column By: Cody Smith / Staff | June, 23
22 Long Rifle, 100 yards, WSU Target
I am happy to report that Single Shot Target Rifle competition is alive and well at Smithmoor. Our annual three-day target match is over and I am still smiling at the success. The competition was fierce and the camaraderie was unbeatable. I hope everyone that shot had as much fun as I did.
On Friday, we held a One Day Bench Match. Although I am primarily an offhand shooter, I really enjoy the bench match. It sounds pretty easy. You have nearly unlimited restrictions on rests, optics and any accessories you might want to use. There is plenty of time, so there is no reason to feel rushed, and the target has a ¾-inch center and is at 100 yards. I mean, how hard could it be? Well, it is much more challenging than you might think. The slightest variations in the wind cause bullets to move inches at that distance. Technique is also very important as it amazing how hard it is shooting a really good score. We have shot this match several years now, and have held various other bench matches over the past nine years and we have never had a perfect score of 250 until now. Kevin Griggs came all the way from eastern Kansas and showed us how it’s done. Steve Anderson spotted for him and helped guide him in. It was nothing short of spectacular. Great shooting, Kevin!
As awesome as Kevin’s super target was, it takes five good targets to be in the winner’s circle. Steve Anderson shot five decent targets for a total of 1,213 with 28 centers to be third overall, while I was pleased to shoot a 1,215 with 27 centers to be second. The old master, Jack Odor, is almost always in the winner’s circle, and he was in there again this year. He shot a very good 1,225 with 30 centers for first place. I was quite pleased to award “Match Winner” to Logan Eliason. Logan and his Dad, Carl, have been coming to Wyoming for several years and they really add a lot of fun to our matches. Logan shot five solid targets (one was a 249-9) for a total of 1,227-31. Super shooting, Logan! It is always fun to give awards to people that really want them and Logan was very happy.
Coralee had a great lunch of ham and beans with cornbread for us. I am always amazed why such a simple meal can taste so good. Ed and Beth brought a big pan of their famous “death by chocolate” brownies to celebrate Steve Anderson’s birthday. We had fun embarrassing Steve by singing happy birthday to him. Through the red face, I could tell Steve appreciated it. It was fun.
I will work on getting another report out on the offhand segment of the championship soon, but I would like to see many new shooters entering the bench match next year. It is an excellent opportunity to really see what your rifle and ammunition are capable of.
Take care my friends,
– Cody Smith
Shooters and Friends,
The Lord smiled on us again. We had a rather brutal week of weather with heavy winds, temperatures below zero, snowfall and just general miserableness. But come match day, the wind was calm, the sun shined brightly and the temps ranged into the mid-40s.
We had a fun day of shooting our second February monthly 22 BPCR Silhouette Match with a full house of 25 shooters. Strangely, the scores were maybe not quite as high in the nice conditions as they have been on some of the rougher condition days, but there was still some super shooting that went on.
Danny Glick shot a solid AAA score of 29 to take our AA/A class. One more AAA score for Danny and he will be moving up in classifications. AAA was won by Ed Himelhoch with a Master Class score of 31. Ed has been steadily improving over the last year or two and it has been fun watching his progress.
We had some excitement in Master Class, as we had a tie for first between Dad (Gary Smith) and Dick Hennebry, both with 31 scores. Dick made me chuckle as he had already put his stuff up and wanted to flip to determine it. Dad wanted to shoot it. When I told Dick, that Dad would be the winner, as I thought Dick indicated he wanted to concede, he said, “I’ll get my gun.” To the line they went and best of five chickens offhand was the first contest. Dad shot a little quicker than Dick and smoked No. 2 for a total of one. Dick went down the line missing each one till he got to No. 5. He really bore down and landed a solid hit on No. 5 to tie it up once again. Sudden death was then used to settle it. Dad went first and missed. Dick answered with a miss, pushing it to the second round. Dad missed a second time and with steely eyes and iron concentration, Dick smacked his to earn the win. Good shooting gentlemen, it was fun to watch!
