View Full Version : Increase Interest / Membership

11-03-2009, 5:03 PM
Last Sunday after we finished our 3X600 match, some of the club officers and members were discussing ways we could increase participation in the club's activities (i.e. getting people to come out and shoot).

We had 10 shooters where we could have easily accommodated 50 more on a day with almost perfect shooting conditions at 600yds.

The last couple of long-range (800, 900 & 1Kyds) events have had the same 6-8 shooters showing up when we could easily handle 30.

For you "F" Class shooters, these are perfect opportunities to get trigger time at mid & long range targets.

Our across the course (XTC) matches run 20 - 30 shooters where we could accommodate 80 - 100 shooters.

On the plus side, we're getting some support from the the base command staff and are going to get the same scheduling priorities as everyone else on base (90 days in advance) and a promise that range maintenance will be scheduled around us as opposed to "Oh, don't worry it's just the SMGC, they don't count.

So with the annual board meeting coming up, what are some things that might get new shooters to come out and shoot and possibly join.

I'll start out with a suggestion.

I hear from shooters that the SMGC is perceived as being not "new shooter friendly".

I agree, as a competition shooting club we expect people to show up and shoot without providing much in the way of helpful instruction.

- We discussed holding a new shooter clinic in conjunction with the clubs practice matches followed by a 40 round position clinic fired at 100 yds to give folks a feel for shooting NRA/CMP style matches.

We could also conduct clinics for the long range guys for 800+ yds.

So if you have a thought or suggestion on what you would like to see that might get you out shooting, post your thoughts here or send me a PM and I'll bring them with me to the board meeting.

Thanks for listening

11-03-2009, 5:29 PM
Your club in San Diego is to far for me to drive for matches but I'd love to shoot there one day. The closest 1,000 yard match for me is 55 miles and I drive that monthly now.

One suggestion that I have is to advertise heavily with an emphasis on beginner classes. Maybe a 300-400 yard hunter class with a maximum of 9X scopes and/or factory stock class with unaltered rifles. Get the new shooters interested in competing with the equipment that they already own and more of them will want to try the more advanced competitions.

Another idea is to set up sighting in sessions before the match to get people on paper at 100-400 yards and coaches/scorekeepers for new shooters during the matches. To many people are intimidated by not knowing the procedures of competitions as many matches have different rules.

Crowbar at the Tricounty club in Cuyama has practice sessions on the Saturdays before the Sunday matches and invited me out to get my zero and pulled targets so that I could have my dope for the next day's match.

If you could write up a post about how matches are run, what other duties competitors have (like pulling targets, marking hits and scoring,etc.) what the range commands are, etc. it might help also.

11-05-2009, 5:09 PM
If you could write up a post about how matches are run, what other duties competitors have (like pulling targets, marking hits and scoring,etc.) what the range commands are, etc. it might help also.

I think this is a huge part of why new shooters are afraid to come out and shoot with you guys. The NRA type shooting disciplines tend to have a lot of rules and regulations and a lot of people have a hard time figuring out what types of events they can shoot with the equipment that they have. I think that is why some of the tactical precision rifle/precision bolt rifle matches have become so popular simply because they arent so rigid. I think simply detailing what the rules are and giving more information on what you need to shoot in a particular event would greatly clear up come confusion. For instance, I didnt shoot your long range event for quite some time because I thought that for F-Class I HAD to have a .308, but my comp rifle is a .243. As soon an I knew I could use my .243 I was there. I have only shot one long range event with you guys but I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately my life had become enormously busy and havent made it back out yet but I look forward to shooting with your club on a regular basis in the near future.

11-05-2009, 5:30 PM
As far as information on the matches and what rifles can be used, the website has had the format breakdowns with descriptions since January of this year (when I took it over and overhauled the entire site).

As far as match procedures, I have it on a to do list to try and make some videos of match relays and pit pulling for the website.

11-06-2009, 8:06 AM
At the last match I was at, an announcement was made to "have your zeros" worked out before the match. The directors were pretty teed off that they had to wait a few extra minutes at each yard line for a marine to zero his new rifle.

This puts shooters with new equipment at a disadvantage. I took this to mean I'd have to wait until a practice match to bring my new upper out. There are limited options around here for 2,3, and 600 yard zeros (North County San Diego area.) If someone has a suggestion for this, it's much appreciated. The most I can see having is my 100 yard dope at match time.

Now, I will say that the first few matches I went to at SMGC were some of the first times I'd ever shot my rifle, or even any rifle for that matter. Every guy I was pitted with was extremely helpful. The only equipment I had was a rifle, ammo, and earplugs. Members were more than willing to share their mats with me, and some lent me a scope for the longer ranges. There's not supposed to be any coaching, but a few good words were snuck in here and there. It took me quite a few shots just to get on paper at the 600. I wasn't worried in the least about finishing my strings, just enjoying the fact that I was out shooting. Also, the guy running the pits stayed with me to pull targets until I had the process down.

