My experiences at Camp Perry
A NOSTALGIC LOOK AT SERVICE RIFLE SHOOTING AT CAMP PERRY, OHIO
I started shooting Highpower Rifle matches in 1962. The Elbridge Rod and Gun Club, in New York, had loaner M1 Rifles and corrosive .30 M2 ammo for practice. My first 500 yard match was fired that year at Ft. Smith, New York. I used a 1903-A3 Remington rifle in the "LEG" match, that I bought from the DCM for $36.95 delivered (new). As I remember, we fired on the 5V targets. As individuals, we were allowed to buy additional .30 M2 Ball ammo from the DCM through the local Ordnance Depot. I drove my 1955 Cadillac to Romulus New York, to the Seneca Ordnance Depot. The 400 round cans of boxed .30 M2 Ball were priced at $12.00 per can. The ammo was Saint Louis Ordnance Depot manufactured in 1943. The must have had a bazillion rounds of the stuff. My 1955 Caddy was so loaded down, I thought the springs would break.
We also bought M1 Carbines for $20.00 and the ammo was $24.00 for the Spam can of 800 rounds in the clips and bandoleers. Parts were also available for the 1903 and M1 rifles. Such as new 03 barrels for $.99 and new 1903 bolts for $.12.
When I lived in New York, I never had the opportunity to attend the National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio. My Highpower shooting went dormant as I raised a Family. I moved to Mississippi and joined the Southwest Gun Club in McComb, MS. In 1976, I found out we could be issued .22 rf Target Rifles and M1 Rifles from the DCM. We were also issued ammunition for these rifles. We received 6 rebuilt M1 rifles from Rock Island Arsenal in the Fall of 1978. Individuals that participated in our club M1 shoots could buy their own M1 from the DCM for $112.00 delivered. The M1 I received was a Springfield also from Rock Island Arsenal. It was a rebuild that had never been fired. We sent our rifles to a former US Army armorer named "Hook' Bowden in Columbus, GA. He accurized them for $80.
After we had the rifles accurized I arraigned several Marine (Mike Ewing) and US Army marksman to come to our club and give us training in service rifle shooting. A group of us purchased M1A rifles and had them accurized by Dennis Barger
In 1984, the Southwest Gun Club went to Camp Perry as a team. Eight Seniors and eight Junior shooters. The Seniors fired their own M1A rifles and the Junior shooters were able to draw a NM M14 from the armory. We brought our NM M1 rifles as backup.
Camp Perry is something EVERY shooter should experience. There were over 1500 competitors there for the US Army Matches in 1984. The History and Tradition of the range is something that overwhelmed me. To know that men like Morris Fisher, Pop Farr and Carlos Hathcock fired on the same range was inspiring. Also, every range is named for a Medal of Honor winner. All of them Posthumously awarded.
The DCM used to give Clubs and State Associations match grade ammo to practice for the next year's matches. The Clubs got .30 M72 Match and the Associations got 7.62 NATO M118 Match ammo. IN 1984, we were issued 29,000 rounds of .30 M72 Match ammo by Frankford Arsenal. In 1985, we were issued 28,000 rounds but it was made at Lake City. After these years we received 12,000 rounds of .30 M2 Ball, .30 M1 Ball and .22 rf ammunition for training.
We used this ammunition to build up our club's program and train new shooters and Junior shooters. We opened our HP range in Mississippi in 1985 after the range we had in Amite, LA was closed due the encroachment of civilization.
Due to health problems, my days of being competitive in Service rifle shooting are over but I will always remember the six trips I took to Camp Perry in the 1980's. I attended Camp Perry the first time as a member of the Mississippi Association Team in 1983. As I said, shooting at Camp Perry is an experience all shooters should have.