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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So you want to shoot in sanctioned NRA High Power Rifle Matches. If you decided this is for you, and you want to compete in the Service Rifle Class, you will require a Service Rifle capable of holding 3-1/2 inches at 100 yards, that is, if you expect to ever score a "Clean", A "Clean" is 100 points for 10 rounds fired. That degree of accuracy does not sound to difficult or out of the question, if you expect to score a Perfect Score, all X's, out of ten shots fired, the degree of accuracy required from the rifle is 1-1/2 inches at 100 yards, that eliminates most Service rifles I have seen, particularly the M1A. This accuracy requirement was found in the M1 Garand on occasion but it was unusual.

Do not be discourage to quickly, scoring a Clean is a very rare event in my experience of ten years competing. When it happened, everybody competing knew about it within minutes. I never witnessed a Perfect ten X,, either with a Service rifle or Bolt rifle, this has probably been accomplished at some point, perhaps you know of such an instance.

Owning a Service Rifle that meets this high degree of accuracy is not a requirement, having the desire and skills to shoot in competition is the requirement. The point of this message is to encourage people to Compete. It is not necessary to have a rifle of high accuracy as a competitor,on the contrary, you are better off using up a barrel or two learning the ropes before investing in a Match Conditioned M1A or M1 Garand.



This commentary may not be in agreement with some, but spending your money on decent ammunition rather than an expensive rifle before learning the skills needed is bassackwards...
 

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Art,

I respectfully disagree with you a little. Using decent ammo is a must, but getting the best equipment you can afford is equally important. I always hear this from new shooters " I am not good enough to make use of a good rifle" My take, how do you know if you have not shot an accurate rifle and match ammo. If one were shooting nine ring to nine ring with unproven rifle/ammo combo, put that someone behind a match conditioned service rifle, then you can find out how well he can shoot.

We highly encourage new service rifle shooters in our club to shoot from the bench, bags and all, until they can shoot a decent group, like cleaning the SR target at 200 (7 inch ten ring) before they learn position, prone being the first to learn.

Standing is the last thing we ask the new shooters to concentrate on. To some that may sound ass backwards, since most people standing is usually their weakest event. However, learning what it takes to put the rounds in the center in the more stable position, burns that picture in your brain, the more new shooters improve their scores in the steady positions, their standing scores tend to improve as well. That 10 ring picture shows up in standing, the trigger goes. When I started shooting high power at age 43 in '95, my standing scores were terrible, but when my standing scores went to mid 180s I made High Master in 97 shooting at Camp Bullis and Fort Hood, because once I get to the steady positions I damn near clean the rest.

Shooting iron from the bench and shooting decent groups teaches new shooters the proper sight picture and shot execution. You would be surprised how one can jerk a trigger even shooting from the bench and steer the rifle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good Point?..

Your point is well taken, the comments describing your personal experiences worked for you. To have made High Master in such a brief time is a clear indication you brought more skills to the world of Competitive shooting than 99% of the people that take it up, congratulations on an amazing feat.

My comments on the other hand, or based on over 30 years of experience, part in Competition and all as a M1A/M1 Armorer. It took me 9 years to make the Master Class. I never out right won a Match, won several stages however, including First Place in the 200 RF at the National Matches at Camp Perry as an Expert, my score earned me second place overall being out X'ed... Having clawed my way to be a respectful Shooter convinced me of my stated position on equipment needed to began Competitive Shooting for the "Average" person not the " Exceptional" person...

Given the cost of the Equipment to enter Competitive Shooting measured against the high Dropout rate, Tyro's are better served to enter this field at a minimum cost until they are convinced this is what they want to do.

You based your position on. "How do they know if they can shoot if they do not have a top of the line rifle to start with?" On the surface that sounds logical, but using your logic, one could say: How do they know if they can become an Indy race car driver unless they have a Indy race car." There are enough Top of the Line Golf Clubs stored in peoples homes to put a dent in the National debt.

We can agree to disagree.. I am happy your method worked so well for you, it took several Boxcars of ammunition and several rifles for me.

Respectfully. Art
 

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Both Art and Bamban have been helpful in my quest to become a proficient HP marksman. Bamban has offered his experience, both publicly and privately. Art's reputation, of course, precedes him. Though a noob, I'd like to offer a compromise between their positions as related to my experience thus far. Hopefully other beginners can draw something from it and maybe it will illicit discussion from some of the more experienced hands.

While on the surface their positions might appear somewhat at odds I think they're both right. Art's suggestion of "using up a barrel or two learning the ropes" in my interpretation means spending time putting rounds down range. There are few better ways to gain a new skill than to simply go do it. That doesn't require owning the finest, most accurate rifle available nor using expensive match ammo. To me it simply means "Go shooting and go a lot."

Bamban's suggestion of starting from the bench to gain basic proficiency before attempting the standard positions is also good advice. That's how I started and in my limited experience shooting from the bench provides several advantages for a beginner. By removing a number of variables it allows a new shooter to focus on the basics like breathing, sight picture and trigger control. It helps lead to early success which a beginner in any endeavor needs to build confidence. There is also another factor which I believe ties Art and Bamban's perspectives together.

