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Desert Tech - 2014 Powder Keg

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Desert Tech - 2014 Powder Keg

Rob Wilkinson

Desert Tech knows how to put on an awesome match. For those who were not at the Powder Keg, some of the highlight stages included a 1200 yard cold bore shot, high angle shooting stages with targets ranging from 700 to 1100 yards, moving targets at 600 and 800 yards, shooting off a tripod, a stage called “Wind Cheater” with targets from 800 to 1200 yards, and other stages that required movement and improvised shooting positions.

Everyone knew they were in for a challenging day when they took the line for a 1200 yard cold bore shot. 

This competition had been named the Powder Keg, due to an 8 lb keg of the nearly mythical H4350 powder that was given away and the stage named “The Trough”.  A total of 5 shots were fired at this stage under a strict time limit.  This stage consisted of a rack of targets set in an elevated position just beyond 400 yards with 5 shooting positions (standing – touching a fence post, kneeling – with rifles placed in an opening in a wire fence, standing – with rifles placed in a small open of brush, kneeling or sitting – with rifles touching a corner of a water trough, and the final position was at the other end of the trough where the competitors were required to have their bipods touching the water trough.  Also during this stage, competitors were required to carry all equipment that they brought to use at the match.  This was a very challenging stage with many competitors running out of time before they could take all five required shots.  I managed to hit 4 out of my 5 shots, in a respectable amount of time, and left the stage feeling certain that I had let the keg of powder slip through my fingers.

Shooting movers was a first for me and with the movers being at 600 and 800 yards, hitting any of these targets proved to be no small feat.  I felt lucky to hit one mover.  After the match I learned that I had been leading the 600 yard movers by .3 mils to much and .2 mils to short at 800 yards. 

The Wind Cheater stage was one of my favorite stages.  There were targets placed at 800, 900, 1000, 1100, and 1200 yards, which were spread out and required shooters to find the targets and adjust for each new target to be engaged.  This stage was shot with a maximum of 10 rounds.  Competitors were to engage each target, if a target was hit on their first shot, they could move on.  It the target was missed the shooter was require to fire a second shot at the target, miss or hit they then moved on to the next target.  There was a noticeable wind that was blowing right to left and which had many competitors feeling the 1100 and 1200 yard targets were significantly more exposed after their holds proved not to be enough.  I really enjoyed this stage and I felt my monopod was a huge help adjusting for each new target.

There were shooting stages that required the use of a tripod while standing and using a ladder with multiple positing on the different rungs of the ladders.  Drawing from memory, I believe the distances on these stages ranged from 250 to 600 yards.  

The final two stages for my squad were the high angle stages.  The first had two targets placed at 700 and 710 yards on different slopes of the mountain.  Each target requiring two shots in under 90 seconds.  A lesson I learned here was to make sure you understand when your RO says start.  I heard the RO say 90 seconds and it just didn’t click that my time to shoot had started.  After 60 seconds, I asked if it was time to shoot after which I was promptly told I had under 30 seconds left.  I ripped off 3 shots, which landed on their intended targets in 20 seconds and I ran out of time before I could squeeze off the final shot. 

Our last high angle stage had targets at 700 and 1100 yards respectively.  The wind on the 1100 yard target claimed its fair share of victims.

Desert Tech and the match sponsors (Deliberate Dynamics, and others) put together a fantastic prize table, including a $500 coupon on the prize table towards an SRS chassis, Suunto Watch, Salomon Shoes, etc.

After the match, lunch was served and the scores were tallied.  Russ Wallis called the winner of the 8 lb jug of H4350, which somehow turned out to be me.  Then he announced the winner of the match was announced and I couldn’t believe they called my name again.  I was surprised and stoked to hear the match results as I vividly remembered making mistakes that resulted in a few missed shots. 

The Range Officers and Desert Tech staff helped make this a great match. As always, I learn a ton at each match from some great local talent.  It was a fantastic match and extremely well put together. I am looking forward to their next match.

Things came together for me Saturday and my SRS rifle with factory Desert Tech .260 conversion with Thunder Beast 30BA suppressor performed flawlessly. The Desert Tech monopod was money on the 700 yard high angle shooting and the Wind Cheater stages.

I have been a premier dealer for Desert Tech over the last 3 years and have been sold on their rifle system since the first time I tried one out. I have been shooting an SRS ever since taking delivery of my first Desert Tech order. I am very familiar with their rifle system and would be happy to answer questions that anybody has on Desert Tech’s products.  The Thunder Beast 30BA and 30P1 are the best sounding .30 caliber suppressors that I have heard.  They perform amazing.  The Thunder Beast Suppressors are built with precision shooters in mind.  They dramatically cut down on the sound signature, while reducing recoil with no ill effects on accuracy. 

If anyone is in the Salt Lake area and would like to demo an SRS rifle or Thunder Beast Suppressor, I would be happy to meet you at my local range that has targets out to 800 yards and let you demo my personal SRS rifle and suppressors. For those in the market, I have many Desert Tech Chassis and most Conversions in stock, along with optics, suppressors and accessories to help you build a complete rifle system.

Below are a couple links to Desert Tech’s Blog post on the Powder Keg.

King of the Powder Keg

Powder Keg Pics