All in all, I found SMGC to be quite new shooter friendly. They at least tolerated me, and also helped out with positions, etc. The one practice I attended was extremely helpful. I will say that it was suggested I shoot more at the monthly Escondido Fish and Game matches, a proposition I took to heart and found very helpful. This is by far a MUCH more relaxed venue. As SDJim pointed out, SMGC is more of a competition oriented club. If shooters are looking to learn positions, Escondido is the place to go.

The members of SMGC are for the most part really good people. Like any shooting organization, they're more than willing to show new guys the ropes, share equipment, and help out with all aspects of their sport. It is definitely a much more rigid, competition based venue, but in reality, I like that. SMGC shoots are where you go to get some serious rifle time. I like the feeling that going to Pendleton is the real deal.

My only suggestion would be more practice sessions! I think there were only two this year? If there are more, a shooter can focus on a smaller list of problems at each session. It's tough when you just start out, learning positions, learning how your equipment works, filling in data books, reading the wind (I've yet to even consider this aspect). It would be nice to attack each problem in a more relaxed manner, knowing that if I don't get it down this time, I'll have another session to ask questions next month. Maybe a bi-monthly practice schedule? Is there enough interest from experienced shooters to have this much practice time?

11-06-2009, 9:54 AM
At the very least, a person should go to a match with a confirmed no-wind zero, even if it is at 25-100 yards. If you have a no-wind zero, you can easily guess the appropriate 200 yard elevation zero within the first couple of sighters in 200 yard standing.

11-07-2009, 6:02 PM
SMGC lacks the CMP formula....FUN

11-07-2009, 7:37 PM
I would come down to shoot since it is closer to me than lytle creek. The old CMP matches put on by the Armory of Orange was low stress and open to new shooters and experienced ones.

I'd like to see more vintage rifle matches.

Thanks for asking.

11-09-2009, 5:36 PM
Floyd Moore has ask me to relay this message to our shooters. The Imperial Valley Club is holding monthly military surplus rifle matches at Seeley. Floyd will be running the Match. All are welcome. As you likely know Seeley has one of the finest ranges around and it is a pleasure to shoot there.

Thanks! Keep'em in the middle! Mike C.

Military Surplus Rifle Match at Seeley

Where ? Seeley CA , at the Imperial Valley Rifle and Pistol Club, 200 yd Range

Please see IVRPC website http://ivrpa.net for directions

When? Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009 7 AM

What? A National Match Course at 100 yd using 200 yd targets

Rifles? Your old M-1 Garand, Lee Enfield, Springfield , etc.

More information? Call Floyd Moore

Nov 9, 10 760-352-9713

Nov 11, 12, 13 619-435-6898

11-11-2009, 1:28 PM
For people who are interested in beginning high power competition, you can learn all you need to know at http://www.usrifleteams.com/forums/ and if you still need additional help, that site has forums to present questions. As an added bonus, I have never read a post where a response is insultingly critical to the person submitting the post, unlike what is done on this site on a frequent basis. The members there are gentlemen and appear to enjoy assisting new shooters in getting started in the sport.

11-14-2009, 3:15 PM
I can only speak to what I see here on calguns...
Perhaps it's because this subforum just does not get much traffic. Traffic breeds traffic. Make more threads and keep discussion going to engage more people.
Perhaps it's because people see your club as only being a san diego club and there are so many more shooters not in san diego.
Perhaps it's because of the need to pre-register to get on base. Could there be an automatic rolling registration for the year so people don't have to pre-register every time?
Perhaps it's the perception that NRA style shooting is boring because all you do is shoot at a bullseye.

I can tell you that I have to practically drag people to our CaPRC shoots.
I go out into the picture threads and find people that are in so-cal and posting pictures of precision rifles.
I convince them to come check out our shoot.
Once they try it, they usually come back, or at least say they want to.
Getting people to the first shoot is the hardest one.

Our shoots are based on getting new shooters interested in competition.
That's probably a lot easier sell than an established match where there's no zeroing time.
Many people that come to our shoots have never shot past 100yds before.
We take them through dope gathering as part of the shoot.
We shoot steel targets which most people find more interesting because you get instant feedback via the steel hit or via the dust signature of the missed shot.
We draw people from as far south as Temecula and as far north at Ridgecrest so I can definetly tell you that people are not afraid to drive the distance if you can convince them your event will be fun.

11-14-2009, 5:51 PM
Shot the 600MR part of the match today. Had an excellent time, everyone was more than helpful and actually relaxing. But it does help to have workable DOPE and your gear organized and sorted out. Intending on making it a regular date on my calendar.

As a bonus, "Gunny" Lee Emery was also shooting the match.

