Christmas Cover Page


December 1960  
The Rifleman's Journal

A Collection of Articles Dealing with Rifle Accuracy Topics


Merry Christmas to all our little Riflemen!

15 Cents 



In Hoc Anno Domini

In Hoc Anno Domini
So the light came into the world..
 
When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.

Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so.

But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression—for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the legions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impressor to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the Emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?

There was the persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?

Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.

And the voice from Galilee, which would defy Caesar, offered a new Kingdom in which each man could walk upright and bow to none but his God. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. And he sent this gospel of the Kingdom of Man into the uttermost ends of the earth.

So the light came into the world and the men who lived in darkness were afraid, and they tried to lower a curtain so that man would still believe salvation lay with the leaders.

But it came to pass for a while in divers places that the truth did set man free, although the men of darkness were offended and they tried to put out the light. The voice said, Haste ye. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

Along the road to Damascus the light shone brightly. But afterward Paul of Tarsus, too, was sore afraid. He feared that other Caesars, other prophets, might one day persuade men that man was nothing save a servant unto them, that men might yield up their birthright from God for pottage and walk no more in freedom.

Then might it come to pass that darkness would settle again over the lands and there would be a burning of books and men would think only of what they should eat and what they should wear, and would give heed only to new Caesars and to false prophets. Then might it come to pass that men would not look upward to see even a winter's star in the East, and once more, there would be no light at all in the darkness.

And so Paul, the apostle of the Son of Man, spoke to his brethren, the Galatians, the words he would have us remember afterward in each of the years of his Lord:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

This editorial was written in 1949 by the late Vermont Royster.

December 2011 Cover Page

  December 2011
  
The Rifleman's Journal
A Collection of Articles Dealing with Rifle Accuracy Topics

Kentucky National Guard - Camp Perry 1961

This Month:
Hap Rocketto - Hap's Corner
Hap Rocketto - National Trophy Infantry Team Match
L.W.T. Waller - Free Rifle Competition
S.H. MacGregor - 1923 National Match Rifles
Germ├ín Salazar - Rifles and Reloading


15 Cents 

History: Special Features of National Match Rifles (1923)

This article detailing the preparation of the 1923 National Match rifles comes to us from the Army Ordnance journal, presenting a true insider's view of the production of these highly coveted rifles. - GAS -

Special Features of National Match Rifles
by, S. H. MacGregor

Townsend Whelen Testing the National Match Rifle

It has been contended, for a long period, that in the spring various fancies turn in various peculiar ways. The first robins arrive with a reveille call for hibernating hobbies. Enthusiastic riflemen commence to figure on the probable date of the National Matches and there is a stir of action towards collecting an array of time tables, summer resort guides and kindred publications.

Naturally enough the wise man, whose business it is to prepare time tables and resort guides, has anticipated this perennial return of hope and has prepared his wares in advance. In a similar manner the results of the past year at Camp Perry have been studied and plans laid in advance for the production of the rifles which are to comfort the hearts of those who will compete this year.

To those who have indulged to any extent in rifle practice it is not necessary to describe the feeling of warm satisfaction that follows watching a white disc creep up over the target after each shot. Having taken the greatest of care in his aim, having followed with even painful accuracy everything that his experience and education have taught him, it is only corroboration that the rifleman needs from the pit. A bull's-eye signal is, then, not so often an indication to him that he has just shot straight as it is an admission that he has shot when he knew he ought to shoot What woe, when, after all this painstaking care, there is a slight delay at the pit and then a red disc appears, or perhaps a disheartening black and white cross. To some it has happened that a somewhat longer delay has preceded a red flag. Those moments of hesitancy - those tell-tale delays at the pit - are familiar items in the list of rifle-range disappointments.

And when these things happen the marksman is often prone to lay the blame on the gun. An examination of the sights, a careful scrutiny of the base and sides of the offending cartridge case often indicate that the wild shot must be laid to some unknown cause, some sudden fancy of the elements - a lapse in the wind and, sometimes, perhaps, too often, to some idiosyncracy of the rifle. Too-seldom it is the admitted fault of the rifleman.

And perhaps for the very reason that our human weakness causes us to look about for an external cause, we have from time to time examined into possible causes in the rifle. Thus we have gradually worked out dimensions and characteristics which are such as to minimize errors of material. Having arrived through many experiences and many years of investigation, at ideal requirements, and having measured these against fundamental requirements pertaining to weight, balance and form of military weapons, we have arrived at the specifications for National Match rifles which represent the present authorized military arm of our service in its most accurate and refined state.

The National Match rifle is the service caliber .30, Model of 1903, manufactured under special conditions of care and workmanship. The important dimensions are as specified for the service rifle except as to tolerances which are closer. Some changes are made in the trigger mechanism and the trigger pulls are made lighter.

Accuracy will depend largely upon the barrel construction and it is with barrels that the greatest care is exercised. Specially selected stock is used and boring and reaming is held to a minimum in order that the rifling operation will not exceed limits. The last reaming produces a barrel between .2999 and .3000 inch and the rifling operation brings the dimensions to, bore .3000 to .3005, and grooves .3080 to .3085. In any barrel the variation in dimensions must not exceed .0001 inch.

Figure 1. Gauging a Barrel During rifling

When it is considered that the average hair is .003 inch in diameter it can be safely assumed that no rifler coined the expression "a hair's breadth." A discrepancy equal to the width of a hair would constitute a hopelessly irreparable defect.

In all operations on the barrel tools are specially selected to give minimum dimensions. Highly skilled tool dressers watch the results, and frequent gaugings prevent the use of tools which have become the slightest bit defective.

 In figure 1 is a rifler carefully gauging a barrel which has been in the rifling machine long enough to have approached very near to the finished dimension. This machine, equipped with a double scrape cutter, rifles a barrel in about one-half hour. So fine are the chips or scrapings that, as they are collected in the end of the machine, they resemble oil-soaked waste. The metal is in such a finely divided form and so soaked with oil that care must be taken to remove the cuttings frequently in a covered receptacle to prevent spontaneous combustion.


Figure 2. A Rifle Machine Operator
Examines His Work
 In figure 2 the rifler has finished the rifling and is carefully examining the bore for rough places or pockets. He uses a magnifying glass and, as he slowly rotates the barrel, every portion comes under his close scrutiny.

Between riflings, the scrape cutters are examined under a glass and carefully stoned to the proper curve and to a keen edge. This stone is almost as smooth as a baby's cheek, yet so much care is exercised in this operation that only one or two strokes of the stone are taken before an examination of the edge is made with a magnifying glass. How many riflemen who cling to the old straight razor would take this much care with the edge of the instrument which is to scrape their faces?

