How You Can Save The CMP Sports for a New Generation

camp perry national matches civilian marksmanship program

Josh Wayner for TTAG

I’ve been writing about the Civilian Marksmanship Program matches at Camp Perry for the last few weeks. I built my own rifle for the President’s 100 match with the help of Brownell’s, talked ammo and optics, and interviewed some of the young people who represent the future of the sport. Today we are taking a look at the CMP Springfield and Vintage matches and my perspective after having shot in them for half my life.

These matches, which have always been a large gathering of like-minded people and a celebration of our culture and heritage, aren’t what they used to be. I have seen it happening and can say that, sadly, these events are dying literally and figuratively. Allow me to elaborate.

When I began in the CMP sports at the age of fourteen, the guns and ammo needed were cheap and commonly available. I recall in those days that a good, solid Russian Mosin-Nagant was about $60.

If I had known then what they go for now, I’d likely have spent every one of my meager paychecks stocking up on them to cash out now. Back then, 7.62x54R was $40 for a 440-round can. Times were good in 2005.

camp perry national matches civilian marksmanship program

Competitors fire from offhand (Josh Wayner for TTAG)

Back then good M1 rifles were still available at the CMP outlet at Camp Perry. The rifles you find there today are severely lacking. Those rifles were $500-800, which seemed like a fortune to me at the time. When I graduated from high school in 2008, a nice Springfield could be had for $600. Greek .30-06 was cheap and everywhere.

Those days are now long past, and for reasons that are completely preventable. But they are, in fact, reversible.

The insanely inflated prices of trash-tier rifles is the fault of an aging population that’s snapping up what’s left of a once-flourishing surplus market. Yes, this may sound like a millennial blaming Boomers for yet another problem, but this time it’s true. There aren’t many new shooters in these sports because there is no way for a new shooter to obtain gear at any reasonable price.

To increase and drive participation and pass along knowledge, some of you old farts in the audience here need to sell your collections and pass these historical treasures on to the next generation. I know three older guys who each have 20-30 M1 rifles and they refuse to part with even one.

They have the audacity to say that $2,000 is a fair price for a rack-grade beater that won’t hold 8” at 100 yards. And they wonder why there’s a decline in shooters.

I can build a complete modern Service Rifle competition gun that shoots .5” groups for less than that with a scope included. Why would a new shooter participate in something like Springfield or Vintage when they are essentially paying top dollar for garbage wallhangers?

camp perry national matches civilian marksmanship program

Swiss K31 on a custom range wagon. 7.5x55mm is getting tough to find, especially the good stuff. (Josh Wayner for TTAG)

I interviewed dozens of shooters while at Camp Perry and each one said the same thing.

“I don’t see young people out here much.”

“Every target used to be completely full. People just aren’t showing up anymore.”

These sports aren’t dying off. They are being killed by an ignorant generation that hoards guns rather than shares knowledge. An entire generation of shooters will not have access to our country’s history because of a few grumps who can’t see the value of passing down our heritage.

camp perry national matches civilian marksmanship program

A thin crowd compared to the modern Service Rifle matches earlier in the week. Note that there are few young shooters. (Josh Wayner for TTAG)

What irks me the most about this situation is that it doesn’t need to be this way. These sports are critical to keeping these pieces of history in circulation as well as the knowledge about them.

If you have a collection of these old rifles and don’t shoot in CMP sports, you’re part of the problem.

“But Josh, this is a rare gun and it shouldn’t be fired.”

Bullshit. Guns are made to be fired. I have some very rare Springfield variants and I fire them all. This year I fired an October 1942 Remington 1903 Modified Rifle, one of the last-ever production run of the true the 1903, and my dad fired a first-run December 1943 Remington 1903A3. Both guns are all original.

Do they lose value when we shoot them? No. I could sell each for $1,500-2,000 this afternoon due to the lack of supply. I get asked why I don’t fire the more common rebuilds on the line. The simple answer is that I don’t want to because that’s not the spirit of the sport.

camp perry national matches civilian marksmanship program

Bill Ellis from Langley, England attends CMP matches all over the US, making five or more trips a year. Most American shooters could learn from that kind of dedication. (Josh Wayner for TTAG)

Look, friends, I have seen this sport firsthand for over fifteen years. I can tell you that club matches are in decline at every range I go to that hosts CMP events and there seems to be no hope.

