High Power Questions...


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Dionysusigma
July 21, 2005, 01:48 AM
... so I'll just get right into them. :)

1) What do I need? I've been told I need a spotting scope, shooting mat, left-hand shooting mitt, a good rifle (obviously), a good sling, a logbook, etc. Do I really need the mat and mitt? What recommendations in regards to gear?

2) What kind of rifle? I've heard of mainly AR-15s and M14 variants being used. How do the RRA and Bushmaster DCM rifles compare and measure up? What are the limitations on rifle type? Can I use an "accurized" FAL/ AK/ AR-180B/ M1 Garand/ Ohio Ordnance Works BAR?

3) Where? I've heard of several of these matches, but never here in Oklahoma. Where are they held? Is there some website that would have them listed?

4) What are some of the non-shooting-type details? About how many people compete in these at a time? What are entry fees? What are prizes? Is the barbeque good? :D

5) How can I best prepare? Do I need to take some sort of special rifle training course? What are some points to work on--breathing, posture, ammo selection, etc?

6) What can go wrong? What are some of your personal horror stories in the middle of a match? How did you overcome them?

7) Why a logbook? What info should be recorded? What good does this do? If you are shooting rapid-fire, should you pause after each shot to make an entry?

8) Categories? Are there different categories for scoped rifles, US military rifles, iron-sight-only rifles? What about skill level? Am I going to get my rear handed to me every time by the reincarnations of Annie Oakley and Carlos Hathcock?

9) Have I forgotten anything important? What advice would you give to someone who's just getting into all this?


Thanks in advance... :)

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ocabj
July 21, 2005, 03:56 AM
To answer your equipment question, read this:

http://www.jarheadtop.com/article_equipnotes.html

There are more articles on that site worth reading, too.

milanuk
July 21, 2005, 06:31 AM
1) What do I need? I've been told I need a spotting scope, shooting mat, left-hand shooting mitt, a good rifle (obviously), a good sling, a logbook, etc. Do I really need the mat and mitt? What recommendations in regards to gear?


Minimum you need is one gun, two magazines or stripper clips, enough ammo, a pencil or pen to write with when you are scoring for another shooter, and eye/ear protection. A decent sling is nice to have; surplus GI cotton web slings are about $3-5 so no excuses there. Pretty much everything else is optional. A set of binocs to score with, a scrap of carpet remnant for a mat, a 5 gallon bucket to carry your gear in... as an older gentleman told me at a match in the course of a discussion about one thing or another... "it aint' about 'how'(looks), but 'how many' (points)"


2) What kind of rifle? I've heard of mainly AR-15s and M14 variants being used. How do the RRA and Bushmaster DCM rifles compare and measure up? What are the limitations on rifle type? Can I use an "accurized" FAL/ AK/ AR-180B/ M1 Garand/ Ohio Ordnance Works BAR?


As noted in the link in the previous post... has to be a U.S. military main battle rifle i.e. M1, M14, or M16 or civilian version thereof. You can use other guns, but they won't be legal in the 'Service Rifle' division. They are fine for use in the 'Match Rifle' division, which is pretty much anything that doesn't fall w/i the confines of 'Service Rifle'.


3) Where? I've heard of several of these matches, but never here in Oklahoma. Where are they held? Is there some website that would have them listed?


See if you have a local gun club that is NRA or CMP affiliated; they should be able to get you pointed in the right direction. Often times the appropriate state rifle and pistol association will have a schedule of approved matches; the Oklahoma Rifle & Pistol Association doesn't seem to have much of that on their website but it might be worth giving them a call. Failing that, dig around on www.nrahq.org and find the Competitive shooting division and call them; they should be able to put you in touch w/ a warm body that knows whats going on in your area.


4) What are some of the non-shooting-type details? About how many people compete in these at a time? What are entry fees? What are prizes? Is the barbeque good?


Attendance varies wildly depending on what part of the country (Florida has matches pretty much year round, more northerly lattitudes start late March and end early fall for hunting seasons), among other things. We're just starting to get our HP program back in gear here, and 4-6 shooters is what we've got so far. Regional matches or state championships might have anywhere from 25 to 100, just depends. Figure around $20 entry fee, give or take $5-10. Prizes are generally by class, and are determined as a portion of the match fees collected so it'll vary depending on how many people show up. If you're lucky, and very very good, you might recoup the cost of your gas money and ammo. This ain't a sport you get into to make money at, that's for sure! BBQ? Haven't been to a match w/ one yet, most people have traveled some distance (up to several hours one way) and are chompin' at the bit to get back on the road and get home as soon as awards have been handed out.


