Outlaw Rimfire Precision Series – a Match Director Overview
A Guest Post by Chris Ward
As a match director (MD) for the National Rifle League 22 (NRL22) series, and having recently adopted the new Outlaw Rimfire Precision Series (ORPS) events, Will Gould asked me to write a quick piece about the experience in terms of setting up and running one of these matches. I’ll cover a couple of different areas about the match itself and the processes I’ve gone through to setup rimfire competitions here in Ottawa, Ontario. Of note, some of the things I’ll mention may be range specific or CFO/province specific, so please take that into consideration, and that your situation may be different (for better or worse).
What is ORPS?
ORPS is a standardized 5-stage Course of Fire (CoF) shot exclusively on steel gongs that is produced monthly and is open to anyone or any range that is willing to host. The benefit of having everyone shoot the exact same CoF (with the exception of weather/conditions) is that scores can be compared provincially and nationally to see how you stack up against other shooters. The requirements to host a match are also very simple; a match director or host will need a 100yd range or piece of land, a standardized target pack (available through CRPS/ORPS sponsor GongJoe Targets), and a basic list of props and barricades (which don’t need to be purchased up front, but can be sourced, borrowed, or bought based on each monthly CoF). The targets measure between 6” to 1” gongs, and 1” to 0.25” swingers (additional targets may be added later). One additional piece of equipment required in Ontario are shrouds for the steel targets, which I solved by making 4’ plywood A-frames that stand over each of the target hangers.
Outside of the monthly CoF, I’ve always ran bonus stages that can focus on longer distance shots, unique barricades, unknown distance tgts, mad-minutes, etc… to further test the shooter’s abilities.
The premise behind this model is accessibility, in that, finding a 100yd range is a lot easier to find than trying to get 400+yds, and by keeping the equipment standardized and relatively simple, it will be affordable. Don’t kid yourself though, what we lack in distance is made up for in target size!
Starting and Promoting Your Match
By signing up as a MD and registering your event, ORPS will promote it by posting links on their website and Facebook groups. While I’ve gotten great traction through Facebook, I’ve also done my own promotion through CanadianGunNutz, the CRPS FB group, and more importantly, through word of mouth and posters at the host range. I’ve also gotten a lot of interest from other shooters at the range who stop by to check out the matches in progress, and pass on the word to their friends.
Setup of Your Match
My match setup starts with a date and creating the Practiscore registration for the event (ORPS will handle this for you if you want). That link gets published to the ORPS page, and you can push that info to any other shooters you know that might be interested. I also produce clipboards with blank score sheets, and a CoF booklet for each squad, which will be used to track scores and answer any stage questions throughout the match. I also setup an iPad or iPhone with the Practiscore app and build the match stages within the device. This facilitates collation of shooter details, easy score entry/tabulation and will let you post the results immediately online following the match.
I’ve always been able to do the physical setup the day-of, and it usually takes about an hour or so. The CoF is designed so that no target in the pack is used twice, so it is therefore possible to set up and run all 5 stages concurrently (your range layout may dictate otherwise). The nice thing I’ve found about the community that’s being built around rimfire PRS is that all shooters are incredibly helpful and willing to grab a few shrouds, paint targets, setup barricades, etc… which makes the MD’s day a lot easier.
Conduct of the Match
Once everyone is squadded and ready to shoot, conduct a safety brief, and a stage walkthrough explaining how the match is to be shoot. To keep things simple (and to avoid seeking out dedicated volunteers), I have the squads RO and score themselves. Once a complete squad finishes a stage, they move on to the next stage on the line. This keeps everyone involved, and things moving quickly.
There have been times where I’ve set up and shot only 3 stages at a time (due to other limitations), and had to re-set or re-jig the target arrays for the remaining 3 stages. This took about 30mins, and gave the competitors a chance to reload mags and prepare for the second half of the match. As best you can, run as many things as you can concurrently to keep things moving.
Scoring & Tabulation
As mentioned earlier, I use clipboards and scoresheets given to each squad to track the scores for each stage, and only use one iPad with Practiscore to enter and tabulate all the scores. We’ve ran matches in the past where each squad had a scoring tablet, but I found that it tended to take more time synchronizing all the devices and had a few errors where points didn’t calculate over. Also, tablets can get expensive, and there is a learning curve to them which may complicate things or slow things down. Ill usually make a couple rounds during the conduct of the match to enter scores into my tablet, while also having each squad calculate the totals for a quick double-check. In most cases, the results are ready within 10mins of the last round fired.
Having the scores entered on a tablet (through the Practiscore app), also lets you upload those results immediately to the website so that it can be accessed by all competitors.
PRS, CRPS, ORPS, NRL, NRL22, etc… are all designed to take you off your belly or from the comfort of your shooting bench and test your shooting skills from unique and unstable platforms. The same fundamentals are required regardless of whether you’re shooting a 308, 6.5, 6, or 22 at 1200m or 100yds, and the difficulty lies with the position and how small the targets are. These types of disciplines are growing all over North America and encouraging a diverse group of shooters to come out, ring some steel, and have a tonne of fun! We’ve had young shooters, old shooters, new shooters, ladies, and even shooters with physical limitations (which we make accommodations for so they can still shoot a challenging CoF). Running a match should not be a difficult endeavour, and make sure to leverage people in your area to help make it an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Lastly, if you’re a MD, make sure to carve out some time to shoot the match yourself…you put in all that work and sweat, so partake and enjoy it!