The 1000 yard team matches at the National High Power Rifle Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio are shot in the afternoon after the individual matches are completed. In 1991 the USAR was short of team coaches since John Kessler was still on Active Duty from Desert Storm. Billy C. Atkins grabbed the shooters he needed to try to win the Service Rifle division of the match (which they did!) and the magnum shooters were left to figure out what to do. The top four from the individual phase (Bach, Fetterolf, Silvia, Stark) got to shoot and that kind of left Barbara Barrick and I to do the coaching.
Being the fine USAR field grade officers we were, we moved on up to the firing line to coach even though I had never coached at 600 yards, much less 1,000 yards. Barbara had won the Leech Cup (1,000 yards with Metallic Sights) in 1980, so she was somewhat more familiar than I was. I had shot 1,000 yards intermittently since 1970. In the early years I used the M14NM and since 1975 whatever magnum happened to be available. Besides the fact most of them had stocks that were close cousins to a railroad tie and built for someone about 6'3" and 230 lbs. and were shooting generic ammo (one size fits all), it was a nice way to try to do your best. At least you could see on the Any Sight matches. I was a very experienced smallbore rifle shooter and had set numerous smallbore rifle National Records and was the runner-up in the 1989 National Smallbore Rifle Prone Championships. And what the hey, mirage is mirage, right?
I was behind the Team Coach's 100mm scope with Barbara to my right rear with the Team Captain's 100mm scope. We worked as a team. It was almost funny in a way as I didn't really know what I was doing. We would look at the mirage, look at the flags, look at each other and come to a compromise estimation of the wind. If I thought it looked like it was worth 1.5 minutes and she thought 2.0 minutes, we would split it and go. We might have even asked the shooters.
The most fun was coaching Chris Stark. He was just nailing them. Many times I would tell him to give a tiny favor this way or that and he responded. He ended up with a 200-12x which is really what won the match for us. There wasn't another 200 on the line! The others on the team hung in there and damn if we didn't actually win the whole thing! I didn't think we would ever run out of ammo. The Hardholders thought this was their personal match, but not on that day!
Hopefully the USAR will win it again soon since they survived the budget chopping block this summer. All I know is that you won't find me behind one of those scopes again!
US Army Reserve Shooting Teams Alumni Association
USAR Service Rifle Team
USAR Captures the 1991 Roumanian Trophy
(This is my Story and I'm Sticking to It.)
by Ray P. Carter