The problem here is that the older generation is aging out of competition without replenishing the ranks. Sure, there are diehards who keep competing into their nineties, but they are about as rare as people under twenty-five in the sport these days.

I was one of the youngest people on the line at both the Springfield and Vintage matches at Camp Perry this year and I’m 29. These sports need new blood or they will die off with the passing of the Boomer generation. The guns will increase in value and the millennial generation will lose interest in them.

What I am trying to stress here is that the culture is in decline and you can help save it. If you’re a young shooter, pressure Grandpa to give you his M1 for Christmas. Shame your dad into selling you that Springfield if you must. These cultural treasures must not be lost to time and circumstance. I would go so far as to say that these rifles are a generational inheritance, not merely something to be bought and sold.

Our culture is under siege and it isn’t enough to simply keep and bear arms. The battle must be fought and won generationally and it needs to be fought here and now.

camp perry national matches civilian marksmanship program

A Springfield in a custom range cart. (Josh Wayner for TTAG)

For this reason I am writing another article proposing something I hope will gain national attention. I will need your help preserving and protecting our heritage and I believe that my proposal will help secure the successful passage of tradition and our proud history to the next generation while helping the current generation learn of their past. The idea is something I’m calling the Heritage Hunt. More on that soon.

My advice to you is simple: take out that old gun and get out to a CMP competition. You will learn about history, pick up tips and pointers from experts, and gain some lifelong friends. These sports and the rifles significant to our history depend on you to take initiative.

comments

  1. avatar Narcoossee says:

    Maybe it’s time for CMP to position themselves for the 21st century, and consider that any relevant “Civilian Marksmanship Program” should be based on a derivative of whatever the military is using, or has recently used.

    1. avatar WARFAB says:

      It is. The premier matches at Camp Perry every year are dominated by black rifles. There are still a few holdouts shooting .30 cal for the NTI and P100, but it’s been quite a while since anything other than a .223 has won a trophy.

      1. avatar WARFAB says:

        Plus, the CMP has recently added separate “modern military” matches that allow a lot more variations of black rifles to compete.

        1. avatar Hollowpoint says:

          A good place to start is to control all the range officer dicks who make the early stages of range shooting as enjoyable as a trip to the principals office.

        2. avatar Mike Carbine says:

          Did those million Garands and Carbines from South Korea ever get past the Obama Ban?
          And how about all those millions of M-1 Carbines H.W.Bush had destroyed(early 90’s) rather than hand over to the CMP, as is the Law? Telling folks what ‘they have to do’ with their personal property is a might commie, you ask me.
          It’s a very simple fix to disable the 3-round burst from old M-16s, just saying…

    2. avatar Chief Censor says:

      21st century!? I got your 21st century right here. Check it out! Even Californians and people in New Jersey can do it if this Japanese boy can do it in Japan.

      Puts most of you tacticool guys to shame when an airsofter kid can do this after three years of airsoft practice and a few minutes of instruction.

  2. avatar Owen says:

    As I see it, those guns are US service rifles from the past generation and it is reflected in the ages of the owners/shooters. I grew up with the M16/M4 as the US battle rifle. To me the idea of shooting an MSR well is aspirational not the old wood and steel 30-cals.

    I think it’s just the march of time. I’m sure when my kids look back they’ll be asking why I shoot an MSR and not a “Phased Plasma Rifle in the 40 Watt range”.

    1. avatar Huntmaster says:

      Forty watts won’t light a candle. And we just made history.

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        “Forty watts won’t light a candle.”

        Wrong.

        A handheld 1 watt laser pointer will light a candle, melt plastics, and do other fun things.

        A 40 watt CO2 laser can etch stainless steel :

  3. avatar NHTransplant says:

    It would also help if people explained how to actually get into it and register for matches. I’d like to start doing these (there is one near me in VT), but I haven’t received any information on how to participate/register from the POCs for the matches. I have a M1 and a 03A3 that are pretty much going to be used for 3-gun unless I manage to figure out how to participate (just to use them, not for score).

