Douglas Ridge Range is a beautiful, lush and green outdoor shooting club. Why is it so green? It rains a lot. As is typical NW style it was a wet and gray Memorial weekend. In a “glass half full” statement, I will say that it never actually rained on us while we were shooting. Lucky us! I actually was looking forward to using my “Rifle Cozy” I made. It is a rain guard made of a heat resistant and waterproof material. The main function is to cover the action so that water does not get in as you are loading the next round. Last year it rained so hard my ammo and action were wet. Every shot blew a primer. The humidity was too much and cases expanded. Primers can get stuck in the trigger or bolt face. A big problem! So I invented the “Cozy”. It covers the action but allows easy access to load and eject rounds. I have been selling these now! That is how people strike it rich right? Oops, I think I got off track here. I will get back to the match.
The Burden is an annual Palma and Long Range match held Memorial weekend every year. I believe this is its 17th year. There are 2 days of Palma at 800, 900 and 1000 yards and 2 extra strings of an Any/Any at 1000 yards. The team match was on Sunday. We had a great turn out of over 60 competitors. Washington, California, Idaho and Canada all had a strong presence. In fact Canada for the first time took the Individual and the Team events.
Don Pitcairn from B.C. had an incredible run for the 2 days. His last string at 1000 yards on day 2 stumped us all. A 150/150 with 14X. For those unfamiliar with the scoring that is 14 X’s out 15 shots. Amazing, eh? Sorry, he is Canadian and I had to throw that one in. He deserved the win.
My personal shooting performance was very similar to last weekend. I struggled the first day and could not get comfortable. I dropped points. Sunday I settled in and managed to get a 3rd High Master in Palma and the ANY/ANY for the day’s Agg. But it was not enough to put me up in a Grand Agg winning spot for the weekend. I took 8th overall. This range is interesting. You are shooting up hill at your targets. There are trees up on the hill above the targets and they come down and wrap either side of the range with only one opening around the 100 yard line. Many times the wind will come up and over the hill and down toward the shooter which can cause strange elevation shots. The flags and mirage will be doing opposite things as well. With the low light the mirage was difficult to see at all. My strategy for those times was to wait out the shooters next to me. Knowing they are good shooters I can trust this method a little. I wait for their shots and then their targets to appear with marks. If several at a time were right or left or even up or down I would adjust my wind accordingly. It worked. This time anyway. I would not always rely on that but sometimes you do what you can to stay in the game if the elements are against you!
My US Team ended our winning streak this year. The Canadians beat us by 1 point. That hurts. All of us shooters feel responsible for every shot lost. Makes you wonder if it was your shot that could have made the difference. I need to just shake it off and get to the practice range. It is all about trigger time. You never can get enough time out on the range right? Somebody needs to pay me to shoot everyday. Any volunteers?
I will be at Paul Bunyan range in Puyallup, WA this weekend for our State High Power Championship. This is the across the course format with a service rifle. I am on a mission for more Leg points toward my Distinguished Badge. Wish me luck!