There is a limit to every rifle's accuracy. By starting out on the bench a new shooter, in addition to the points above, will eventually learn the level of accuracy available from his rifle and ammo combination. When the new shooter is ready to move from the bench to other positions he will have established a benchmark to measure success at the other positions.

For instance, my rifle has only had the basics done to it like shimming the gas system and ensuring the stock has properly clearances. It is not a match grade rifle, but then neither is my marksmanship all that hot. Spending my budgeted dollars on a good rifle and milsurp ammo has allowed me to get in more repetitions than if I bought a match rifle and match ammo. I started out shooting from the bench and did so until my scores from string to string were consistent. Recently I progressed to the competition shooting positions with a goal of trying to match my bench scores.

At some point, when my scores in prone, sitting and offhand begin to approximate those from the bench, I will consider accurizing this rifle further or build a new one more suited to the task. As an aside, I am also moving toward reloading my own ammo and having a benchmark will help there as well.

So in my limited experience Art and Bamban's perspectives aren't completely disconnected. In fact, they overlap quite nicely.
 

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At some point, when my scores in prone, sitting and offhand begin to approximate those from the bench, I will consider accurizing this rifle further or build a new one more suited to the task. As an aside, I am also moving toward reloading my own ammo and having a benchmark will help there as well.
I thought I had read two excellent post from Art and Bamban, then I read yours, also a very good post, and I have an excerp here above to comment on.....The benchmark to attain with reload ammo is, in my humble opinion, the only way to succeed at match shooting. Also much quicker than shooting unknowns, even if cronographed regularly, it only takes a couple that are off, at a match, to ruin your confidence and your score.

As for your statement of scores from the bench beginning to match your other position scores, this is the very best notion for me too. How can one possibly shoot well until they know the capabilities of their rifle first.

I typically run one till I can clean the bull at 25 meters, then at 100, all from the bench. Then I progress to prone, sitting, and finally standing, all with reloads,... the same reload. Once I have kept all in the ten ring at 100 while standing, I am bored with it and grab another one......Thats just the way I am.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
FPeel's wisdom

Thank you FPeel, Your post is exactly to my purpose. There are choices and decisions to be made when taking up HP Rifle Competition... I do not suggest my contribution is the best way for everybody, but rather, a possible less expensive way for everybody.... "Learn by Doing is not my idea", having seen many shooting prospects abandon the sport ending up with hundreds of dollars spent on equipment suggested to me to advise newcomers to try my suggestion first. Build or buy a Match grade rifle once you have made the commitment, nobody makes this commitment, to my knowledge, that has not aquirred the skills to encourage them to do so.

I believe that is sound advise, but it is not meant to sound like a Mandate. Just as a side note, years ago when I was the only Civilian building Double Lugged M1A's, there was a sign in my Shop stating: " Double Lug Match Conditioned M1A's built for Expert status and up ONLY"... To put a rifle of that quality in the hands of an inexperienced shooter resulted in poor advertisement for such a rifle.

Those that are not interested in NRA HP Shooting but Accuracy of another style may be better served not taking my suggestion, I really do not know.
 

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Good thread!GI1
I hope it keeps going.GI2
 

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I would have to agree with Art. If high power shooting is what you're going to get into then it is a serious commitment on the individuals part monetary wise. When I first started shooting three years ago it was with a built from parts M1 that my father gave me for graduating top of the class in my DOC recruit training. I was also at a bottom of the line pay grade with a young family starting out. I slammed the ovetime at my Institution for the first year and as a result was able to go shooting once a month. Incidentally I also did my own reloads which helped save a ton monetarily. Then the overtime dried up and my pay grade couldn't afford to keep shooting that often, also the club fees, cleaning equpment, etc.

My M1 is decent, I also shot myself and had no coaching other then from my father who is considerably novice at HP shooting. If it wasn't for the number of rounds downrange my shooting would never have progressed to where it was.

I also agree in starting from the bench. As I said my M1 is used and nowhere near match condition. The barrel is also USGI and was used when it was indexed to the barrel by Orion 7 for my father. With and SR-2 target I was able to consistently put all 8 rounds in the ten with an X or 2 from the bech. That was the benchmark, no pun intended. From there i started working on the positions, with the end result of the best I could do in my off-hand was put all 8 rounds on a sheet of paper at 100 yds. If you don't have a really good coach I myself can see how your shooting can take awhile to progress. And like Art said if the beginner gets discouraged, then he dumped alot of money into a gun that would never reach its potential. Spending the money on being able to put rounds thru the barrel and using up a few barrels would be my best advice also. Plus there's all that time spent at the range shooting, which is the real point is it not??

Now a couple years later and few paygrades higher I am now ready to start shooting again and hopefully progressing on my shooting skills. And maybe justifying spending some hard earned, saved up cash on a top quality rifle. My two cents..
 

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Art,

Thank you.

I shot in a high power match to qualify to purchase a Garand for my Dad, but when I cleaned the reduced 600 at 2 with 200-11x with my bone stock, trigger, sights and unfloated Colt HBAR on my 4th match ever, I was hooked.