The result of this careful stoning is a very smooth barrel and one that is accurate. Figure 3 shows a sample target fired at 200 yards from a muzzle rest. The dispersion is 1 1/2 inches vertical and 1 1/4 inches horizontal. A sample star gauge sheet shows the diameter of lands .3000" and of the grooves .3082" without variation throughout.

Figure 3. A Target used to Target a National
Match Rifle at 200 Yards
At Right: A SampleStar Gauge Tag
 Equal care is exercised in the manufacture of other components, and special operations are included in polishing sliding surfaces of the bolt and receiver mechanisms. The nose of the sear is made .0075 inch shorter than as made for the service rifle and sears and triggers are not parkerized. Mainsprings are carefully selected and gauged to ensure that there is no friction between springs and bolts. Strikers arc of minimum length and projections are held between .058 and .063 inch. These requirements ensure better trigger pulls and smooth operation of bolts. Bolt lifts must not exceed 15 pounds and trigger pulls must be between 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 pounds.

Chambers are as near minimum as possible and headspace must be from 1.940" to under 1.944". A headspace of 1.944" is cause for rejection. This headspace requirement must be fulfilled after proof and function firing, because a slight setting of parts will cause headspace to be greater after function firing takes place than before.

Cocking pieces are given a case-hardening that will produce a case of about .012 inch. This case is made heavier in order to allow the nose to be stoned to individual taste without getting through into the softer material. Some difficulty has been encountered in previous years because inaccurate stoning often produced a soft wearing surface and consequently an easily worn-out component. With an increased case it is expected that a greater amount of stoning will be possible without undesirable results.


Figure 4. Testing Front and Rear Sight Bases
for Alignment

The receiver and barrel are carefully bedded in the stock. Upper and lower bands are loose enough to be put on by hand. The guard screw holes are bushed with a split bushing so that the guard screws when assembled securely hold the rifle and are not likely to become loose. Special instructions prohibit removing the guard screws for this reason.

 In figure 4 an inspector is checking up the sight bases. His fixture holds the barrel by two plugs, one in the muzzle and one in the breech. A straightedge is brought down on the front stud and the barrel rotated to bring the surface of the stud horizontal. The surface of the fixed or rear sight base is then tested with the straightedge fixture seen at the right end for height and for distortion with reference to the front stud. This is a very delicate adjustment and ensures that the sight bases are parallel and at the proper height above the line of the bore.


Figure 5. Inspecting National Match Barrels
 Figure 5 shows the corner of one of the inspection rooms where at the left an inspector is making the final inspection of the bore, and at the right star gauge readings are being taken.

Figure 6 shows how National Match rifles are targeted. Expert shots are used for this work and one man is able to shoot about 15 or 20 rifles per day. More than this number per day for a long period would produce undesirable physical strains which would tell on the quality of the work.

Having followed the specifications for National Match rifles very closely, there is produced a weapon which has a barrel as accurate as it seems possible to make it, a bolt which is polished for smooth action in a polished receiver and therefore quickly and easily operated, the minimum headspace to eliminate inaccuracies from that cause, a carefully gauged mainspring to insure quick ignition after releasing the firing pin, a smooth, fairly light trigger to eliminate pulling off the target and other less important features which in combination represent the ideas of good shots. At the same time the rifle is essentially the service rifle, the manufacture of which is being improved each year as greater ease is attained in the manufacture of National Match rifles.


Figure 6. Targetting National Match Rifles
 The marksman who uses a National Match rifle need blame his red flags on causes other than the idiosyncracies of his rifle. Each rifle is targeted in a muzzle rest by an expert marksman and when delivered at Camp Perry, is to be safely assumed a specially selected weapon of extreme accuracy. Greater accuracy is not to be expected without changes in design which would immediately make the weapon a special freak rifle.

It is interesting to note that the workmen who combine to produce these rifles take so keen an interest in the work that they feel a personal responsibility in the performance of their product at the Matches. These men, many of them approaching 30 years of Armory service, are expert at their vocations. Their entire lives have been spent in working up to their present expertness and their workmanship is typical of the master craftsman. To them the failure of a rifle to make a good record is an indication of failure on their part and for this reason they jealously guard their work against any possibility of inaccurate or incomplete inspection.

With a spirit like this it is safe to assume that National Match rifles will improve each year.



History: International Shooting and the Free Rifle

The following article, from 1923 is one of many attempts over the past century to increase interest in international (ISU/ISSF) shooting amongst American shooters. These efforts have largely gone unheeded and this country remains somewhat isolated in it's development of rifle competition. The author, L.W.T. Waller, was at the time of this writing a retired Major General of the Marine Corps.
International Rifle Shooting and the Free Rifle
by: L. W. T. WALLER, Jr., U. S. M. C.


Major General L.W.T. Waller USMC
 THIS year the International Matches, held under the auspices of the International Shooting Union, will be held in the United States at Camp Perry, Ohio, during our own National Matches there. The time of holding these events will be between September 2 and 27, 1923. The National Rifle Association is affiliated with the International Shooting Union and will act as the sponsor of the matches.

International Matches are held every year by the International Shooting Union, and in the countries of the various nations affiliated. We have had them before, in 1913, and since that time the interest in the "free rifle game" has picked up considerably. We have sent three teams abroad in recent years to participate in this class of matches, the last two teams having been successful in winning, in 1921 at Lyon, France, and in defending, in 1922 at Milan, Italy, the much-desired Argentine trophy, the cup emblematic of the World's Championship in this type of shooting. This trophy was presented to the Union by the Argentinos about seventeen years ago, and except for our two wins has been held by the Swiss ever since its presentation.

The United States also holds the International Long Range Trophy, the Palma Trophy. Under the present rules of the match, this must be shot for with the military arm of the competing nations; and as other nations consider our Springfield the best military rifle in existence, it is unlikely that they will compete. Great Britain and her colonies are about the only ones who shoot long range, apart from ourselves, the Palma will never attract as many competitors as the free rifle matches.


The Palma Trophy

The advantages of being a regular contestant in International Rifle and Pistol Matches are rather obvious. It gives us a broader viewpoint and a more general understanding of shooting conditions the world over. To rub shoulders with the rifle "cranks" of all nations is a liberal education in itself. They have many ideas in which we would never concur, but at least it does us no harm to know what these are. They also have many ideas it would pay us to study and apply to our own use. Other reasons why we should participate in International Matches could be advanced, but that seems hardly desirable. It can be assumed that such participation is advantageous. Starting with this assumption and looking the field over, it would appear that the Free Rifle Matches of the International Shooting Union offer the best means to this end. We can shoot the Palma whenever it is possible; we can shoot the free rifle every year, and while this is not the American type of shooting and should never supplant our open range shooting, approximating service conditions, still it is an old established shooting sport; one in which we can rub shoulders with the world, and, finally, one in which we have been successful, and, therefore, in which we must continue to put the best we have.