In Grand Master Class, Steve Anderson came out with first with a 34. His rifle failed early in the match and he ended up shooting the entire match with a rifle and ammunition borrowed from Dick Hennebry. Shooting a strange rifle is really hard, especially when they are different actions and proportions, but Steve managed very well. I was very pleased to shoot a bunch of chickens and end up the Match Winner this month. I struggled a bit on the lay-down targets for some reason, but was able to get it together on the chickens. I was especially pleased to down the second five targets to earn a “Five Chicken pin.”
Coralee has the entry forms for our August matches posted on our website (smithmoorrange.com). You can download them from the website, or let us know if you are having problems and we will get you a copy.
Well, we had a few complaints. Apparently, the conditions have been too easy for the last several matches. Our top-notch wind callers were getting bored and losing interest with the sport. Our top shooters were getting tired of shooting near perfect scores, and our new shooters were wondering what was so hard about 22 BPCR. Things were getting desperate around Smithmoor and there was concern the whole deal was going to collapse. Not knowing what to do, Coralee and I had a little chat with the “Big Guy” and laid out our situation to him. We just put it in “His” hands, and come match day “He” heard our prayers. He gave us winds that were so variable in direction and intensity, so twitchy, so unpredictable, and had so much impact on bullet trajectories that not one shooter could figure it out. Rest assured everyone left challenged!
The scoreboard reflects the lowest winning scores shot in a winter series match in the last three years and that should tell you about the difficult shooting conditions we faced. Temperatures were quite cool in the morning starting in the mid-20s and working their way into the mid-40s by afternoon. Winds varied from nearly 50 mph to the low teens, and they seemed to huff and puff like a giant steam engine while changing directions quickly and without pattern. Man, it was tough shooting! That didn’t stop us from giving it our best though; the scores were impressive when one considers the conditions.
AA/A Class was won by Danny Glick for the last time. His score of 27 is a AAA score and this was his third one, so he will be moving up next match. He has been working at it and it is fun to see him have success. AAA Class was won by Ed Himelhoch with a 27. This was the fourth match in a row that Ed has won AAA Class and he needs one more Master score to move up. I’m sure if the conditions would have been any easier, it might have happened yesterday. Ed has also really been putting the effort into improving and it shows.
I’m not sure we have ever had a match before at Smithmoor, where we didn’t even have one Master Class shooter shoot a Master score, but it happened yesterday. Joe Kapler shot a very “good for conditions” score of 30 to win the Master Class. Craig Wolf shot a solid 31 to win Grand Master Class. Craig is a very fine shot and I really appreciate him helping to raise the bar at Smithmoor. I was pleased to have a good chicken day that helped offset my poor performance on lay-down targets and ended up Match Winner with a 33.
The “Texas Star” fifth station target was also a fun challenge yesterday. I enjoy thinking of new ways to shoot it each month. This time, I put it at 200 yards next to the rams and gave everyone 15 shots to hit the 10 5-inch discs after taking unlimited sighters on a 12-inch gong. The shooters did better than I thought they would. Danny Glick took home the certificate for first place in AAA/AA class with nine hits, while in GM/M class Dick Hennebry and Michael Jackson both shot all 10. Michael did it in 14 shots, while Dick took all 15, so Michael ended up High Overall and Dick was first in GM/M class. I think everyone enjoyed it; it was a tough target.
One of the best things about competitive shooting is getting to know the shooters. We have so enjoyed learning the backgrounds and talents of the people that shoot with us. I have also always smiled at the way that everyone finds their own way to help. Joe Kapler is one of the finest gentlemen I know and he really treated us this month. When Joe was a kid in Cleveland, Ohio, his family owned a meat market. They were from Slovenia and had brought recipes with them from the old country. Joe has told me about them before and they sounded mouthwatering. The meat market was sold in 1954, but the company that bought it is still making sausages from the same recipe. Joe ordered plenty of them and he brought everything needed for our lunch yesterday. Fresh, delicious buns, genuine Slovene sausages, sauerkraut, potato and macaroni salad made up the main course, while Grace made chocolate chip cookie bars for desert. The sausages were unique and very different from what I have had before. Mild, but full of flavor; they were very good. Thank you, Joe, for the wonderful meal! Thank you also to those that brought doughnuts for our morning snack. Everyone really enjoys and appreciates it.
It’s hard to believe, but we have only one season match left on March 25, and then, our big finale match will be April 15. We will have a list out shortly of those eligible to enter the finale match.
Take care my friends,
– Cody Smith