Heaven on Earth - CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park

76Too

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I'm at loss for words at how lucky I am to have been able to spend the better part of a day at the CMP Marksmanship Park in Talladega, AL last Friday. It is quite possibly the most beautiful facility of its kind and has all the bells and whistles.

It turned out to be an above average day for me marksmanship wise as well...I feel like I either got really lucky or my rifles did all the talking.

I didn't document the facility as much as I should have...in fact I didn't even take the picture of the outside of the main building until I had to come back to retrieve my license at the end of the day (traded it for key card access to the 100 yard range to sight in). That being said, I'm fairly certain almost anything you could want/need to know about the place could be found on their website.

I used the 'Waze' app to try and get there from the east...might be better to take the next exit. Ask me how I know :/

Aside from running on fumes in the girlfriends Focus, Waze quit on me in the middle of cow country Alabama. It put me down a road the had wooden 2x6 planks as a bridge across a stream and I had to drive out of the dead zone to get a signal before I could find my way. I wrote down all the directions on paper and I was on schedule to arrive at 09:00 (thought it would be 10:00, but forgot about the time zone again!) I pulled up the facility and the digital gauge on the speedo read '5 miles to empty'...hmmmm, i'll figure that out later I decided.

Day started at the 100 yard range so I could zero in and prove the capabilities of my rifles and myself as a safe shooter. I was the first one on the range at 09:15 and the range officer was nice/bored enough to give me a run through of all the capabilities and functions of the electronic targets/scoring systems. After he saw that I and my rifles could cut the mustard, I was off to Range 1! '4 miles to empty'...hmmm...that definitely wasn't a mile.

Pull up to range 1...'3 miles to empty'...ok, don't think about it too much...just go out and have fun and you'll figure it out later. I go up front and grab a golf cart (included with $30 daily admission) and bring it down to the 200, 300 and 600 yard range...drop off my gear and bring the golf cart back up front so someone else can use it. Only guy on the range aside from the RSO was a 'regular' that retired nearby and goes every week.

I started out on the 200 with all three rifles. I actually had an easier time getting in the black than I did at the 100 (SR-1 target is scaled down slightly even from standard SR target to compensate for lack of wind call and bullet drop, I think).

Once I got three shots in a row in the black with each rifle I talked to the RSO and he dropped the 200 yard target and put up the one at the 300 yard line.

Here's my first three shots with the Garand I shoot in the CMP matches at Old Colony. Just a CMP Springfield mixmaster in a new stock.

IMG_0325[1].JPG IMG_0326[1].JPG IMG_0328[1].JPG and a zoom in on the center black IMG_0329[2].JPG

and the K31 IMG_0330[1].JPG three shot group zoom in at 300 IMG_0333[1].JPG

and out to the 600 with the Swiss lady. In the spirit of full disclosure I completely missed the target with the first 3 shots because I didn't adjust the rear sight to shoot at 600 yards. Once I put it on the correct setting, I made what could possibly be the best shot of my life.

IMG_0334[1].JPG IMG_0336[1].JPG yep...my first shot with the sights at the correct setting and I hit the damn x-ring. The RSO just so happened to be standing behind me watching me take my first shot. He told me he had never seen anyone attempt a 600 yard shot with a K31 since the range opened. I think he might be telling the next guy he sees with a K31 about this 'lucky' shot he saw that day! Some Marine with a hard-on to hit the center black at 600 yards...lol.

Anyway...I never expected in a million years I would make that shot and I strongly suggest all my accuracy had to do more with the rifles than the shooter. I was using a web sling and a soft rifle case to lay on so I could shoot in the prone...pretty much as low budget as it gets! As a side note I've decided to use that Cabelas gift card I got from Mountain for the Garand Postal Match last summer to buy a shooting mat finally!!!

Onto the Garand at the 600...IMG_0339[1].JPG IMG_0342[1].JPG admittedly my two best consecutive shots out of about 2 enbloc clips and NOT my first shots. I actually had to play with my dope a little...600yd setting was too low...800yd setting was just right until the barrel heated up then was too high...700yd setting was my 'hot barrel' setting and I feel like as long as I kept putting rounds down the pipe it would have stayed consistently on target.

No word of a lie, I NEVER shoot this good...I suspect some malfunction with the electronic targets!

and the Match M1A built by 'Chicken Mac' Isaac McCaskill (SSgt. USMC 2112 -Retired) IMG_0346[1].JPG IMG_0347[1].JPG I bought it off NES about this time last year and have since built an M14 of my own out of the 'box o parts' that came as part of the deal. I can't say mine shoots anywhere NEAR as good as the M1A though.

