third string things got exciting, not really, it was just stupid windy. It was clearly more wind that the second string. Morgen's 184 (with a questionable reloading error for a miss) and Tommy's 183 were going to be tough. Dialed on my 15 minutes and let it fly. Nope, not enough. A few questionable Palma Alliance thoughts and I settled at 16 minutes and called that home. The buffeting of the rifle in the wind was a new experience for me. I had between 14.5 and 18 on the gun during the string. I shot a relatively strong position and didn't get much movement during recoil, but the wind was blowing me around. Best way to describe it - grab your Palma Rifle and go shoot an off-hand string at 1000.
I tightened up the sling and really tried to drive the my elbows into the ground. 8's or better were good shot, and I took a few more 7's than I care to admit. Was basically timing the shot as it was swinging by (insert a few more impure thoughts about my Palma Alliance Pledge). 164-1x with a miss for Party Marty. Does Erik report the misses in his reports???? Ok, he doesn't miss. I did follow shooting up with a few "colorful" texts to Erik Rhode. I am sorry and openly appologize... some of that stuff might even be illegal in most states.
Eric Johnson is some kind of F-Class stud, shooting a 195-7x in the stupid winds on the third relay. Beginning to think there is something to shooting a fast 7mm.
Sunday morning started off with breakfast at Tommy's and hope that the wind would settle down. Tommy's wife Tina made a great breakfast and we were off to the range. First string gave everyone much better wind conditions (mild 8 minute winds), but an ugly sight picture - ended up shooting a frame hold and shot at the grey blob. I needed a yellow lens for the target and a black lens for the sun in my eyes. Tommy and I tied with 197-11x and Morgen ended up with a 199-9x. Morgen shot a 9 on his last shot... always stings when that happens. No reloading issues today for the Man-Boy! It was shaping up to be a race between Tommy and Morgen for the win.
Eric Johnson again showed his F-Class skill with a 200-9x. That is only the 4th 200-shot on the F-Class target there. Well Done! Second string on Sunday has Morgen and I shooting a pair of 197's. Tommy managed a 194 and held on for the win.
This is one of the great regional matches everyone should experience, and I will definitely make the trip again. The wind is unforgiving, but the people are fun and welcoming.
Thanks again to my host family, and to Tommy and Tina for feeding me breakfast.