As I have mentioned in other parts of this web site concerning competition,
there are several different governing bodies that have their own set of rules
and procedures for running matches. Before going to a match, it is always helpful
to obtain the published set of rules for that particular organization so that
you can become familiar with them.
Here are the web sites where you can purchase the rules and regulations for the
two major governing bodies in the United States that deal with Black Powder
Cartridge Long Range matches — the National Rifle Association and the American
Single Shot Rifle Association:
NRA: “NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Rules”
$ 2.50 +SH (http://materials.nrahq.org/go/products.aspx?cat=Rulebooks)
ASSRA: “Match Regulations”
$ 4.00 +SH
Since it would take far too much room to try to detail how each of these
organizations runs their sanctioned matches, I would like to tell you how the
Long Range BPCR matches in which I have participated have been run. The match,
sponsored two times each year by Badger Barrels, is hosted by the Winnequah Gun
Club in Lodi, Wisconsin.
Shooter’s Meeting Prior To The Match
Prior to the start of each day’s match event, Gerri and Ernie Stallman call
together all of the shooters who will be competing that day for a “Shooter’s
Meeting” on the 1,000 yard firing line. The purpose of the meeting is to cover a
host of topics that may have a direct bearing on how the match is going to be
run that day or the safety of the shooters.
Gerri Stallman, who is in charge of the registration and scoring activities
before and during the match (among many other things), wants to a) make sure
that all shooters are clear about where their assigned shooting position is
located; b) verify that all shooters registered for the match are present; c)
answer any questions shooters may have about anything pertaining to the match;
d) discuss any problems, concerns, or issues that might affect the way the match
The Match Director Is The Boss
Every match has an assigned “Match Director” or “Chief Range Officer” whose job
it is to run the match in an efficient and safe manner. His word is law. The
Match Director issues the commands that tell the shooters when to do certain
things, like when to bring their equipment to the shooting line, or when to
start and stop shooting. Bill Hilgers is the Match Director for the Long Range
matches at the Winnequah Gun Club in Lodi, Wisconsin, and he does a great job
making sure everything runs as it should.
Here are the specific time periods into which the match at Lodi is divided:
1) Equipment To The Shooting Line
At the direction of the Match Director, shooters in the first relay will be
instructed to bring their rifles to the firing line. Prior to this, shooters
have hopefully already positioned their shooting mats, cross-sticks, ammunition,
spotting scope, shooting glasses, hearing protection, and wind flags at the line
in preparation for their relay.
2) 3-Minute Prep Period
During this period of time, the shooter is allowed to handle his gun and place
it on his cross-sticks or approved international-style rest to view the target,
just as he or she would if they were shooting for score. This enables the
shooter to make any necessary adjustments to their equipment, such as changing
front sight inserts that may be more suitable for the distance and lighting
conditions, adjusting the height of their cross-sticks, placing their spotting
scope in a comfortable and easily accessible position, etc... During this period
of time, the targets are run-up to their normal shooting position so that the
shooter can see them just as they would appear during the match.
3) 2-Minute Sighting Period
At this time, the targets are lowered back into the pits and out of the view
of the shooter. The shooter is encouraged to fire several shots at the bermed
area located under the large number board mounted on the top of the berm behind
the targets that marks the position of their target, as if the target were in place.
This enables the shooter to get a good idea of where his or her shots are hitting and
to make preliminary sight setting adjustments prior to the start of the match.
Bullet impacts in the sand on the berm are generally easy to see by the spotter
who can relay suggested sight setting changes to the shooter.
Note: Not all ranges have a bermed area behind the targets for this purpose.
4) 30-Minute Course of Fire
After these three earlier preparation periods are completed, the Match Director
will start the match by saying, “You will now have 30 minutes to complete your
official course of fire. Your time starts now.”
This is when the shooter should reach over and start his timer, which he has
hopefully pre-set to countdown from 30 minutes. The shooter must now complete
his 15-round course of fire for an official score.
At Lodi, the shooter is allowed to have 3 sighters. The first shot that hits the
paper is considered to be the first sighter. The next two shots, whether they
hit paper or not, are considered to be sighters 2 and 3.
Once the shooter has taken his three sighter shots, he must decide if he is
going to "convert" or use any of the sighters as an official record shot.
Sighters must be converted in reverse order.
See “Converting Sighter Shots”
in the “Tips / Strategies” section of this web site for more detailed
information about this aspect of the match.
Once the shooter has fired his 3 sighters, he must then start his record score
run until he has fired a total of 15 record shots. The maximum score possible
for a 15-shot relay is 150 points (15 shots x 10 points per shot = 150). If the match
format calls for only 10 record shots, then the maximum score would be 100 points
(10 shots x 10 points per shot = 100).
“Xs” are used to break any ties that may result. The shooter with the most “Xs”
at a particular distance always beats a shooter who may have shot the identical same
score, but who had fewer Xs.
When the 30-minute shooting period is completed, the Match Director will yell,
“Cease Fire — your 30 minutes have expired.” At this point, all shooters are
expected to stop shooting, unchamber any live rounds that they may have in their
rifle, open the breech, and move their equipment off the firing line to make
room for the next shooter (relay #2, #3, or #4).
Then It’s Time To Move On
The process then repeats itself until all shooters have completed the course of
fire at that particular distance. Then, everyone packs up their gear in their
Shooter’s Cart and moves to the firing line at 900 yards, where the whole
process begins again. Once 900 yards is completed, it’s on to the 800 yard line.
By Darryl Hedges
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