There’s a new game in town at the National Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio. This will be the first year of the National Mid-Range Prone Championship. With many serious shooters aging out of the ability to do position High Power shooting and the growing interest in F-Class competition, NRA Competition Director Dennis Willing decided 2013 would be a great time to offer those shooters another option. The match is a 2400 aggregate like the across-the-course championship, but it’s all shot in slow-fire prone.
In an interview on the range, Willing said, “In previous years the match directors said to me that it would be too expensive to run a mid-range championship and they turned the idea down. I sat with my High Power Director after I took office, and we figured out we could do this physically and monetarily. We had the range space, we could work on the budget, and we created the first Mid-Range National Championship.”
The Match is fired on the 300-yard rapid-fire target at 300 yards and the 600-yard mid-range target at 500 and 600 yards. This is a great match for Palma and Any-Sight rifles, and F-Class shooters are also included, shooting smaller F-Class targets. Some of the best shooters in the country have decided to give the new championship category a try, including former National Champions David Tubb and Nancy Tompkins-Gallagher. Several other Palma shooters are shooting the Mid-Range match.
For the first year, participation was quite good with 60 prone shooters and eight shooting F-Class. “We had less F-Class shooters than we’d like,” Willing reported, “because the F-Class World Championship matches are in the United States this year. Some of the shooters have opted to spend their money there instead of coming to Camp Perry.”
Prone shooting is likely to become more popular in the next couple of years because the Palma Matches, a prone championship for competitors from English-speaking countries, are coming to the United States in 2015.
With 60 of the 240 shots of the match downrange, former National High Power Champion David Tubb is in the lead with a 599-41x. Peter Church is in second place with a 598-35x.
“I’m really glad to have the Mid-Range Match now because a lot of people as they get older don’t want to shoot position,” Tompkins-Gallagher said at the end of the first day. “Prone shooting is what they do around the world, in the U.S. we’re then only ones that shoot across-the-course stuff. I think it’s going to grow, I don’t think a lot of people knew about it this year. We’ll see more and more people since we have the World Palma Rifle Championships scheduled to be held at Camp Perry in 2015. It’s a good course and it’s a shame to have an empty range sitting here.”
Nancy is shooting her Palma gun in the Mid-Range because it offers a few days of shooting it before the upcoming Long Range National Championship. The National Long Range Championship consists of two days of 1,000-yard shooting.
Image by Dick Jones