11-14-2009, 10:39 PM
I also shot the 3x600 match today at Pendelton. I will be attending on a regular basis and highly recommend this match to all.







11-15-2009, 5:09 AM




11-15-2009, 5:10 AM






11-15-2009, 8:14 AM
I would come down to shoot since it is closer to me than lytle creek. The old CMP matches put on by the Armory of Orange was low stress and open to new shooters and experienced ones.

I'd like to see more vintage rifle matches.

Thanks for asking.We're working on getting more vintage rifle matches put on the calender for next year.
One of the issues is that the range is only certified for .223/5.56 & .308/7.62. We're working on getting the ballistic data for some of the more popular mil-surp ammo i.e. 8mm, 6.5mm (I forget the other calibers we put on the list to look up) so we can prepare new safety overlays for the range with those calibers.
There's always more paperwork.

11-16-2009, 6:24 AM
I'm going to try and film a tutorial on how to work a target. I was constantly hearing "speed up service on target eighty"-something during the match. I might be able to do it in Dec since I've got 2-1/2 weeks off.

11-16-2009, 6:12 PM

I have 2 weeks off in Dec also. Mike B. is retired and Charles probably has some time off. Sounds like a project for WEGC.

Charles can show off the velcro backed scoring disks that he is working on. And, of course, spotlight the whiteboard & magic marker score boards.

Mike H.

11-22-2009, 6:15 PM
A few years back I was looking into shooting competetively, after I bought my Garand from CMP. I became a frequent bystander at the SMGC shoots in Pendleton. I actually came close to shooting a match however I got the feeling that I was not invited therefore not welcomed. I actually brought my Garand and some ammo with me and nothing else. I was asked of what I have and what is my experience, after I told them (older looking guys) I was a newbie, aside from shooting my M16 service rifle on my mandatory rifle shoot, and have a garand but not proficient in shooting it but I would love to learn. I was told that I have to wait for more shooters in my class. Then that was that, I guess I was intimidated also with all the shooters there having thousands dollars worth of gears and rifle. After seeing a few shoots I feel like it is not for me, I would just like to shoot and enjoy the day. I see guys there who looks like this is their life and too serious about it.

The scenario is intimidating to newbies like me who does not have anything besides the guns and ammo and wanted to learn more.

I guess if there is sessions where I can go pay for my whole day of shooting and then shoot my rifles and handguns i'll probably go back.

Aside from that I'll just drive 1 1/2 hour north to go shoot and have FUN!!!!!

11-23-2009, 9:54 AM
A few years back I was looking into shooting competetively, after I bought my Garand from CMP. I became a frequent bystander at the SMGC shoots in Pendleton. I actually came close to shooting a match however I got the feeling that I was not invited therefore not welcomed...

I started High Power Rifle by shooting CMP Garand/Springfield/Military Vintage matches first. I shot in the first few CMP Western Games. The first time around I brought with me a M96 Swedish Mauser, some handloads, a khaki cotton web sling, and a shooting mat. The second GSM match I used a Garand and added a basic coat. Then it was all downhill from there.

I started buying more gear just for the GSM matches. I spent all my time at the range practicing shooting the Garand from position. I spent more time shooting at my local range in practice than I ever did in a match. Eventually, I decided to just convert one of my ARs into a National Match configuration and just shoot full course.

Anyway, I had zero coaching whatsoever. I did all my learning from reading, experimenting, and practicing at the range. When I finally did shoot my first matches to get my NRA classification, I got my Master card outright.

Did I ever feel intimidated at matches? No. Did I know everything about matches? No. But the key thing I did was I spent lots of time to practice and learn to shoot before I went to a match and finally shoot in a match. As far as match procedures, I had basic understanding from the CMP GSM matches, but as far as full course matches, I had no experience when I started shooting those first few matches with the AR. But I made sure to pay attention and to follow range commands.

If you want to start shooting High Power, I'd suggest you start small. CMP GSM or NRA reduced course (100yd) matches are probably the best way for you to learn procedures and figure out if you actually *like* the format. All you need is a legal rifle, ammo, and a sling. In CMP GSM and NRA reduced, you can get away without everything else.

The Burbank Rifle and Revolver club has a monthly GSM match (CMP sanctioned). I believe there is a monthly 100 yard reduced course NRA match at Angeles. I know there is a monthly 100 yard reduced course NRA match at Escondido Fish and Game.

But I really do think the CMP Garand matches had a key role in my foray into traditional High Power Rifle. I really liked GSM matches. I started buying gear (scope, scope stand, range card, coat) and was putting quite a few bucks just for 200 yard matches. After while, I realized that the rifle was definitely holding me back from my true potential. I loved shooting from position, but if I wanted to realize my true potential, that's when I decided to rebuild a Colt AR I had and start shooting full course High Power. I had all the gear and just needed a better gun (with better ammunition).

