The NRA National High Power Rifle Championships were held July 5-24 at Camp Atterbury, IN. The match is comprised of the High Power Championship, the Long Range Championship, and closes out with the Mid Range Championship. This was the second year that the NRA High Power Nationals were held at Camp Atterbury, and shooters were pleased with the venue and the favorable weather conditions there.
Multiple High Junior winner Luke Rettmer with Cole McCulloch, director of NRA Competitive Shooting
High Power Championship SFC Brandon Green chalked up a third NRA High Power Championship this year at Camp Atterbury. Previously, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) shooter won the title at Camp Perry in 2013 and 2015. Green’s performance was what we expect to see from a future hall of famer, completely dominating the championship with his score of 2394-147X. He was eight points (and 10 Xs) ahead of runner-up, AMU teammate SFC Shane Barnhart.
“I was using a Tubb2000 with a 1:8 twist barrel chambered in 6XC,” said Green about his gear. “Also, I used the Vortex AMG riflescope with ¼ MOA adjustments and factory 105-grain ammo for across the course.”
Opening day of the High Power Championships.
The AMU had the three top match shooters, with SGT Ben Cleland (Ft. Benning, GA) joining Green (Box Springs, GA) and Barnhart (Salem, AL) atop the leaderboard in third place with a score of 2386-128X. Fourth place and High Civilian honors went to Ronald Zerr (Tucson, AZ) who scored 2383-126X. High Woman, as well as fifth place overall went to the AMU’s SSG Amanda Elsenboss (Ft. Benning, GA) with 2382-113X.
In Service Rifle, again it was the AMU dominating the podium, with SGT Cleland’s score earning him the DuPont Trophy. The High Woman title went to fellow AMU shooter, SSG Elsenboss. Winning High Junior was Luke Rettmer (Ferndale, WA) with a score of 2341-80X. Jeffrey Miles (Phoenix, AZ) won High Senior with 2342-71X. And for Sub-Junior, this year’s victor was Benjamin Holliger (Carlock, IL), a Marksman class shooter who posted a respectable score of 2094-24X.
Long Range This year, Kevin Nevius punched his ticket for membership in an exclusive group as he won the Tompkins Trophy, emblematic of the U.S. Long Range Championship. Nevius (Gibsonburg, OH) already has three Critchfield Trophies on his mantle for winning the Smallbore Rifle Prone National Championship in 2008 and back-to-back wins in 2014 and 2015, as well as the 2010 Smallbore Rifle Metric title. He’s the only person to have won all three championships. Nevius has also been on two U.S. Field Marshal Earl Roberts Trophy Match Teams, and the U.S. Dewar and Wakefield Trophy Teams.
Kevin Nevius, NRA High Power Long Range Champion.
In his run up to the Tompkins Trophy, he had taken home the inaugural Bert Rollins Trophy, the Sierra Trophy in 2005 and 2006, and been near the top of the leaderboard on most occasions. Always the bridesmaid and never the bride. This year would be different. He dropped two points early and was in the top three throughout most of the tournament. He was in the Leech Cup shoot-off, and then anchored both the winning Roumanian and Herrick Trophy Teams.
Individual Palma Champion, U.S. Air Force MSGT Matthew Griffin.
Going into the final day, it was a tight race, and Nevius shot better than the field and managed to climb over the two riflemen in front of him and win by a single point with an aggregate score of 1245-64X. The point was critical because he had been tailing Phillip Crowe (Cullman, AL), 1244-74X, and Robert Gill (Visalia, CA), 1244-68X for most of the tournament.
The one and only David Tubb.
David Tubb (Canadian, TX) was the Canadian Cup winner with 800-50X. He was using his namesake TUBBGUN with a 32-inch Schneider barrel chambered in 6XC, with Peterson small primer 6XC brass, H4350 powder, and DTAC 115-grain rebated boattail bullets with Nose Ring procedure. “The velocity is 3165 fps, and it yields 3- to 4-inch vertical 10-shot groups when fired prone at 1000 yards in good conditions,” said Tubb.
ARC-Rowe won the Long Range Team Championship (l.-r.): Larry Sollars, Kevin Nevius, Kimberly Rowe and Charles Rowe, team coach.