I think it will be agreed that we should continue to do the best we can. In 1921 we won both the Team Match and the Individual Championship, while in 1922 this was repeated, Mr. Walter Stokes, of Washington, D. C, successfully defending his individual championship, winning the championship of the kneeling position and tying for the championship in the prone position, but being outranked. Commander Carl Osburn, of the Navy, tied for the championship standing, and was outranked. With this fast pace set as an example to follow, to continue to do the best we can narrows itself down to winning all events. For the benefit of those who have not followed the Free Rifle Matches, a brief description of them is given.


The Argentine Trophy

All shooting is done at 300 metres on a decimal ring target, in which the ten ring is approximately four inches in diameter and all counts down to the four are in the black. The match consists of firing 120 shots, forty in each of three positions, standing, kneeling, and prone. Ten sighting shots are allowed which may be taken at any time on a target for that purpose only. The match must be completed in one day, but apart from this there are no time restrictions. Teams consist of five firing members; coaching: is allowed. The Individual Championship of the World, and the Individual World's Championship in each of the positions are decided by taking the highest aggregate of the individual team members in the team match. No separate match is shot for these. Shooting is done from a house or shelter, the kneeling and prone positions being generally shot from a bench. As these benches are usually pointed straight down the range, and are very narrow, they seriously hamper us in prone firing by preventing our firing on an angle to the target, as is the custom on our ranges. The matches are shot with the "free rifle" which means literally what it says. No glass is allowed in the sights, but apart from that there is no restriction - any calibre, length of barrel, weight, stocking, etc., are permissible. Range rules vary in the different countries, and are in many respects different from ours. Last year it became necessary to throw a member of the Swiss team out of our booth while the shooting was going on because he was protesting the position of one of our shooters. Instead of making his protest to a range officer, he came in talking at the top of his voice, and was about to grab our shooter while he was firing when he was bodily seized and ejected.

In European countries, Switzerland particularly, rifle shooting creates more interest than it does in this country. In Switzerland it is the national sport, and the best shots are known in much the same way as our best baseball players are. One of our team members visited Switzerland after the match and was continually spoken to by hotel managers, porters, cab drivers, etc., all of whom knew the results of the matches, scores, why the Swiss had lost, and all of whom took a great interest in everything pertaining to shooting.

On the other hand, apart from the comparatively few "shooting cranks" in this country, hardly anyone knew there had been a match. In the tryouts for the American team, held at Quantico, Virginia, thirty men appeared, and of these seven were taken abroad. At Milan the Swiss had about two hundred shooters, and while they were very close to home, it is true, they actually brought more men to the matches than we had in our tryouts. Who knows how many men tried out for their squad! We would have had more men to try out except for the expense involved. To try to obviate that, this year it is intended to hold regional tryouts under the Corps Area Commanders, and to hold a final tryout at Camp Perry. This should get the best material in the country, and it is pleasing to note that more interest is being shown daily in these tryouts and in the International Matches.

Because of increased interest by the shooters, and the proposed tryout system, I believe we will have the best team this year we have ever had. This does not mean we will certainly win the match. The Swiss, our principal opponents, are smarting under two consecutive defeats and will leave no stone unturned to stage a come back, and it is to be noted that neither of our winning teams have topped their high record. Last year they were shooting much better in practice than they did in the match, while the reverse was true of our team. We had had a long hard trip, during which we had been subjected to many annoyances which culminated in having our ammunition taken away from us, which, however, was recovered prior to the match.


Our two wins are due to one thing alone, our ability to use the sling in the prone position. Both years we have won we were badly beaten in the standing and kneeling positions, but were able to offset this prone. We have taught the European countries how to use the sling, so in time they should be able to shoot prone as well as we do; therefore it is up to us to equal them standing and kneeling. And I might add that we are improving in these positions—I hope as fast as our opponents are improving prone.

One of our serious handicaps in the free rifle game is the lack of a suitable arm. Abroad nearly everyone who shoots at rifle matches has a free rifle of some description. As our shooting is largely done with the military rifle, we have no suitable free rifle. Even the small bore rifles are patterned after their larger military brothers, and the old Scheutzen rifles and Scheutzen clubs are almost a thing of the past.

Abroad the Martini is generally used - being a lever action its lock time is faster than our Springfield. These guns are fitted with peep sights well back to give the maximum sight radius. They are long barreled and heavy, with palm rests, double set triggers, and deeply curved butt plate, which permits the butt to nestle into the shoulder offhand. I am inclined to believe, however, that many of these butt plates are so made that they do not give the best results prone. The trigger guards are large and made up of curves and grooves, so that the fingers fit into them, always resting in the same place. The rifling of one of these guns is given as a matter of interest, and it may be said that many of our shooters do not believe our present twist is productive of the best results for 300 metres. This rifle has a groove diameter of .311, and the pitch is one turn in slightly over twelve inches.


Walter Stokes

Last year we took the Springfield with a pressure barrel as the base of our free rifle, stocking it with what might be called a modified sporting stock, long, fairly straight, and with a broad beaver-tail fore end. A palm rest adjustable for length and fore and aft movement was designed and added. An "L" shaped butt hook was fitted to a special butt plate, having the effect of a pronged butt plate and being adjustable for length; the vertical shank of the "L" fitting into a groove in the butt place. This was used for standing and kneeling, and removed for prone shooting. Such an arrangement is very essential, as the free rifle is muzzle heavy and needs some steadying arrangement at the butt. An adjustable front sling swivel was added, the sling swivel itself sliding in a dove-tailed groove in the fore end. Double set triggers were added and the lock time speeded up as much as possible. This was accomplished by cutting off the cocking comb, reducing the travel of the firing pin, milling the pin itself to make it lighter and increasing the length of the spring to get the necessary force. The rear sight used was the standard Lyman 48, but very large disks, 1 1/4 inches in diameter, were fitted, the peep hole in these being smaller than in the standard disk. For a front sight, a hooded sight cover was permanently fitted, forming a cover and front sight mass. Into this various types of sights could be used, such as the aperture, post, etc.

The specifications for this year's rifle are essentially the same as those for last year, with the important exception of length of barrel, which will be thirty inches instead of twenty-four.

