Apr 05

The Guardian Long Range match at Frontline Defense in NC


Photo credit: Gary Larson With squadmate Sarah McQuay of 8541 Tactical

Gary Larson, National Match Director. The name alone means a lot of great things to many different people. You see, Gary grew up in foster care since the age 12. Gary went between state-run orphanages and foster families. Right before he aged out of the system, Gary was adopted by his case worker. His life was forever changed. To hear Gary tell his testimony, will bring tears to your eyes and happiness to your soul. The Guardian Long Range is a charity event that gives back to Bethany Christian Services. Every match fee and raffle ticket bought, goes directly to Bethany Christian Services. 20150425_153444-1 To date, this match has raised over $50,000 for orphaned and vulnerable children being cared for by Bethany Christian Services. A couple of years ago, Gary had this vision of creating these matches with all this mind. He had a plan, a venue and was ready to go. He reached out to me in the very beginning and once I had done my “Google” research, I was on board 100%.  Wytheville Virginia at Bangsteel (Dan Newberry) was the beginning of these many matches. Now, 2 years later, Gary has been able to bring his vision to life by holding many Guardian matches a year, along with dedicated ranges all over the US. This year, Frontline Defense in Warrenton North Carolina was on board with the April 2nd match. Match Director Paul Smith was over accommodating to have this match held at his facilities. With no charge to Gary, Paul and his team did an outstanding job by not only holding the one day match, but also holding a Night match the evening before. Enough credit cannot be given to Paul Smith and the many RO’s who selflessly gave their time and weekend to be here. Thank you simply does not cover it.

With an 8.5 hour drive ahead of us, Jim and I left our home early Friday morning. After many entertaining talks, driving through rain and pit stops, we finally arrived in Warrenton, NC that evening. Matt Peterson and Travis Bankston with Ashbury Precision Ordnance met up with us and Gary Larson for dinner. Though I am no longer a shooter with APO, We are still family and I will always forever be debt to them for helping jump start my shooting career. After many stories and laughs, we all retreated back to our hotel to get a good night sleep.

Saturday morning there were clouds but no rain yet. Jim and I were on “Team Samson” along with Brandon Ford, John McQuay, Josh Jeffords, Lee Satterfield, Matt Peterson, Mike Walpole, Sarah McQuay, Scott Whitehead, Travis Bankston, Kevin Gray and Wade Moeller. We had such a great group of people to be with all day.


Photo credit: Gary Larson

My GA Precision 6Creedmoor in a Manners EHT stock was ready. As I fondly call it “The Blackwidow” this little rifle is nothing but short of a slaying! With a 25″ Bartlein barrel with APA Little Bastard brake and GAP Tempest V2 action, Not one single problem was had with this gem. I top off my rifle with my Bushnell Elite XRS 4.5-30 scope.  If you haven’t shot a GAP rifle, I suggest you do so. You will be hooked with every Impact you have!

Every stage was biblical related. There were eight stages with 10 rounds for each stage and 99.9 seconds to complete each stage. The first stage of the day for my squad was “Noah’s Ark”. You started with an empty chamber, safety on and mag in. When the buzzer sounded, you climbed into the boat, grabbed the stuffed duck and lamb which you had to use instead of a bipod. Once in position you had 5 targets to shoot with 2 rounds each. When I got up for my turn, the rain started. The boat was suspended so of course it wobbled. Once in position, I was able to successfully hit 7 out of 10. The rain continued to pour down through the next 3 stages.


Photo credit: Gary Larson

One of my favorite stages was “Moses”. You had a baby doll in a basket at your starting position. Once the buzzard sounded, you grabbed the baby then used it as a prop on the log to shoot 8 rounds at 3 designated targets at 180 yrds, 426 yrds and 536 yrds. Once you shot your 8 rounds, you transitioned to the platform, along with the baby Moses of course, and shot your remaining 2 rounds. Of course this was my favorite stage as I cleaned it in 86.57 seconds!  I used my Armageddon Gear Fat Bag to use for my elbow to prop on to get a firm, stable position.