    1. avatar Christine says:

      The New England CMP Games are coming up in September. Visit http://thecmp.org/competitions/cmp-travel-games/new-england-games/ for details and registration information. If you have additional questions, email [email protected] or phone (419) 635-2141 ext. 706 or 714.

      1. avatar NHTransplant says:

        Thank you all! Guess I was looking in the wrong space, like usual.

    2. avatar Jim Jenkins says:

      Go to the CMP website and sign up for the New England Games

  4. avatar TommyGNR says:

    CMP has lost a lot of shooters to other shooting sports like USPSA, IDPA, 3 gun and Precision Rifle Series.
    Part of the issue is shooting a CMP match is like going to work. Pulling targets in 90 degree weather is not fun. Neither is wearing a thick leather shooting jacket while strapping a rifle sling around your arm like a tourniquet. Alot of shooters find shooting the slow fire prone stage downright painful.
    The cost of competing in CMP is alot more too. $400 for a shooting jacket, $800 for a quality spotting scope, $250 for a Creedmore cart, $100 for a mat. You out $1500 before you even buy a gun.

    1. avatar NHTransplant says:

      You have to have all that? Shooting jacket, etc?

      1. avatar WARFAB says:

        No. To get started CMP matches have a pretty low cost of entry compared to the other disciplines mentioned. All you really need is a rifle, a sling, and ammunition. Many CMP affiliated clubs have loaner rifles you can use and will charge a nominal fee for the ammunition to shoot a match.

        1. avatar TommyGNR says:

          Sure you can come out with just a sling, You going to shoot prone without a jacket? You elbows are going to take a pretty good going over. The jacket makes your hold steadier. You are not going to be competitive without a jacket in any of the stages. Typical spotting scopes are useless at 300 and 600 yards, you can’t see the impact markers with them. You can grab a Konus for around $300, the gold standard is a $800 Kowa. These scopes also require a proper stand (around $100).

        2. avatar WARFAB says:

          Borrow a shooting matt or use an old piece of carpet and your elbows will be fine.

          You’re not going to be competitive when you start regardless of the equipment used. Might as well at least see if you’re going to like doing it before you put more money into equipment. There are plenty of guys who make do with minimal equipment at our club. I shot for quite a few years with an old 10X canvas shooting coat. Some guys use elbow pads without a shooting coat.

          As far as I can tell getting started in CMP is still a lot cheaper than F class, 3 gun, or PRS shooting.

        3. avatar NHTransplant says:

          Thank you. I don’t shoot to be competitive. I shoot to practice skills I may need, use different firearms, and have fun. Up until recently, never shot a rifle over 100 yards. Then, surprisingly, made a shot at 275 yards on my first shot (I was using a LPVO) on a steel, man-sized target at a 3-gun. I’m opposite of most people where I’m much better at a pistol compared to rifle or shotgun. As a side note, I did register, so I look forward to participating. Still debating using my 03A3 or M1 though. Thank you all again for your info.

  5. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

    Never heard of it. Reminds me of a Civil War Reenactment gathering, or the car shows they have in suburban parking lots. Mostly old guys reminiscing about their youth. Good luck.

    1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

      I’ve been to civil war battle reenactments with over 500 soldiers in blue and gray. Horse mounted soldiers and cannons. Colored soldiers with just a squad size unit. And single buffalo soldiers telling stories of their adventures.
      It would be very sad if these important history lessons, taught outside a traditional classroom, come to an end.

      1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

        They’re trying to outlaw them here. “Insensitive, racist, hateful, traumatic to young people (snowflakes)…….” Erasing history.

  6. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    This and Civil War reenactments will die off with the Boomer Generation…

    Also, I think referring to it as a “sport” is a bit of a stretch…more of an activity rather than a sport, per se, like bowling, golf, or billiards.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      I miss the good Civil War battle reenactments. Seen some ho-hum ones, and some outstanding ones.

      Perhaps the focus could shift to the next war. Imagine a reenactment of Normandy Beach (land portion) or the Battle of the Bulge.

      1. avatar Huntmaster says:

        Even if I were able to pick up and old sheman in good condition, I don’t think I could tow it to the events with my 1500.

