October Prairie Dog Match

Ok, here’s the review of the Prairie Dog match I promised a few days ago.  This is a home-grown precision rifle match that involves shooting at small steel targets at distances between 200-400 yards.  The game is open to any rifle, but those who did well were running purpose-built precision bolt guns.  The course of fire consists of ten targets set out in the field.

The Course of Fire.  The targets themselves are too small to see from the firing line.

The Course of Fire. The targets themselves are too small to see from the firing line.

Below is an example of a target/indicator combination taken through the lens of the spotting scope:

The first target.  You can see the prairie dog target to the right.

The first target. You can see the prairie dog target to the right.

Here’s how the match works: the shooters form a relay on the firing line.  There are three staff members, one with a timer, one manning the spotting scope, and one recording the scores.  Once everyone is situated, the RO with the shot timer stands to one side of the first competitor.  When that competitor is ready, the RO sounds the timer giving the shooter fifteen seconds to fire one shot at the target.  A hit registered in the first ten seconds results is ten points, between ten and fifteen seconds a hit is five points, and a miss is simply scored as a zero.  After the first competitor has fired or his time has expired, the RO moves to the next shooter and repeats the process.  Once all competitors have had a chance to fire at the first target, they start over again at the second target, repeating the process until each shooter has fired at all ten targets.  After that, the process starts again until each competitor has shot the course of fire four times for a grand total of forty shots.  The best possible score would be 400/400 points.

The Range Officer with the shot timer.

The Range Officer with the shot timer.

The person manning the spotting scope registers whether the shot was a hit or a miss, and then the score is recorded by the guy with the clipboard (yours truly, in this case.)

Scoring registers a hit

Scoring registers a hit

Most of the competitors were shooting bolt-action rifles chambered in .260 Remington, .308, or .223.  A couple of AR-15’s were also on the line as well.  The Match Director was kind enough to let me shoot his rifle for this match, a custom-built bolt gun in .22 BR built on a Stiller action.  I’m thinking that the gear probably gave me a bit of an advantage.

A custom .22 BR rifle built on a Stiller Action.  The host of the match was kind enough to let me shoot this gun.

A custom .22 BR rifle built on a Stiller Action. The host of the match was kind enough to let me shoot this gun.

A single round of .22 BR. The cartridge shoots very well, and as long as you’re aware of the wind. It is more than accurate enough for this sort of match.

A single round of .22 BR

A single round of .22 BR

So, my final score was 305/400 which put me in 4th place out of 16 competitors.  The winning score was 360/400.  I’ll definitely be shooting this match in the future.  Stuff like this has gotten the gears turning for a precision bolt gun of my own.

-Justin

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2 thoughts on “October Prairie Dog Match

  1. This is a great idea! It looks like a really friendly grass-roots competition! If there was something like that around where I live I would definately like to try it.

    It seems like it would be a fun thing for somebody who wants to try competitive shooting, but isn’t ready to dive full-on into BR. Like me. I’m 19, shooting for about a year and a half and have been handloading for about a year. I would LOVE to take my CMP rifle, throw my glass on it and see what I can do with a rest.

    Good write-up, and good luck in the future!

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