Santa Margarita Gun Club
Promoting safe, competitive shooting sports for active and retired military, civilians, and juniors.

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April 29 is the next schedule Midrange match and April 30 will be the Pistol EIC and Rifle EIC matches.

Note: On April 30th after the Rifle EIC, there will be a Modified Infantry Trophy Training (MITT) session from 1500 to 1700 hours.

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Hello to all SMGC Members and Participants:
This is a reminder for all of you to look at your SMGC Membership Cards. Annual Memberships for 2016 will EXPIRE on January 31st.

The Club’s operational cost are covered by our club membership dues. If you plan on keeping a regular membership, you must submit your renewal ASAP, otherwise you risk losing it. Regular Memberships are given to All Active Military Members (Active Duty and Reserves) and only a few Civilians, whom have provided some invaluable services to the Club get a Regular membership as well.

All members, Regular and Associates get discounted Match Fees for all SMGC Events. Over the course of the year the money you spend does two things for the club. First it helps the club out financially to re-order supplies needed to conduct our events. Secondly, the savings discount on entry fees essentially pays for itself over the course of the year.

So if you haven’t renewed your membership as of yet, please do so ASAP. Thank You

Sincerely,

SMGC Board of Directors

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2017 SMGC BoD Election Results – [.docx] [.pdf]

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Berger Bullets is hiring for an International Account Manager. Get more information.

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IMPORTANT: Effective 02/01/2016, non-military ID persons will not be able to enter the base by simply providing a Driver’s License. The person must also be sponsored.

Sponsorship for non-military match participants is provided by the Santa Margarita Gun Club when registering and providing Driver’s License information to the club by NOON (Pacific Time) on the Wednesday *BEFORE* the weekend of the match in question.

MCB Camp Pendleton Security Regulations require the match sponsor (SMGC) notify the appropriate Base agency of Non Department of Defense (DoD) persons participation in the Match on the Wednesday preceding the Matches. This notification is generated by the received match entry forms and intention to enter correspondence. DRIVER’S LICENSE NUMBERS AND STATE OF ORIGIN ARE PART OF THIS INFORMATION WHICH IS TURNED INTO THE BASE SECURITY. Therefore without this information, your entry onto MCB Camp Pendleton may be denied. Additionally, persons who have expired driver’s licenses will not be granted entry onto Camp Pendleton.

Please use the secure, encrypted online form to submit your updated DL information, in addition to your match registration.

All Electronic Entries for ALL Matches & Non-Firing Participants, must be done by NOON on WEDS before the Match otherwise Civilians will not placed onto the Base Access Roster and there by will NOT be allowed on Base.

2017 April Long Range 3x1000yd Match 4-9-2017

The theme of our match this month is undoubtedly “What was old is new again”. I’m not just talking about the continued bloom of green that carpets the range, but the events of the day as well.We had new participants, new roles assumed by members, new target faces, new occupy procedures, and new shooters too. We had a great turn out with 21 participants total and 16 of them shooting for score. A number of people came out to observe and I can tell you from first hand experience they got a good show from the wind this day. The challenge laid at our muzzles by the unique geometry and orientation of Range 117A is daunting for sure. However, when I tell you that the 2nd place F T/R rifleman (3rd overall) used a 5.56mm bolt gun and beat thirteen 30 caliber competitors in doing so, you can certainly agree that with dedication and patience anything is possible!

This match began like any other with arrival at the Range 116 parking lot. Those of us early enough were treated to a glorious sunrise (Yes, I reclaimed my title of first to arrive for those who may have been concerned). Mike Jones our match director was there to take your money in exchange for the ‘E-Ticket’ – your score card – that scheduled you for what was a truly thrilling day. Equally important John Hermsen coached me on my first time through completing the ORM (Operational Risk Management) document and preparations of the Expenditure Report per the roster of shooters on hand.

My next task was to gain permission to occupy the range, and I joined John Hermsen at the gate of Range 117A to call LONGRIFLE and request the clearance to start our day. While I had just recently passed my RSO training, this match was the first time I would be on everyone’s books (The Base and the clubs) and actually available to perform such duties. We were quickly able to establish contact and took control of the range as OIC and RSO. We were granted our occupy status, and just like that I was the brand new OIC. Also new this morning was the adaptive method we adopted to safely ferry shooters and their gear to the range. First off, gear was strapped to the Toyota FJ locomotive bomb cart train for an unattended trip to the firing point. Being that riflemen are resourceful and prepared it was no problem to secure all the gear to the flat beds for safe delivery to the firing line.

Next, with timetable precision members were escorted to the firing point in the comfort of the larger crew carrying vehicles owned by some of the staff. This carefully managed procedure ensured that at no time we had more than two vehicles on the range but got everyone to the line while keeping their arms and legs inside the ride at all times! I can tell you right now that pit changes executed with Harry’s air conditioned Excursion were far more luxurious than pit changes of the past. Most of us agreed that the only thing that would make it better was ice cream – but Gary Atkinson wasn’t quite able to come through on that one. Our Corpsman Van Texas and his evacuation vehicle are seen dutifully on station. As always everyone’s safety is important. It’s reassuring to know we all have access to top notch medical care right on the firing line!

Another very welcomed change, we arrived to a well groomed firing point with much of the plant life landscaped into manageable form. If you have it, take a minute to look back to last months report here for a dramatic change in scenery!

With everyone to the line setup begins. Here we’re just about ready but are not moving rifles until the pits are sealed to ensure the safety of the target pullers.

Down in the pit area the new target repair centers Gary and Joe put together for the club did wonders for increasing speed and accuracy in scoring targets. You can see one of the repair centers below against the wall near the bomb cart.  These were suitable for framing, and I know Gary’s was especially as he took first place in the F T/R class and second overall!

One of the many great things about shooting on Camp Pendleton is the scenery. This morning we got some very intriguing cloud cover rolling in. It resembled the tide coming in or perhaps the rings of Saturn.  While it was beautiful to look at it was also bringing with it some challenging wind conditions to shoot in. While these winds humble many we all enjoy rising to the occasion and learning from the experience. It helps you understand your true grasp of the sport and certainly helps you appreciate those days when conditions are less ambitious! At least the impacts down here were finally becoming more visible again with the drying of the floor of the valley.

Enough with sightseeing and down to business now,  The riflemen set about their task of closing in on the ever elusive 5 inch X-ring 1000 yards away. In relay one, the morning was still quiet and the scores reflected it. However after returning from pit duty around noon the conditions were giving everyone trouble and caused a dip in most everyone’s scores.

All of us struggled to keep up with the let offs and pick ups of the surging winds.

The flags below show a uniform pattern for the moment, but by no means did they keep this nice arrangement! Stay sharp, you’re on 117A!

Even on our ‘Big End’ of the range, shooters find difficulty in beating the wind with F-Open calibers of 300 Win Mag

Sometimes repairs are necessary too. Another ‘New’ event for the day, my coveted Stinger Missile case lends a hand as a sturdy workbench for a rail section that is misbehaving on this fully safed rifle (note the bolt is out).

Today we were also visited by Range Control to audit our occupation of Range 117A. I’m happy to report that we passed our inspection and that our inspector was quick and efficient in giving us the green light to continue with our training exercise. While we take a pause for that inspection, one can’t help but admire the quality and pride of workmanship seen in each and every station along the firing line. What a great place to come out and see how that next piece of gear you were thinking of buying is used under real world conditions. The cutting edge hardware seems to have felled the surround grass just by proximity alone!

After Inspection we go right back to it. As is typical of the day at 117A the magnitude of the wind grows and with luck it’s fickle directional vector starts to take a set.

Gary and Bill work the wind at the small end of the range

Harry and Kamran score for Walter and Jordan

The club caters to the safe involvement of any shooter of any skill level and encourages anyone who is interested to come out and give it a try. Here we see our time honored shooting champion Harry Harrison coaching his son Zach on the finer points of long range shooting. Harry’s entire family participates and gives back to the club and our sport on a regular basis, thanks so much to all of guys on Team Harrison!

If I had only gotten to reading wind flags at Zach’s age, just think of all the experience I’d have under my belt by now. We’ve seen this before and it’s certainly where champions come from!

As the day comes to a close we pack up our gear and pick up our trash. In doing so John Hermsen demonstrates his unbounded versatility once again. This time as Tactical Barista. Meanwhile Mark Roth our match champion looks on knowing he could empty each of those cups individually with his rifle at 1000 yards. The rest of us will settle for drinking them dry.

It is my honor to especially thank the following people for their contributions and participation in our club’s event today:

  • Our Military participants: MCPO Davis, SSgt Sadaghiani, Sgt Cubo, Cpl Suebing, CPO Texas, MGySgt HArrison
  • Wounded Warrior: Sgt Jorge Toledo (Ret)
  • First Class Limousine Service: Harry Harrison
  • Medic: Van Texas

And without further delay here are the scores for the single day event.

SMGC Long Range 4/9/17 Aggregate of 3 Matches  
Range 117A 3x1000 LRClassScoreX
LarryAkinFTR1813
GaryAtkinsonFTR56711
WilliamBastonFTR5171
JohnCrockettFTR3422
JanuszDabrowskiFTR5424
LeeDavisFTR5556
SamHoskinsF-OPEN5281
MikeJonesFTR1866
WalterLangeFTR5498
JonathanOcabFTR5097
MarkRothF-OPEN57216
KamranSadaghianiF-OPEN3706
KerryStottlemyerFTR5033
WilliamTuschFTR5406
SimonWagnerFTR5334
IkeUrbanikF-OPEN4071

Additional Photos:

Range Records Page

SMGC Members and Guests,

We have recently compiled a list of Range Records that is now posted a page on the club website. This will give everyone the information of what its going to take to make “The List”. All of these are outstanding scores that have been accumulated over the years.

The photo below is Steve Blair’s 200-11X from August of 2014.

I am sure that I may have missed some accomplishments and want to let everyone know it is not my intention to exclude anyone, but our records are spotty in places. If you have shot a score that should be posted give me a call or reach out and let me know. With these written down at this point in time its going to be far easier going forward to keep these current.

For the Long Range Records I went thru our published data as far back as 2012, but with 3 match directors over the years and incomplete records I may have missed something.

For the Mid-Range Matches I went through all of the 2015 and 2016 data. If you know of a score that should be posted from an earlier year let me know.

Great shooting to everyone on this list!

Mike Jones

2017 March (11-12) Long Range Match Report

This months match had to get started early as we had a Marine unit occupying Range 116 for Table I / II qualification drills. Asked to arrive half an hour early, the regulars and newcomers alike amassed in the parking lot of Range 116 at 0-dark-thirty. I  actually rolled in right about 6:15am and was cordially greeted by Mike Jones decreeing to at least four other participants also on deck that I was NOT the first to arrive. Clearly I was usurped  of my self-proclaimed title, and it was at a great loss too. Everyone knows I’m also the LAST guy to leave the range and this was my only claim to fame!

Beginnings aside, today was going to be a lucky day. It all started with a rabbit:

This unusually brave varmint was hanging out at the entry gate to 116 and several of us marveled at how little he seemed to care about the great number of people only steps away from him. Of course it’s not unusual to have all kinds of wildlife on base, but this little guy almost appeared to be observing us. Regardless, as he perched there while we waited for occupy status on the range, the beauty of the recent rains on base continued to put on a great show as the light streamed down across the hills.

It was the start of a beautiful day, and as an extra treat, we were fortunate to have pit pullers for all firing points today. The idea was to finish early by eliminating pit changes so the staff and volunteers could help prepare the range for the inaugural Precision Rifle Series match that was to be held the next day on 117A. This PRS match came very close to being aborted. Range Control greeted us while we were still in the parking lot and informed us that the course of fire had not been approved and that we would no be allowed to shoot steel or fire upon anything other than our standard targetry. This was 24 hours prior to the start of the PRS match. We were going to need all the luck we could get!

As we began to go through the occupy routine, bomb carts were loaded with competitors and gear. After shoving off, a brief stop at the nearby CONEX box to load up the targetry was next. We got a glimpse of the Marine unit beginning to assemble for their venue. This was an interesting point, as it meant we would not be coming back this way at the end of the day. When their range status went to HOT the access roads we travel would be secured and no longer open for travel. More on that later!

As mentioned, the recent rains had transformed the surrounding hills and range basins. Even though no rain had fallen in some time, we still had a lot of both running and standing water to avoid. At the top of the range, at nearly maximum elevation for the area, water still made it’s way across the access road next to the 1000yd line making it thick with mud. Correspondingly, Lake Butts was also still putting up a good fight to pit entry. Of course it was no match for the venerable Land Cruiser of John Hermsen.

When we arrived at the 1000 yard line, the forces of nature were clearly hard at work trying to take back what once was a dirt berm.

Firing point one was completely overgrown. This is even after we had carefully ‘tamed’ it back in the beginning of February. None of us were expecting to have to bring weed whackers in our gear boxes, but if the rains keep up like they have been, it might be a new tool to add to the checklist!

Still we pressed on, grooming the line and getting our gear in order. Marc Mittry drew firing point one and did his best to dampen mother Nature’s enthusiasm

Sam Hoskins simply laid his 300 win Mag down next to the shrubbery and let his muzzle brake do the work

We had a very calm and steady wind in the morning, giving all competitors a chance to shoot for high scores. This was well received especially with the absence of pit changes! Here’s the min/max/average at 10am on my anemometer which I powered up about 8 am.

