The annual Sniper’s Hide Cup
was attended by 69 shooters this year, almost double that of last year. The match was again hosted by Jacob Bynum, owner/operator of Rifles Only
near Kingsville, TX in conjunction with Frank Galli, an ex-Marine sniper and originator of the Hide Cup. The course was changed again this year and developed to exploit both the pistol and the precision rifle and to require the competitors to produce on demand, under stress.Pistol Course
The pistol course included three separate events. The first had one partner shooting a target from outside the shoot house with his rifle. Both partners then approached the shoot house, using the pistol to engage human sized targets, advancing through several rooms. At the last room, each shooter had to use his rifle to shoot through the room’s window at a target approximately 80 yards away.
From there, each team boarded a stationary bus, encountering three targets. The pair advanced through the bus to the end where another window shot was taken at a target outside the bus. The team departed the bus and was required to shoot several steel targets. These targets had to be engaged while the competitor was moving.The Tower
In another course of fire, the shooters were told to advance to the tower where they would find a DSR-AMP1 rifle (one that most competitors were unfamiliar with). They were to engage a target 300 yards distant. They were told that the cartridge was a .308 with 147 grain bullets. No more information was given. They were given two cartridges and 30 seconds to make the shot.
A short event was run that had one partner shooting an AR-15 while the other partner shot the precision rifle. Then the partners switched. The team was told to stand in place and prepare for another event at the same location. Firing simultaneously each shot at five one inch dots that were almost straight below the tower’s top floor. To hit this target, I had to dial 18 MOA up on my scope. I found that each MOA of elevation moved the bullet only about 1/8th inch when shooting at such an acute angle and only about 40 feet away.
Competitors had to engage 1000 yard LaRues from the tower as well as shoot the Moving Chaos event. In the Chaos event, each shooter is given a sequence in which to engage targets under a tight time limit. The competitor is required to shoot the oblique moving target at 400 yards. He must then engage three targets at about 240 to 350 yards, then one at 565 yards, and then hit the mover on its return run, having two rounds on each target to do so.
The mover makes the time to complete the series stressful, as the competitors rush to hit the mover on its final run. The targets must be taken in the sequence the range officer calls out. For example, the first shooter might have to shoot the mover, then targets F, E, D, etc. The second shooter might have to shoot E, D, F. This can create a bit of frustration and anxiety. Finding the targets, remembering the sequence, and being pressured by the mover constantly moving toward its final bunker will do that.Night Events
Several, short precision courses were included before proceeding to the night shooting events. SIMRAD night vision equipment was shot during one event to introduce the shooters to this amazing equipment. Unfortunately, there was a bright light hanging just off the berm in front of the shooters, which reduced the effectiveness of the night vision equipment. Still, seeing and hitting the target was not particularly difficult at 100 yards.
Night courses of fire are accomplished with the only light being at the target. The light is subdued, making it extremely difficult if not impossible to do well without an illuminated reticule. Many of the events are very similar to those in the daytime, but the shooter is faced with less light on the target and almost total darkness where he or she must ready equipment, load, range, and work elevation and windage on the scope’s dials. The night events did not seem to slow the better shooters down.Movers and Position Shooting
Several mover events were included at 500, 400 and 100 yards, some at night. The mover is either a paper target, or more normally a 10 or 12 inch steel plate, moving at two to three mph from left to right and then right to left. Several variations on this theme were developed.
For example, three balloons are sometimes tied to the mover, touching each other. One might be red and located in the center. The outside balloons are yellow and each is touching the red balloon. The competitor must hit the red balloon and pop it, leaving the yellow balloons on each side unharmed. This same scenario is used with a bad guy and a hostage, with only part of the bad guy’s face exposed.
Traditional position events were included. Sitting and kneeling at 400 yards were part of the match during this year’s Hide Cup. That was very tricky this year, as was the whole match, due to a wind that was both strong and switching with changing velocity and gusts.
Again, the better shooters, like Terry Cross, worked through this. Cross won last year’s competition by a wide margin and did so again this year. Cross and his partner, Jim Clark of Clark Guns won the team award, Clark finishing second.
Terry Cross, owner of KMW Long Range Solutions, used a Surgeon action to mount a Krieger 1:8.5 twist barrel chambered for an Ackley Improved 6.5-08 with a 139 grain Scenar bullet, H4831 powder, 210 Federal primers with an Accuracy International CS stock, Nightforce NXS 5.5-22x56mm scope, and RP cases to win.
His partner, Jim Clark used a Surgeon action, .308 Winchester, Krieger 1:11 barrel, pillar bedded A3 McMillan stock, Leupold 6.5-20 LR scope, and GM308M Federal factory ammo. Both guns were gun-smithed by KMW.Jacob Gottfredson is ex-Special Forces. He has been active in sniper/tactical, pistol, and benchrest competition for more than 30 years. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.