5) How can I best prepare? Do I need to take some sort of special rifle training course? What are some points to work on--breathing, posture, ammo selection, etc?


A variety of books exist on the subject; 'Modern Highpower Rifle Competition' by Randolph Constantine is a veritable tome and covers a lot of ground, from safety to range etiquette to positions to loading to training to match strategy... like I said, it's a tome, no doubt about it. David Tubbs books 'Highpower Rifle' and 'The Rifle Shooter' are also considered definitive, though they largely deal w/ the custom bolt action Match Rifle. Most of the concepts transfer to some degree to any kind of rifle used in this kind of competition. After 11 or 12 national championships, the guy just might know something. Fine shooting supply companies like Sinclair International or Creedmoor Sports carry these and other books and videos that may be of interest to you; check their websites or call for a catalog.


6) What can go wrong? What are some of your personal horror stories in the middle of a match? How did you overcome them?


Anything and everything, from forgetting to bring enough ammo, to not sizing your ammo enough and it either sticks in the gun or won't chamber to begin with, or load development was done in the winter and primers start piercing come July, ejectors/extractors break, soft-seated bullets stick in the lands when a round must be extracted during a cease-fire and powder gets into the trigger assembly, pouring rain, Dorothy-n-Toto class winds (you are in OK after all!) creating dust devils and vortexes btwn the firing line and the target... you name it. Murphy is alive and well in the sport of Highpower :D


7) Why a logbook? What info should be recorded? What good does this do?


It's supposed to help you do a couple things... one, be able to hopefully see a trend from one match to another by having a reference, i.e. if you go to a match in Timbuktu, and you had to crank your sights up 2 minutes to center up your shots, was it because of elevation, lighting that day, what? During a match the immediate benefit for us lower-scoring shooters is that say I shoot and the score comes up and '8' for a shot... if I correct off of that, I might end up chasing my damn tail all over the target face (been there, done that :banghead: ). If you use a score book you might notice that your group overall is centered up and realize that you might have just missed the wind or just plain pooched the shot, and if you do correct, you would probably be better off to correct from the approximate center of the 'group' formed in your scorebook by your individual shots...


If you are shooting rapid-fire, should you pause after each shot to make an entry?

If you can go from standing to sitting, fire ten rounds w/ a reload, and scope the bullet hole and record the shot value for each round, all within 60 seconds... you da man! :D Short version: no.


8) Categories? Are there different categories for scoped rifles, US military rifles, iron-sight-only rifles? What about skill level? Am I going to get my rear handed to me every time by the reincarnations of Annie Oakley and Carlos Hathcock?


Basic categories are Service Rifle, and everything else is Match Rifle. There have been attempts at starting an 'Optical' class, but currently about the only place you are allowed to have a scope is in dedicated Prone-only matches, so don't worry about that for now. Shooters are classified by their score performance (skill level), from Marksman thru High Master. Your first match out you'll likely get stuck in the Master/High Master class just to make sure that as an Unclassified shooter you ain't sandbagging... kind of rough on a new shooter, but then again it puts you on the line w/ the most experienced shooters to help you out both on the firing line and in the target pits. It also keeps someone who has a high ranking classification in another competitive venue from showing up and cleaning house among the lower ranked shooters... they still might clean up, but they'd have to earn it.


9) Have I forgotten anything important? What advice would you give to someone who's just getting into all this?


This has a lot to do w/ that comment about Annie Oakly or Hathcock reincarnate... right now, the first and most important thing you need to do is put that stuff out of your mind for good. :cuss:

It doesn't matter how well someone else shoots on a particular day. You have no control over that. All you have any say in is how you perform on a given day under a given set of situations, and only you really know if you did better today than you did the day before. So what if someone else shoots better than you did today. Did you shoot better than you did yesterday? That's what counts. Don't worry about what you think people are saying about your shooting... I think one of the reasons most Highpower shooters come across as extremely friendly to new shooters is that we've all been there, and if there is a sport that no amount of equipment is going to buy you points over just plain hard work and discipline, iron sight position shooting is it. Everybody has had bad days, everybody has shot misses, everybody has had matches that fell far below their average score. Get over it, move on, focus on the next shot. The one that you just launched into the guy next to ya's target (crossfire) is history. Yes, it sucks. Yes, you might get teased a little. The only shot you have any control over is the next one out the barrel, so focus on that one.