The question of a suitable free rifle is one which is arousing much interest, and more and more of these guns are being made available. We should conduct experiments to settle many disputed questions, and to act as a basis for the development of a free rifle essentially American and within reach of the pocketbook of the average shooter. We should know, for example, the proper length of barrel, size, depth and number of grooves, the proper pitch of rifling, the proper weight and shape of bullet and powder charge to produce the best results at 300 metres. These and other questions along the same lines will doubtless in time be fully answered, in fact, I feel sure that much valuable data is now available in different places and only needs to be coordinated and carried to conclusions. The shooters rather look to Aberdeen to answer these questions, as far as the rifle is concerned, while the loading companies can give much data on bullets and loads.

The training of free rifle shooters will almost take care of itself once sufficient interest is aroused, and suitable weapons are obtainable. Already matches are proposed to closely follow the International Match rules and conditions. The essentials to good shooting at this game are the same as for all other shooting—good physical condition and practice. Constant practice is even more essential in this type of shooting than in our own kind. There is little wind doping, for example: to see properly, hold steadily, and to have the stamina to hold up under the grind of a long match are the principal factors which enter into the make-up of a successful shooter. I know of men who have a free rifle in their rooms and who, while dressing and at other times when possible, snap in for ten or fifteen minutes every day. These men are excellent shots, and they are made right in their rooms and not on the range. Range work is necessary, but is more in the nature of a demonstration of ability than of training after a shooter has mastered the elements of the game.

It is hoped that these notes will add a little to the growing interest, and help to popularize the free rifle game.

Related Articles:
Morris Fisher, Master Rifleman and Musician, by Hap Rocketto
Springfield Armory - International Match Rifles

History: The National Trophy Infantry Team Match Part 4

We continue with Part 4 of the series.

A SHORT HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL TROPHY INFANTRY TEAM MATCH
By Hap Rocketto

When the program of the 1968 matches arrived in competitors' mailboxes it was, ominously, almost half the thickness of previous programs and its cover read simply, “NRA National Rifle and Pistol Championships” with no mention of the National Matches. A small note on page seven explained the reason for the missing words and pages, simply stating that, “Due to reasons of economy and the requirements of the Viet Nam War, the Department of the Army has withdrawn support of the 1968 National Matches.” (National Rifle Association, 1968 NRA National Rifle and Pistol Championship Program, Washington, DC 1968, page 7.)

While this certainly may have been true there was also a strong belief in the shooting community that anti-gun forces were afoot and had their finger in the decision. The NRA managed to keep the tradition of the President's Hundred alive that year and in 1969 the NBPRP authorized the NRA to conduct the National Trophy Matches, less the Infantry Trophy Match. Competitors were held responsible for rifles and ammunition but a fee $15.50 would cover the entry fee, ammunition, one night's lodging in a Camp Perry hut, and three meals in the Mess Hall for The National Trophy Individual Rifle Match. (National Rifle Association, 1970 NRA National Rifle and Pistol Championship Program, Washington, DC 1969 page 21.)


Bob Pirisky, Arizona National Guard
 The Rattle Battle would be absent from the Camp Perry and the National Match program but the match was not dead, it was still being shot in major military competitions with the M14. The Army introduced the 5.56mm M16A1 rifle into competition when it sponsored a combat phase to Army Area and All Army matches in 1976. The combat rifle match used the same match program as fired by the M14 competitors but adapted for the newest service rifle.

The Precision Combat Match was a traditional National Match Course (NMC) and the Combat Infantry Team Match followed the Infantry Trophy rules. Combat competitors were required to use out of the rack rifles and issue service grade ammunition. Recognizing the limited accuracy of the combination the match was shot at 100, 200, 300, and 400 yards on the “D” silhouette target. In all respects the combat matches were the same as their 30 caliber brother but for firearm, distance and target.

The 1977 Army Area Combat Match program was almost identical to the 1976 version with the exception of a small announcement stating that, because it was a combat match, a physical fitness phase would be added. Competitors would now be required to complete a two mile run carrying their rifles and wearing an M1 helmet and Load Bearing Equipment; suspenders, pistol belt, first aid kit, poncho, small arms ammunition cases, and a full canteen, in 24 minutes. The run started 29 minutes prior to the start of the preparation period.

The Connecticut Army National Guard had swept the 1976 All Army Combat Rifle Championships, taking all but a few of the individual matches, and all of the team events. As might be expected the mostly middle aged, and slightly paunchy Connecticut Guardsmen, took a jaundiced view of this new requirement, believing it to be more of a device to level the playing field between the older skilled Guard riflemen and the less skilled, but physically fit, young troopers of the active Army. (Author's personal experience and interviews with the 1976 and 1977 CTARNG Team Captain and Coach SFC Richard Scheller, CTNG (RET) and SFC Roger McQuiggan, CTNG (RET).)

The Connecticut Guard placed eight individuals in the top ten of the 1977 All Army Individual Precision Combat Rifle Grand Aggregate, including the match winner, won the Precision Combat Rifle Team Championship, but finished sixth in the Combat Infantry Team Match. (US Army Infantry Center, Official Bulletin 1977 Rifle Pistol and Machine Gun Championship Matches, Fort Benning, GA, 1977, page 50, 52, and 54.) The low finish in the Combat Infantry Trophy Match precluded placing in the grand aggregate, perhaps proving the Guardsmen's point.

Over time the combat course of fire has evolved and no longer even remotely resembles the formal National Match format. The physical fitness phase is now more commonsensical, a point upon which the now retired Connecticut Guardsmen seem to agree. The physical fitness phase currently requires teams to finish as a group and assigns a point value for the speed of finish as part of the match score. (US Army Infantry Center, Official Bulletin 2005 United States Army Small Arms Championship, Fort Benning, GA, 2005, page 24.)

An off-shoot of the Infantry Trophy Match was developed for pistol in 1975: The General George S. Patton Trophy Match. In this event a team of four pistol shooters engages six targets at 25 and 50 yards directed by a team captain and coach with scoring similar to the rifle event.

The Infantry Trophy Match returned to the National Match Program in, appropriately enough, the Bicentennial year of 1976. There was also a formal recognition of the growing capabilities of the M16 as 5.56mm ammunition was issued for the first time.

Junior participation in the Infantry Trophy Match had been small since the restoration of the match. However, the introduction of the M16 made it easier for the smaller statured shooters to absorb the rapid fire recoil required of the event and as a result junior team entries soon soared. To recognize this new category of competitor the NBPRP commissioned The Junior Infantry Team Trophy, a trio of Springfield M1903s placed at stack arms on a hard wood base, in 1983 and placed into competition the following year.

