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2018 Tactical Bolt Rifle Challenge AAR | By Erik Severson

The National Rifle League’s 2018 Tactical Bolt Rifle Challenge was hosted by NorCal Practical Precision Rifle Club at Sacramento Valley Shooting Center in Sloughhouse, CA from Sept. 28-30, 2018.

Friday Check in and Zero

We arrived at the range about 11:30 Friday morning as the DOPE gathering session was finishing. We checked in and received our match books and swag bag that was packed with useful goodies. We were then directed to the zero range to confirm zeroes. Fortunately, mine was dead on, 5 shots done.

Matt Hornback from Howa USA had a side match set up with their Mini Action rifles in .223. 4 coyote targets at various ranges, winner gets the rifle. Matt was on my squad, being fellow U.S. Army Combat Engineers, we had instant camaraderie and had a great time shooting together.

That evening we had some drinks and food at The Lodge, reconnected with friends and made a couple of new ones.

Day 1

Justin Lagge started the day with a match and safety briefing. