#1. Don’t worry about the gear. Just Go!
Don’t worry about the gear you currently have. The CRPS has two separate divisions to keep things competitive & fair. The production class allows you to take that stock rifle of yours and compete among participants with similar gear. If you have a rifle that falls under the “Open Division” specs, don’t worry. There are so many other variables that come into play when competing, that the rifle/optic you are using makes less of a result in your score then you would think. Having good fundamentals, solid shooting position, good wind calls, solid time management skills, these make the difference in your score.
As far as your rifle/optic setup goes. Just make sure your rifle is well zeroed. 50m seems to be a fairly common distance most competitors are zeroing their rifles.
#2. Find the ammo that groups the best in your rifle
One of the funnest and most frustrating things you will do is finding the best ammo for your rifle. Rimfire ammo varies so much from manufacturer to manufacturer, product line, and even lot #’s. Buy as many different types of ammo you can. I would recommend staying under super sonic for accuracy reasons. When a projectile transitions from a velocity above the speed of sound to below the speed of sound (trans-sonic barrier) it causes the projectile to loose stability. This transition can greatly affect accuracy. Therefore, its usually recommended to stay away from ammo that is marked “high velocity” or “Hyper Velocity”.
Shoot multiple 5 rd groups of each ammo from a bench rest at 50m to see which groups the best. Sometimes you may be surprised. Some rifles shoot very well with cheaper ammo.
#3. Shoot your rifle. Get Data
If you are one of the fortunate Canadians that has access to a large distances to shoot then set out targets at various distances ( 25m or 50m increments) and record how much your bullet drops between the point of aim (the target) and the actual point of impact (where the bullet hits). Record this data into a simple spreadsheet and viola, you have real world D.O.P.E charts.
If you do not have access to that type of range, you can “ball park it” by using a ballistic calculator. This can be tricky because you need to have all your inputs correct (velocity, bullet BC, etc.). If you aren’t 100% sure of your ballistic software’s output, at least it will give you a general idea of how much adjustment is needed.
Also, practice manipulating your rifle. Doing mag changes, working the action, adjusting your scope magnification. Practice shooting standing, kneeling, sitting, and prone UNSUPPORTED (no bags. no bi-pods.no rests. Slings are OK). Every obstacle/stag will involve some variation of of these 4 positions. if you can shoot well unsupported, you will do wonders when given something to rest your rifle on. Dry fire, Dry fire, Dry Fire.
#4. Volunteer at an event
If you still are unsure if you want to compete, come and volunteer. Its one of the best ways to see this challenging and dynamic discipline in action. You can meet your potential fellow competitors. Ask them questions between stages. See what type of gear is typically used (don’t get too caught up in the gear!!!).
The CRPS is always looking for people to lend a hand. It is a volunteer run operation. You can help out by being a spotter (the person who calls the impacts). You can help out by being an Range Officer (helping run each stage).
One of the absolute best ways to get involved in a new activity is to “jump in, feet first”. By competing you will quickly learn what you are good at and also what you can improve upon. Sometimes, you may just surprise yourself.
The main reason why I feel most people don’t “take the plunge” is due to ego. We sometimes avoid things out of fear of making a mistake and looking foolish among our peers. I’m here to tell you now out of my own experience, that its nothing to worry about. The gang that seem to gravitate towards the CRPS league are some of the warmest and helpful people you will meet. From the sponsors all the way down to the competitors themselves.
Keep in mind this may be an simplified view of how to get ready for an event. But we can make things as simple or as complicated as we want for ourselves. If you have questions about the exact minutia of a particular subject, feel free to ask your peers on the FB page or FB group.