Of course the scores reflected this, but more than once we saw the wind change it’s direction over the course. Mirage was definitely your friend this morning. Those with keen eyes and a steady rifle were awarded excellent results. In fact, in his first string, Mark Roth shot a clean 200-6X in F-Open with Marc Mittry hot on his tail with a 198-7X in Match Rifle!

With no pit changes, shooters could leave gear up on the line in a pre-staged condition making the 12 participant match look a lot bigger than it was. We were just digging into the second relay for all shooters when a cease fire was called. Range Control had arrived again. This time to inspect our club and our occupation of the range.

Again luck was with us, the two inspectors who came to do the inspection were very informative and helpful. We were given information to improve our occupation of the range to ensure even the most stringent of inspections would pass with flying colors. This is important, as if we had not passed muster, this would have been the end of the day for us. Thanks go out to the inspectors for their council and eagerness to help the club remain on the range! Some of the disseminated information include updated range environmental maps. As seen below, we have a few areas to watch out for, these contain protected plant life.

Back on the line the typical range fish tailing winds began to pick up. We saw an 8~12mph headwind for the rest of the day putting everyone on notice that your next shot might not be were you want it to be. Rich, Gene, Gary, and Duane battle with the headwind below.

Marc Mittry just turned his back on it all, posting an amazing 593-24X in Match Rifle for the day. Duane gives pause to consider the next wind call while Walter looks on as scorekeeper.

Here we see Lee Davis scoring for Gary Atkinson. Both are F T/R competitors and there is good rivalry here. Today Lee showed up with a .223 and won F T/R with a 582-11X! Gary didn’t let him get too far ahead at 573-12X for the day. That’s some great shooting guys!

No doubt the biggest win of the day went to Mark Roth. Not only did he win F-Open, he also posted what the club board members have verified as a high score for the range going back over four years of data!

-Drum role please –

Mark shot 596-24X dropping only FOUR points the whole day. Don’t forget as I mentioned before one of those strings was a clean, and in the later two stages he dropped only two points each time. That is an extremely tough act to follow, and I know I speak for all of us when I say how proud we are of such a performance. Fantastic shooting Mark!

And if this wasn’t enough, Mark Roth won the California State Palma Championship last weekend at Coalinga with the highest overall score, earning one of the Golden Bear trophies! Congratulations Mark!

Watching over the match was our ever vigilant Chief RSO John Hermsen. Here he makes it look easy. I promise that what you don’t see in this photo is quite a grin. Not only were his club members putting on a great performance, he’d also just gotten the call that the PRS match course of fire had been approved with less than 20 hours to the start of the match!

As time had gotten away from us with the range inspection and delayed start due to range occupation complexities with 116, Gary Atkinson and his neighbor Joe graciously volunteered to take home the targetry and rebuild/repair it to alot more time to getting the PRS gear set up. Thanks so much for taking that on guys!

And so the end of the day came at 13:40 which considering all the extra variables we conquered was very good. With all the things that went in both the clubs and individual competitors favor, I’d say we’d all be happy to see lucky the rabbit manning the gate at 116 again. He better stay sharp though, those feet of his have sure come up in value!

Thanks to Rich Elliott and Van Texas for your support as Medics, today, we’d not be able to occupy the range without you!

Sadly I had to hop a plane the next morning for work so I missed out on the PRS match. Keep on reading below as Mike Jones narrates what was an extremely challenging and rewarding day.

Saturday’s Scores:

  • Gary Atkinson – FTR 571-12x
  • William Baston FTR 532-6x
  • Lee Davis FTR 582-11x
  • Rich Elliot F-OPEN 569-9x
  • Duane Fitzgerald F-OPEN 586-17x
  • Sam Hoskins F-OPEN 559-2x
  • Marc Mittry Match Rifle 593-24x
  • James Jiao F-OPEN 532-5x
  • Mark Roth F-OPEN 596-24x
  • Kerry Stottlemyer FTR 455-1x
  • Simon Wagner FTR 551-8x
  • Eugene York F-Open 556-10x

On Sunday we hosted our inaugural PRS steel match at Range 117. This is a match we have been hoping to host for a few years now and finally were able to coordinate with the help of the School of Infantry Scout/Sniper School. We hosted eleven Marine instructors from SOI and twelve of the shooters associated with West End Gun Club. It was a very good turnout for a Sunday! Thanks to Rich Elliott, Van Texas and Barrett Levesque for your support as Medics. Thank you to Dave Ellis for being the RSO for the match. SMGC would especially like to thank active service members for their support and participation in our inaugural PRS match. We had a fantastic turn out that included a Navy Master Chief Petty Officer, eleven Marines, and Marine Wounded Warriror participant, Jorge Toled