Alright, I'll get off the soap box already :cool:

HTH,

Monte

Steve Smith
July 21, 2005, 07:08 AM
Wow, Monte just learned you a new one! LMAO That has to be one of the best answer posts I've read in a long time.

I will say this, even though it seems that ALL new HP shooters start with Service Rifle, they should probably start with Match Rifle instead if they have the money. That way they can "learn" the sport with the easiest piece of equipment, and then later step up to the Service Rifle. That said, it's rarely done since a good SR runs between $800-$1300 and a good MR starts at $1600 or so.

Get a good rifle, a good sling, and a good spotting scope. You can't improve much if you can't see the conditions or where your hits are.

Good luck, and welcome to Highpower!

ACP230
July 21, 2005, 09:56 AM
The NRA puts out a magazine for competitive shooters called Shooting Sports USA .
It shows HP matches in Arcadia and Davis, OK.
The next one in Arcadia is July 24.

Quintin Likely
July 21, 2005, 10:09 AM
Monte just summed about everything up you'll need to know for the next few years. :p I'm just starting out too, so here's what I can tell you:

1 and 2. - In regards to rifles, as long as it's got iron sights of some type or another and can be rapidly reloaded via detachable magazines or stripper clips, you're good to go. There's service rifles and match rifles, the latter of which can get complicated and expensive compared to a service rifle, but they do favor ease of shooting, since you can get a major horsepower boost in caliber with a match rifle (service rifles are limited to .308, .223, or .30-06) and you've got better sights and a ton more adjustments in regards to fit of the rifle. The out of the box AR service rifles from RRA, Bushmaster, and Armalite will take you to expert or master if you can hold hard enough. A CMP Garand can get you started too. Some gear you can improvise or make yourself if you're the inventive type. Piece of carpet for a mat, old work glove for a shooting glove, ain't much to building a cart with wheels on it to haul your gear around, etc. For spotting scopes, I say cry once, buy once. Binos will get you by for starters if you shoot someplace where there's pit service, since you won't have to look for bullet holes, you'll have 2" spotting discs to look for.

4. You're likely not to find many local attendees this time of the year, since a lot of them are gearing up for the nationals at Camp Perry. Attendance can vary; at my local club, we'll get anywhere from 5 to 20-25 shooters, usually enough for at least two relays. We usually have a barbeque lunch afterwards. :)

5. Find a match, call or E-mail the match director and tell them you're new. Show up an hour or so early and get some hands on experience. That's the best way to prepare, IMO. Highpower shooters are probably the nicest competitors you'll find out there. That said, I also like Zediker's AR books, "The Competitive AR15" and "Reloading for Competition." I've got one of Tubb's books, but I haven't really started on it.

6. Murphy might as well be scoring for you at a highpower match. Case in point: I've showed up a few times at our local reduced match, with my sights still set at the 300 yard elevation instead of 200. My first match, I showed up with the front sight bottomed out and about 5 or 6 minutes on the rear sight. My sighters would have been 9s or 10s if the target was about five feet higher. :p

7. So you can keep track of conditions, sight settings, what hold you used, scores, etc. Might not want to concern yourself with a logbook at first, just make sure you note your sight settings somewhere for starters.

8. Don't worry about getting smoked the first few times out. You're competing against yourself. Anytime you come away with learning something new, you've won. Get the basics down and the scores will come.

milanuk
July 21, 2005, 10:26 AM
Actually, Steve, I started out w/ a factory varmint rifle that got hacked on progressively until it was a full-meal-deal no-holds-barred XTC match bolt gun in 6.5-08 w/ McGee stock, RPA sights, metal work done by Jim Cloward, etc. etc. Dang gun shot fine... if I put a scope on it. Something about me, aperature sights, and that gun didn't mix. I'd picked up a WOA Service Rifle upper along the way as a backup... turns out that for better or worse, I shot the SR a little better than I did the MR... sold the MR to a good home, and plan on figuring things out on the SR for a while. Couple of the older fellers around here seem to think that's a good idea... less options and fancy attachments to distract a new shooter from what he needs to be doing, even if the gun doesn't necessarily 'fit' as well as a MR could. If it ain't one thing, it's another... sheesh :D

Monte

MikeIsaj
July 21, 2005, 10:36 AM
Wow! Some excellent info on equipment here. Good advice, follow it all.

