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Thread: Evolution of High Power

  1. #1
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    Evolution of High Power

    Guys:

    The second time in my High Power competitive life where in the course of a year, obsolete technology that had been mandated in rules has been discarded almost overnight.

    I don't shoot service rifle anymore but may pick it up again because the difference between Service Rifle and Match Rifle are minimal now.

    One can use a 4.5 X optic and a collapsible stock, and from what I observed recently at a Leg Match, railed forends where you could adjust the sling swivel just like a hand stop. Well over half the competitors used these devices and I don't think any leg points were awarded to someone shooting the 'standard' M-16A2 design, with its iron sights and fixed stock.

    Interesting to see because I was shooting service rifle when the M-14 died off within two seasons, replaced by the AR-15's. Now the M-16 A-2 design is dying off just as fast, replaced by AR-15's that bear even less resemblance to anything issued than their predecessor.

    LR55

  2. #2
    Not a competitive shooter myself (Maine offers no competitive rifle shooting that I'm aware of) But I have noticed some radical changes to the service rifle rules in the past couple years.

    Do you think they are for better or worse?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kilco View Post
    Not a competitive shooter myself (Maine offers no competitive rifle shooting that I'm aware of) But I have noticed some radical changes to the service rifle rules in the past couple years.

    Do you think they are for better or worse?
    Kilco:

    Not really sure if they are better or worse. I started shooting High Power with a Service Rifle (M-1A) in the late 80's. Aside from outward appearances that were similar to issued service rifles, the ones we used in matches then and the ones used today can not be compared with anything that is issued. The last Leg Match I shot, we were issued M-118 Special Ball and after that, one was allowed to handload so not even the ammunition is similar. And, lets face it, a Joe isn't about to get into a loop sling to return fire on the battlefield and never did so one even has to question the use of the loop sling and shooting from seated position.

    I say I am not really sure if the changes are good or bad because to begin with, Service Rifle competition didn't resemble reality so I am not really sure it matters.

    One thing I do believe is of value to the military is that when ever a new technology is allowed in competition, it soon gets refined to near perfection. So all the different optics you see today on the 'service rifle' are being tested better than anything the military could do and survival of the fittest will be the rule. In a year or two, one or two brands and types of optics will have survived and you can bet they can stand up to some serious abuse in a bunch of environmental conditions.

    I saw the M-14 disappear from firing lines within two seasons. I am sure that by next year, anyone who wants to be competitive in Service Rifle will be using an optic.

    Some will piss and moan about Iron Sights becoming obsolete but to me, it is simply evolution.

    LR55

  4. #4
    I like your points about service rifle comp refining the equipment to a better degree..

    But it also seems much less "romantic" than everyone using the same setup and ammo, which would really eliminate all variables except the "shooters skill" in the competition.. maybe they should branch off into two different classes altogether.

  5. #5
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    While I am not a Service Rifle shooter, I have been around them for years at my club. And I have noticed the decline in the numbers of competitors, at least at my club.

    I believe that opening the discipline to optics has allowed the ones that still want to shoot to continue doing so. The biggest complaint I get from guys/gals who stop shooting is that their eyesight has diminished and it stops being fun. An optic allows them to keep competing.

    At one of our recent Mid-range matches, we had quite a few Service shooters. I commented that nearly every one of them were using an optic of some sort. As a matter of fact, out the dozen or so shooters, only one was shooting as a purist, every one else was sporting a scope and an adjustable stock.

    I have shot Service a few times, while I enjoy it, just don't have the time to compete in all the different disciplines.


    SY

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkhangel5 View Post
    While I am not a Service Rifle shooter, I have been around them for years at my club. And I have noticed the decline in the numbers of competitors, at least at my club.

    I believe that opening the discipline to optics has allowed the ones that still want to shoot to continue doing so. The biggest complaint I get from guys/gals who stop shooting is that their eyesight has diminished and it stops being fun. An optic allows them to keep competing.

    At one of our recent Mid-range matches, we had quite a few Service shooters. I commented that nearly every one of them were using an optic of some sort. As a matter of fact, out the dozen or so shooters, only one was shooting as a purist, every one else was sporting a scope and an adjustable stock.

    I have shot Service a few times, while I enjoy it, just don't have the time to compete in all the different disciplines.


    SY
    SY:

    And eyesight is probably the main reason the CMP and NRA went with the optic. At least that is what I also hear. I too saw Service Rife dying off and now more are shooting what is considered 'Service' rifle. To me, they are match rifles now and there is no longer a need to have two categories of rifle anymore. If anything, two categories of sights would be decent. Iron sights and optical sights.

    LR55

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kilco View Post
    I like your points about service rifle comp refining the equipment to a better degree..

    But it also seems much less "romantic" than everyone using the same setup and ammo, which would really eliminate all variables except the "shooters skill" in the competition.. maybe they should branch off into two different classes altogether.
    Kilco:

    Here is what I noticed when we shot Leg Matches using issued ammo and the M-14 or M-1A. If we got issued M-852 Match (168 grain Match King), the Civilians and military guys did about equally well. If we got issued M-118 Special Ball, the military guys who shot a lot of M-118 normally did better. It didn't have anything to do with zeros or weapons function or even recoil. It dealt with the relatively poor accuracy of M-118 compared to the handloads that the Civilian shooters used regularly. M-118 could hold the 10 ring but that was about it unless you got a real good lot. Then mid ring 10. So, understanding the quality of M-118, we accepted a 10 even though we called an X -- and thus did not adjust zero unless we were positive we had to. Our Civilian buddies who were used to X ring ammo, would call a X and see a loose 10, then assume it was a zero problem and adjust. Then start shooting 9's and 8's. Then they would get frustrated and lose focus.

    I am not sure the issued 5.56 ball could even hold a KD target frame at 600 yards, even if shot from a top end upper.

    LR55

  8. #8
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    LR,
    While I agree with it is the evolution of shooting sports, it is sad to see it declining.

    There are things that I think new shooters miss out on because they have equipment that does it for them.

    Eg: Natural point of aim, many shooters I see coming up today, have no idea what this is. THey just plop down behind a rest or bipod and start shooting. They dont know the benefits of NPA and how it could help them.

    When I started out there were a lot of Service rifle/Iron sight/match rifle shooters, and they emphasized NPA etc.

    I believe it helped me even though I never really shot those disciplines, but I made High Master in F/TR incorporating all that they taught me and I try to pass these snippets on to new shooters.

    Another point that was brought up to me about optics in Service, the top shooters also switched to optics as they did not want to be beaten because of a equipment advantage, they could still shoot with irons, but made the switch to keep up with others who adopted the change, which makes sense from a competition perspective.

    SY

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