So shoot CMP GSM and NRA reduced. If you really enjoy it, then you should continue with it. If you don't, then at least you can prevent yourself from investing the time, money, and effort into the sport before you realize it's not for you.

High Power isn't for everyone. Even if it is the most prevalent competitive rifle format in the United States, not everyone will enjoy it.

11-24-2009, 3:02 PM
Scopes and bipods allowed in matches?

If you want feed back on how to increase membership, there is a common theme in these posting.....Intimidation and lack of fun for new shooters.

You want new shooters to join but you just told new shooters to go somewhere else. You can blow off the comments and keep doing what you're doing but if you want to increase your membership that's an area to work on.

I can now see how people can feel intimidated.

Enjoy your club.

11-24-2009, 4:26 PM
Damn.. I shot at the last match (first time) and had a very good time. Thought everyone was very friendly also.

Why would one feel intimidated???

11-24-2009, 5:19 PM
Scopes and bipods allowed in matches?

Only in F Class.

11-24-2009, 5:51 PM
Scopes and bipods allowed in matches?

If you want feed back on how to increase membership, there is a common theme in these posting.....Intimidation and lack of fun for new shooters.

Were you addressing my reply to Jaysponger specifically? Not sure what was wrong with it or why you think I'm blowing off comments. I was trying to be helpful and truthful based on my personal experience and just responding with an opinion in this thread authored by SDJim.

Shooting Across the Course for a brand new shooter is going to be difficult. And when I say Across the Course, I really mean, full course, 200/300/600 with line changes and pit changes. If a new shooter doesn't have a basic knowledge of line command and the rule book (NRA and CMP), a new shooter is going to struggle on the line and may not come away from a match liking the sport.

That said, how does the club address this issue specifically and the intimidation factor? Perhaps hold regular clinics and hold more CMP GSM matches. The club might have to find other venues though, since from what I understand, there is a lot of effort required in reserving a range on base (Camp Pendleton) for live-fire use, and getting the range for actual matches is hard enough. Holding more clinics was already addressed in SDJim's opening post for this thread. If SDJim doesn't propose clinics at the December club meeting, I will. Perhaps quarterly or semi-annual clinics might be feasible. I'm sure we can get enough coaches.

The club might try to offer loaner equipment, which might be difficult/expensive, but may get more people out who don't have the equipment, but want to try XTC. The Marines have better resources. There's a Major that shoots in the club matches and I was talking with him several weeks ago and he remarked about how he's trying to get more of his Marines shooting High Power. He's basically got free ammo (USMC MK 294 MOD 0, moly coated 77gr SMK), shooting coats, and guns for the Marines to use. He just needs guys to come out.

As far as not being fun, I don't think this can be addressed. Whether or not a person finds High Power fun is up to that individual person. Seriously. I've had people watch me practice at a local range and think it looks cool. But I can guarantee you, 99% of those people would find the sport very, very boring and or frustrating. It's not as glamorous as 3-gun or action shooting. And it's far more strenuous than benchrest.

If you analyze it, it's amazing how people participate this sport when they have to hump their gear from the parking lot to the 200 yard line, shoot, pit change hump to the pits, pull targets, pit change, hump back to the 300, pit change, etc, and finally hump it back to the 600 yard line and shoot in 12mph-15mph winds in 90 degree weather with the dust blowing all over the place. But for some reason, people do it. Why? Because for some reason, they like it.

How can we make Across the Course more fun to people? I have no idea. It's all in the individual. You either find it fun or you don't. I can't think of a way to make someone find this fun. IPSC/IDPA looks cool, but I've got no drive whatsoever to shoot the practical pistol comps. I've shot in quite a few action pistol matches, and they were fun, but I still don't participate on any where close to a regular basis (shot in maybe 3 matches in the past 5 years). It's just not that fun to me. As fun as you would think running and gunning would be, I don't get much enjoyment out of it on the competitive level. Yet, I like High Power.

Until then, I still stand by the notion that anyone wanting to try out High Power to find a place with CMP GSM or even an NRA HP reduced course match. CMP GSM and NRA reduced course are very fast matches as far as start time to finish time, require very minimal equipment (no need for a cart, only one spotting scope required per firing point).

With regards to not feeling welcome, I can't comment on that. I'm not a club official so I don't interact with match entrants when they check-in for matches or ask the club for information via email. Thus, I don't know how the club officials have treated inquiring parties as far as coming out to shoot.

11-24-2009, 9:23 PM
I just spent the better part of 2 hours at the gym thinking about other ways to help a new shooter participate in a club XTC match.

Assuming the new shooter has a least a basic knowledge of the rules and procedures (i.e. knows that we shoot 200 yards standing unsupported, 200 yards rapid sitting from sling, etc), it can be prearranged such that the new shooter will be squadded with two experienced shooters. That way, the experienced shooter, while scoring, can provide coaching. This will require some coordination in advanced so there can be two experienced shooters with some coaching/instructional ability for each brand new shooter. It will be important to make sure that the adjacent firing points have an experienced shooter on the same relay as the new shooter so that while the new shooter is in the pits, that new shooter can be provided instructions on how to properly pull targets.