Don't forget the most important ingredient. Skill! You need to build on a base of good basic marksmanship skills. Then practice, practice, practice. If you have someone who can "coach" you, all the better. A coach will help by giving honest feedback about your shooting technique. If you don't have a coach, learn to be brutally honest with yourself when shooting. That's where the range book is useful. Good equipment will serve you well. No doubt a good rifle and high quality ammo will fire more accurately but, you need to build on a good solid foundation of basic skills.

I've never competed in civilian matches. I have qualified high expert 12 times in the Marine Corps (scored above 245 of 250 possible). And that was with service grade M-16's. I'm not bragging, just trying to emphasise the benefit of mastering the basics.

Good luck!

Jon Coppenbarger
July 21, 2005, 10:50 AM
service rifles are cheaper, easier to feed and are the basic rifle until you learn all the fundmentals

Steve Smith
July 21, 2005, 11:10 AM
I agree that the SR is cheaper and more simple. If it weren't for that, I would recommend the MR wholeheartedly for beginners because of rifle fit.

For me, I hope I never get too old or too fussy to ever leave Service Rifle. I love the added challenge and I also love the "even playing field" we SR shooters enjoy.

Dionysusigma, one thing that I heard when I started and it always stuck with me: Pay little attention to the advice from Marksmen, just a little from Sharpshooters, considerable attention to what the Experts say, very close attention to the advice of Masters, and listen to every word of advice from High Masters. Granted, what works for one HM won't always work for the other, but I bet that they really have very little that is different when you distill what they do down to the pure extract.

30Cal
July 21, 2005, 01:47 PM
Bring something to keep the hide on your elbows--either a sweatshirt or elbow pads. We generally accept being uncomfortably hot as a normal condition on the line.

Many clubs have loaner rifles you can use plus ammo at a reasonable cost. Call ahead and find out. www.odcmp.com has a list of affiliated clubs and contact information.

Your first match you'll probably be pretty busy trying to keep up with the tempo of the match. It's a blue moon when you see a first timer that is able to get the sling into action. After a match or two, you'll be able to focus more on shooting well and improving your shooting positions.

I wouldn't worry about gear. The comfortable minimum is a sweatshirt and eye/ear protection. In fact, I'd hold off on buying anything major until you've fired at least one match. Show up with as much as you've got. People are generally eager to loan out most of their gear--mat, glove, etc. All you have to do is ask. You can pretty much figure out what you need as you go along. I know a couple of guys that are content to shoot a rack grade M1 on a piece of carpet with a pair of binoculars. But they have a good time doing it.

I always recommend that you just go and shoot at the earliest convenience--shoot the match with a club rifle and issue ammo. I know quite a few highpower shooters that practiced for months before going to their first match. Don't do that. You'll be having more fun sooner and improving at a faster rate if you just jump in with both feet.

Some people have some experience shooting positions and they do pretty good first time out, but most of us will need more than a couple of matches to figure out how to set our bodies up for a stable rifle platform.

Don't forget to have fun.
Ty

Quintin Likely
July 21, 2005, 07:46 PM
I think shooting the service rifle is what highpower is all about. Service rifles, you've gotta conform yourself to the tools and the rules, adapt and overcome. The match rifle allows infinitely easier fitting to the rifle (the rifle can adapt to you, not you to the rifle like with an SR) and you get the advantage of longer sight radius, a more precise sighting system, and depending on what you're shooting, you've got a caliber advantage over the service rifle shooter. That said, bring out whatever you got and shoot. Test the waters a little before you make an ultimate decision as to how much to committ and what you want to do. Hope to see you on the line someday.

Dionysusigma
July 22, 2005, 04:02 PM
What I have is a SAR-1. :uhoh: I don't think that it'd be classified as a "(US) Service Rifle," anyhow... not to mention the way that gun slings spent brass all over. I think that it'd be probably the worst rifle for this. Around these parts, an AR-15 DCM match is going to be the cheapest way to go.

Closest thing I have to a spotting scope is this: http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/ctd/product.asp?dept%5Fid=180106&sku=25432&imgid=&mscssid=UH9HTT2GWSET9GE64R59GUF5A9C27RM4 Not much to speak of.