Palma Teams This year at Camp Atterbury, the Palma Team Matches had 11 teams shooting Palma rifles and two teams shooting service rifles. Teams consisted of four firing members and a team captain and coach. Teams shoot prone at distances of 800, 900 and 1000 yards.
Match conditions on Palma Team day at Camp Atterbury were sunny with clear skies, with winds at about 5 mph.
Junior Palma shooters on the firing line at Atterbury.
Since 2012, the Cowboy Trophy has been awarded to the winning team in the Palma Team Matches using Palma rifles in the NRA National High Power Rifle Long Range Championships. The Cowboy Trophy was donated to the NRA in 2012 by our friends at Palma Productions. The trophy is a Remington bronze cowboy riding his steed, mounted on a black walnut base. It’s a beautiful trophy that conveys the majesty of the old west.
The 2018 winner of the Cowboy Trophy was Team NSSC-1. Team members were Nathaniel Guernsey, Kent Reeve, Keith Hoverstad, John Frigugiletti and Team Captain/Coach Blair Clowdis. Their winning score was 1777-96X. Hoverstad was Team NSSC-1’s highest scoring shooter with 445-24X.
2018 Palma Team Champs NSSC-1 with NRA Board Member Walt Walter.
In second place for Palma rifle teams was Team Palma Alliance, consisting of MSGT Matthew Griffin (Air Force), Robert Steketee, Benjamin Lucchesi, Daniel Altman and Team Captain (and Coach) Brian Mrnak. The team’s combined score was 1768-90X. High score for Team Palma Alliance was Lucchesi’s 448-26X.
Rounding out the top three teams was Shirley’s Boys, with team members Steve McGee, Shirley McGee, Randall Gregory, Jon Rhynard, Team Captain Harold Mauch and Coach Robert Peasley. Shirley’s Boys finished two points behind Palma Alliance with 1766-84X. The top scorer on the team was Steve McGee with 446-22X.
2018 Camp Atterbury firing line.
All Guard-Coggshall won the Palma Team Match for service rifle, scoring 1683-37X. The team was all Army National Guard shooters, with firing members SPC Andrew Traciak, COL J. Treharne, MAJ Aaron Grimm and SSG John Coggshall. Treharne was Team Captain and Coggshall was the Team Coach, and also the team’s top shooter scoring 426-9X.
Mid Range The High Power Rifle Mid Range Championships followed Long Range at Camp Atterbury this year. For Mid Range, competitors fire on the MR-63, MR-65 and MR-1 targets at distances of 300, 500 and 600 yards. Shooters are divided by the rifles they shoot: Service Rifle, Any Rifle/Any Sights and Palma Rifle.
Service rifle during the 2018 Mid Range Championships.
Hot off the heels of a strong third place showing at Long Range, Robert Gill went on to win the NRA Mid Range Championship with a score of 2199-159X.
For Any Rifle, it was Larry Sollars (Cumming, GA) in first place with 2196-164X. The Any Rifle runner-up was Kimberly Rowe (Wadsworth, OH) scoring 2196-150X.
Range cart on opening day of the Mid Range Championships.
In Palma Rifle, competitors are limited to .223 Rem. or .308 Win. iron sights only. The top shooter was Kent Reeve (Sparta, NC) posting 2194-147X. Runner-up was Daniel Altman (Bowling Green, OH) with 2194-113X.
Service Rifle bragging rights went to SSG John Coggshall (East Hampton, CT), a U.S. Army National Guard shooter with 2172-114X. Runner-up was Jeffrey Lindblom (Moscow Mills, MO) with a score of 2170-105X.
Camp Valor Outdoors We first reported on Camp Valor Outdoors in 2016 at Camp Perry. The veterans group has been at Nationals ever since then. This year at Camp Atterbury, Team CVO did more than shoot. Team members took it upon themselves to take on the role of flag detail, maintaining the tradition of morning and afternoon colors (opening and closing of shooting each day) at the high power range. I had the chance to accompany them for afternoon colors on the first day of the Mid Range Championships, and the photos don’t give it justice. Kudos to groups like CVO that are keeping important traditions alive. —John Parker