RANGE COMMANDS AND STRUCTURE


 

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
http://www.defnet.com/~kafos/ordertargets.html

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 is conducted.

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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