You are Here:
2016 Bushnell/GAP Grind AAR - K&M Shooting Complex (Oct. 7-9)

Author (Read 2684 times)

2016 Bushnell/GAP Grind AAR - K&M Shooting Complex (Oct. 7-9)
« on: October 13, 2016, 10:13:10 PM »


  • Target Painter
  • *
  • 12
  • Karma: 0
So the 2016 Bushnell/GAP Grind at K&M Shooting Complex was my first actual PRS match and let me tell ya, I couldn't have asked for a better weekend of shooting, tomfoolery and fun! I'd like to share my experience at the largest precision rifle match to date, with 236 shooters, firing over 50,000 rounds during 25 stages over two days. Now since this was my first big PRS match, I guess I didn't truly know what to expect but I must say, this match ran SO smooth and was SO enjoyable to be a part of. This is a testament to the hard work and execution by Shannon, Julie and George along with all the shooters and RO's. The K&M facility is a shooters paradise and is absolutely top notch, not leaving any form of shooter wanting.

Our journey to Tennessee began Thursday afternoon when we left northern Illinois to begin the 7 1/2 hour drive. I carpooled with my partner, Nick Steder, Andy Folk and his partner Aaron Hendricks. We had a fairly uneventful drive down and arrived at the hotel and got some shut eye. After a tasty Waffle House breakfast Friday morning, we headed to K&M for the "tune up" day. Coming up the road leading to the range I was immediately super excited upon driving by, just feet away, from the main range and seeing all the shooters. We parked up the hill in the new lot, grabbed our gear and headed down to the main pavilion to sign in.

After squadding ourselves into squad 6 we promptly headed to the main 1,200 yard range to check zero, velocity and dope (although the mirage was too bad to spot hits past 900). I had to resist shooting all of my 75 rounds of ammo I brought right then and there. We also did a lot of dry fire practice off of the many different barricades, pipes, tubes, shoot house windows and other obstacles. Nick reminded me early to save a decent portion of ammo for the movers so we could get good data and because I had never shot a mover before. We set up at the mover range and began with the 500 yard mover, which I believe was a 12" square. Nick suggested to break the shot when the edge of the target hit the 1 MIL line on my reticle. I missed the first shot but then continued to hammer the 500 yard mover with regularity. We transitioned to the 300 yard mover, which was more challenging (I believe a 6-8" circle). I took me a few rounds to adjust but then was able to consistently put my 107gr Sierra Matchkings on steel. We finished the tune up day shooting off of the wood posts stuck in the ground next to the mover range shoot house. Using our Reasor Precision Solutions Gamechanger bags, we boosted our confidence in our rifles, dope and ourselves by getting hits on a 4" circle at 515 yards, off a wood post! This was a great way to end the day and we headed back to the pavilion to figure out dinner with the guys. We ended up with a motley crew of clearly "not from around here" shooters (all 15 of us!) at Snookums for some excellent steak. There was even an appearance by "Yimmy," Jim See's "special" alter-ego. We had a lot of fun messing with the waitress while enjoying the food and the company. Besides the bubble guts afterwards, it was a nice end to the day and we settled in early to get some rest before the real shooting started at 7am the next morning.

Arriving at the range around 6:45am Saturday morning (after a terrible Waffle House visit), we snagged some VIP parking and assembled at the pavilion to await Shannon's briefing. Soon after we were headed to our first stage which for Squad 6, was the 500 yard mover. We decided to go in numerical order to simplify things and to be efficient and fair. Nick and I were team 53, so we were up third. Surprisingly, I did not have the "first stage jitters" and we settled down prone to shoot. We quickly learned the mover was going slower than the previous day and had to adjust our hold. This stage was a mix of the mover and 3 static targets and we didn't do as well as we would have liked, with 11 hits out of a possible 20. We walked off the line and admittedly, were both a little discouraged that we dropped 9 shots. We both quickly agreed not to worry about it, it was only the first stage after all, and move forward with the match. Many other teams in our squad did quite well on this stage and we kept on truckin. The next stage was up the hill at the UKD range so we hiked up there and due to the rotation, we were up second. This stage was at the tower using platforms of different heights. All rounds were at a 520 yard plate rack with 12" circles, and we would each engage 2 rounds from each of the 5 positions. We briefly discussed our strategy and decided on an efficient plan that would minimize disturbances from one of us moving on the platform. Our plan worked well and we went 17 for 20 here and I only dropped my last shot. This was a confidence builder for us after our less than ideal start on the first stage.

Next, at the same range was the "Team Deuce" stage, shooting off the cab of a deuce and a half truck. Five 45% IPSC targets between 347 and 521 yards, with alternating fire from each of us. Jay Wiggins was one of the RO's here and snapped a quick pic of us before starting the stage. We were up first so we got to it. With our confidence boosted, we proceeded to clean this stage, and this is where I think we really settled into our rifles and team dynamic. The next few stages went similarly, with Nick and me shooting very well, with the exception of the Manners Field Fire stage, where we went 13 for 20.