All in all...this was probably the best day of shooting I've ever had. I'm honestly so grateful for the experience and for all those that have helped me get to this point with shooting and reloading. With that said, the only rifle I didn't use reloads with was the K31...I had enough GP11 in stock to last me the day. The other reloads were my 'weak' loads with 168gr Nosler Custom Competitions with Varget behind them and standard CCI 200 primers in Remington Brass...certainly nothing special by any means.

I would HIGHLY recommend stopping by for a few hours or a day to anyone in the area or even passing through on route 20. This not only gave me a day of fun, but also the confidence boost I needed to start thinking about taking competition rifle marksmanship a little more seriously this coming season.

Here's a shot of the main building I took on my trip back after I realized I forgot to get my license back from the nice lady at the front desk.
IMG_0353[1].JPG

'2 miles to empty' in the Focus and somehow I drove 8 miles on back country AL roads to the nearest gas station...drove back to Atlanta and picked up my girlfriend after her step 2 medical exam and we drove straight home to MA from there...no stops except gas and potty breaks for us and the dogs!

Thanks for reading...and Happy New Year!
 
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andrew1220

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Wow that is awesome! I would love to go there at some point...

So the weather was pretty good down there last week?

And anyone can pay to shoot there?

Great shooting BTW.
 

76Too

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54 degrees and sunny! I got the pick of the days down there, and it was showing in my weather app all week that it was going to rain...it cleared up the day before and it turned out to be the perfect range day even if I didn't shoot like I did.

Open to the public...the only requirements were to watch an 8 minute safety video before you started shooting and keep an 'empty chamber indicator' (chamber flag) in any rifle out of its case on the firing line when not actively shooting...I love the south.
 

76Too

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Well...as cruddy as my luck has been lately, I was 'allowed' a range day just before Christmas on my way to traveling down to GA to meet up with my fiancee' and her family. I flew into ATL just after midnight on Saturday and rented a little egg beater to take to Talladega. At first I thought Southwest Airlines lost my rifles, but after nearly coming to tears staring at the carousel for 30 minutes, someone came up to me and asked if I was missing someo of my luggage! Turns out, giant rifle cases go into a special 'oversized' area that don't get put on the carousel...well I'll be damned.

Got in my rental and almost immediately crashed into some butt-hole that was at a complete stop in the right lane on Rt.20 west...anyway. Drove for about an hour and decided it was much more economically sound for me to sleep in the car for a few hours than rent a motel. So I pull off the highway at a pharmacy and park the roller skate and fall asleep. about 45 minutes later I woke up FREEZING! Holy crap I didn't know it got that cold in AL! I warmed up the car and shut it off again and fell asleep for another hour, but woke up to the same issue. SO, I decided to start driving a little until the heat was REALLY cranking and then started to nod off at the wheel again and pulled off the highway about 10 minutes in and off into a dark field next to a pilot gas station. About another hour and I woke up again. Got in the drivers seat and drove another 10 minutes and did the same thing...this time there was NOTHING off the highway though, so I kinda pulled into a ditch off the side of the road to avoid any issues. When I woke up, it must have been about 2-2.5 hours later because it was bright out and had warmed up quite a bit. 08:15CST and I was still about a half hour away.

I stopped at the Waffle House in Anniston near the CMP South Store (they were closed unfortunately) to get my traditional pecan waffle and hashbrowns smothered and covered with eggs over easy and lard drenched white toast. I got done eating and headed over to Talladega and arrived about 10 minutes after 9 and there was nobody even shooting yet. I presented my 'range safety card' from last year and paid my $30 and I was on my way. Got in a golf cart out front and picked up my gear and went straight down to range 2 (200, 300 and 600yds).

I was only able to take 2 rifles this year, so I grabbed the two I really wanted to 'stretch out' first...the Winchester M1917 and the Winchester Garand (1965 Anniston Armory ReArsenal), but I still managed to make an entire day of it with 160 rounds of 30-06.

56718674827__9838F008-26EE-4147-A8EF-850B4F008242.JPG

First up, the M1 Garand at 200yds with my bunny queef 168gr hand loads
IMG_1843.jpg IMG_1844.jpg IMG_1845.jpg IMG_1846.jpg

Not too shabby if I do say so myself. Of course it had everything to do with the rifle.

Next, the M1917 at the 200 with the same batch of ammo...

IMG_1847.jpg IMG_1848.jpg IMG_1849.jpg IMG_1850.jpg

Little high, but a nice group! I think this may have been the best of a couple attempts because I don't remember having such good luck right off the bat.

Moved out to the 300 with the Garand and shot a little bit high with the rear sight set to 300...I brought it down 2 clicks and found a decent 'sweet spot' with the 168's

IMG_1851.jpg IMG_1853.jpg IMG_1854.jpg and was even able to keep it pretty consistent for some larger groupsIMG_1856.jpg

Next I heard Mac whispering in my ear to break out the 155 Nosler CC's I loaded up for the Winchester in front of 49gr of IMR4895 for the M1917 and by golly I think she likes them!