After your first four stages were shot, we all met up and lunch was provided to every shooter. It was a delicious barbeque, slaw and potato salad. After everyone had their bellys full, it was on to the next four stages. And thank goodness the rain stopped and the sun started peeping through the clouds!!!


My Hoppes 9 Field kit.

The Last four stages were challenging yet fun. You had “Tower of Babylon”, “Samson”, “Stairway to Heaven” and “My Brothers Keeper”. It was a lot of fun shooting all these stages with our squad. Everyone had such a great personality, you just couldn’t help but have a great time. A squadmate had a little problem with a case breaking in his rifle and got stuck. Hoppes 9 range kit to the rescue!! This awesome field kit not only has the lube and cleaner in it, it also has cleaning rod, attachments and cleaning patches. I was able to quickly put together the rod, then attach a cleaning brush. When entered into his chamber, the other piece of brass quickly fell out. I always carry a small can of “Gun Medic” with me. At least once during this match after the rain, I had to spray a little on my bolt. After this my bolt started running smoothly again.

12592591_1735306240024040_6732786636116258631_nThe stage “Samson” had 5 empty barrels stacked up. You had to knock over the barrels then shoot 2 shots off each barrel at the given distances of 132yrds, 260yrds, 350 yrds and 441 yrds. I used my Lifeline on this one as it added an additional 20 seconds to the time to complete. I wound up with 7 hits within 110.59 seconds.  It was fun to watch how every competitor completed this stage. With my Bushnell Elite XRS, I was successful in using holdovers. And talking about my Bushnell XRS scope, I have put this poor scope to hell and back and it has weathered through it all. Two weeks ago at the LRSE match in Kentucky, it rained the 2nd day. I fell in mud on my last stage and my poor rifle took the fall too. Through that mud and rain, it handled great with no problems. No fogged lenses or anything. Bushnell definitely makes great quality scopes that I am grateful for!

Overall, this charity match was such a huge success. With 67 shooters in the match, the stages ran flawlessly. Having quality match directors really help!! Thank you again to Paul Smith and his crew for their hospitality and professionalism. Thank you to Gary Larson for another Guardian match. Your vision and passion has not gone unnoticed and I think I can speak on behalf of all the shooters who congratulate you and Thank you for this.  Big shout out to Scott Whitehead of Best Targets for the awesome trophies!

The scoring was done a little different. As Jim explained to me AFTER the match, your misses deducted time and your overall time to complete the stage was factored in.  Say What?!!  I didn’t realize that until AFTER the match and Jim sure as heck didn’t tell me during it. I thought it was like a normal PRS type scoring match.  I was wondering why the ROs was telling the scorekeeper the time it took for the competitor to complete the stage. I figured maybe it was to break a tie. Thanks Honey. Anyway, Congrats to Andy Slade for taking away 1st, Sam Barr 2nd and Dave Moore 3rd.  I walked away with Top Lady and 21st place. Huge thank you to my sponsors, GA Precision, Bushnell Tactical, Hoppes 9 and Armageddon Gear for being so wonderful and supporting me. Until next time Guardians……..20160402_180702-1-1

Permanent link to this article: http://thelifeofmissy.com/2016/04/05/the-guardian-long-range-match-at-frontline-defense-in-nc/

Jan 11

Wintertime Shooting Blues……..

BLUSo you’ve just about had a full year of shooting. You go from shooting 2-3 matches a month to maybe 1 a month. You go from crisp spring/summertime weather, to bitter cold grueling winter weather.  Oh those winter time shooting blues.

So now what? Do you sit there and daydream about past matches and what you should’ve done different?  Absolutely not! Put down the oatmeal, get off your hiney and grab your rifle!

Wintertime always gives me the blues because I like being outdoors. However, I do not like to be shivering, cold or my feet replaced as ice.AGR12  Wintertime is great time for indoor dry firing.  I know you’ve heard this from me before, but dry firing is a great way to practice. Since I shoot in tactical precision rifle matches, I like to make barricades in my house and practice utilizing my rifle in odd, uncomfortable positions. Oh I use the back of my couch, grab a few chairs from the kitchen or use the end table (with a heavy quilt placed on top of course).  I live in the country on open land, so I pick something at distance out my front windows and practice getting on a barricade, placing my crosshairs on the target and pulling the trigger. I use the Bushnell Elite XRS 4.5-30 with the G2 reticle. Dry firing at distance gets you in the practice of using the parallax and the power of your scope. I also play like I’m in a match and I will practice using holdovers with my reticle as well. I watch my heart rate and breathing and practice slowing that down while my eyes are on the crosshairs. Steady makes perfect! Some of the matches have you shooting from barricade down to prone back to barricade. This is a great time to practice that.