The National Matches and the NBPRP had long been a Congressional football for both political and fiscal reasons. To put an end to this uncertainty in civilian marksmanship training Congress passed legislation, Title 36 U. S. Code, 0701-40733, creating the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety (CPRPFS) in 1996. Better known as the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) its mandate is to (1) To instruct citizens of the United States in marksmanship, (2) To promote practice and safety in the use of firearms, and to (3) To conduct competitions in the use of firearms and to award trophies, prizes, badges, and other insignia to competitors. (Civilian Marksmanship Program, http://www.odcmp.com/Comm/About_Us.htm) With this legislation, the National Matches and the conduct of the civilian Distinguished program was transferred from the Department of the Army to the new federally chartered 501(c)(3) corporation. The transition from one agency to another was seamless and the participants in the National Matches hardly noticed the change.

The CPRPFS also sought to recognize the many competitors who had purchased M1 rifles through its sales program and were now campaigning the classic battle rifle in competition. Out of respect for those iron men with wooden rifles, The Infantry Trophy M1 Garand Award was created for presentation in 2007. There is no trophy, but special CMP recognition plaques are presented to the members of the winning team.


Jim O'Connell (left)
 The military's winning streak in the Infantry Trophy Match, which extended back to 1930, came to a screeching halt in 2009 at the hands of the civilians of the California Grizzlies O'Connell team. After 52 consecutive wins the military was not only dethroned but by a team made up of juniors. The California Grizzlies team was named for team coach Jim O'Connell, the team captain was Anthony Henderson and firing team members were Cheyanne Acebo, David Bahten, Matthew Chezem, Chad Kurgan, Joshua Lehn, and Jim Minturn.

The Infantry Trophy Team Match has changed a great deal since its inception in 1922, but one thing has not changed in high power during that time. Even the most experienced shooter preparing for rapid fire is slightly anxious when the command, “Is the firing line is ready? Your time will begin and you may fire when your targets appear” is announced. On the other hand all shooters feel the flutter of butterflies and a rapid increase in pulse and breath when the command, “Load and be ready” booms out.
 
End of Part 4
A printable version of the full article and appendices can be downloaded by clicking here.
National Guard team in the Rattle Battle

History: The National Trophy Infantry Team Match Part 3

We continue with part 3 of the series.

A SHORT HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL TROPHY INFANTRY TEAM MATCH
By Hap Rocketto

The BAR Arrives
A complete National Match schedule was funded in 1936 and the Infantry Match was again in the program. In this iteration, the team consisted of an eight man rifle squad armed with seven service rifles and one Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). The team was issued with "the prescribed amount of ammunition" and was required to wear the appropriate cartridge belt. Ammunition issued the riflemen could be used by all but the ammunition issued for the BAR could only be fired by the BAR.


The team then began advancing from the 600 yard line with rifles loaded and locked, stopping to shoot when eight “D” targets appeared in the vicinity of the 500, 300, and 200 yard lines. The “D” target was a black silhouette with scoring rings surrounding it. A hit in the five ring, the black silhouette, counted for two points while shots in the surrounding four ring counted for one point. Shots outside of the four ring were misses. Targets were exposed until struck at 600 and 500 yards, but for no longer than 45 seconds. At the 300 and 200 yard halts the targets were exposed for 45 seconds.

The numerical score of hits was the base score to which was added the square of the number of targets hit. If a target did not receive 20 hits the difference between the number of hits on that target and 20 was deducted from the aggregate to arrive at the final score. The logic behind this method was so that, “..the final score embodies not only a reward for good distribution throughout the match, as to targets hit, but a penalty, as well, for those teams whose volume of fire throughout is not both accurate and well distributed.” (National Rifle Association, The National Matches 1936, The National Rifle Association, Washington, DC, 1936, pages 61-62.)

With a change in format also came a change in custody for the Infantry Trophy as the NRA transferred the sculpture to the NBPRP which added the match to the National Match program. A slight change in match title also accompanied the trophy transfer, the Infantry Trophy Match went from being called “A Combat Problem” to the more archaic and picturesque “A Musketry Problem.”

The National Firearms Act (NFA) had been enacted some ten weeks prior to the resumption of the Infantry Trophy. It was in an optimistic attempt to curb the flow of automatic weapons to the lawless Depression era gangsters exemplified by John Dillinger, who had been shot down by FBI agents in Chicago just a month before the National Matches began. It was wistfully, and futilely, hoped that the Federal tax and registration requirements of the NFA would deter criminals from stealing automatic weapons and explosives from police stations, National Guard Armories, and military installations.

The NFA had little, if anything, to do with ending of the crime wave but, as an unintended consequence, it helped the military gain the upper hand in the Infantry Trophy Match. The NFA effectively placed the ownership of automatic firearms, of which the BAR was a prime example, out of the hands of civilian teams and, as teams were required to furnish their own BARs for the match, they were unable to practice to the extent of the service teams, placing them at a distinct disadvantage. BARs were available for issue at Camp Perry, allowing civilian teams to compete, but they did not have them for long term training as did the military.
 
The match conditions remained the same until the 1940 National Matches when the ammunition allotment was adjusted downward to 20 rounds per rifle and 40 for the BAR. The penalties also changed to reflect the smaller number of cartridges issued, the deduction now being the difference between 15 and the actual number of hits if below 15. (National Rifle Association, The National Matches 1940, The National Rifle Association, Washington, DC, 1940, pages 34-36.)

The End of the Springfield 1903 Era - the Garand Debuts
The 1940 National Matches was a water shed year. The new service rifle, the semi automatic U.S. Rifle, Cal. .30 M1 - the Garand - was introduced into competition while the old, much beloved, workhorse bolt action U.S. Rifle M1903 - the Oh Three - would make its last appearance as the service rifle.

In his classic account of the 1940 National Matches, Ellis Christian Lenz describes his participation in the Infantry Trophy Match.
“Thus began the Battle of the Paper Men! The targets came up and we went down. Those “D” targets looked very small, at 600 yards As I held and squeezed for the first shot I experienced the fleeting illusion of firing at a 'chuck sprawled across a log, at say, 200 yards away. The rifle cracked; I saw another 'chuck and another! Others were firing; the Browning beside me barked a number of times and within 30 seconds every 'chuck-on-a log had vanished!...

As we slid to prone at 500 I was not forgetting that I'd fire only two shots before having to snatch a fresh clip from my belt. The target in the sight-picture was now noticeably larger… crack!... crack! The bolt stood open. I rolled to my left side and the butt smacked the ground as my hand found a belt-clip; smoothly the cartridges rattled into the magazine. I slammed the first cartridge home, palmed the butt to my shoulder and rolled back into position. Targets 65 and 67 were already down, I fired a shot at 69 just as it started down, and another at 73, the last one up. Again all targets went down within the time limit.