      2. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

        Unless you have reason to believe the Renaissance Festival folks or Cosplay crowd will catch the war reenactment bug, I wouldn’t hold your breath…

  7. avatar Durkabajerka says:

    From my personal observations, the CMP sports are dying due to the same attitude from the same age group that doesn’t want Harley Davidson to change. They snuffed their noses at optics on rifles, any caliber that didn’t begin with a .30 and a constant bashing of “poodle shooters.”

    Meanwhile you have something like PRS, which is still gear heavy, but much more welcoming. It’s highly practical, and fast paced sport. You don’t have to put on a shooting jacket in 90° weather, get your sling cuff tightened down, get into a tight position, and send one good round down range after another.

    Meanwhile PRS has multiple different skills to master. Sometimes, like life, the position you choose screws you. Everyone wants to help out, even the Jersey shooters. Want to try out an atlas bipod? They’ll just throw your one to try out on the next stage. Need a bag that you don’t have? Here ya go! Use it and let me know what you think. There’s a great mentoring culture, at least in the North Eastern club matches.

    It’s not the 60-80 year old grumps who are losing grip of the gun culture war.

    1. avatar WARFAB says:

      “There aren’t many new shooters in these sports because there is no way for a new shooter to obtain gear at any reasonable price.”

      The author hit on a valid point when it comes to the price of gear. His focus is on the “games” matches, but the same applies to the black rifle matches.

      When I first started shooting competitively I decided to get into CMP matches because the cost of entry was so much lower than the other competitions. I got my RRA NM rifle used for $900 and started competing with just some basics. I went to Camp Perry and all the black rifles looked exactly the same. There was a lot of parity and maybe someone spent $2k at most for the absolute best of everything on their rifle. Now there are guys competing who spent $2300 on just their scope. The increased cost of entry for a scoped AR isn’t going to grow participation among younger shooters.

      From a sport/competition standpoint I don’t like the rule changes that create so much disparity between the black rifles used to compete. From a 2A perspective, I’m totally in favor of a large number of shooters being equipped and highly competent with accurate black rifles set up with LPVOs.

  8. avatar Huntmaster says:

    I’m no spring chicken and in fact nearing retirement. Other than military, my firearms experience has been limited and I have only indulged my interest in firearms in the last six years or so. For most of my adult life however, I have always been conservative and a Constitutionalist. When I started to indulge my gun interest, something struck me early on. At the couple of gun shows I attended I attended in the beginning, I noticed they were primarily dominated by grumpy, old, paranoid hoarders. I had this but I wrote it off as merely anti gun prejudice. It is not. And they were all trying to sell their collection of firearms related items as if the junk they were hawking was some kind of precious treasure.

    Then I noticed that gun retailers seem to fall into three categories. The big retailers like Cabela’s Bass Pro and a handful of others. There seem to be two kinds of local stores. Stores ran by nice, personable, friendly people and those ran by sullen, hateful old trolls. The distinction is vivid. In an era where there are so many things going against the 2nd Amendment, the people involved in guns need more friends. The trolls aren’t helping.

    The left is all about assembling coalitions of disaffected victimized groups to build power. But there are plenty of people we could ally with to fight them, if we were just friendlier. We can’t do this alone. The time is right to grow our numbers. And we can’t do this alone.

  9. avatar That Jason says:

    I’m a member of a local range that boasts of the only 600 yard range for hundreds of miles. There’s a reasonably active CMP shooter group there. And they’re all firefighters and retired people.

    Which means practices are on weekdays in the early afternoon. Works great for them, but not so much if you have a 9-5 and a family you eat dinner with.

    They piss and moan at club meetings that younger folks don’t come out, but they moan louder if you talk about weekend practice or a schedule someone under 65 and over 18 could make.

    In the end, they want more shooters, not new shooters. But they’re all out of more like them.

    1. avatar Owen says:

      I see the exact same thing with Bullseye shooters at a local club. Their matches start at 5PM on weekdays. You can’t really participate if you have a standard 9-5 job. I think that’s intentional to make it appeal to retired folks and keep the “kids” away. It’s all 70+ year olds. Funny thing is, the recently retired folks really aren’t into precision 1911 shooting anymore. Bullseye is dying as a result.