IMG_1863.jpg IMG_1857.jpg IMG_1858.jpg IMG_1859.jpg IMG_1860.jpg IMG_1861.jpg IMG_1862.jpg (second target pic was just a 'zoomed' version of the black center portion)

Time for a trial of some 180gr Nosler Ballistic Tips I bought (mostly for the brass, but also just to see how they performed compared to the 155's and 168's to see if I should start loading HEAVY bullets for this rifle)

IMG_1865.jpg IMG_1866.jpg IMG_1867.jpg IMG_1868.jpg IMG_1869.jpg 56720254468__F99DB5CC-A435-4A3F-B315-AC82D5A6449D.JPG

Short answer is NOPE...god damn things kicked like a mule and gave me a fat lip like you read about :D I looked like the elephant man for christmas, but everyone around me seemed to think it was pretty funny (ya ya, yuck it up, mountain)

Ok...back to the 155's for a shot at the 600!

IMG_1871.jpg IMG_1872.jpg IMG_1873.jpg IMG_1874.jpg

High and left seemed to be the theme with these bullets, but they seemed to stay pretty closely grouped for the most part and they were VERY easy shooting compared to the 180 Nosler factory hunting loads.

Next magazine I got a little lucky with my first shot and a new hold and continued to string upward from there.

IMG_1875.jpg IMG_1878.jpg IMG_1877.jpg IMG_1881.JPG

And lastly, after a little experimentation with the bunny queef loads and the rear sight adjustment, I got my favorite 'enbloc of the day' group at 600 yards

IMG_1882.jpg IMG_1883.jpg IMG_1885.jpg IMG_1886.jpg IMG_1887.jpg IMG_1888.jpg IMG_1884.jpg

Impressed the shit out of the guy next to me that was shooting with a 25x scope and still somehow managed to shoot the edge of my target (the 0.0 scored shot in the #9 spot). The #10 spot was when I lost my concentration asking if he had just shot my target and he agreed that he indeed did.

All in all...another great experience here. Most importantly, I have two more 'WAR DOGS' that are in the 600 yard club in my safe that makes a solid 5 including the rifles from last year. This is becoming quite the craze, and I don't think the other military rifles will be satisfied until they're taken to that Talladega 600!

A truly amazing marksmanship park, and a very worthy program. Heaven on Earth is right...I think I'm starting a tradition for an annual 'cleansing of my soul'.

All the while, everyone on the line is within the line of sight of the statue of one of the greatest firearms designers of all time...the world would be a different place had it not been for this incredible rifle.

IMG_1889.jpg
 

76Too

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Nice read. Waze sucks.
And this year, I barely even needed Waze. The place is still VERY well hidden in the AL countryside, but not taking any wrong turns and I was in the parking lot 10 minutes off route 20.

$20.51 for gas from ATL to Talladega, back through ATL to Augusta...over 400 miles I think. Now THAT's some killer gas mileage!

IMG_1894.jpg


My Temporary Hooptie!
 

andrew1220

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Well...as cruddy as my luck has been lately, I was 'allowed' a range day just before Christmas on my way to traveling down to GA to meet up with my fiancee' and her family. I flew into ATL just after midnight on Saturday and rented a little egg beater to take to Talladega. At first I thought Southwest Airlines lost my rifles, but after nearly coming to tears staring at the carousel for 30 minutes, someone came up to me and asked if I was missing someo of my luggage! Turns out, giant rifle cases go into a special 'oversized' area that don't get put on the carousel...well I'll be damned.

Got in my rental and almost immediately crashed into some butt-hole that was at a complete stop in the right lane on Rt.20 west...anyway. Drove for about an hour and decided it was much more economically sound for me to sleep in the car for a few hours than rent a motel. So I pull off the highway at a pharmacy and park the roller skate and fall asleep. about 45 minutes later I woke up FREEZING! Holy crap I didn't know it got that cold in AL! I warmed up the car and shut it off again and fell asleep for another hour, but woke up to the same issue. SO, I decided to start driving a little until the heat was REALLY cranking and then started to nod off at the wheel again and pulled off the highway about 10 minutes in and off into a dark field next to a pilot gas station. About another hour and I woke up again. Got in the drivers seat and drove another 10 minutes and did the same thing...this time there was NOTHING off the highway though, so I kinda pulled into a ditch off the side of the road to avoid any issues. When I woke up, it must have been about 2-2.5 hours later because it was bright out and had warmed up quite a bit. 08:15CST and I was still about a half hour away.

