George Delena shoots a .260 Remington rifle built by GA Precision. Wind on the Long-Range Side Match was a challenge, but George pulled through for 2nd place in the LRSM.
The competition overall did not disappoint. Just take a look at the leaderboard: from second to ninth place were separated by less than ten hits in a 120 round match. I found myself having a bit of difficulty making hits the first day of the main match. Wind was making my Kestrel hum like an electric razor. One minute it was full value and 30mph the next it was 10mph with zero value but due to all the canyon updrafts you were lucky to keep your hat from blowing away at the firing position. Very challenging stuff. Day two was a bit easier for wind calls, but the targets seemed to be further away - and smaller! I saw one at 715 yds and thought it was from a different course of fire! In the end I wound up with a respectable finish for a first time and made a couple of new shooting buddies.
Whether you're a static range F-class shooter, SWAT sniper or long range hunter gearing up for the season (all 3 were present), this match will be a challenge and it will make you better.
John Sternberg racks a round out of his 6.5x47 Lapua rifle during the Long-Range Side Match on Friday.
If you think you are a good (or better) shooter then join us in the variable winds (10 to 35+ MPH) and variable terrain (steep inclines and declines) and varied shooting positions (not all prone on flat ground!). If you think that doping the wind is easy and that your data card does not matter
Sternberg demonstrates his strategy for staying safe in the brutal, hot sun of the New Mexico desert.
As to the competition there are always better shooters that will show you how to get your hits. The quality of the gear and experience of the better shooters makes the trip worthwhile, even if you are paying $4 for a gallon of gas (or more for diesel!).
I have been shooting the Sporting Rifle Match at the Whittington Center for the past few years. This is a great training ground for the BSR but does not compare in terms of the match format or difficulty. Quality optics, range finders and binoculars are a requirement to compete in either venue. I learned why most of the shooters used binoculars with a range finder --- they work better than using separate devices to first locate the hidden targets and then find them again with a range finder. At least half of my missed targets were due to failure to locate the hanging steel. The monocular range finder (I used the Swarovski) was a clear disadvantage to finding a target when compared to my Zeiss binoculars.
Lastly, be certain that you use enough Ballistic Coefficient (BC) and velocity. BC does matter greatly in variable winds and provides more room for errors. Velocity helps you cheat the speed of wind along with the higher BCs when shooting long range targets. Be certain of your zero and that you can shoot one-half MOA because anything less is a waste of time and money. Next year I hope to shoot better than 50% misses and 50% hits