If you think your favorite .22 squirrel rifle is up to the challenge, try entering the eighth annual National Rimfire Sporter Match on Sunday at Camp Perry, which is fielding its 101st National Rifle and Pistol Matches.
The National Rimfire Match has grown every year and is expected to grow again this year. As of yesterday, 280 shooters had registered out of a possible 400 slots said Christine Elder, a spokesman for the Civilian Marksmanship Program. The CMP, a quasi-public shooting organization, hosts the matches with the Ohio National Guard and National Rifle Association.
Gary Anderson, CMP director, calls the rimfire match a "fun-oriented competition" in which "ordinary gun owners and hunters using their squirrel and rabbit rimfire rifles" can compete. It is aimed at drawing more casual shooters to the lines under less than high-pressure, precision target competition.
It is a unique match where all you need is a rifle and ammo. You fire with standard sporter-type rimfire rifles that can weigh no more than 7 1/2 pounds, with sights and sling.
Rifles may be manually operated or semi-automatic. Shooters with manually operated actions are given extra time in rapid-fire to compensate for the difference. There are two classes of competition, an "O Class" for open-sighted rifles and a "T-Class" for telescopic or receiver [aperture]- sighted rifles.
Firing is done at 50 and 25 yards on a target with a 10-ring that is 1.78 inches in diameter and a large outer one-ring 18 inches in diameter. Overall, 60 rounds are fired in prone, sitting or kneeling, and standing positions, in slow-fire and rapid-fire modes.
Registration, rifle inspection and a shooters' clinic are set for Saturday afternoon. For details, call the CMP office at Camp Perry, 419-635-2141 extensions 1101 or 1114, or visit online at odcmp.com/NationalMatches.htm.
Other "fun shoots" are scheduled in early August during the high-power rifle events. Those involve civilian versions of former military rifles - the M-1 Carbine [Aug. 6], Springfield/Military bolt-action [Aug. 7], M-1 Garand [Aug. 8], and M1A [civilian M-14, Aug. 9].
HENDERSON WINS: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. James Henderson of Columbus, Ga., has earned his second title as
national pistol champion, besting a field of 681 of the country's best handgun competitors at Camp Perry.
Henderson fired a composite score of 2646-141X in three separate championships - .22, centerfire and .45 pistol. He won his first title in 2006, and his name regularly has been near the top in the scoring lists.
Second place went to another top shooter, Philip Hemphill, a Clinton, Miss., lawman who fired 2642-129X. The "X" in a score refers to perfect center-shot bull's-eyes, which are registered as a way to break ties in numerical scores.
Last year's winner and eight-time pistol champion, Marine Gunnery Sgt. Brian Zins of Quantico, Va., finished third in the overall title competition at 2637-131.
Henderson won both the .22 and centerfire championships with scores of 878-41X and 890-58X, respectively, edging Hemphill by two points each time.
But Zins came on to win the .45 matches at 882-50X. In .45 shooting, Army Sgt. First Class Keith Sanderson of Kaneche, Hawaii, took second at 879-40X, and Hemphill was third at 878-44X. His X score edged out Henderson, who fired 878-42X.
Ranges are being changed through today for upcoming smallbore or .22 rifle competition.