Assuming SMGC doesn't schedule clinics for next year, more promotion should be emphasized on the mid-range prone matches, specifically the 3x600 prone, since these are the 'easiest' matches for new shooters to participate in. Especially since there's no physical moving "across the course" other than pit changes, it's not physically taxing. Prone is the easiest (most stable) position to shoot from and the easiest to master. Plus, new shooters can opt to use scopes and bipods in mid-range since the 3x600 format allows for F-Class targets. I think this is why lots of people came out to the 3x600 earlier this month. Getting people started in 3x600 mid-range could be another gateway into Across the Course. A new shooter who comes with a scoped rifle and shoots on an F-Class target might get the desire to try metallic sights (either service or match) and shoot from sling in MR matches. Then from there, that person may start buying new gear which will lead to Across the Course participation (much like I crossed over from CMP GSM to full course).

The club will also need to better promote the open practices that are held. The open practices don't really have a set program, and it usually consists of shooting whatever the majority wants to shoot, and that ends up being 600 yard since most guys want to test loads during open practice.

11-26-2009, 9:30 AM
I am highly interested. I live in Costa Mesa and could easily make the drive down. I participated in the JCG 200 yard match at the last Western Games held here in 2006. I had a great time and wanted more but was disapointed when they moved the event to Arizona. At the time I was looking to invest in more equipment such as a spotting scope etc. but never did.

I would like to get back into shooting matches. It would help knowing that I can shoot a contest or two with an experianced "Mentor" and willing to share a scope and advise for one or two events. That is one thing that makes the CMP events so inviting.

At first I will be shooting my well preped M1 Garand (Dean's Gun Resoration). I would like to participate a bit and see what others are using before I purchase/build a new competition rifle and other equipment.

I hope to meet you all soon and will keep an eye on the calender. Please let me know if there is an e-mail list to get on for event notices etc.


11-26-2009, 10:02 AM
I enjoyed SMGC's matches for the few times I had been there.

What I think can help is:

1) to promote "F-class", MANY people have "F-class" equipments(they just don't know it) - basically any .308WIN/7.62 or .223REM/5.56 bolt or semi-automatic/AR-type rifles.... with optics and bipod; this covers MANY MANY people's equipment (even people just have a hunting rifle setup)..... not THAT many people have NRA NM type "service rifles"..... so if you target more promotion of F-class, you can gain a lot more "civilians"/f-class shooters in your game (also, welcome them during the game.... instead of making them feel bad.... comments from other non-f-class shooters are sometimes not encouraging....)

Most people thought that NRA matches mean sling up, standing, iron-sight, space-gun etc..... and those most people will just walk away and not look further...

If you promote "f-class" as "anything 223/308" works.... except "benchrest".... you will get much more attention...
(this is not entirely true, but to most newbie..... this is... and you should keep it that way, until they are familiar with the basic of attending your match, then load them with the fine details...)

2) EXPLAIN or put the "terms" in simplier definitions..... most people are intimidated by even terms like "F-class" (we sometimes answer questions with terms that most newbie would not understand..... eg. can we use a scope and bipod? sure, in F-class..... now, what is F-class? when is F-class? is it a class? or is it a particular match event? and which event can I go to?)..... also all those abbrev of match events.... XTC 3x6 etc etc...

3) be a little slack on non-scoring(sent in) shooter's equipments/procedures.... many people just want to come out and shoot for fun.... shoot against his/her own self.... and have no intention to send in scores or whatsoever.... some of them may eventually grow into a full blown NRA match shooter.... but as a start... most would not be interested in on the tiny, fine, details of the match book; eg. let people shoot with a brake... as long as they don't really "score" or "place" in the match... if they want to "really" compete, then they will go and learn about the rules and setup their rifles accordingly

4) zero'ing period.... 15-30min or so... helps a lot...

5) make the schedule and promote it in an easier to understand/less confusing way..... I always find it difficult to figure when is what event.... that may just be me..... and this go along with the requirement of "pre-registration"...

6) match fee.... so how much is it now? this is again something that i am always confused about...

7) classes help....

11-26-2009, 12:04 PM
With regards to point #3 in the above reply, there is no problem if someone wants to shoot in a match but out of competition. Out of competition meaning that shooter's score isn't entered into record.

People have gone to a match and didn't shoot all the stages nor turned in score cards simply because they wanted to test loads or break in a gun. Obviously, a person shooting out of competition would still need to respect match procedures and shoot within the stage. i.e if a person shot out of competition in an Across the Course match, that shooter should shoot rapid fire during the 200 yard slow fire standing stage. Sure that out of competition shooter could shoot from any position, so as long as he/she shot slow fire.

