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Precision Rifle Match - A Spouse's Experience

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Precision Rifle Match - A Spouse's Experience

Rob Wilkinson

I have been a Desert Tech owner and dealer for over 5 years now. I have been very impressed with their rifle systems. I love how compact they are, their ability to swap calibers in less than one minute, and how when shouldered unsupported they feel deceptively light.

Last month, I reminded my wife about a match that I would be shooting in the following day. I mentioned to her that they are having a match for beginners, though a fair number of the beginner match was going to consist of pretty experienced shooters. She said she would like to give it a go. So late Friday afternoon we loaded the rifles up and headed to the range. We had about an hour left of daylight when we got there and it was 35 degrees and the temperature was dropping fast.

Both my father-in-law and I had taken her shooting, but she had never shot a center-fire rifle past a couple hundred yards. She had also never shot my Desert Tech SRS Rifle. She sent about 20 rounds down range on Friday in the near freezing conditions. She shot a sub 1/4 minute group at 100 yards and then proceeded to put first round hits on steel out to 800 yards. We packed up the rifles and headed home for the evening. After putting the kids to bed, I started reloading for her rifle and then gathered gear up for her to use at the match. I finally finished up and went to bed at 2:30 AM.

On our drive to the match, I gave her some pointers. As soon as we arrived at the match, I chronographed the SRS due to changing the seating depth of the bullets the night before. The Desert Tech SRS is currently running a 6x47 barrel that I had spun up and had over 1,500 rounds on it. The barrel was still shooting sub 1/2 inch with my original load, but had lost a little velocity and SD's had been increasing. Chasing the lands resulted in a boost of 30 fps and an SD of 4. The rifle is topped with a Premier Heritage 5-25x56, with a Accuracy 1stscope level, Thunder Beast Ultra 7 suppressor, Sidewinder DOPE card holder, and Atlas PSR Bipod. I hastily prepped a range card for her using my Kestrel with AB and left her with her gear while I headed to my match.

She had dialed elevation in this rifle less than 10 times, had only put 20 rounds through it ever, and had never done any positional shooting with a precision rifle. I need to admit, I was a little worried for her. I had discussed how to prep for each stage. Writing down the course of fire; using binoculars to find any targets she could not easily see when the stage was being explained by the RO; memorizing where the targets are at and their respective yardages; adjusting the parallax, elevation and power settings on the scope prior to starting; writing down necessary elevation changes and the course of fire on a card and inserting it into the Sidewinder DOPE card holder on the side of the rifle.

Half way through the day I get the following text message:

“What am I shooting? I just hit 3 for 3 inside a 2” group at 730 yards. :) :) :) "

It sounded like a bunch of guys were asking what she was shooting, because she was doing so well.

I was so thrilled for her that I walked around my squad sharing the text.

Later in the day she called me and asked me for advice on a stage. She said there was a stage where you had to fire 3 shots. One standing, One Kneeling and One sitting at a 200 plus yard target. Though you had the option to fire you sitting round at the 730 yard target and gain extra points. They were under a pretty short time limit and I think I may have discouraged her from going for the 730 yard target that she had been hammering. I wish I had encouraged her to take the long shot.

After the matches we got back together and she told me about her experience. How she had some great stages, how she had struggled on others, and what she had learned. She mentioned that she would like to shoot other matches.

We hung around after the match to talk with other competitors and wait for the results. I bombed a couple stages and knew I was out of it in my division. Amy had told me about a few stages where she had issues. They started out by calling her name as the 5thplace finisher of her match, which had 33 competitors in it. I was so stoked for her. She beat out men who have been shooting for years and were familiar with their rifles, some of whom have taken professional courses on rifle shooting.

I don’t want to take anything away from Amy, because a 5th place finish in that crowd is one heck of an accomplishment. However, I do want to highlight the rifle system. The Desert Tech SRS is such an easy system to run. It hides its weight so well and It is so easy to maneuver around barricades. Coupled with a 10 round mag, it really is a fantastic rifle for competition use. The rifle is incredibly accurate and rivals any custom that I have ever played with. When running a 6x47 it has virtually no recoil. The monopod is also so easy, fast, and precise to adjust. I am sorely missing the monopod having switched over to an Accuracy International rifle for my last couple matches.

I look forward to sharing one of my favorite past times with my wife and I am interested to see how Amy does in her next match after she gets a little practice in and more time behind the gun.

I shared this post on Snipers Hide and received some supportive messages I need to share with my wife and also received the following post that had me laughing.  

"Sounds like a happy story with a sad end. My bet is, you just lost your rifle."

If it cost me my rifle, so be it.  I would find a way for purchase something similar for any of my family members that want to come and shoot with me.