As we walked to 300 we reset our sights.… Familiar ground, that 300. My seven shots got away well in spite of the added difficulties of an unroutine recharging and having to shift my position somewhat to swing right and then back to the extreme left. And finally, at 200, the wide angle of that swing, including 15 targets width, was particularly disturbing. But I got the last two shots off with good calls and had several seconds to spare.

Our match was done and we all felt more or less suddenly let down…" (Ellis Christian Lenz, Muzzle Flashes, Huntington, West Virginia,1944, pages 475-476.)
Lenz's words reach across nearly three quarters of a century speaking directly to, and for, present day Rattle Battle shooters, expressing the anticipation, excitement, issues, and emotional ups and downs that make the match unique. In the intervening years many things have changed in the Infantry Trophy Match but the essential elements have remained the same so that a competitors in 1940 and 2011 share much the same experience.

The 1940 Infantry Trophy Match was won, for the first and only time, by the United States Coast Guard with a score of 560. Lenz's Ohio Civilian Team fired a score of 491 on that long ago September 17th, placing among the top 18 of the 72 teams; high enough to take home bronze medals as mementos of the event.

After the War
As the competitors left Camp Perry at the end of the 1940 matches they could see threatening clouds of war on the horizon. What they could not foresee was that it would be 13 years before they would return to Camp Perry for something close to a full scale National Match program.

When the National Matches resumed in 1953, the 50th anniversary of the first National Matches, the Infantry Trophy Match was not fired, nor would it be in 1954. However, in 1955, 15 years and five days after the final pieces of .30-06 brass had been policed up following the last pre World War II Infantry Trophy Match competitors lined up at the 600 yard line at Camp Perry to contest for the trophy.

In its post-war reincarnation the general conditions of earlier matches were followed, but the team size was reduced to six firing members, all armed with the M1, with a captain and coach to direct fire. The “D” Target was replaced by “E” and “F” silhouettes while each rifleman was issued five clips, 40 rounds, of service ammunition at each yard line for a team total of 960 rounds.

A team assumed the prone position at 600 yards and eight “E” silhouette targets were raised for 60 seconds, at 400 and 300 yards the kneeling or sitting could be used. An “F” silhouette was used at the 200 yard line and there the shooters assumed the standing position, with use of the sling optional. With squaring still a way to earn extra points, and eight targets engaged by only six men, some shooters needed to fire on more than one target and so the “swing man” was born. Hits at all ranges counted for one point and a penalty was assessed for less than ten hits, the difference between hits and ten being deducted from the total score. (National Rifle Association, Program The National Matches 1955, The National Rifle Association, Washington, DC, 1955, pages 94-96.)

Over the years match officials seemed incapable of resisting tinkering with the conditions of the Infantry Trophy match and 1956 would be no different. The value of hits was changed so that four points would be given for each hit a 600 yards. The 400 yard line was dropped in favor of shooting at 500 yards where the prone, sitting, or kneeling positions were allowed, and a value of three points assigned for each hit. Two and one points were the values assigned to 300 and 200 yard hits. With the adoption of this scoring system penalties became a thing of the past. The number of hits required for squaring a target was now set a six. Scoring, which had always been done in the pits, was now accomplished on the firing line with the pit reporting the number of hits via telephone to the scorer. The use of spotters to assist in scoring and help locate groups was also authorized.

Each team was now issued 384 rounds of ammunition. No records exist to explain the precise reason for the change. Most likely it was simply a matter of convenience. The M19A1 ammunition can contains 192 rounds of clipped ammunition for the M1 packed in four six pocket bandoleers. The soldiers detailed to the ammunition point needed only break open a crate and issue two cans to a team rather than dealing with laboriously counting out, and accounting for, loose ammunition. The empty crate could then be used to hold the policed brass.

The 21st Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Randolph McCall Pate, presented The Leatherneck Trophy to the NBPRB in 1957 to be awarded to the high civilian team. The bronze statue is a replica of “Iron Mike,” an effigy of a World War I Marine Infantryman, more formally titled, “Crusading for Right,” which stands in front of the headquarters building at Marine Corps Base Quantico. The venerable Infantry Trophy now had a companion.

The penultimate adjustment to the match conditions, creating the match we know today, occurred in 1958 when the time limit was set at 50 seconds for each target exposure. The final change would appear in 1962. Up to that time team captains and coaches would use a team spotting scope in the assembly area to make wind estimates. Once they left for the firing line they had to rely on their wits and intuition to call wind and direct fire. Match regulations now authorized team officials to carry field glasses or binoculars of no greater than ten power with an objective lens size no larger than 50 millimeters with them during the match to aid in wind calls and fire direction.

The NBPRB purchased a bronze figure of the British chieftain Caractacus, leader of the British resistance to the Roman conquest in the middle years of the first century. This third award, The Celtic Chieftain Trophy, was added in 1959 and is presented to the high scoring reserve or National Guard team regardless of service. 1959 would also mark the adoption of the United States Rifle, 7.62 mm, M14, but it would not be until 1964 that the first mention of the M14 and 7.62mm ammunition appeared in the match conditions at which time it was decreed that, “all team firing members must be equipped with the same type of service rifle.”

There was slight tweaking of the match's name in 1962 when the match program stopped referring to as the Infantry Trophy Match and adopted the title The National Trophy Infantry Team Match. This appeared to be done to bring all of the National Match Team events into name alignment. The new title fit in quite well with the rest of the National Trophy Match titles; The National Trophy Individual Pistol Match, The National Trophy Pistol Team Match, The National Trophy Individual Rifle Match, and The National Trophy Rifle Team Match.
 
End of Part 3 - Click here for Part 4

History: The National Trophy Infantry Team Match Part 2

We continue with Part 2 of the series.

A SHORT HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL TROPHY INFANTRY TEAM MATCH
By Hap Rocketto

Major General Charles Stewart Farnsworth had been appointed the first Chief of Infantry in 1920. He took his job seriously and was in the forefront of improving all aspects of the branch encompassing issues as broad as education, budget, equipment, training, morale, and as small as details in uniform accouterments. Farnsworth was instrumental in the creation of the Infantry's crossed musket branch insignia when he declared that, "…an excellent device for the infantry would be the oldest American infantry musket. (http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/UniformedServices/crossed_musket.aspx )

As a result of his insistence, a pair of crossed 1795 model Springfield Arsenal muskets, the first official United States production shoulder infantry weapon, today adorns the lapels of the Class A uniform of every United States Army Infantryman.