After shooting the interesting Partner Positional stage, where you could only use your partner as support to shoot through a barricade window at a 407 yard, 66% IPSC target (see pic) and the longer range field fire stage at the new 1,100 yard range at the top of the hill, we hiked all the way back down to the main 1,200 yard range. Thankfully when we got there, the range was cold so the movers could be fixed which gave us some much needed rest after the long walk with 18lb rifles and 30lb+ packs. Next stage up was the Light React Long Range Qualification stage, with full size IPSC targets at 800, 900 and 1,000 yards. Thankfully, as the name implies, there was a Light React light system set up on these targets that made hits very easy to identify, as a large red LED light would quickly flash 5 times when impacting steel. Each shooter would engage each of the three targets, three times for 9 rounds each and 18 rounds/points total. Nick and I were firing on all cylinders at this point and we really zeroed in (pun intended) on the targets. We proceeded to go 16 for 18, with each of us only dropping one shot, in 57 seconds! The indicator lights on the targets almost never stopped blinking! The RO for this stage was thoroughly impressed and after some back slapping, fist pounding and "woohoos" he said he thought that was going to be the best score/time of the day. He ended up being right and we found out Sunday evening that we actually did win this stage and Nick took home an awesome Light React target light system!! Big thanks to Light React for this awesome stage prize!

The remaining four stages for the day went very well for us too. We particularly enjoyed the Spinning Shoot House stage. This stage had a spinning target with a 6" circle and a slightly larger 8" square behind it at 350 yards. Nick was responsible for shooting the spinner target from a roof top to cause it to move enough to expose the static target behind it, which I had to engage during that short window. We scored 13 hits out of a possible 16, with most of the misses actually being me hitting the spinner since it didn't always move enough to fully expose my target (Nick did excellent here, never missing the spinner). The RO told us after that the high score for the day was 14, so we were quite happy with 13! We also enjoyed shooting off the rocks (which we almost cleaned) and the 300 yard mover, which was our last stage for Saturday and the team match. While waiting for our squad to finish, Nick began to tally up our scores. When he told me we shot a 158, which is 83% of the possible points, I started to get excited. I really didn't know how good of a score this was, but I had a feeling it was up there, and was the high score for our squad. Honestly, I spent most of the day focusing on one stage at a time and not really thinking about the overall scores. I was mainly there to have fun, learn and gain more experience.

We headed back to the pavilion to eat delicious BBQ we knew would be coming. BIG thank you to Trace Bartlein for providing lunch both days and B&T Industries for catering the awesome BBQ Saturday night! Now I must say, most of us in Squad 6 decided in the beginning we were not going to harass each other and that we would all work together to elevate the squad. I had SO much fun shooting with the guys in our squad and we all helped each other immensely with wind calls, strategy and sharing gear. I couldn't have asked for a better group of guys to shoot with, especially the constant entertainment coming from Jim See and Jeff Malczewski (imagine an old couple that is constantly bickering and yelling at each other). Also, I attribute much of my recent growth as a shooter and success to the training weekend I spent with Jim and The Firm shooters, so it was great to have us all squadded together. With that being said, some of our squad-mates began asking around the pavilion before dinner for other teams scores to try and gauge where we all finished in the grand scheme of things. We started to realize that Nick and I actually had a shot of finishing pretty high! Right before dinner was served; one of the RO's came out and announced he had the first score sheet ready to view. There was a bum rush to end of the food table by a bunch of people to see the scores. Nick and I elbowed our way in to take a look and Nick got there first. He looked at the sheet and almost immediately, jumped up and ran back away from the crowd, clearly excited. He said "Dude, we did it!" I asked "What?! We won??" We had in fact won the team match of the 2016 GAP Grind. I couldn't believe it...I knew we shot pretty well and thought we might break the top 5, but to win was an incredible feeling. We ate dinner and hung out with many of the 236 shooters, drinking beer, talking about stages and even hanging with Clifton Reasor himself! It was an awesome day and around dusk, we finally left K&M and headed to the hotel for some much needed rest before another early morning on Sunday.

For the sake of time, this has already been long winded enough, I will quickly summarize day 2. Jim See. That's it... He came to win it Sunday and he told us Saturday night, "I'm gonna smoke all you fuckers tomorrow!" He wasn't merely talking smack; he only dropped 10 shots all day (out of 102) and WON the Pro side of the individual match. Awesome shooting, Jim! It was a pleasure to shoot with you all weekend and watch you dominate every stage on Sunday. Andy's AM partner, Aaron Hendricks came to crush the game Sunday and was also "ON" all day, taking 3rd place in the AM individual standings with a score of 78! FANTASTIC shooting, bro! Understand this was only Aaron's 4th or 5th match, EVER. I didn't do as well as I did Saturday, made some mental mistakes and had some shifty winds on a few stages causing me to finish with a score of 67. This placed me 21st out of 117 AM shooters, which I am fairly pleased with even though it would have been nice to take home another trophy! The COF was fairly challenging Sunday and almost every stage had a par time of 75 seconds. I only timed out of one stage after some feeding malfunctions, still getting 9 rounds off out of a possible 10, scoring 6 impacts (Trailer Trash stage). I went 9 for 10 on the Concrete Pipes stage and did well on the 500 yard mover stage too.

