About A Gal Who Shoots .30 Cal
By Tom McHale
USA –-(Ammoland.com)-Today we're taking a look at a different facet of the shooting sports – high-power, long-range rifle competition. While our crack investigative team was surfing the internetz, we ran across .30 Cal Gal, known in civilian circles as Anette Wachter. Anette seems to think that it's humanly possible to shoot at targets up to 1,000 yards away using iron sights. Right. As if you can even see anything 2/3 of a mile away. On further investigation, we found that she's actually telling the truth. Not only do she and her husband Charles shoot at targets almost over the visual horizon, they actually hit them. Frequently. Apparently scopes are for sissies.
Here's the complete interview with .30 Cal Gal…
For the life of me, I can't remember little leagues in my neighborhood for long range rifle shooting. I mean, we had soccer, t-ball, swimming, and some other stuff, but I don't think we had any Palma matches at our local YMCA. My daughter was a Brownie, and she definitely did not have the option to earn a High-Power Rifle badge. So how did you end up getting involved in this sport?
I was a city kid growing up. No 4H programs at my school. Maybe some disco and funk parties. (OK, I gave away my age a little bit) I have to give credit to my husband Charles for getting me in to this sport. When we met he was shooting the service rifle (AR15) in Across The Course matches. I did not want to be the “Golfer Widow” so I told him I would try shooting for one year and if I did not like it I would not do it and resign to another hobby while he would shoot. But I loved it. I loved it so much that in 2 years I caught up to his Master Class level when it took him 6 years to get that level. 🙂 hee-hee. [Editor: We're not surprised. Guys don't listen to instructions very well.]
Two years ago another shooter came to me and suggested I try the long range prone shooting. He thought I would be good at it. He loaned me his rifle and brought me out to a range to zero it in and let me shoot it at a 500 yard match the next day. I only dropped two points. I bought that rifle.
For us, long range shooting is about 100 yards. On a good day. What is “long range” to you?
Hmmm… well you forgot one zero…
What was your most embarrassing competitive moment?
In April, we competed in the American/Canadian Full Bore Championship where I came in 3rd overall. To gather all my gear, I usually need two trips to the car so I left my rifle on a bench and brought first batch of gear to the truck. Charles was there and we started chatting about the last string and he asked if I wanted to walk Kozmo (our dog) back to the club house while he drove down. Sure! Off I went.
Six hours of driving later, we stopped for the night at a hotel. We start grabbing items to take inside and I saw he had a rifle over his shoulder and I asked if he had both of them. “No, I thought you had yours”. “No” I said. A feeling of dread came over me. Did we stop somewhere and maybe someone stole it? Then it hit me – the 1,000 yard line in Sacramento. I dropped to my knees almost in tears. My brand new rifle. My brand new very expensive rifle. How in the world could I have done this? I did not sleep. Charles was being very supportive and positive even though he had every right to be upset with me. Finally in the morning I called the pro-shop which is about 1/2 mile away from the rifle range. I Told the RO that I left “something” behind and needed desperately to reach our match director up at range. Sure he said. In awhile I will drive up there. “Do you mind me asking what you left behind?” he says. “Ummm…. my rifle.” “Oh my god! I am driving up there right now!”
To make a long story short, my rifle was still at the 1,000 yard line. Fortunately, that line is covered as it rained all night! I can't go anywhere now without someone reminding me of this. Easier to blame it on the dog though.
To go back to embarrassing moments, my very first match was the WA State Championship. We show up and I am one of only 2 women there competing. I had no idea the attire needed. It was a warm day so I wore shorts. I had to borrow a shooting jacket from another guy who was tall and skinny, so it was pretty big on me. I'm standing in the offhand position and shooting when I notice at the corner of my eye a crowd watching. I realized the jacket came just to the edge of my shorts and it looked like I was wearing nothing underneath except my boots on my feet! That was about 7 years ago. People still remind me of that too.
This seems like a very specialized sport. What's your travel radius? Do you have to travel all over for matches? You must have a Gulfstream G-5 to get you around right?
Yeah. Bill Gates just lives around the corner but we can never time our trips together to hitch a ride on his plane. Oh well.
I do travel a lot. There is only one 1,000 yard range in WA and tha is a 4 hour drive from Seattle. There are only 2 matches a year there. So I need to travel to get experience. This year especially. January was Phoenix, March and April were Sacramento and Phoenix again. May was Eastern WA and Portland. June will be Lodi, WI for a 7 day match! July has many local matches and then Chilliwack, BC, back to Portland and then finally on a plane again to Camp Perry for Nationals in August. Then I am taking a break. Sort of. Mostly local matches in Sept and Oct.
I used to work for Bill. Just let me know next time you need to use the jet and I'll give him a call! So tell our readers about a Palma match. It all sounds very sophisticated and European. So it must be a pretty big deal.
Actually this did start in Europe. Back in the late 1800's in fact. I recently did a blog post about Creedmoor the original long range firing range and the start of a little club called the NRA on Long Island. England, Ireland and Scotland would compete in prone shooting at the long distances. They challenged the US in a match which was held in the US the first time. The first Palma Trophy Match. The US won. Of course. The US went over to compete in Wimbleton the next year and beat them again. In front of 30,000 spectators! I can barely get my mom to come watch me. This World Cup is held every four years in a different participating country. The next one is this October in Australia. In 4 years from now it will be back in the US most likely at Camp Perry, Ohio.
Countries that have participated through the years but not necessarily in every match are: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Channel Islands, Continental Europe, East and Central Africa, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Kenya, Natal, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, West Germany, West Indies and the United States.
Did I mention all of this shooting I do at 800, 900 and 1,000 yards is with iron sights? Yea, you think about that!
How many shots do you fire in a typical match? What kind of rifle do you use?
For the long range shooting the Palma category which is a rifle that must be a 30cal/.308 and the bullet must be no more than 155 grains has 15 rounds per string. We usually will shoot one string at each distance of 800, 900 and 1,000 yards. Or that format in a full bore match of 300, 500 and 600 yards or meters depending which country you are in.
Long range non Palma category consists of any rifle/iron sights, but I still use my Palma rifle, and we shoot 20 rounds at each yardage point. Each string allows 2 sighter shots also. Many days we add one more string at end for a Team event of another 20 rounds. So a basic weekend match is anywere from 120-160 rounds plus sighters. Now I know other disciplines like USPSA go through about 200 rounds in one afternoon. So it must seem like what I do is nothing at all. But when each shot must hit the X ring that is only one MOA wide from 1,000 yards away there is a bit more mental work involved. Not that pistol shooting isn't mental! Oh boy, did I just tick off a bunch of people?
I use a Jim Cloward Special with RPA Quadlock Receiver. The barrel is a 30″ Krieger 5R. One of the design benefits to my rifle is that the barrel is less prone to copper fouling over time.
Do you have any last comments for our readers?
Shoot Like A Girl! If You Can…
While we were finishing up this interview, Anette was competing at the Washington State High Power Championship. You can read her coverage of the match here and here. This match was a piece of cake for the .30 Cal Gal as it was shot with the AR15 at only 200, 300, and 600 yard ranges. Only.
Tom McHale describes himself as a conservative gun-totin’ bible-clingin’ literary assault dude who enjoys finding humor in just about anything. His web blog My Gun Culture is an irreverent, twisted look at gun news bordering on the ridiculous. It covers shootin’ stuff, loud noises, defending your own, the occasional mall ninja, and about 200 years of the American way. “These are the (partially) true stories of… My Gun Culture” says Tom. Visit: www.mygunculture.com