I've got a few foamies for hearing protection, and a sweatshirt. Dad has a few old pairs of work gloves. :) That's a start (minimal one), right? :o

Steve Smith
July 22, 2005, 08:41 PM
If you are going to shoot your SAR in a match, I would highly recommend that you ask the match director to put you on the far right position so that your brass doesn't bother another shooter.

antsi
July 24, 2005, 11:50 AM
8) Categories? Are there different categories for scoped rifles, US military rifles, iron-sight-only rifles? What about skill level? Am I going to get my rear handed to me every time by the reincarnations of Annie Oakley and Carlos Hathcock?

9) Have I forgotten anything important? What advice would you give to someone who's just getting into all this?
-----------------------------------------

Same advice for 8) and 9): Don't go to a high power match expecting to win. Your first match, just go for fun and learning. Subsequent matches, focus on improving your own score.

The NRA does maintain records on shooters and classifies them according to past performance.

Jon Coppenbarger
July 24, 2005, 02:06 PM
No body wins every time.
No mater how good you get in serive rifle you are going to get beat by some one some time.
You may go and really think you might have the best shooter there is. but when you have been shooting for awhile you will see better. Hell I even get my licks in once in awhile on them.
First match I ever went to I shot something like 300 or so out of 800 and the guy next to me shot like a 784. It made me want to learn this sport.

I took a sar-1 with wolf ammo to a match back in the summer of 2001 and took 3rd out of like 30 some shooters. I still get a few laughs with that one. That was the last year they had it on base and from what I was told the company commander had a few words that a ak beat most of his guys in that match.
It can be done just go have fun.

Steve Smith
July 24, 2005, 03:29 PM
Antsi, there are "classifications" not "categories" that prevent you from having to compete directly with the "best."

Actually, the sport only pits you against yourself. You will always have the same opportunity as your opponents and in the end you can only blame yourself for not shooting as well. No one can "block your shot" like in basketball, so if you don't shoot as well as one of the big leaguers, who's fault is that? The sport is more about learning to control yourself (in mind AND body) and pushing yourself to do better than it is about "beating" someone else or "being beaten." Will you get your rear handed to yourself? YES. Get used to it. There are people who make a LIVING shooting HP. Military units that do NOTHING but shoot almost every day, all year long, just to outshoot YOU and EVERYONE ELSE. They dominate because that is ALL they do. "Beating" them can be one of your long-term goals, but you are truly talking about the pros of the sport. On an individual level though, they are all just humans and they have the same opportunities (organically) that you do. You CAN shoot as well or better than them, but that is up to YOU and your MIND. Believe me, their act of and ability to be dominating is in their minds. The sport is 95% mental when you get to the Master level and above.

The classifications are Marksman, Sharpshooter, Expert, Master, and High Master. You will compete in the classification that fits your score average.

There are classes for Service Rifle (Garand, M1A, and certain AR-15 variants) and Match Rifle (bractically everything else) for your standard Highpower match (200, 300, and 600 yard positions). They are both shot with some form of iron sight depending on SR or MR. There is also a scoped category but it is very rare and not really close the the "heart" of HP (like SR and MR are). There is also long range which is 800, 900, and 1000 yard (nearly identical to Palma) and that is shot with iron sights as well, but there is a small and rare scoped rifle class for that too.


It seems like you have some basic questions to ask...how about do a Search in Competitions and Rifle for "Highpower" and cross-reference with my name, Jon Coppenbarger, Blind Rat, 30cal, and John Sylvester to name a few. That search will turn up a LOT of info. :D

wanderinwalker
July 24, 2005, 09:11 PM
Heed the advice given. It will work! This is only my second summer of serious Highpower shooting, and I am traveling to Camp Perry at the end of the week for the Nationals with the GONH State team! It is exciting, and fun, and scary and everything you let it be! :)

Horror stories? Lets see: Yesterday I fired a 456 out of 500 at the team practice. It was going about par for me until 600. A combination of last-year's ammo and an eye booger fuzzing my vision cut my 600 score to a 174 out of 200. Set-backs happen to everybody some days, no matter if they are a High Master or a Marksman. Just chalk it up to experience and press on. This is the second poor performance this year, after a miserable outting on my first 80rd match back in June. The end of the season will be better! Of course practice would help!

As for equipment to start, I recommend an AR-15 Service Rifle, a glove for your offhand, a non-slip jacket to shoot in, something non-slip to lay on and a spotting scope. The spotting scope may be best to look through a few on the line and then only buy one once!

Oh yeah, good luck and good shooting! The only way to go is up! ;)

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