My alarm went off at 3 a.m. and I was tired. I was up all night. I couldn’t sleep. I’m not sure if it was excitement or nerves. As I grabbed all my gear set by the door and began to load the truck I realized it was pure excitement. I was excited to try my new production class build and shoot it past 50m. I was excited to see how all these separate components like the firearm, the optics, the accessories, ammo and ballistic calculators would all come together at the event.
How would all this theory and practical application come together I wondered as I hit the road to make the 3 hour trek to CFB Valcartier.
After checking into “Range Control” for the military base, I made my way to the designated range that hosted the CRPS event. On my way there I was greeted by both Rick and Andrew who were putting the final touches by putting up directional signs to help participants navigate to the range.
At 9 a.m. everyone gathered for check-in. Upon checking in, each participant was given a detailed match booklet, MDT chamber flag, Large CRPS Sticker and Micro CRPS sticker designed to go onto your scope tube should you so choose. While I have not been to many shooting events, one can appreciate these small details.
After check-in, was the mandatory safety briefing where participants were given the run down on safe handling, and PRS specific procedures. After that, it was time to gather into our squads and get our gear prepared. This gave us time to figure out our distances, “come-ups”, work our ballistics, etc.
I will tell you one word of advice: Make sure your rifle is zeroed before the event. You will not have time or opportunity to zero at the event. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 25 yard zero or a 50 yard zero or a 100 yard zero. If you have a smart phone, you can use Strelok or any other ballistic app to help you work from that zero. Due to weather, time constraints and access to longer distances, I opted to use a 25 yard zero and work off of that. I was fortunate enough to get a true velocity of my ammo so this helped greatly.
I was put into Squad #3. Our first stage was the “Know Your Limits” rack or KYL rack. This stage had hanging target that ranged in size from 5″ all the way down to 3/4″ at 100 meters. If that wasn’t hard enough, you had to shoot each target with one hit. As you graduated from largest to smallest, the point value increased. If you missed you are rewarded with a big fat Zero for the entire stage. You could however stop at any time before you missed and keep your points. I however made it to the third target and got to greedy. I got the big fat zero for that stage.
After each stage we then progressed through the first 5 stages in the morning. Each stage had its own unique challenges, distances and props to shoot from. These props included barrels, wire spools, tank traps, and multi-leveled barricades. Some positional shooting was done as well such as standing. In the afternoon we shot another 5 stages.
At each stage the RO (Range Officer) would explain the stage in detail and ask if you had any questions. From there he asked if you fully understood the stage. This eliminates to excuse of “well I didn’t understand the stage”. You are then given the command to make ready and then begin. Most stages centered around a 120 second time limit. After you complete the stage, The RO then ensure your rifle is made safe and the he reviews your score on a tablet detailing your score. You then hit the confirm on the tablet and your score gets uploaded to the administration.
After everyone shot all their stages it was then time for the awards ceremony. The prize table had a large assortment of prizes that winners could choose from. Also each participant that made podium got a custom made CRPS medal in either gold, silver bronze finish. One thing that was really cool was after the medalist were named and prizes chosen, the staff then gave every participant a number. A random draw was then held until everyone got a prize. No one left empty handed.
Things I learned/Advice to give:
- Zero your rifle before you attend. 25 m, 50 m, doesn’t matter. Just have a good zero.
- Have a good ballistic app (I used Strelok, some use others like Applied Ballistics)
- Always wind your scope back to its zero in between stages. With all this dialing in elevation, it is easy to forget and then you’ll find out half way through a stage that your adjustment is off. Ask me how I know. LOL
- It helps to know the velocity of your selected ammo. Borrow a chronograph. It really helps to feed it into the ballistic app to be accurate.
- Bring weather appropriate clothing. We had a slight down pour of rain. I got soaked and had to change outfits twice.
- Make sure all your gear is close by. Sometimes parking isn’t close by. You’d hate to waste time running for late minute items
- Bring extra ammo. Even though the course of fire calls for 100 rds overall, the “mad-minute” stage is unlimited. So bring extra mags if you can.
- If your scope doesn’t have a “zero stop”, then count how many clicks from the bottom. That way if you get lost, you’ll know how to find your way back to zero.
If you are on the fence about attending an event, don’t be. It is a great environment where people are very friendly and helpful. The staff are very accommodating. You will learn so much about shooting at “long range”. This knowledge isn’t caliber specific and will pool over into centerfire rifles as well.
There are still quite a few CRPS events left in the season and there are more being added as more and more requests to host an event “pop up”. Be sure to visit the events page to see what’s nearby.