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This trophy says it all. The striking rattlesnake. Rattlesnake Mountain Shooting Facility in Richland, WA is one of the most difficult places in the country to compete. The winds are infamous. Shooters from around the country travel to other states for their championships but never seem to want to come to our match. Most have come once only to vow “never again”. Chickens. We do get brave souls from Canada to make the trip every year. This match is always 3 days long. You shoot this match the best you can. Sometimes you get a lucky string with not as much wind and that can catapult you to a lead only to find yourself on a bad string the next day to throw you back down. It is true in this match that it is not over until the last shot is fired. I came this year hoping to one up my results from last year.
I took 2nd place overall in 2011. I was hoping for a first win at this range for 2012. Although it did not happen this year I was proud of my fight back up from day 1 to day 3. We had beautiful warm and sunny skies. The wind conditions were not so nice. Day 1 was so bad that it was not a question of who shot a miss but who did not? Many of us were blown right off the target. I had a miss at 900 yards and one at 100 yards. Ouch. Two competitors had 5-7 misses in a row. They could not find their way back on to the paper. I was very fortunate that I took my best guess to get back on target after the miss and I came up with an X. Sweet. We shoot each day a string at 800, 900 and 1000 yards for the individuals.
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Palma matches have to be shot with a .308 caliber rifle. Bullet grain can be no more than 155.5. And of course rifles have iron sights not scopes. Yep, I said iron sights! We then end each day with a string for the team match. Each string has 2 sighter shots and 15 rounds for record. There are a total score of 150 points per string and 450 for the day. Then X’s are counted as well. The first day I had a crushing total score of 400/450. I was not alone. I then managed to fight my way back the next 2 days. Saturday I gained 26 points for a 426/450. Sunday was a great success and I managed a 1st High Master spot for the day with a 444/450. For some reason I thought my overall score put me in 8th place for the match. Final scores were sent out this morning and I actually took 6th overall! I tied high X count for the match with 50 X’s. A well deserved match win was taken by Michael Storer who held a strong lead all three days. Mike Mauer placed 2nd followed by Wayne Budbill and Bud Solis. I did get one championship win though!
My team the Wranglers won the Palma Team Championship this year. I am always honored when asked to be on their team. They can choose anyone and I have been asked to shoot with them the last year or so. There is always one gal with a pink shirt on in our team photos. (That is me if you could not tell.) We managed a win by 26 points. I am also proud to say I had the highest score of all competitors. But I could not do that without the great coaching. Team members from left to right in photo; Myself, Rich Vedvick, coach David Littlefield, Mike Mauer and Wayne Budbill. We head down to Oregon this next weekend for The Burden Memorial Regional Long Range match. I hope for a strong individual score and of course another team win. Stay tuned here at Guns and Tactics for my results.