This year's championships feature over 300 competitors from 43 schools. Just about all of them are shooting, either in practice or a match, an eight hour day - for four days. That's a lot of of ammunition. Where does it all come from?
I sat down with John (pictured at right), who operates the Ammo Barn at the National Shooting Complex, to get the scoop on how they're able to accommodate so many people.
"Winchester," John told me. "Winchester donated all the ammo. They sent us nine pallets and each pallet had about 100 flats." All told, that comes out to 225,000 shells.
To make for as even a playing field as possible, everyone is required to shoot the same shell. In every event except skeet, Winchester 12 Ga. 2.75" 1 oz #7.5 is used; skeet is set to #8. And that's just for the matches. Shooters are allowed to use whatever they want when practicing, but they need to pay for it. In addition to Winchester, the Ammo Barn also stocks shells from Remington, Federal and Rio. These other brands are more popular for practice and are almost identical to the shells used in competition.
When I commented on the number of people here for the competition, John told me "We're sitting right under 800 acres with 50 skeet fields, 45 trap fields, six sporting clays fields and two for Five-Stand. In October we have Nationals for skeet and sporting clays and the skeet championships can bring up to 1,200 people." After walking around the past few days I knew the complex was big, but learning it can comfortably suit four times the number of people here this weekend put it in perspective.
Today was American Skeet and tomorrow, the last day, will be American Trap. After the final event, the NRA will be handing out its All American awards.