As far as allowing shooters with an 'illegal' configuration with respect to the governing rulebook, again, I think that would be perfectly fine as long as the shooter understood he is shooting out of competition (i.e. using an acog/aimpoint in an Across the Course match).

The only configuration that would present a problem with be muzzle brakes. Depending on the gun and brake, they are very distracting to the adjacent firing points and is the one rifle modification that can negatively and actively alter/affect match conditions for other shooters. The issue of muzzle brakes at say a Mid-Range or Long Range prone event will need to be discussed among club officials.

As far as #4, Mid-Range and LR prone allow unlimited sighters in the first string for all relays. i.e. In a 3x600, the first string for all shooters to fire unlimited sighters plus 20 rounds for record within a time limit of 22 minutes. Assuming a person has a known zero at another distance, this is more than enough time to get an elevation zero at the match.

11-26-2009, 3:47 PM

I'm interested in participating.

Looking forward to dates and times for open practice...

Former US marine with a few rifles in tow.

Paratus et Vigilans
11-29-2009, 10:12 AM
I started with SMGC about three years ago. I had never shot high power in my life, and had never shot past 100 yards before. I was invited out to a practice by an active duty Marine from whom I'd just bought a pistol though this forum. I was a total newbie, and I have to say I felt very welcome from Day 1. Now, I'm a pretty secure individual and don't need a lot of handholding to be comfortable somewhere, so I guess you have to factor that into the equation, but still, I have to say that the vast majority of SMGC regulars are welcoming to newcomers and always willing to give advice, demonstrate techniques, and lend gear as needed. Sure, there are always one or two grumpy folks who are "all about them" and don't want to be bothered, but they are by far the minority. So, if you've been out and felt unwelcome, sorry you felt that way, give it another try, you probably will have a better result the next time.

As for the "fun" issue, that's a bit tougher. High power, especially shooting across the course ("XTC"), is a lot of work. It's much more of a "satisfaction" thing than it is a "fun" thing. At least that's how it is for me. The "fun" part for me is sharing the experience with other shooters who are looking to better their own skills and master the discipline. The satisfaction comes in when you actually achieve a little bit of that. But it's physically demanding, humping all the necessary gear from the parking area to the 200 yard line, then to the 300, then back to the 600, and going back and forth to the pits (though usually we have a truck to give those going to and from the pits a ride). The target frames in the pits are heavy to pull up and down, and on hot days it's a ***** to be back there on the slow fire stages, running that target frame up and down and up and down for 22 shots in 22 minutes (2 sighters and 20 for record). So it's no walk in the park, and if you aren't prepared to work in the pits and keep the target moving and score the shots accurately, the shooters on the line are not going to be very happy with you! So come prepared to exert yourself, and to apply yourself. If you just want to see what it's like to shoot at a target 600 yards away to see if you can do it, it's probably not the venue for you do to that. It IS competitive shooting, not a blasting day at the range.

If you come out prepared to put in some effort, you will be welcomed warmly and given all the help and loaned all the gear and given the extra time you need to see if its for you. If you come out and are not prepared to put in the effort for yourself and the other shooters with with whom you're squadded, you and those with whom you are shooting are not going to have a very good day. That's really the bottom line.

You don't need a boatload of gear to start. Even if you had it, you wouldn't know what to do with it all or have the time to even try. Once we go hot, it moves fairly fast, and has to do so, or we'd be there until after dark. Running three relays is the usual order of the day. On a given target point, you will have three shooters, who are designated Relay 1, Relay 2 and Relay 3. Relay 1 shoots first and is scored by Relay 2. Relay 3 goes to the pits and works the target frame. The Relays rotate so everyone shoots, scores and works the targets. At a minimum, you ought to have a rifle, a sling, ammo, a mat, eye and ear protection, and water. People are generous with their gear, and so not having a scope is usually not a problem for a new shooter. But what would really be helpful to the new shooter is to do some homework before you come out, read up on what it is you're about to do. Practice the positions and the use of the sling. It's all over the internet, or you can get books from any number of sources to help you figure it out. Also, being smart about your choice of rifle helps a lot. If you want to try Service rifle, get a Garand or a properly configured AR (i.e., bullet button, 20 in. barrel, pistol grip, A2 upper with the elevation wheel that goes to 800 meters, standard rifle buttstock, and a bull barrel or flash hider - no muzzle brakes allowed). Get a no wind zero on it before you bring it to Pendleton. Elevation zeros are not that hard to figure out at the line. Get a web or leather sling, and figure out the proper way to sling up for seated and prone positions. You'll be on your way in no time. If you have a scoped rifle that's .308 Win or less in caliber, get a bipod or a rest and come out for the mid-range 300-500-600 or 3 x 600 matches and shoot it F-Class.

