Friday, June 3, 2016

My favorite shooting match at Camp Perry is the John C. Garand match, aka the Garand match.

A bit part of the reason is it is pretty much a 'Bring what ya got' match.

Actually there are two classes of rifles permitted these days. The classes are 'as issued' and 'other'. The other class includes Garands chambered for the NATO 7.62 round and those in the National Match configuration. This 'other' class is a recent change.

The overwhelming bulk of shooters still shoot in the 'as issued' class. 

The 'as issued' class is simply the basic rifle with no modification. It is simply the same issued rifle that would have been handed to a GI during WW2 or Korea. It can only be accurized by 'a careful assembly of the parts'. It can be relarreled, however. If it is the barrel must be identical to the original GI barrel.

In reality it is simply a 'bring what ya brought' match, meaning a basic, unaccurized rifle. For years the ammo was supplied for the match. It was basically issue GI ammo. One year the ammo issued was a year younger than I was at the time. I believe I was about 59 at the time.

For all but a very few shooters it is and was just a chance to get out and shoot against other halfway decent shooters for the joy of shooting a match. Nobody really got too upset about how well they did or how poorly.

One year I was squadded with a High Master that had just shot in the President's match and had 'legged', meaning he had been in the top 100 shooters and had just earned his umpteenth 'President's 100' tab. This guy knew his stuff.

I casually asked him how well his rifle shot and he looked up at me sheepishly and said cheerfully that on a good day with carefully tuned handloads it could hold the 8-ring. For you non-shooters this means his rifle was well past worn out. It was a worn out piece of junk.

I laughed when he said that and realized he was just shooting to be shooting. He didn't care. To him (and me) it was all about having a little no pressure fun.

I believe I beat him which is kind of odd as I can't hold a candle to a High Master with a tuned up rifle.

The match draws an interesting crowd ranging from top shooters to absolute duffers. A part of the fun is looking around to see who is on the line. An annual fixture there is non other than R. Lee Ermey, aka 'The Gunny'. One year Gunny Ermey beat me out of $10, payable to Toys for Tots. It was a fun match.

I was teasing the Gunny before the match and said I'd bet him $10 I could beat him and before I could finish he said he couldn't  take the bet.

When I said it was payable to Toys for Tots his face lit up and he answered, "Mister you just got yourself a bet!"

Of course he beat me and it was funny having him gloat and tease me about it.

A year or two later I ran into him on the line while I was wearing my old government issue Army fatigue uniform. He commented I ought to get a Ridgeway cap to top it off. When I told him I wasn't issued one he looked at me somewhat wide eyed and asked me "Is that your original issued uniform?"

When I said it was, he grinned in amazement and said that I was lucky to be able to still fit into it. I told him I had worked my ass off to be able to and he said I must have. We're both old men, long past service age and old men generally have to fight hard to keep from gaining weight.

Some people show up in WW2 uniforms and I remember the comment a serving Marine colonel made. He noticed that the WW2 re-enactors appeared a little rank heavy. He grinned and said he ought to put on five stars and come as Douglas MacArthur.

I told him I ought to show up in a double breasted suit and wire rimmed glasses as Harry Truman and fire his ass.

Everyone around broke up laughing.

Another year I was treated to a serving colonel of marines laughing like a little kid. He has shot, done fairly well and it was his turn to pull targets.

He sounded like a happy little kid when he said, "Sergeant Major, watch my trash! I gotta pull targets!" and off to the pits he ran.

The creation of the match was a stroke of genius on the part of the CMP. Garand sales had been flat at the time and when they started the match they took off.

I missed the first one, but shot in the second one the following year. If I am not mistaken the first year there were less than 100 shooters, about 600 the following year and it has sold out ever since.

I have met people that have flown in from Alaska and Hawaii just to shoot the 35 round (5 spotters and 30 for score) match.

I have to say that me entering the President's match would be a waste of powder and shot but the Garand match suits me well.

Incidentally every Garand match I have shot in I have shot a perfect score. Every single one of my rounds has landed safely int Lake Erie.

Anyway, it's a hoot. 

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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