One of the highest distinctions a National Match Highpower Competitor can strive for is that of becoming a Distinguished Rifleman. Aspiring Riflemen must compete with Service Rifles and score amongst the top 10% of other non-distinguished competitors in “Excellence In Competition” matches. Competitors are limited to a certain number of these matches per year, the biggest of which is during the National Matches at Camp Perry, OH every Summer.
Excellence In Competition Match – Course Of Fire:
• 10-shots slow-fire standing at 200-yards in 10-minutes.
• 10-shots rapid-fire seated (from standing) at 200-yards with a magazine change in 60-seconds.
• 10-shots rapid-fire prone (from standing) at 300-yards with a magazine change in 70-seconds.
• 20-shots slow-fire prone at 600-yards in 20-minutes.
Two key points differentiate this match from the majority of others across the country:
• There are no sighting shots.
• The rapid fire stages must be shot with a transition. This means that competitors must be standing before the targets come up, at which point they will transition down into sitting or prone before charging the rifle and firing.
Below are some thoughts to help those competitors
still “in the hunt” towards their badge.
– LOSE THE SIGHTERS –
• NERVES: Some competitors get in the habit of treating sighters as a “warm-up shot”, especially from the standing position. While sighters are offered in a great many matches across the country, a competitors who is serious about attaining the Distinguished Rifleman’s Badge – should make every attempt and get used to making every single shot count towards a good score – right from the start. Shooting a number of practice matches (even 80-shot matches) without sighters will greatly reduce the stress of them not being available for EIC matches.
• RUN A WELL KEPT DATA-BOOK w/ KNOWN ZEROS: Proper use of a data-book will help keep track of rifle zeros. Omitting sighters, especially in a rapid-fire stage – will help competitors make sure the correct zeros are put on the rifle before firing and will make for better data in the long run. There is an old phrase amongst accomplished highpower shooters that says “Yesterday’s dope is always better than today’s sighters”.
• WIND CALLS: Especially at stages past the 200-yard line, it is typically required that some sight adjustment be made on the rifle to account for wind conditions. The best way to gain confidence in one’s wind reading abilities is to commit and find out. Easiest to determine is direction. That is the way the knob needs to be turned, with the bullet tending into the wind for placement in the middle of the target. Next is velocity. Once a call has been made, observation of the conditions immediately before firing or at the magazine change will determine if more or less is required for a desired result. Do not be discouraged throughout this process. If a call was made and then determined to be too light or too aggressive, that is good information. Remember first what it looked like and then what should have been on the rifle to make a centered group.
– DRYFIRE –
GET UP TO GET DOWN: Practice those transitions from standing to get into the rapid-fire positions. Once a solid NPA has been acquired on the target, remember to leave a marker before standing up. Leaving one foot in place is very helpful when getting up from the seated position, to help ensure the position will be index correctly towards the target. The 8-round magazine is also a good marker just to the trigger side of the support elbow in prone. INDEXING the target in sitting is the act of sitting upright and squaring one’s shoulders just as the command to stand is given. The shooter will be facing something (it could be a rock, a shack, a flagpole, anything). Once getting back into position, the competitor can then straighten out the shoulders and ensure they’re squared off on the correct landmark before charging and shouldering the rifle.
NPA SHIFTS: As discussed in the previous entry on DRY-FIRE, practice the very small adjustments required to shift NPA as desired for a proper sight-picture. Use of multiple aiming targets for dryfire can help a competitor establish a relationship with their body and position to eventually know exactly how much adjustment is needed with very little effort.
– “THE GRIND” –
Somewhat of a tradition here in Southern California, when ramping up to larger match weekends, EIC Matches or trips to Nationals – is something affectionately called “The Grind”. If schedules allow, this practice can typically be set up, fired and packed away inside of 1-hour. Some of the locals will meet at sunrise for this practice and still make it to work on time, season and daylight permitting.
Four targets are hung on two backers at 100-yards:
• Two 100-yard reduced course SR-1C’s on top for Standing and Rapid Seated.
• An SR-21 reduced course target to simulate 300-yard Rapid Prone
• An MR-31 reduced target to simulate 600-yard slow prone.
The Course-Of-Fire is as follows:
(Preparation period are shortened to 1-minute for prep-prep and 2-minutes for actual preparation periods. Shooters are encouraged to make the best use of their offhand time to ensure enough time is available to properly set up for seated.)
• Stage One: 10-shots slow-fire from standing in 10-minutes
• Stage Two: 5-shots rapid-fire seated (from standing) with a magazine change (2 & 3) in 40-seconds (this is shot twice on the same target, with a 60-second cool-down period in between stages)
• Stage Three: 5-shots rapid-fire prone (from standing) with a magazine change (2 & 3) in 30-seconds. (this is shot twice one the same target, with a 60-second cool-down period in between stages)
•Stage Four: 20-shots slow-fire prone in 10-minutes.
TRICKS TO A SUCCESSFUL GRIND:
• have all gear squared away and exactly where desired.
• have magazines prepped first thing.
• have all information possible already filled out in the data book ahead of time.
SOMETHING TO REMEMBER ABOUT THE GRIND:
The goal of this course-of-fire is make things as stressful as possible, with very limited time between stages. The goal is to be able to keep the scores inside of an average in adverse conditions. Remember: “NEVER GIVE UP!”