If you find you like it, then you can acquire the proper gear as you go, and probably can start with used stuff and work up to new as your budget and interest level allow. If you aren't already a handloader, you will probably want to learn that as well, though you don't have to be, since match ammo is available - though expensive.

Here's what you don't want to do. Don't bring out some POS Big 5 M44 carbine and a bunch of 7.62 x 54R commie surplus ammo, or your tacticool M4gery and a bunch of 55gr. .223 rounds. It's not going to work, and it's not the venue for it. Don't come out and feel the need to tell everyone how much you know about shooting in other disciplines. You won't make any friends that way. Do come out with the right kind of stuff to demonstrate that you have done some homework and are interested in really doing it and not just jacking around. Do come with the expectation that it's going to be a full day of effort (figure about 7 hours at the range itself from arrival and check in to departure from the range itself - not including the 15-20 minutes it takes to get on base and to the range and vice-versa) to expend in order to have the 60 minutes or so you'll actually be on the line shooting. Come early. Be friendly. Be polite. Ask questions and listen to the answers. Be respectful of the serious shooters who really just want or need to do their thing.

If you come with the appropriate expectations and attitude, you'll get a chance to shoot with and learn from some of the best high power shooters in the nation, none of whom will give you any grief for being new and inexperienced. If it's for you, you'll pretty much know it right away. If it's not for you, that will become apparent also.

Hope this helps just a little for those on the fence about whether or not to give it a try. Feel free to PM any questions you might have. :)

pennys dad
12-01-2009, 7:51 AM
I know I have been interested in these shoots for a long time. if i can review a quick refernce sheet that tells me what is needed for registtration, equipment needed, basic line info and target change info. expectations on rifles, since i would be coming on base what is expected there, driving directions. Things like that. being teamed with an experienced buddy would be great for first and 2nd match gitters. pratice days would also be good.

12-05-2009, 10:04 PM
Well, gents and ladies. I am sorry to tell you guys my bad experience. That few years ago was actually about 7 years ago. To tell you the truth I always want to try out and shoot the CMP Garand matches, thats one of the reason why I bought my Garand in the first place. However, due to deployments and military obligation I never had the chance to get serious again.

I am about to go back and get stationed in Pendleton here shortly and I will give it a try. Hopefully the Garand match will be exciting like what you guys mention all the time.

After all it's been a long time since i've qualified in the rifle KD range.

12-14-2009, 5:10 PM
Well, gents and ladies. I am sorry to tell you guys my bad experience. That few years ago was actually about 7 years ago. To tell you the truth I always want to try out and shoot the CMP Garand matches, thats one of the reason why I bought my Garand in the first place. However, due to deployments and military obligation I never had the chance to get serious again.

I am about to go back and get stationed in Pendleton here shortly and I will give it a try. Hopefully the Garand match will be exciting like what you guys mention all the time.

After all it's been a long time since i've qualified in the rifle KD range.

It sounds as if this is more an "Op tempo"/Marine Corps thing rather than a club thing. Come out and shoot...

12-28-2009, 7:38 AM
First post on this forum...

I've been stationed off and on Camp Pendleton for more then 10 years and have never heard of this club. I was even a Range Inspector back in '00 before civilians took that mission over and I still never remember hearing about this club. Is the range ran by a "Land Lord"?

From reading the previous posts it sounds as though anyone new to shooting matches would be intimidated, which is completely understandable. I have civilian buddies who have some very nice weapons and only shoot them on desert trips. I'm sure that they would also be intimidated by all of the protocols involved with running a Known Course of Fire. I only have an understanding of the range regulations because of my many years of actually shooting a course of fire similar to what your club shoots (yearly rifle and pistol qualifications). Even then, we put all shooters, fresh or seasoned through a "Grass Week" where we review all of the regulations, safety procedures, and shooting techniques to be successful on the range.

It wouldn't be that difficult to hold an informal "Grass Week/Day" for all shooters prior to the event to conduct instruction on the previously mentioned range criteria. All one would need is an open area and a couple of barrels with tiny little targets painted on them for folks to "Snap In" on. A flip chart to cover the rules and regulations of the range, another guy yelling out commands so people could practice hearing the commands and responding, and a few senior shooters to coach the new shooters.

01-04-2010, 9:22 PM
I would love to learn more about your gun clinics. I'm personally learning to shoot and hope to buy a gun soon. That was my new years resolution. I used to date a guy in law enforcement. It was a turn on to feel so safe. Especially when I knew he was carrying while we were out on dates. I don't like huge macho men - more the normal sized guy, and I don't like guys who are all into getting ripped or spending all their time with martial arts. But I did feel sexy to be so safe with him.

After we broke up, I started to think that maybe the feelings of safety didn't have to come only from having a guy there to protect me. I'm hoping if I learn about guns and maybe own one myself, I can get a little of that feeling on my own.

