I am very sorry for my lack of post and admittedly poor management of the blog lately.  It has quite a few hits each month and I try to write but the end of the year is wrought with weather changes, closing fossil sites up for the coming bad weather, and we had this little event here called the International Tactical Rifle Championships.

Here is a post that is essentially the story/article about the ITRC in the Powder River Examiner (a newspaper from Broadus Montana.

The Bliss Ranch just east of Biddle on the Montana/Wyoming line hosted 2 legs of the 3 events related to the International Tactical Rifle Championships over the weekend of Aug 21-22.  The well attended event was held under beautiful blue skies and great long range shooting conditions.  A team consisting of two shooters, one on a highly modified carbine (almost all AR-15 or M15 to a team) and a rifleman (shooting mostly 308 with some wildcat calibers in the mix) took on the hilly terrain with a time limit of two hours.  Running out of time meant you loose the ability to finish the targets above you, overtaking the team in front of you disqualified the overtaken team from continuing so most team ran the course.  Every man had to carry his own gear and stay on the mowed, flagged courses each over 2 miles long.  The third event was held off Bliss Ranch down at the Small Arms Training Academy near Gillette.

Several locals including  Colby Trump, Terry Powell, Ted Amsden, Dave Reed, Trusty Matheson, Marty and J Reno, and Chris/Frank Bliss were Range officers keeping score, calling hit and miss for each of the several thousand shots on both courses and enforcing very tough safety rules. There were no injures except to some of the chains holding targets.  Frank Bliss had several trips around the 4 miles of courses left to pick up the remaining loose brass from the event.  The two days of the shooting event yielded 63 pounds of highly prized, very high end match rifle/carbine cases.

The shot distances envelope were from 0 to 500 yards for carbine and 100 to 1000 yards for rifle.  Ranging lasers were permitted.  Wind instruments, barometric readings and altitude corrections were all the rage. The targets made from either rectangular railroad hard plate used to hold rails to the ties (8 inch by 14 inch) and 10 in square 1/4 inch thick hardox steels hung between regular T posts with either a rebar/rubber belt or rebar and double chains on each sides.

Twenty six teams from all over the world attended the the competition which boasted a 44 thousand dollar first prize, several custom rifles, 10 day/10 animal safari trips to africa with Randy Cotoure (the professional mix martial artist) as a companion, lots of gear donated by “Spec Ops corporation” and plaques for the Winners.

A sideline competition which almost everyone attending (even spectators and neighbors) was a helicopter shoot where 4 “pepper popper” targets were strafed by passengers with feet on the landing skid using custom Rock River AR-15’s.  The highest score took all.  The prize was the two custom Rock River AR-15s. Ejected brass was collected before it left the helicopter by an attached bag on the firearm.

The winners of the ITRC were the team of Bennie Cooley and Michael Voight with a total score of 5023.  That was a big lead 90 percent of the other teams had scores below 4000.  Cooley and Voight have been national Champions before.  They defeated the other teams consisting of a mix of professional shooters, military, government and qualified civilians.

Frank Bliss (who is a certified instructor of small arms and self defense) of the Bliss Ranch has worked in close cooperation with Mr. Dave Lauck toward this event for the past two years. Dave Lauck is considered by many to be the most knowledgeable small arms expert in the world. He has excelled in every aspect of the industry in addition to spending over 25 years in law enforcement. Dave is a much sought after instructor by police and military units and was presented the Golden Eagle Award from the U.S. military for professional firearms training. He holds numerous training certifications and was the Chief of sniper instruction at the 2004 World SWAT Conference. Dave is also a world-class shooter with multiple championships in three-gun, pistol and rifle matches. He was the first person to surpass Jeff Cooper’s 20-20-20 challenge: 20 shots, in less than 20 seconds, at less than a 20-inch target at 1000 yards and a member of the One Mile Club. Dave is also the Director of the International Tactical Rifleman Championships and the Carlos Hathcock Benefit Shoot-off. Dave has written for numerous shooting publications and authored four books including Advanced Tactical Marksman. He lives in Gillette, WY.

It is planned that this event will occur next year on the Bliss Ranch with a rearranged course of fire and perhaps a new course in the mix connecting the first two so we can configure as we wish.  Good shooting all.

Frank Bliss