DSC_7010Other things I like to practice indoors is dry firing off hand. I practice going between standing, kneeling, sitting and prone. This also give you great practice using your sling. I use the Armageddon Gear precision rifle sling. And of course on days where it may be a little warmer outside, I take my gear out and practice there.

Another great thing to do is read. I utilize The Ultimate Sniper manual, written by Major John L. Plaster, USAR Ret. Lots of great tips in there that you can correlate over into competition shooting, like reading mirage, wind, etc.

Want to get practice on milling targets?  Then try out Shooter Ready. You can learn the basics like range estimation, holding for wind, etc. Its a great program that I use regularly.  It is a realistic training simulation which graphically displays how wind, altitude, and temperature affect bullets of different calibers in flight. You are not only learning something on this program, but it is a lot of fun!

This year, 2016, I will be shooting for GA Precision, on their shooting team known as Team GAP. shooting_team_logo_fuck-up I will be switching calibers (I’m going with the 6CM) and will be shooting with a Manners stock. I see a lot of practice ahead of me, both in the house and out! I of course will only be using the best cleaner and lube on the market for this bad boy, my Hoppes 9.  I will be using my Bushnell Elite 4.5-30 with G2 reticle and will also be running with all my Armageddon Gear (precision rifle sling, data arm board, fat bags and rear bag). And did I mention daydream? Yes, I will drift away to sleep at night counting the hits with every “ting”.


Permanent link to this article: http://thelifeofmissy.com/2016/01/11/winter-shooting-blues/

Jul 28

The Big Dog Steel Crucible Team Match

bigdog12 blondes + 2 competitive attitudes + 2 Precision Rifles + 2 Bushnell Elite scopes + 2 days in the Florida heat mid July = A Perfect 10 combination.

The Big Dog Steel “Crucible” Team match was held in the dead heat of summer in Baker Florida at the renowned CORE Shooting Solutions. The team match is similar to the individual match, except you have to rely on your teammate for shooting related procedures, even supported positions. You both work together on each stage to accomplish shooting your targets.

bigdog3I have shot team matches before with my Husband Jim Gilliland. This time around, I thought it would be neat to have an all girl precision rifle team since I had never seen one here in the Southeast. I knew Steph had a pretty solid 3 gun background and she just started getting into the precision rifle matches last year. With her experience, I knew we would make a good team plus we are both shooters for Team Bushnell. Not only does Steph shoot for Bushnell, she is also a member of Team GAP. I shot this match with Jake, my custom built Ashbury Precision Ordnance 6.5 CM and my Bushnell Elite XRS scope. I always have with me my Armageddon Gear Precision Rifle Sling with XWing rear bag and my Wiebad Pump Pillow for those barricade stages. I shoot factory load Hornady 140gr AMAX. Another staple I always keep in my range bag, is my Hoppes 9 field kit.

The first day of the match started at 7:30 am. We had an absolute wonderful squad of men. The first stage started with a 300 cold bore on a 6” shoot and see target with scoring rings. On the command, the team loaded and engaged the 6″ target with 3 shots each which totaled 6 shots on the target. Steph and I both landed shots on the 6” target with a combined total score of 4.7 (highest score was a 5.8). After the cold bore shot, everyone broke up into their squads at their designated stages. Our next stage was a tough one. There was a hidden target that only one team member could see. Using the reference targets, the team member that could see the scoring target had to walk the other team member (which was in prone position) onto that target, which they couldn’t see. Did I mention this was a tough stage? We scored a few points on this one but didn’t let that get us down.bigdog6