01-10-2010, 10:34 AM
Hi Ellie,

Our Club conducts High Power Clinics and practices fairly regularly.

A great way to prep yourself to get the most from our programs would be to first purchase or acquire a firearm. Second, attend some of the many "low key" matches available at Escondido Fish and Game Assn. for instance, or any of the NMC or CMP matches at local Ranges. After a couple of them you will be familiar enough to attend at Camp Pendleton without being lost in the shuffle, so to speak. We can then prepare you to fire at any level of competition you care to enter.

You are also welcome to show up and observe any of our functions, you will gain a sense of what is needed to "play" without being intimidated.

Good luck in your endeavor,

John Hermsen, President

01-15-2010, 6:16 PM
I'm interested in joining the club for practice, mid range and long range match competition with an AR-10 A4 NM riffle on an OLL. I'm a second award expert with the M16A2 (1/2luck 1/2skill). I'm at the end of my IRR time for the Marine Corps as of today, and was wondering if I might still qualify for a regular membership if I register now. I would have joined sooner, but I didn't know you guys existed. I will be at the practice tomorrow as an observer. If anyone would like to meet with me there to discus membership, let me know. Thanks.

01-18-2010, 8:24 AM
Did you come out and get the info you needed?

You most definitely can join up. We will be at Range 116 next weekend for Matches, come out then and get started.


03-01-2010, 11:18 AM
I attended the Feb. 28 XTC match as a non-firing observer yesterday and had a great time. Most everyone was pretty friendly. Personalities differ between people of course but I felt welcomed. One Jarhead in particular was especially helpful, and I got to talk to many of the other shooters and had every one of my questions answered. I was in the Marine Corps years ago so I had a basic familiarity with the XTC course of fire. There are a lot of important details to master of course.

I will say that I can see how someone with no competition experience could be intimidated. I'd recommend less experienced shooters to go watch first... and ask ALOT of questions..... just be mindful of those getting ready to fire, ie don't get in the way.

David M.

03-01-2010, 12:53 PM
I attended the Feb. 28 XTC match as a non-firing observer yesterday and had a great time. Most everyone was pretty friendly. Personalities differ between people of course but I felt welcomed. One Jarhead in particular was especially helpful, and I got to talk to many of the other shooters and had every one of my questions answered. I was in the Marine Corps years ago so I had a basic familiarity with the XTC course of fire. There are a lot of important details to master of course.

I will say that I can see how someone with no competition experience could be intimidated. I'd recommend less experienced shooters to go watch first... and ask ALOT of questions..... just be mindful of those getting ready to fire, ie don't get in the way.

David M.

03-01-2010, 2:57 PM
When and where is the next firing event?

When: http://www.smgunclub.org/?page_id=181 March 27th
Where: http://www.smgunclub.org/?page_id=238 Wilcox Range

03-08-2010, 12:45 PM
I am going to the Fleet matches this year at pendelton. I have no idea what it will be like but and reading alot and will be as ready as I can be. Hopefully after that I will be around for more. Any pointers would be great...

04-28-2010, 11:36 AM
Is their a place in San Diego for just long range practice. I've been searching and all I can find is competitions. Also can you spectate this event? Does it cost money?

04-29-2010, 1:16 PM
No sir, there are no fees associated with spectating.

We have LR practices coming up next Month. Check the website for specifics.


04-29-2010, 3:43 PM
Thank you.

04-29-2010, 7:20 PM
You can always practice at a match as well...the matches tend to be pretty informal and are pretty forgiving. If you just want to lay on your belly and shoot I'd do that instead of waiting for "formal" long range practice. I use the matches at Santa Margarita as my practice and its only $25.00 (I think)...so, about the same cost as a day at the range...except you have targets from 200 to 1000 yards (depending on which match/practice you attend).

05-17-2010, 8:46 AM
Great pics shooter65, brings back some awesome memories.

05-17-2010, 9:46 AM
Hi All,

I was reading through the thread and feel compelled to correct a few misconceptions.

1: Preregistration serves to speed your entry onto the Base. Failing to be preregistered does not bar you from entry! You may be asked to show proof of License, Registration and Insurance; very rarely you may be asked to inspect the manner in which you are transporting your firearm, much like any Cop may ask during a traffic stop, but you will not be turned away!

After attending your first function at SMGC you will be a Member and your information will be added to a data base that is submitted regularly for access. That way when you show your DL to the Sentry, he scans it and you get the "green light".

2: Any centerfire caliber less than and including .30 cal., may be fired at Range 103 (We may also use rimfire calibers at Range 103 during rimfire events). Any caliber up to .30 cal and including .338 Lapua, may be fired at Range 117A.

Thank you for your attention,

John Hermsen, President

BTW the big, skinny guy next to R. Lee, is Dennis DeMille GM of Creedmore Sports; he also holds some National Records!