No one mentored me when I started, not until later on by Paul Laberge. So when I initially ventured into game I made up my own training routine. Since I shot benchrest in the 80s, I thought I would start shooting from the bench and I did till I cleaned the reduced 600, then practiced prone, and practiced prone till I could not do it wrong. To this date I keep on reminding new shooters - At least 50% of the shots will be shot prone, thus my concentration.

I progressed through the classification not because I have the in born talent; it is because of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. I trained three times a week and shot in matches every Sunday for the first years. The dividend is what I said in my previous response. I forgot to mention, one of my proudest accomplishments is I distinguished in '96 in four consecutive LEG matches which I won the one outright when I legged out. I was rewarded even more to my delight, my DRB is 1234.

The point here, I could not have done what I did had I settled for mediocre equipment and ammo. I wanted to make sure when I shot a 9 that it was me, not my equipment.

Golf is one thing and shooting is another, though very similar in lots of ways. Big difference - You can buy a sub minute rifle, but you could never buy a sub par golf set. Thus, my respect for scratch golfers...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The definition of dedication

Bamban, With that kind of seldom seen dedication in a World of demand for instant gratification you are truly an exception.. Two years to make High Master, The High Master class was just being discussed before I retired from shooting. To gain a High Maser card in two years,, that may well be a record. Some where out there may be another, and I hope they read your post and pass their success story on to those of us that struggled for many years.

The use of Bench rest shooting as a tool to improve to move on to HP shooting was unheard of in my day, as were a lot of other things. So , I have learned something today, A few years too late, but good to pass on to the younger people.

Which bring me to another point. Having been out of Shooting Competition for many years, there no doubt are other new things that have come along to help shooters, I do not know those either. In attempting to pass along what I do know, even if it is dated, brings forth from interested parties the new stuff, for which I am thankful. To my knowledge the highest Service Rifle score ever shot at the National Matches is still held by a M14. Has anyone more information as to who, what and when this was accomplished??? Art
 

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Yes Art, I have all that information in my files and am embarrassed to say I have lost memory as to his name,...its disgusting that I could forget. I am having a virus problem until Geeck gets up here and fixes my computer and cannot access many files, maybe someone else will post it.
 

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Being a newbie and all I debated replying to this thread, however, Art's comments exactly mirrored my own thoughts. I could have purchased an SA M21 but chose a loaded M1A. I haven't fired in years and haven't fired an M14 in 40 years. I loved the M14 from the very first shot I ever took with the rifle.

I don't know if I can compete any more since my eyes are nowhere what they use to be and I'm not in shape.....and old. I, rightly or wrongly, feel that shooting is like golf. I can buy the best golf clubs money can buy but that doesn't put me on the circuit. Practice and ability is what makes the difference. If I find that I can be competitive after doing all the practice then I can upgrade my equipment to compliment my ability. If I don't have it any more then I will still have fun "playing" against myself in my own little world.
 

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Greg Strom won the whole NRA National Highpower Championship with his M14 in 1987, I think it was, maybe another year too. There are members here who shot some of the matches with him, will remember his scores better than I can.
 

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To this date I keep on reminding new shooters - At least 50% of the shots will be shot prone, thus my concentration.
Deja vu all over again. Now where was it that I heard those exact words recently? (Hint: It was BamBan in a private email.)

Ripsaw, your comment about using reloads is greatly appreciated. I'm shooting milsurp for now because I don't reload... yet. That's coming soon as I know it's an important component.

Not having a coach I'm hanging on every word. That said, I'm going to sit back and watch a little more. POPCORN1
 

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Lemme just add a little bit to this conversation. People here must enjoy the old(er) U.S. steel & wood gas guns or we wouldn't be here. Interests take different directions. Recreation, practical marksmanship? It's really quite important, whether or not you ever shoot a Highpower match. Like to tinker, work with tools & machinery? That's important too. Competition? Sure, you want a rig with good handling characteristics and the most accuracy you can squeeze from it. But before you dump a fortune into gas guns, shoot them enough to determine whether it's for you. Many of the world's best riflemen put the gas gun away long ago in favor of the bolt gun. Some, they reach a point they won't shoot anything but smallbore, competitively. Any shooting beats no shooting, so go with what you like and what you have the time and $$$ to stay with. As long as the eyes hold out . . . .
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
We Need More of This

Thank you to all that have taken the time to respond both pro and com. My original post was not for the purpose of having members take sides, it was for the purpose of getting members involved. Too many of us sit back and read the posts and think we can not contribute. Without contribution the posts become lectures, stagnate lectures, one sided and less is learned. Nothing is better than healthy debate, it brings out unknown information and creates lasting relationships.

Recently I met an older gentleman at the Range that has a very fine M1A, he has had ongoing problems, this particular rifle is in as poor a platform, I would not call it a stock, that I have seen in years. This problem rifle has brought me a new and interesting friend who now has joined our group. I hope to convince him to join the FL.. Thanks to all. Art
 
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