  10. avatar Eugene says:

    CMP is killing itself slowly. Outside of shooter circles you really don’t hear about them which seems to fly in the face of the original intent of the organization, civilian outreach and education about firearms and how to handle firearms.

    I’ve had dealings with some CMP shooters while setting up and trying to accommodate their shooting needs and it was less than civil. It seemed as though they expected me to bend to all their needs, no questions asked and were bordering on irate when I told them there were limits on what they could do on a military range as guests. Our organization bent over backwards to get shooters on our ranges, it benefited them and it benefited us. All this before trying to get a rifle, the pricing is a bit much as is the ancillary equipment. So much for a quasi-government organization not making a profit.

    Just a tad on the snobbish side for my liking and a stark contrast to the folks who used our ranges for civilian machine gun shoots. Those folks bent over backwards to make sure they followed all rules and went the extra mile to make sure they were in compliance at all times. Hopefully the attitude and direction will change for the better as an organization with this sort of mission is needed.

  11. avatar Ted says:

    Well, there are some who bought garands, carbines, and sprinfields up from the CMP to hoard and/or make money selling.
    Long ago, you could only get one per person. Then came the CMP. At some point there was no limit. They did finally implement a limit per year.
    The Cmp wanted to sell the Greek returns fast. Its all about the endowment and modern shooting so the vintage rifles are just money makers.
    What you say is true to a degree. Surplus USGI Rifles and ammo were cheap but now it’s pure market demand. Sadly freezing many out.
    I expect the prices to free fall as interest fades and deaths bring on collection sales.
    Search the CMP SITE for affiliated clubs and contact any in the area. Not all are grumpy selfish old guys. Some are grumpy but nice older guys who are ready to help out young people with equipment and ammo.
    Just don’t be prejudging.

    1. avatar Dr.Zhivago says:

      Yes, I bought my M1 Garrand back in the late 80’s/early 90’s from the CMP’s predecessor, the DCM (Directorate of Civilian Marksmanship), for $165. You were limited to just one. It was mailed directly to your door, too. At the time DCM was exempt from the FFL requirements (and, of course, this was pre NICS). Surplus 30.06 was cheap and plentiful. Those were the days!

  12. avatar WARFAB says:

    Sweeping generalities tend to fall apart when you look at individual examples. Just like promoting the 2A cause in general, it’s often the personal approach that makes all the difference. The CMP matches at our club are very popular events and participation has grown substantially over the last 10 years. The right group of guys came together to create the right kind of positive atmosphere for new and old shooters alike. New shooters are welcomed with open arms and a more experienced shooter coaches them through their first match. Tips and guidance for newer shooters is freely provided by the more experienced shooters and there is a wonderful sense of camaraderie at each match. We went from each match being a single relay shooting the 50 round course of fire to trying to squeeze in 3 full relays shooting a 30 round course of fire.

    All is not lost.

  13. avatar Noah says:

    CMP and Service Rifle matches are dying because the sport has not adapted to the change in modern times. The shooters that I encounter at CMP/EIC matches are old, fat guys who want nothing to do with young shooters who don’t fit their profile. It’s a big reason other disciplines like USPSA and PRS are taking off. They are extremely welcoming and require less equipment to get started.

    After years of shooting CMP, I transitioned completely out of it. It was just not a very welcoming sports to new (or old) shooters. At this time, CMP dying is a much needed event that is taking entirely too long. My last several events at Camp Pendleton were cancelled simply due to lack of participation. Unless there are drastic changes, I predict it will be entirely gone in a few years.

    1. avatar Chief Censor says:

      CMP reminds me of Kyudo in Japan. It’s mostly something the older generations like to do. However, they keep it alive by putting it into high schools and festivals.

      The older generations refuse to modernize their approach to the art of shooting. American culture is leaving the gun behind in general. Those that keep the culture going don’t look back to brown rifles, they focus on black rifles. Airsoft draws more attention than old wood guns.

      1. avatar Chief Censor says:

        I forgot to add the video.

        Kyudo is target archery. It has the same feeling of the CMP sports.

  14. avatar Nanashi says:

    Step 1: Repeal the NFA

    There, big new supply of surplus for surplus matches.