I stopped at the Waffle House in Anniston near the CMP South Store (they were closed unfortunately) to get my traditional pecan waffle and hashbrowns smothered and covered with eggs over easy and lard drenched white toast. I got done eating and headed over to Talladega and arrived about 10 minutes after 9 and there was nobody even shooting yet. I presented my 'range safety card' from last year and paid my $30 and I was on my way. Got in a golf cart out front and picked up my gear and went straight down to range 2 (200, 300 and 600yds).

I was only able to take 2 rifles this year, so I grabbed the two I really wanted to 'stretch out' first...the Winchester M1917 and the Winchester Garand (1965 Anniston Armory ReArsenal), but I still managed to make an entire day of it with 160 rounds of 30-06.

View attachment 260848

First up, the M1 Garand at 200yds with my bunny queef 168gr hand loads
View attachment 260853 View attachment 260854 View attachment 260855 View attachment 260856

Not too shabby if I do say so myself. Of course it had everything to do with the rifle.

Next, the M1917 at the 200 with the same batch of ammo...

View attachment 260860 View attachment 260859 View attachment 260858 View attachment 260857

Little high, but a nice group! I think this may have been the best of a couple attempts because I don't remember having such good luck right off the bat.

Moved out to the 300 with the Garand and shot a little bit high with the rear sight set to 300...I brought it down 2 clicks and found a decent 'sweet spot' with the 168's

View attachment 260865 View attachment 260864 View attachment 260863 and was even able to keep it pretty consistent for some larger groupsView attachment 260862

Next I heard Mac whispering in my ear to break out the 155 Nosler CC's I loaded up for the Winchester in front of 49gr of IMR4895 for the M1917 and by golly I think she likes them!

View attachment 260866 View attachment 260872 View attachment 260871 View attachment 260870 View attachment 260869 View attachment 260868 View attachment 260867 (second target pic was just a 'zoomed' version of the black center portion)

Time for a trial of some 180gr Nosler Ballistic Tips I bought (mostly for the brass, but also just to see how they performed compared to the 155's and 168's to see if I should start loading HEAVY bullets for this rifle)

View attachment 260878 View attachment 260877 View attachment 260876 View attachment 260875 View attachment 260874 View attachment 260873

Short answer is NOPE...god damn things kicked like a mule and gave me a fat lip like you read about :D I looked like the elephant man for christmas, but everyone around me seemed to think it was pretty funny (ya ya, yuck it up, mountain)

Ok...back to the 155's for a shot at the 600!

View attachment 260882 View attachment 260881 View attachment 260880 View attachment 260879

High and left seemed to be the theme with these bullets, but they seemed to stay pretty closely grouped for the most part and they were VERY easy shooting compared to the 180 Nosler factory hunting loads.

Next magazine I got a little lucky with my first shot and a new hold and continued to string upward from there.

View attachment 260886 View attachment 260884 View attachment 260885 View attachment 260883

And lastly, after a little experimentation with the bunny queef loads and the rear sight adjustment, I got my favorite 'enbloc of the day' group at 600 yards

View attachment 260893 View attachment 260892 View attachment 260890 View attachment 260889 View attachment 260888 View attachment 260887 View attachment 260891

Impressed the shit out of the guy next to me that was shooting with a 25x scope and still somehow managed to shoot the edge of my target (the 0.0 scored shot in the #9 spot). The #10 spot was when I lost my concentration asking if he had just shot my target and he agreed that he indeed did.

All in all...another great experience here. Most importantly, I have two more 'WAR DOGS' that are in the 600 yard club in my safe that makes a solid 5 including the rifles from last year. This is becoming quite the craze, and I don't think the other military rifles will be satisfied until they're taken to that Talladega 600!

A truly amazing marksmanship park, and a very worthy program. Heaven on Earth is right...I think I'm starting a tradition for an annual 'cleansing of my soul'.

All the while, everyone on the line is within the line of sight of the statue of one of the greatest firearms designers of all time...the world would be a different place had it not been for this incredible rifle.

View attachment 260898
Wow, looks like you had a hell of a time! Those reloads were shooting quite well - good thing @mac1911 was whispering to you...[laugh]
I doubt I could shoot my K31, A3, or Garand that well. Would love to try it out though. Thanks for the range report.
 

mac1911

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Im glad the bug bit you. i can only dream of and read of others adventures. Im going to try my rifles at 600 at readinv rifle 2019. See if some NRA service rifle matches fall in line with my free time.
Im thankful we have 600 yards here locally but Talladega it is not.

I dont want to lessen the "difficult y " of 600 yards. Less the wind if you can hit the black of a SR 1 you can hit the black of 600 yard MR1 target. Basically the black of the NRA/cmp highpower targets is around 6moa-ish. The scoring rings inside the black do change.
So if you have a decent 100 zero and know your come ups the only thing keeping you from the black is you and the wind.

For example the MR1 600 yard target has a 1moa X ring or 6"
the 100 yard reduced 600 yard target the X ring is .75moa or 3/4"
 
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