During this match we shot at steel plates positioned at unknown distances from 220 yards to 875 yards with short time limits and assorted gimmicks like: shoot 3 targets in a row, perform a magazine change, and then shooting the same 3 targets in reverse order with your weak side. At another stage: shoot 2 targets, move to a second position and shoot the same targets, move to a 3rd position and shoot the same targets once again. Typical stage times were 120 to 150 seconds maximum. On some of the stages we were firing at 3 different known distances. At others the space between targets were far enough apart to put them out of field of view. Additionally they were all placed at unknown distances from the shooter so the target had to be ranged and then engaged within the stage time limit. In total there were 9 different stages of fire with a total expended round count of 103 rounds if you were clean and hit every target.

To say the least it was a challenge, and completely different from anything we normally do.
Walter Lange should get the “Hero award” as he was by far the oldest competitor and he completed every stage of the course.

  • PRS High Score – Joe V 62.00
  • PRS High Service – Tony Palzkill – 52.00
  • PRS High 308 (Service) – Joshua Lopez – 44.00
  • Sam Hoskins – SMGC winner of PRS Match! – 34.00
  • John Hermsen – Biggest smile for finally getting to shoot steel on R117
  • Walter Lange – Oldest competitor in the PRS match by far

All PRS scores are available in PDF at the club website

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Thank you to everyone for coming out to shoot this weekend!

Mike Jones
Long Range Director, SMGC

 

2017 February 25 – Mid Range Match Report

Today we were all set to have a 3×600 yard mid range match. We had a great turn out, beautiful weather, and hardly a whisper of wind. The recent rains had brought both beauty and destruction to 103 Wilcox range, but we had a plan and a means to overcome the inconveniences of mother nature. Or so we thought.

Today was also going to be ‘On The Job Training’ for myself as a fledgling Range Safety Officer. Dave Ellis, John Hermsen, and Mike Jones were all coaching me on my freshly earned position as a club RSO. Of the many things I had to learn in earning these credentials was an understanding of the reach of our projectiles and where their flight might take them. A ‘Surface Danger Zone’ is constructed and it defines a perimeter that our projectiles will come to rest within. Sure, the impact berm is right there and takes the brunt of our volleys of fire. However, a quick flip through the USMC Range Safety Pocket Guide will quickly show that ‘Distance X’ – the farthest an M118 ball projectile might travel – to be 5,288 meters or roughly 3.3 miles. A ‘Cone Type’ SDZ set up for M118 ball ammo (7.62 x 51) with multiple firing points clearly illustrates why we don’t get to shoot 30-06 or 300 Win Mag at Wilcox Range:

Why is this important?

It turns out the day before an exercise among the green fields and bogs of mud back behind Wilcox range 103 ended with a military vehicle stuck and abandoned for recovery efforts to take place at a later time. As a matter of fact, that time was 10am February 25th – a good two hours into our scheduled match! More importantly, said vehicle was less than 3.3 miles away and in the SDZ for Range 103. And for that reason, LONGRIFLE (our range control operations center) could not grant us permission to go hot.

With the range already occupied, fees collected, waivers signed, and all targetry on deck and ready for hoisting we didn’t have much of a choice but to sit and wait it out. Maybe they would get to the stuck vehicle and find it easy to dig out? It was  a gamble not everyone would make, but a large number of us decided to stay and wait it out.

Certainly we had all come to shoot, and it didn’t help that the flags slept in while we shuffled around the firing line. I don’t recall any of them waking before 10am!

Sadly, by 10:45am the recovery effort had yet to commence. With no end in sight of our cold range status, the match directors called the match off. Understandingly, we all come together for these matches in a rush and fight our way to the firing line among a pile of other priorities. However today’s delays provided some time to talk and share stories, memories, and information. It was a good time to catch up with a shooting companion or recall the names and faces of those you typically only pass on the way to turn in your score card. For myself it was that and more, as there are lessons learned in both success and in defeat. I was able to see how LONGRIFLE worked closely with our group to keep us informed in an adverse situation. It was also a good reminder that we are guests of the Marine Corps and that it’s main purpose is to train Marines. Leaving that vehicle behind and getting those involved home safe is clearly the priority. Keeping the crew who had to recover that vehicle safe was too. In all of this, maybe some ways down the track, these Marines will recount on the lessons learned from this incident and manage to steer clear of the danger in future where it counts – on the front line. If that day comes, and someones loved one gets to come home because of it, I can’t think of a better outcome for our sacrifice.

Besides, I can tell you from first hand experience, the ammunition expenditure report becomes very simple on days like today!