  15. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

    Quote—————-.These sports aren’t dying off. They are being killed by an ignorant generation that hoards guns rather than shares knowledge. An entire generation of shooters will not have access to our country’s history because of a few grumps who can’t see the value of passing down our heritage.—————quote

    Bullshit!!!! The original Government Program literally gave away surplus military arms at dirt cheap prices to get people into the shooting game and it worked very well. Today we no longer live in that world but we live in the corrupt world of Capitalvania that has snapped up the surplus arms from the Government and sell them sells them at inflated prices so high that young people cannot afford them and therefore never get into the shooting sports. The latest outrage was the sale of government surplus 1911 pistols. Most are worn out pieces of pure junk that should have been sold at give away prices, yet the greed monger Capitalvanians are now sitting on piles of them doling out a few hundred each year and hoping to rape the hell out of the shooting population. Again this shuts out younger new shooters who simply give up on ever getting into the shooting sports. The gangster criminal greed mongers sell to the older baby boomers who lived back when there were some high paying jobs and they are now retired and spending their money in their golden years and do not mind being raped on the prices as they know they have only a few years left to spend their money and enjoy life.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      Socialism has the solution to this evil capitalism. In Socialism all the guns belong to the state to be used on the people. A soon to be seen example is Tiananmen II, the liberation of Hong Kong.

  16. avatar "keep yur paws off my dead guy" possum says:

    Stuff cost money. What’s needed IMO is more places for “more” people to go that don’t cost so much money. How can the antiGunmners not know that gunms can be used for other things besides shootem ups. The states should have a big ass public shooting range at every state park and the city’s should have the same. Thats how we could save the shooting sports.

  17. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    The CMP is a “select club”. They don’t want competition from outsiders. I’ve never heard of them until I got seriously into guns back in 2008. They are a great example of the Fat Old White Men that the gun grabbers talk about.
    What have they done to expand their part of the gun community????
    I hear crickets.

    That NRA advertising money went into Lapiere’s suit purchases. Marksmanship training through competition WAS THE MISSION of the NRA. But not anymore.

  18. avatar Retro says:

    I’ve been involved in shooting sports for about 30 years. In that time I’ve had ONE positive experience with CMP related events. Ironically, it was at a local gun range that was different than the one I belonged to.

    The pricey equipment requirements, odd shooting restrictions (why can you use a glove and shooting coat, with a spotter using a scope, but not a hasty sling when standing? And who loads only two rounds in an empty M1 when you have loaded clips?) but most of all, the poor attitude all drive new shooters away.

    They could fix the problems, but the shooting sports have left them in the dust. Appleseed will make you a better rifleman, and educate you on this country’s founding at the same time. Multi-gun competitions will increase your accurate shooting speed at “close” distance. PRS will make you a better distance shooter, in odd positions to boot. And I’ve never had the attitude issues with any of the other shooting sports I encountered at CMP events.

  19. avatar Alan says:

    I shot NMC competition and Long Range at Camp Perry for many years. First with a Winchester Garand that I purchased in the mid 1960’s. Looked at a DCM pricelist recently, and unless I misread it, Winchester Garands were priced past $3000. From what I’ve read, see current American Rifleman, there were more than 500,000 made, so they weren’t rare birds. I put 12,000 or so rounds of mostly handloads through mine, everything from 200 to 1000 yards. Did better at 1000 than I did Off-Hand at 200 yards. Eventually switched to bolt guns, Model 70 Winchester Standard Target Rifles in 30-06 and .308 Win., with Iron Sights mostly. Preferred the 30-06 past 600 yards. Also had a Remington 40X in .308 Win. The accuracy of this rifle was amazing, though working the bolt was a real battle for a left hander. No problem with the Model 70 though. These days, down to 2 bolt guns and a .22 H & R 5200, which will outshoot me any day of the week. Other rifles outshot me also. Shoots CCI Standard Velocity Lead Bullets into about 1″ over a rest, at 50 yards with an old Unertle Target Scope. I still prefer Iron Sights, defined as Redfield Olympic, long since having gone the way of all flesh. Old saying went, We grow to soon old, to soon smart. It’s true too. Haven’t shot matches at Perry in quite a while. Last time, The Governor’s Trophy Match was completely screwed up by Boats In Impact Area. Shooters had all manner of rules to abide by, boaters didn’t, Lake Erie charts and marker bouys being ignored. Quantico was much better, exclusive Washington D.C. weather which is miserable. Enough said.