Farnsworth's attention to detail meant he would cast a wide net in his search for a suitable trophy for the proposed Infantry Match. In the aftermath of the Great War communities across the nation were rushing to erect suitable monuments to veterans living and dead. One of the most popular statues was the "Spirit of The American Doughboy," created by Edward Viquesney, nearly 150 of them being erected about the country. The statue is an exquisitely detailed bronze of an infantryman aggressively striding forward, rifle in his left hand, while his right is held above his head clutching a hand grenade.


The United States Infantry Association Trophy
 Farnsworth was taken by Viquesney's work and commissioned him to create The United States Infantry Association Trophy. The work depicts a pair of advancing infantrymen, bayonets fixed, one firing from the kneeling position while the other is rising from position and moving forward. The trophy was completed in time for presentation at the 1923 matches.

Lack of a trophy did nothing to slow down planning for the new match that made its debut in 1922, as part of the National Rifle Association program, as match number 27 entitled “The Infantry Match-A Combat Problem.” Pages 55 through 58 of the 1922 National Match program covers the event in exquisite detail from its philosophy, conditions, targets, procedures, ammunition, time limits, scoring, penalties for failure to follow signals during the advance, eligibility, classification of teams, and awards. Trophies and medals were awarded to teams representing active duty services, the various National Guards, civilian teams which included those from the Civilian Military Training Camps, and school or college teams which also encompassed Reserve Officer Training Corps of those institutions.
 
In lieu of a public address system the firing was controlled by the senior range officer who had a man with a telephone, for communication with the pit, and a musician who played “Attention”, “Halt”, “Commence Firing”, and “Cease Firing” on a trumpet to control movement and firing. There was also a “semaphore,” a paddle or flag displayed from the pits, to help in controlling the team's movement

An Infantry Match team consisted of two fire teams of five men each representative of an infantry squad of the day, less its automatic rifleman and grenadier, under the command of a “corporal.” Each man in the squad, with the exception of the corporal, was issued 60 rounds of ammunition. The rifle is not mentioned but is assumed to be the service rifle which was, at that time, the Springfield 1903. A pair of teams would then advance from 500 to 200 yards in 25 yard increments.

The target was 36 feet long and six feet tall. Starting at the top was a strip one foot wide worth one point and under it was another with a three point value. In the center area of two feet, were six “F” silhouette targets upon which a hit counted for ten points while shots in between were worth five. Two more foot wide strips at the bottom completed the target with the upper worth four points and the lower two.

Using the basic Evans Skirmish Match rules a team's goal was to reach the 200 yard line in the shortest time with the most efficient use of its ammunition supply. Simply put the winner of the match was the team that moved the fastest, had the most number of hits, the most men left standing, and the fewest number of rounds expended. It was perhaps fitting that the first team to win the match was the team representing the Infantry. (National Rifle Association, National Matches 1922, The National Rifle Association, Washington, DC, 1922, pages 55-58.)

The Marine Corps would be conspicuously absent from the Infantry Trophy Match during its early years. The Marines felt, having already won the 1922 National Trophy Team Match, that, “The match had admirable qualities, for it is designed to give value not only for accuracy of fire, but also proper fire distribution. … However, to win the Infantry match required special training. Because of this, the Marines, who came in second to the Infantry in 1922, did not participate in the event in the following years.” (Barde, page 131.) The Marines preferred to concentrate on the National Trophy Team Match, considering that the more prestigious event, and would win it seven times before they returned to shooting the Infantry Trophy Match in 1936, a year in which they won both.

The match regulations and conditions would remain the same for the next three years but there would be no Infantry Match in 1926 as Congress, citing a poor economic climate, declined to provide funds for the National Matches. A reduced shooting schedule, with limited Federal assistance, would be conducted at six regional sites approved by the War Department. The bulk of the events would be fired at the regional match conducted at the National Guard facility at Sea Girt, New Jersey while matches
at Fort Screven Georgia, Fort Sheridan, Illinois, Wakefield, Massachusetts, and Harrisburg, Ohio took up the remaining slack. (National Rifle Association, The National Matches: 1903-2003 The First 100 Years, The National Rifle Association, Washington, DC, 2010, pages 127-128.)

When the National Matches resumed in 1927 so did the Infantry Trophy Match. This would be the last hurrah for its original conditions as adjustments were made to the match conditions in 1928. The massive target bank was abandoned and replaced with eight “D” silhouette targets mounted on carriers and the ammunition allotment was reduced to 40 rounds per man. Perhaps the most significant change was the distance. Teams would now start at 1,000 yards and stop to fire when the targets, regulated from the pit, appeared at unannounced distances. (National Rifle Association, The National Matches 1928, The National Rifle Association, Washington, DC, 1928, pages 55-58.)The Infantry Trophy had been tightly in the grasp of active duty and National Guard teams until 1929 when the Massachusetts civilians won. A year later civilians again won, this time the Nebraska civilian team took the trophy home but the military would wrest the title back in 1931 and not relinquish its hold for a very long time.

The course and conditions would be tweaked again in 1931 when it was decided to begin the match at 600 yards and restore the ammunition allotment to 60 rounds per man. The scoring also changed, the removal of 'killed' rifleman was dropped. In its stead, a target struck was simply pulled into the pits. The scoring system was changed with the first mention of bonus points via “squaring.” The number of targets hit, squared, would be added to the value of hits on the targets to determine the team's score. If 80% of all exposed targets were hit then an additional 50 points would be awarded for that stage. (National Rifle Association, The National Matches 1931, The National Rifle Association, Washington, DC, 1931, pages 53-54.)

The 1931 program also made it crystal clear that the Infantry Match was a simulation of battle when it unequivocally stated that, “The Infantry Match is a combat problem and no protests involving disabled pieces or ammunition failures of any kind will be allowed.”

As the financial crisis of the Great Depression deepened, Congress' cost cutting scissors clipped the 1932 National Match funds from the War Department's budget. To keep the spirit of the National Matches alive regional events, based on Army Corps areas, were scheduled, just as they had been in 1926. The Infantry Trophy was not scheduled for any of the eight sites and when no appropriations were made in 1933 or 1934 the same situation existed. The National Matches returned to Camp Perry in 1935 but, with limited monies available, the Infantry Trophy was not funded.
 
End of Part 2 - Click here for Part 3

History: The National Trophy Infantry Team Match Part 1

We are honored to share with our readers a new article by Hap Rocketto covering one of the most storied rifle matches in the United States. Though held only once a year, it is one that all service rifle competitors prepare for with great enthusiasm. Due to the length of the article, it will be presented here in several parts. - GAS -

A SHORT HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL TROPHY INFANTRY TEAM MATCH
By Hap Rocketto

Forword
As was written in the forword to A Short History of the Distinguished Program, the one immutable truth about historical research is that few things are certain. Even in the most meticulously kept records there is always some “i” left undotted and some “t” left uncrossed, casting a cloud of doubt on the 'facts' at hand.

