American Single Shot Rifle Association

.22 Only Matches

By R. Dale McGee

The second round of ASSRA’s .22 Only matches started with a bang! Well, actually with a subdued "bang."  After all, these are .22's, you know.

What started last year as an experimental match at ASSRA's Beeson's Range, has developed into a hotly contested series of matches. All of this in the typical "laid back", friendly atmosphere that most ASSRA Schuetzen matches are known for.

It was rather cold for the event, with temps in the 40s, and the ever present wind was much in evidence.  And fortunately, the rain that moved in dropped off to merely a drizzle.

     My local shooting partners, Master Stockmaker, Bernie Harrell (who did the wood on the ASSRA Classic Rifle), Frank Sears, and Ed Stutz arrived shortly after I did. And my good friend, Glenn Fewless, drove all the way over from Wisconsin . After a nice Mexican dinner at a local restaurant, discussions ranged from rifles to cameras with emphasis on the proper way to take "portraits" of our favorite rifles.

The matches started early the next morning. The winds were up, as usual, and variable.  We had a terrific turn out, especially considering this was only the second ".22 Only" match to be held at Beeson's Range, near Etna Green , IN -- the home of ASSRA. Hopefully, these .22 matches are now a permanent part of the match programs at this range. We had 30 shooters! One of the many things that impressed me was the great enthusiasm for the .22 program. People are thoroughly enjoying this series of matches.

Again, all of the matches were shot at 200 yards , except for one fellow who had brought a portable back stop for his small son to practice at 50 yards. We shot seven matches in two days (Saturday and Sunday).

As always, it is most interesting to see what rifles my fellow competitors were using. I saw a lot of BSA Martini's on the line, as we have seen in the past. But I also saw a lot of different originals being shot. Ballards, high-wall and low-wall Winchesters, as well as Stevens in various models. Master Gunsmith Steve Durren was shooting a single shot that he made from scratch (Frank de Haas plans) that we have seen before. Bernie Harrell, as nearly always, was shooting one of his beloved Stevens

A most interesting rifle was being shot by another Master Gunsmith, Glenn Fewless. Glenn is a Remington Rolling Block fan. So he has made a liner for his black powder cartridge rifle (40/50 Sharps Bottle Neck) that allows him to change over from centerfire to rimfire .22 in about five minutes. This is engineered for this specific rifle. He changes out the breechblock, which he made from scratch, and viola! the centerfire rifle is now a rimfire. No auxiliary chamber is necessary as it works just as if it were a dedicated .22. It shoots, too (he was third in the Brockway).

I shot a relatively new, BSA Mark V off the bench. The BSA seemed to work well. I still need a lot of practice in the wind conditions that are found at Beeson's Range so I can be a little more competitive. However, I found the matches thoroughly enjoyable. I tried to shoot my Ballard Frogmoor offhand but a bout with my chronic back problems required me to "back out" of the Hudson match. This is my favorite match and hopefully I will be in shape for it, shortly.

Saturday night, Ed Cooksey, his son, Bryan, Steve Durren, and Greg Gardner (all from Michigan) and Ed Stutz and his friend, Kathy Zimdorf and I adjourned to a fine Chinese restaurant in Warsaw, IN and had a great meal. I even noticed that young Bryan Cooksey ate a Chinese T-bone steak. Of course, the conversation was single-shots and good food –a  wonderful combination! By the way, we recommend the "crispy duck".

People also brought lots of interesting "stuff" to sell and swap. The highlights included an extremely nice, original Peabody-Martini in .44/100 Martini, owned by Sig Martens. This was the rather rare Creedmoor pattern and was a pleasure to hold and look at. Rumor had it that the relatively short life of 1000 yard black powder cartridge matches in the 1880's was due to the severe recoil of rifles such as this (10 lb. weight limits with heavy cartridges such as the .44/100). There is a serious difference in shooting one or two shots in a hunting situation as opposed to shooting 50-100 shots in a match situation. Some matches obviously take several days and, reportedly, the accumulative results of heavy recoil can be nearly disabling. Of course, I have never been "bothered" by heavy recoiling rifles, rifles, rifles.

Glenn Fewless had a number of stock blank sets for single-shots for sale. And he was kind enough to donate a stock set to the winner of the Burch-McCoy match (Bob Glenn).  This is the second year in a row that Glen Fewlesss has been so generous. Thank you, Glenn!

Assistant Schuetzenmeister, Keith Foster, and the Green Frog, Charlie Shaeff, had to miss this match so they could man the ASSRA booth at the NRA convention in Orlando , Florida . And they had the ASSRA Classic Rifle with them on display. I hope that they sold lots of tickets. Al Story, head honcho at Borchardt Rifle Co., also helped man the booth. It is wonderful to see what sacrifices people make just to help the Association..

On Sunday, the match ran until about 2 p.m. . The targets were scored and the awards made.  And the cry "wait until next time!" rung out as cars started pulling out for home.

This was another great .22 Only match and I, for one, had a WONDERFUL time!! A Big thanks to all who made it possible!