  20. avatar Fudds McKenzie says:

    Let it end. It’s for fudds. Other ones that is, not me; Fudds McKenzie is not your average Fudd.

  21. avatar Colin says:

    Bold article. From my perspective, though, as a 31 year old shooter trying hard to edge into NRA High Power and CMP competitions, there’s a lot of (sad) truth in this article. It might be a little over-slanted, though. The main problem with this sport, in my opinion, is the extremely high cost and that most competitors are (now) retired. That means that – regardless of whether or not its factually true – a new competitor feels out of place without the gear (which is only getting more expensive; esp. since things have gone to optics), and match times can just be flat-out unworkable for non-retired folks.

    It’d be nice to see a return to basics. The NRA, for one, should break-out the “service rifle” category between optics and irons. I think that could possibly help, as starting with irons cuts out of a lot of (initial) expense.

    The “old” folks have always been hoarding the vintage rifles. That’s never going to change. Let’s just hope whoever they leave them to, in their will, knows what to do with them. Seems like I routinely hear about pieces of history being lost when kids or widows turn vintage rifles in to the cops, after their bereavement.

    You can’t take it with you.

  22. avatar Aaron says:

    I shot in CMP pistol matches as a junior, never had that good of an experience. None of the old guys liked shooting next to us juniors. I’d much rather go to a more modern shooting event.

  23. avatar Gator says:

    Boomers ruin a lot of competitions like this for the younger generation

  24. avatar M1Lou says:

    I see quite a few milsurps pop up for not great, but not terrible prices at stores all over. Probably comparable prices to a budget to mid level ARs. I just bought a Remington M1903, made in 1942, today for $350. It has no stock as it was in a sporter stock. It came with a second sporter stock and I’m selling both to pay for the original stock and barrel bands. I’ll have to hunt a bit for a Remington stock and the barrel bands, but its decently affordable if you hunt pawn shops and gun stores. I’ve bought nice 03A3s for under $600 in the past couple years. A non butchered sporter can work fine also. I’ve seen aot of 03s that were sporterized but not butchered. Put them back in a regular stock and ignore the screw holes for the scope and blast away.

    Deals have to be hunted down and are usually not found at gun shows or the internet. Garands not going to be affordable these days and surplus ammo is hit or miss. I’d learn to reload if you want to shoot .30-06 or any other countries former main rifle cartridge often.

    At this point, you can’t beat a budget AR that shoots around an inch with decent ammo for under $500. Milsurps are not as plentiful as the supply is fixed. It’s only going to get worse over time.

  25. avatar jros says:

    Really there’s an accessibility issue with firearms in general. Not to the actual firearms but to the places that you’re actually able to use them.

    In larger west coast cities requires quite a drive just to get out to locations where you can shoot a rifle at ranges they’re built for. And closer in the number of pistol ranges seems to slowly getting smaller. You might get a new range once in awhile but sure enough another usually closes or had recently closed.

    Then there’s the range costs. The entire deal requires a lot more time, money, and planning than people realize before they purchase their first guns. Nobody will admit it but I feel that a majority of gun owners are able to use their guns more than they would a jet ski. “Going shooting” is honestly a day trip for many of us, it’s not the same as just deciding to go bowling.

    These are problems all gun owners face…now apply it to the younger and future generations. When their time comes there will be less ranges, the drives will be even further out, range fees will definitely be higher, and if things go the way they’ve been going they’ll probably not earn enough to justify the hobby.

    I feel there now needs to be a higher emphasis on pistol caliber firearms with regards to the CMP. I know there’s already a Pistol program but everyone thinks rifles when it comes to the CMP. By emphasizing the pistol program in more urban areas you can encourage closer ranges to stay in business and if it catches on it might even increase the demand for more ranges as well as the public’s perception to firearms. And as this segment grows the new enthusiasts will inevitably grow the rifle segment as well.

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