Taking time off and concentrating on F-Class rifle shooting refocuses 4-time champ

2014 NRA Long Range Rifle Champ Michelle Gallagher takes aim at Camp Perry

Port Clinton, Ohio - You could say shooting is in her blood. Raised in a home where national titles were about as regular as Johnny Carson on late night, it was only a matter of time until Michelle Gallagher won a National NRA Rifle title of her own. Or, as is the case this year, a fourth National NRA Long Range Rifle Championship.

“I started shooting when I was about 7,” Gallagher explained. “Mom was taking me and Sherri (her sister) to the range ever since we were little kids. “

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Change in distance and targets leads to trouble for some at Rifle Championships

Nancy Tompkins firing on the line at Camp Perry during NRA Championships

Port Clinton, Ohio - The final championships held on the hallowed ranges of Camp Perry is reserved for Fullbore. Call it a modified version of our Palma Championships. Actually, to be accurate, Palma is a modified Fullbore Championship. Here are the basics.

Competitors fire the same rifles used in the Long Range High Power Rifle competitions. The primary differences are two; distance and target. At the NRA Fullbore Championships, competitors will fire from 300, 600, 800, 900, and 1,000 yards (internationally the 800 is usually replaced with 500). The targets, somewhat smaller, are of the ICFRA (International Confederation of Fullbore Rifle Associations) 5v variety.

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Images from the 2014 NRA National Long Range High Power Rifle Championships

Spotter gauges the wind during NRA's Long Range High Power Rifle Championships at Camp Perry

Port Clinton, Ohio - It's never easy to stand behind the big gun. Wait for the wind, brace for the recoil, breath when the moment calls for it and fire. It's a religious experience for some.

This week at NRA's Long Range High Power Rifle Championships, competitors faced these conditions and more as the wind and sun and rain of Camp Perry taxed each and every shooter to the extent of their limits. A majority of those who arrived buckled under the pressure. Though a few, a select few, managed to rise the occasion.

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New winners and old take to the stage for NRA titles

Team Remington Captain Ken Roxburgh with High Junior Waylon Burbach at the NRA Long Range Rifle Awards

Port Clinton, Ohio - A few hundred competitors, sponsors and NRA officials gathered at the Hough Theater last night for the 2014 NRA National Long Range High Power Rifle Championships. Some arrived to claim titles, others to congratulate their peers, it was a special night for all.

Led by Long Range Rifle Match Director Sherri Judd, the ceremony started 30 minutes behind the scheduled 8:00pm start time - another victim of yesterday's weather delay.

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Bests mom by a single X after delays cause cancellation of Palma's 900 yards

Michelle Gallagher wins the 2014 NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Championship Port Clinton, Ohio - Taking a page from Joe Hendricks' path to this year's High Power Rifle title, past NRA champ Michelle Gallagher shot a perfect 300-19x in today's Palma Match to win the 2014 National Long Range Rifle Championship.

Beginning the day two points down, Gallagher racked up fifteen 10s at 800 yards along with another fifteen 10s at 1,000. Though Palma traditionally includes a 900 yard phase as well, that portion of today's match was cancelled due to the morning's lightning storm.

"Talk about an exciting finish," said High Power Rifle Match Director Sherri Judd. "She hung in there after dropping a few points in the early rounds and finished strong."

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Three hour delay could force cancellation of Palma rounds - images

Shooter waits for the rain to clear at the NRA Long Range Championships

Port Clinton, Ohio - Weather came calling early this morning at the NRA Long Range Championships. I know, I know, weather is a constant no matter where you are. But its never appreciated unless the conditions are extreme. And yes, this morning, the conditions were extreme.

First came the winds, then the clouds, and finally the rain. Competitors were soon hustled off the field of play as the weather (yes I’m back to using weather as a catchall) stepped it up a notch with lightning strikes.

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4 NRA Long Range Champs within two points of title as rain & Palma phase closes finals

3-time NRA Long Range Rifle champ John Whidden on the 3rd day of the 2014 finals

Port Clinton, Ohio - There’s a leaderboard logjam on final morning of NRA’s 2014 Long Range High Power Rifle Championship. The top two shooters are separated by a single X. The next three by a point. The next four by two. And that’s just one of the obstacles today’s leader, Phillip Crowe, is facing.

Today there’s a call for rain. Rain and the ensuing winds Camp Perry happily provides throughout the summer championships means Crowe’s starting point of 798-47x is tenuous at best. One little gust, one drop of rain, any change at all in the bullet’s path drops a 10 to 9 … if you’re lucky.

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Ideal conditions at National Rifle Matches sets stage for high scores

Shooter takes aim during the early rounds on day three at the NRA Long Range High Power Rifle matches at Camp Perry

Port Clinton, Ohio - There are five days in NRA’s National Long Range High Power Rifle Championship. Five days of firing round after round at 6’ by 6’ targets up to 1,000 yards away. Five days of Camp Perry’s wind bouncing off Lake Erie while the sun fights to break through the occasional cloud.

Two sets of relays have already taken their respective Shooter Shuttles out to The Pits … home of those 6’ by 6’ targets. There competitors take their turn at lifting and lowering the behemoth paper squares with every shot. Once fired upon, the target is lowered, scored, and raised back into place.

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Army marksmen dominate from one end of Camp Perry to the other at NRA High Power week

2014 NRA Mid-Range Rifle Championship at Camp Perry, Ohio

Port Clinton, Ohio - Running one range over at Camp Perry, alongside this year's NRA High Power Rifle Championship, is the NRA Mid-Range Rifle Championship.

Still sporting wet paint, the championship was introduced at least year's National Matches and is shot F-Class, which is target shooting with scope sights and artificial support (e.g. bipods and slings). F-Class was created by older High Power shooters who wanted to keep up the sport but needed assistance to zero in on the targets and keep their rifles steady. Over the years the sport grew to attract young shooters looking to ease into High Power shooting and has developed quite a following.

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