Written by Kathryn Reeves (former SDSU Extension 4-H Science Field Specialist).
Dale Foiles serves as the range officer on the CMP range during the State Shoot in late April. He shares the following tips and reminders for coaches with youth shooting in the CMP competition.
- Read through the CMP rulebook and note the course of fire, and be familiar with both before arriving in Pierre. When all the shooters are familiar with the rules and the order of targets, things run more efficiently. Take note of these items specifically, which have caused surprise and unnecessary stress on the competitors in previous years.
- Tactical guns that meet the equipment requirements are allowed. They will join the scope class.
- Guns with an aperture sites also go in the scope class. If you have a question about your equipment, you and your coach should first consult the rulebook, and if confused ask for a clarification BEFORE you go to state.
All rifles must be completely unloaded, with no empty clips or magazines in them, and in a case that has the muzzle end marked on the outside. At the inspection point, open the case, open the action if closed, visually check that the chamber is empty, put in the OBI/ECI, then hand the rifle to the inspector. He will weigh the rifle, (WITH a clip Rule 8.2.3) inspect it, and weigh the trigger. During inspection the rifle will be dry fired. If you don’t want the rifle dry fired on an empty chamber, you are responsible to bring a spent shell or snap cap. After the inspection is completed, insert the OBI/ECI and recase the rifle before moving to the ready area. No rifles or cases will be allowed in the range office. If you don't have a suitable case or gun sock, borrow one; the staff will try to have some suitable cases or socks to use while at the range.
Subsonic, standard velocity or high velocity only, with a speed of 1310ft/second or less. No hypersonic, magnums, "stingers"' or hollow points are allowed. Now is the time to practice with the ammo you plan to use at state. If shooting a semi-automatic rifle, subsonic and standard ammunition has marginal recoil, which helps to cycle the bolt properly during rapid fire.
The only alibis allowed will be for a range malfunction (target blowing away, etc.) A dirty rifle or one not working properly is not an alibi. Clean the rifle and then fire a few rounds (5-10) before coming to state. A few rounds won't dirty up the gun, but ensures it is working properly and everything is put back together properly before leaving home.
Range Command Clarification
- After inspections and a safety briefing, the command "Shooters to the line" is given. At this time, shooters move their gear to their assigned firing point. Handling the rifle is permitted, which means adjusting sights if needed, putting on a sling, adjusting spotting scopes, loading ammo into the clips if the gun is so equipped. It does NOT mean removing OBI/ECIs, dry firing, or getting into position, putting the butt of the rifle into the shoulder and aiming at the target point.
- After all gear is on the firing line, the command, “Make the line safe,” is given. This means all rifles are grounded, muzzles pointed down range, actions are open, OBI/ECIs are in, safeties are on, and everyone should be a couple of steps behind their rifle. This command will be given and these procedures followed if anyone has to go down range. These steps must be followed before anyone will be allowed to cross the firing line.
- Once the line has been deemed safe, targets will be posted down range. Shooters, coaches, parents and staff may post targets. At no time when someone is down range, will anyone be allowed to touch any rifles, or stand on the firing line. Just walk right on through, no loitering! After all the targets have been hung and everybody is back across the firing line, the prep period will start. During the prep period shooters may remove the OBI/ECIs, get into position, close the bolts, and dry fire. Shooters may do anything to prepare to shoot, except load a live round and fire.
- The load command is the act of putting live rounds into the rifle, not the chamber. If the rifle has a clip or magazine, it can and should be filled with the proper amount of ammunition any time after inspection has been completed. However, only after the “Load” command has been given, are you allowed to insert the clip into the rifle.
- If a shooter is on a tight schedule, with two events back-to-back, it is permissible to have a coach, parent or another shooter check in the equipment, set up the firing point, or anything else to help, but the shooter must be present at the safety briefing. No exceptions!
- Safety briefings will be held prior to the start of the relay. Arriving 45 minutes before your scheduled relay will allow your gun to proceed through check in and you to attend the safety briefing before being called to the line.
- Parents will be given jobs while their students are shooting. Nothing difficult, but things that will assist in keeping the range on time. Thank you in advance.
Shooters need to develop the habit of not chambering a round or putting their finger near the trigger until after they are in position. Coaches should observe carefully to make certain that shooters are NOT habitually putting a finger near the trigger while moving into position.