Because match conditions sometimes change between the printings of a program and the actual firing of the match, and those changes are made official by Match Director's bulletins there are some holes in the historical documents and records that tell the story of the Infantry Trophy Team Match. In light of the nature of an imperfect record the reader must be aware that “facts‟ in this work are used with this caveat and, as such, are subject to change should more documented information become available.

There are gaps in the documentation of the National Trophy Infantry Team Match. Those little gaps make it impossible to write a complete and accurate story, and perhaps it is better that way. There is nothing like a little cloud of mystery in historical events to make them more interesting and enhance their legends and traditions.

The following document is an attempt to bring the many aspects of the National Trophy Infantry Team Match into a short historical synopsis. I owe debts of gratitude to the Civilian Marksmanship Program, the National Rifle Association, Dick Culver, Robert Barde, Charlie Adams, Shawn Carpenter, Steve Rocketto, Barney Higgins, and especially Ray Brandes who sparked the idea of this monograph in an exchange on the Civilian Marksmanship website. To these people go all of the credit, but none of the blame, for this work.

In the interest of historical accuracy the author solicits insights, corrections and updates that are supported by appropriate documentation to 18 Stenton Avenue, Westerly, RI 02891.

All Rights Reserved. The author of this work asserts the moral right to be identified as such.
 
 
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL TROPHY INFANTRY TEAM MATCH
By Hap Rocketto

There is no rifle match that will make a high power shooter's pulse race at Marathon rates as the National Trophy Infantry Team Match. The match is designed to simulate an infantry squad's mission, which is "to close with the enemy and destroy or capture him." Competitive riflemen pride themselves on being calm and in control, but this exhilarating rapid fire event brings out the exact opposite in the competitor.

More familiarly and commonly known as the Rattle Battle, perhaps because of clatter and jangle of the shooting designed to simulate a combat situation, the match is occasionally called the “Mad Minute.” This term, which first gained circulation during the First World War, described a timed shooting drill for British infantryman. "Mad Minute" has remained in military parlance as the definition of a short period of concentrated weapons fire which perfectly describes the Infantry Trophy Team Match.

The match has its antecedents in an individual event known as the Skirmish Run. It was part of the United States Army Rifle Qualification Course at the turn of the 20th Century and part of the early National Match Course. The Skirmish Run was fired twice for record, the rifleman shooting 20 rounds from any position at two silhouette targets. The match began at 600 yards where two shots were allowed in 30 seconds. The same conditions applied at 500 yards. Three shots were fired at 400 and 350 yards in 30 seconds. The remaining ten rounds were fired at the rifleman‟s discretion at 300 yards in 30 seconds and 20 seconds at 200 yards. The larger of the two targets, the “E” silhouette, known as the “squaw” was approximately 42 inches tall and 26 inches wide while the smaller “papoose” “F” silhouette was 22 inches high and 26 inches across. Hits on the squaw earned four points while hits on the papoose were worth five. (Culver, Dick, 1902-1903 Krag Rifle Qualification Courses,
http://www.jouster.com/sea_stories/krag_rifle_qualification_course_1902-1903.pdf  )

A Skirmish Run type team match debuted at the 1909 National Matches and was named in honor of the match executive officer, United States Army Lieutenant Colonel R. K. Evans. The Evans Skirmish Match had two teams of 16 riflemen advance forward, side by side, from 1200 yards while engaging targets which popped up at various distances for differing times. When a target was hit the member of the opposing team, shooting on the corresponding number target, was declared “dead.” The first team to “kill” all members of the opposing team was declared the winner. (Barde, Robert E., The History of Marine Corps Marksmanship, USMC, Washington, DC. 1961, page 34)
 
The first Evans Skirmish Run was notable for an incident of good sportsmanship which has been memorialized with a prestigious national high power trophy. As the run began Marine Second Lieutenant Randolph Coyle was scoping the line from the assembly area. When he saw the shots of First Lieutenant W. Dulty Smith hit the silhouette he jumped up, spontaneously and innocently, crying out, “Good wind! Good Wind!” Colonel Evans overheard the excited lieutenant and, because the team was so close to Coyle, ruled the action as illegal coaching and disqualified the Marine Team. The disappointed Marines uttered not a word of protest.

The final results found the US Cavalry in second place, rather than the disqualified Marines. Cavalry team captain, First Lieutenant William H, Clopton, Jr., filed a protest of Evan‟s decision. After a hearing the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP) reversed Evans' ruling and the Marines were jumped from 42nd to second place with the Cavalry moving down to third.

One of the enlisted Marines suggested that the $350 second place prize be used to purchase a token of “admiration and esteem” and so a large sterling silver cup was presented to the US Cavalry Rifle Team and the Cavalry Cup was born. Originally awarded to the high cavalryman in the President's Hundred it later went to the high Army shooter with the demise of the horse cavalry. It is now the winner's prize for a 300 yard rapid fire match at the national championships.
(Ibid page 41; National Rifle Association, NRA Shooting Trophies, Washington, DC.)


The Evans Skirmish, while exciting to watch, was difficult to control and officiate. It was last seen as part of the 1919 National Matches, staged at the United States Navy Rifle Range in Caldwell, New Jersey, with a comment in the program that the conditions of the match would be announced later. (National Rifle Association, Program 1919 National Matches, Washington DC, 1919.)

A notice appearing in the May 1922 issue of the Infantry Journal reported that:

“The Chief of Infantry recently attended a meeting of the National Rifle Association, during the course of which the subject of an Infantry Match came up for discussion. It was decided that it would be desirable to have such a match included in the program of events for the annual national shoot and the association agreed to it.
The rules and regulations under which the match will be fired are now under consideration and will be published to the service as soon as finally approved by all agencies concerned.

In connection with this match the question of a suitable trophy and medals for the winning team came up, and General Farnsworth stated that the Infantry would supply the trophy and the funds for procuring the medals.

The whole subject was presented to the Executive Council of the Infantry Association at a meeting on March 30, and after a full discussion it was decided that the funds should come from the infantry as a whole — in other words, it was desirable to have as many members of the infantry service participate as possible.
  The cost of the trophy and the medals extending over a period of ten years will amount to something in the neighborhood of $1,500.


It is not desired that any officer contribute more than $1 or any soldier more than 10 to 15 cents to this fund, but it is desirable to have as many members of the infantry as possible contribute to it." (US Infantry Association, Infantry Journal, Washington, DC, May 1922, page 567.)
End of Part 1 - Click here for Part 2

 

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