So this week we’re going to discuss a local precision rifle match and some lessons learned. I’m specifically talking about the Pikes Peak Precision Rifle match held each month in Colorado. It takes place just west of an entrance gate to Fort Carson south of Colorado Springs. I did a small review of the match when I was able to go last year. I can tell you having just attended again that they have all the kinks worked out. The Pikes Peak local precision rifle match runs like a well oiled machine. There were 8 stages and five squads of shooters at this local precision rifle match.
Pikes Peak Precision Rifle Match
I want to hand it to Ryan Sullivan and the guys helping him set up / tear down the Pikes Peak Precision rifle match. It’s come a long way from when I attended roughly a year ago. It’s kept all the fun and challenging positional stages but now it runs really smoothly. They’ve submitted and gained affiliation with the Precision Rifle Series. In fact this local precision rifle match, held each month, is part of the Precision Rifle Series – Club Series of matches. Meaning you can sign up for a free account on the PRS website. You can then compete against shooters in your region. If you make it to three matches during the year you will get a skill classification and possibly qualify for the regional finale! Kind of a grass roots version of the national bolt gun series.
Observations From the Match
I’ve said it before, positional shooting is getting more and more popular. It’s basically a trademark of PRS style matches. You see all kinds of props and stages designed to make the shooter engage targets from unfamiliar positions. The match description comes right out and says expect half the shooting to be positional. Off the top of my head we shot from inside a large plastic tube with holes cut in it. There was a cattle gate where you had to use different rungs as a barricade. We also had to shoot off a traditional wooden barricade and a rooftop.
That’s in addition to prone stages engaging targets beyond 1000 yards. The winds started out around 5mph and were steadily blowing at 10mph and gusting to 15mph before the match was over. It made for a challenging course of fire and a lot of fun. Probably the best $30 bucks I’ve spent in a while! Now I have to try and find a way to get some time off to attend a few more of them this summer!
Lessons Learned & Rewards
I’ve been beating the drum about dry fire and practicing positional shooting on this site for a while. It’s starting to pay off and I placed well at this match. I had a new shooter on my squad and it gave me some time to think about a few things. He had lots of questions and I did my best to answer them. At one point he asked about the rooftop. He wanted to know why I hadn’t used a second bag under the front of my rifle. My response was because I didn’t need one. I tried to impress upon him how easy it was to get caught up in the gear race with this sport.
I’ve seen guys approach a stage with no less than three different sizes of bags and spend half their time dicking around trying to build a stable position. When talking to the newer shooter I explained something simple I’ve learned. Positional shooting is inherently unstable. There are some stages that no matter what you do you will be contending with movement in the reticle. You could burn half your time trying to get rid of it. Your other option is to get on the gun, get as stable as possible, and wait for the crosshairs to settle on the target before breaking the shot.
Avoid the Gear Race
At some point, regardless of what gear you bring to the stage, you have to shoot the rifle. I’m not knocking gear. I’m a gear geek myself. I like to try new stuff all the time and I spend my extra money on my hobby. I think it’s healthy to be open to new gear, new ideas, and new ways to address stability problems. Just don’t start to think it’s required, guys. If you don’t have some new widget or whiz bang piece of gear you can still have a good time. You can still outshoot guys with better gear than what you’re carrying. Be open to new stuff and try new things. Then use what works for you.
I’m going to use the Reasor Precision Gamechanger bag as an example. It’s a cool bag and I bought one to try out. I think it works well and it’s an innovative design and approach to positional shooting. Having said that, I’m going to sell mine. There’s nothing wrong with the Gamechanger and I’m not knocking it or suggesting you don’t buy one. It just doesn’t agree with me and my shooting style. I’ve tried using it for a few different things and compared that to other bags and methods of problem solving. I happen to prefer a different approach to the situations I’ve tried the Gamechanger on.
Reasor Gamechanger bag, works really well but there's a lesson here: The latest and greatest widgets don't work for everyone, if you find yourself less enamored with a piece of gear than other people… that's okay. Be open to new gear, new positions, and new ways to get rounds on target. Try them all. Practice what works for you! #accuracytech
The point I’m driving at is be true to yourself. Watch how other guys approach stages. Watch how they build positions. Take note of gear they use. Try that stuff out on your own for practice. Find the stuff that works for you and get really good with it. Don’t feel like you have to use all the same gear. Don’t feel like you have to approach a stage or stability problem the same way everybody else does. Be open to new things but find what works for you. Then master those skillsets. Dry fire early and often. Next thing you know you will see surges in your shooting ability and that’s the whole point! Have a comment, question, or something to add? Drop it in the comments below!