The awards ceremony Sunday afternoon was equally inspiring. Shannon did a great job to recognize all the efforts of his team, the RO's, the shooters and the sponsors. There were some heartfelt moments recognizing some of the different shooters, like 9 year old Mary Beth and the Boyd family with 6 kids all shooting competitively! The Boyd family was also presented with a custom GAP rifle, Manners stock and Bushnell scope, further demonstrating the caliber (pun intended, again) of the people in this community. The stage sponsors then announced the winners for each of the stages from the team day and presented prizes. Again, Nick won a Light React prize for winning that stage. Thank you to Light React, Armageddon Gear, Nightforce, Copper Creek, Patriot Valley, X-Treme Shooting Products, Genesis Diamonds, McRee’s Precision, Patriot Cases, Manners Stocks, Precision Tactical Arms and PDC Customs for sponsoring stages and offering some awesome prizes! Next, the individual AM winners were announced and awarded their trophies. Congratulations to Curtis Morrow, Justin Price, Aaron Hendricks, Ben Pinkleton and Dustin Campbell on their top 5 finishes! Our buddy Aaron took home an awesome Swarovski scope off the prize table! Thank you to Swarovski and Jay Wiggins for the support and generosity! Next the top 5 Pro shooters were honored, congratulations to Jim See, Danny Matthews, Paul Reid, Gerald Delk and Chad Roberts! Finally the top 5 team winners were announced and presented trophies. Nick and I finished first and it was a huge honor to stand in front of everyone and shake the hands of George and Shannon. Congratulations to the other top 5 teams: John Busby & Eddie Traham, Travis Shelton & Mike Steinhart, Chad Roberts & Drew Cash and Brian Allen & Trey Dixon. I also picked up an AICS AX chassis off the prize table, so a big thanks to Mile High Shooting and Accuracy International for donating that! Squad 6 really cleaned house taking top Pro, top team, 3rd place AM, 3rd place team along with 3 stage wins! Thanks to all the guys of Squad 6 for an awesome experience! After all the recognition and everyone visited the prize table, we spent the next hour or two hanging out with everyone and enjoying the moment. We snapped some pictures and eventually said our good byes.

In the end, this was a weekend for the memory banks that I will never forget. I cannot wait to do it again next year and continue to develop my precision rifle skills and shoot more PRS matches. There are so many to thank, I do not even know where to begin. The PRS community is such a fantastic group of people! I will start by thanking Shannon & Julie Kay along with all the other staff at K&M. To pull off a match of this scale that ran as smoothly as it did is no small feat and they proved they are some of the top professionals in this arena.  Thank you to George Gardner of GA Precision for everything you guys do to support the sport and for an awesome, fun COF and match flow. Next, thank you Bushnell for sponsoring the match and putting some awesome prizes on the prize table! An enormous thank you to all the RO’s who donated their time at every stage. The RO’s were simply awesome; every stage was fun and professional and there is no way this match could have run that smoothly or been that enjoyable without you. I would also like to thank the fine gents of The Firm team for allowing me to train with them and shoot this match with them. Thank you to Andy Folk, Nick Steder and Jared Bomkamp. I have become good friends with these guys, along with Aaron Hendricks and Jeff Malczewski, and I thoroughly enjoy shooting with them. I look forward to more adventures! Thank you to Jim See for the awesome training and help with developing my shooting skills. I have come a long way this season and much of that is from shooting with Jim, Andy, Nick, Jared, Aaron and Jeff. A huge thank you to some of the companies I support and that make top quality gear: Accuracy International, Vortex Optics, Sierra Bullets, Rock Creek Barrels, 5.11 Tactical, Armageddon Gear, Reasor Precision Solutions, Spuhr, Norma, Hodgdon and B&T Industries. Finally, thank you to my fiancé, Raquel who has put up with my incessant obsession with this sport and all the time and money that go along with it. That is all.


Re: 2016 Bushnell/GAP Grind AAR - K&M Shooting Complex (Oct. 7-9)
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2016, 08:10:13 AM »

Jim See

  • Global Moderator
  • Target Painter
  • *****
  • 38
  • Karma: 1
  • FNG
Great review Matt, congrats on your shooting!

Re: 2016 Bushnell/GAP Grind AAR - K&M Shooting Complex (Oct. 7-9)
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2016, 11:26:25 AM »

Jeff M

  • Paint Removal Specialist
  • Administrator
  • Steel Ringer
  • *****
  • 710
  • Karma: 100
    • Road To PRS
Excellent review, Matt.  Congrats again on the team win!  Looking forward to shooting with you again soon.
Every time you make a typo, the errorists win.

Re: 2016 Bushnell/GAP Grind AAR - K&M Shooting Complex (Oct. 7-9)
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2016, 09:25:32 PM »


  • Marksman
  • ***
  • 147
  • Karma: 1
  • Garrett
Looks like a good time.  Maybe next year.
It pays to be a winner.