Our next stage was the “Mix up Mover”. The team started in prone and alternated shooting the 300 yard Larue targets and 500 yard mover. It was up to the team how they wished to accomplish alternating between the 300 yrd and 500 yrd targets. However, each target (500 yrd mover and 300 yrd Larue Targets) must be successfully hit before the other can be engaged. You had 20 rifle rounds total for the team and 2 minutes to complete. Target value was 1 pt for each hit. Out of 20 points, we successfully hit 16. What a team! Each stage had a time stressor and made you and your teammate work together. We did well on our next few stages, especially on Stage 5 which was titled 800 yrd Leap Frog. You had to maintain cover behind an orange barricade, switching between weak and strong side. You each had one shot on each target regardless of hit or miss. Shooters alternated shooting in the white box for strong side and blue box for weak side. We came up with the perfect plan. Steph shot first on the strong side, then picked up her rifle and shot first on the weak side. When she was transitioning to the weak side, I layed prone on the strong side with my rifle and shot the target she just shot. Our plan was simple. We would leave my rifle on the strong side with the DOPE card laying beside it for quick elevation change. Steph left her rifle on the weak side with the DOPE card beside it for the quick elevation change. Since we both shot the same with the same scope, Bushnell Elite XRS 4.5 – 30 with a G2 reticle, this made the stage seem flawless. Plus, instead of worrying with picking up our rifles and transitioning, this plan worked extremely well. You had 8 targets total ranging from 250 yrds out to 800 yrds. You had 2.5 min to complete course of fire with a max total points of 16. We scored 15.
Now don’t get me wrong, we had a few stages that we had some problems with, but overall we shot well on the first day. As you can imagine, the heat and humidity in Florida in mid July was not an easy relaxing day. By the end of the day, I was ready for a cool shower, dinner and a comfy bed!


Photo courtesy of Michael Cage

Day Two started early. We started with a stage called Close Encounters. You had to run through a small green tunnel with your rifle in hand. On the other side you shot at 3 cardboard IPSC targets, with a shot each inside the A zone perforations. After that it seemed like a 3 gun course where you had to shoot pistol at different designated steel targets. You had two shots each on the pistol target, then your partner shot 2 as well on their target. Then you had to maneuver together through each “window” and barricade. You had 1 minute to complete this course of fire. A REALLY fun stage on Day 2 was the Racer stage. You and your teammate had to “race” against another team. Well low and behold, we raced against my Husband and his teammate. Each team had a member in prone on their rifle with the other team member in a ready stance to run 100yrds then shoot a plate rack. This stage was also timed to use as a tie breaker at the end of the match. Since Steph had the background of 3 gun and she was a much better pistol shooter than I, I got behind the rifle. Each rifle shooter had 5 targets to hit ranging from 350 yrds out to 800 yrds. We were color coded blue which meant I shoot all the blue targets and Steph had to shoot the blue plate rack. On the command GO, Me and Jims teammate, Brent Keith started with rifles. We both hit the first 3 targets around the same time. Then I quickly hit my 4th and 5th target. Upon seeing the hit I started yelling Run Run Run! Steph took off running. Soon after, Jim took off running. Our whole squad was cheering both on. I was screaming Run Girl Run!!! Jim got within arms reach of Steph, and after she took a quick look around, something jolted in her and she took off extra hard. That was probably our most favorite and fun stage.

The whole match was just a blast and I would highly recommend shooting this team match, even in the dead heat of July!! I want to Thank Steph Payne for being an awesome teammate. Out of 36 teams, she and I placed 20th. Thank You to Ryan Brandt of Big Dog Steel and Bryan & Misty Morgan of CORE Shooting Solutions. You guys are just the best! Thank you to all the RO’s who took the time out of their busy schedule to withstand the heat and help make this a successful match. To the sponsors who donated to the prize table, Thank you. Thanks to my sponsors, Ashbury Precision Ordnance, Bushnell Tactical, Hoppes 9, Armageddon Gear and Wiebad. You guys rock and without you, well it would be hard to be out here!!

Photo courtesy of Michael Cage

Photo courtesy of Michael Cage

Permanent link to this article: http://thelifeofmissy.com/2015/07/28/the-crucible-team-match/

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