Above: Team Applied Ballistics continues to set the standard for ELR competition. That's inaugural NRA ELR match winner Mitchell Fitzpatrick shooting, with teammates Bryan Litz and Paul Phillips (seated in chair) assisting.
In between this year’s National High Power Rifle Mid Range and Long Range Championships at Camp Atterbury, IN, the NRA debuted the One-Mile Club Extreme Long Range (ELR) Match. ELR is generally thought of as precision rifle shooting beyond 1500 yards. Bright and early at 7:30 a.m. on July 20, the order of firing for this inaugural match was done by random draw.
The One-Mile Club Match uses 36-inch square AR500 steel targets at distances of 1400-, 1575- and 1788-yards. Rifle calibers must be smaller than .50 BMG. Any sights, bipod, tripod or bench is allowed. The timed course of fire allowed for 15 rounds in 10 minutes―five rounds at each of the three distances. Only after confirmed impact are competitors allowed to continue to the next distance. Shooters that hit the 1788-yard target were awarded the NRA One-Mile Certificate and Club pin. Scoring was point-based with multipliers―5x bonus for making a first shot hit, 4x for second, etc.
Some of the best rifle shooters around attended the inaugural event―David Tubb, Bryan Litz, Corbin Shell, and 2016-17 two-time King of 2 Miles champion Mitchell Fitzpatrick―just to name a few. For ELR, knowledge of the equipment used and additionally the ability to adapt to conditional factors such as wind, temperature, light, etc. is paramount for successful shooting at such long distances.
Shell and Fitzpatrick showed off their long range rifle shooting prowess―both shooters were tied with zero misses at all three yardages going into the shootoff. To break the tie, an NRA LR (1000-yard) target center was attached to the backer at a mind-blowing 1988 yards (1.13 miles). After Fitzpatrick continued his perfect streak of hits, Corbin had his first miss of the day, giving Fitzpatrick the win―becoming the very first NRA One-Mile ELR Champion.
Says Fitzpatrick: “We pulled off the win by shooting clean, never missing a shot! It was a great event and I look forward to competing in the coming years. They are trying to extend the facility to make it a 2400-yard match. With the NRA having such a rich competitive shooting history… I am beyond honored to have won the inaugural NRA ELR match. As ELR grows … it will be awesome to look back and know we were in at the ground level. Also, it should be noted that my extractor broke on the second shot at 1788 yards, and I ended up having to fire the last three shots while extracting my cases with a cleaning rod from the muzzle end.”
NRA partnered with a few companies like Targetvision and GSL Technology to aid in confirming hits. Targetvision provided wireless remote TV cameras that were placed near each of the targets at each yardage. The video feed was sent to monitors and tablet computers, allowing scorers to see hits on steel in real time. Additionally, GSL Technology provided a drone to capture aerial footage of the match.
Match Director Sheri Judd said, “This is only the beginning of what we can do at Camp Atterbury. Having a venue with this kind of ELR capability is the just tip of the iceberg.”
Read more stories about the National Matches at this link: www.ssusa.org/national-matches
Photos by Sheri Judd