Heatstroke Open 2015
The name in itself would make anyone tremble. Take that plus 2500 acres of land in a desolate area of Oklahoma in the middle of July and you have yourself one hell of a match (no pun intended there).
B.J. Bailey and Matt Clem, Match Directors, had a great format and made sure it all ran smoothly. From the experienced ROs all the way down to how each stage was ran, makes this match alone one of the best of the year. As part of the Precision Rifle Series, this match brought the top elite guys and this gal from all over the U.S to compete. With my Ashbury Precision Ordnance custom built 6.5 Creedmoor slung around me with my Armageddon Gear sling along with my Bushnell Elite XRS 4.5-30 scope, I was ready to take on Oklahoma.
The first morning started with the raising of the United States flag which was brought in on helicopter with men in uniform. Once on the ground, the flag was raised by the beautiful voice of a young lady as she sung our National Anthem. It was such a great way to start the competition.
I was on Alpha squad which included my husband Jim, Kevin E., Andrew R., John G., and Andy H. Our first stage of the day was the helicopter stage. You had two rounds to hit a target at 220 yrds kneeling, then run to the helicopter where you were strapped in. They gave you an AR with 20 rounds in which once airborne, you had 5 different white powdered bags to shoot at. Two competitors went up at the same time. My helo partner was Andy H. and we both gave it hell!
After our squad was finished, we all loaded up our gear and walked to the next stage. My squad was not only a great group of shooters, they were so much fun to hang around. This helps make a match so much fun. We all helped each other and had some great laughs.
The format for each stage was meticulous. Most stages were 3 minute time stressors which is ample time in these type matches. The ROs were all wonderful and were all experienced shooters. I can’t say enough about all the ROs. Have I ever mentioned before that the ROs are volunteers for these matches? They aren’t paid, not looking for anything but to help run a match. I cannot thank them enough for hanging out in the hot hot sun to make sure all the shooters had a fair run on each stage. If you ever attend a match, make sure you thank the ROs, because without them there isn’t a match.
The first day we had cloud cover and a great breeze. By breeze, I mean 15-20 mph winds. It felt great on the skin but made you work for every point. One fun stage was the Tree Stand. You handed your gear to the RO, once you were given the Engage command you step up on the tree stand and lower the shooter rail, then the RO handed your rifle to you and you had 5 targets to engage at five different distances. It was a lot of fun. Other stages included a speed drill with a TYL right after and several different barricade stages. One great stage I had was the Beanland Custom Rifle Tower troop. On the Engage command, you dropped to prone and engaged targets from near to far, 2 pts for 1st round hits 1 pt for second round. 1st target was 854 yrds. I put on my elevation and held for 15 mph wind. Impact! First round hit, Impact second round hit. 2nd target was 883 yrds, after dialing elevation I again held for 15 mph wind, Impact ! 1st round hit. I quickly racked my bolt held same and missed right off right edge … crap! The wind picked up. Dialed my elevation for the 3rd target at 936 yrds, I figured I would hold for about 18 mph, just as I pulled the trigger the ROs yelled ceased fire. A target on another stage went down which stopped all the stages. Oh man, have you ever been to Vegas and played the card tables….you have great luck with one dealer then when the dealer changes all your luck flies out the window? Well that was me on this stage. I started back on the third target but dear lord, didnt hit a darn thing the rest of the stage. There were some stages I cleaned and some only a few points. It was a tough course but oh so much fun. There were a few times I had to break out my Hoppes 9 travel kit. Jakes bolt got so gritty that I had to remove it, clean it then lube it out in the field. I love this kit! We shot 17 stages the first day. By the end of day One I was exhausted. A good dinner, shower then bed was calling my name.
The 2nd day of the match started early again at 6am. Once the sun came up, it started beating down on us hard. Our squad started up at the top of the tower. You had 4 coyote targets which ranged from 240 yrds to 690 yrds. I hit all but one. One fun stage was the EoTech Pickup Pig Hunt. With 3 minutes on the clock, You started with your gear in the front seat of the truck and door shut. On the Engage command, you grabbed your rifle and gear. Your first firing position was on the hood of the truck. Since I wasn’t tall enough to shoot at the side of the truck with my rifle on top, I jumped on top of the hood in prone position and shot the first pig target with 2 shots at 550 yrds, then progressed to the 2nd pig at 777 yrds with 2 shots. 2nd firing position was on the roof with the same shot format. The 3rd firing position was on the bed rail. It was a really fun stage. My Bushnell Elite XRS 4.5-30 scope is one tough scope. It never failed me and made most stages easier. The glass is so clear you can see the trace of your bullet. I love this scope and all its capabilities.
One interesting stage was the NightForce Loophole. The target was at 700 yrds but the catch was you had to shoot through a .5″ slit cut into a board in front of you. So with this in mind, the hubby showed me a neat trick of how to shoot this stage (think lots of math, which I love). With a quick calculation and a small prayer to God, I figured 12 yrds back from the board was where I needed to start. I used a backpack and a Wiebad bag to give my rifle more elevation. Once I spotted the target, I held for wind and sent my first shot. Just off to the right side of target which meant I needed to hold for more wind. 2nd shot impact, 3rd shot impact, 4th shot impact, 5th shot I hit the board. When my rifle would recoil it would settle more on the bag it was on. My 6th shot hit the board as well. 3 out 6 shots wasnt too bad, I’ll take it. I shoot the Hornady 140gr AMAX ammunition. The factory load has always been consistent and I trust the Hornady brand. It’s proven itself time and time again to me. Our last stage of the day was the McMillan One Minute Troop. You had 4 targets at 611 yrd, 801yrd, 1000 yrd and 1200 yrds. By this time the wind was really kicking, we were all hot, tired, sunburned and just worn down. I only connected with one hit and that was on the 1200 yrd target….go figure. I ended on a high note at least! After the match, everyone in attendance headed over to the Camargo community center where afternoon lunch was served by Smoke & Bark. They served us lunch each day and let me tell you, it was some of the best ribs, pulled pork sandwiches and potato salad I had ever ate!
I really want to thank B.J. Bailey and Matt Clem for a challenging course of fire and overall great match. Thanks to the Alpha squad for making the past two days a blast. Big thanks to the ROs for all their hardwork and time. Congratulations to Jim See for taking 1st place. It was an honor to talk to you during the match and watch you on some of the stages with your grandaddy long legs bipod! Congrats to Rick Reeves for taking 2nd and all the top shooters in this match. Thanks to all the sponsors who placed prizes on the table and help make this match awesome! Thank you to DeadEye Outdoor Media for taking some phenomenal photo’s & video! Thank you to my sponsors, Ashbury Precision Ordnance, Bushnell, Armageddon Gear, Hoppes 9 and Wiebad for making all this possible for me.
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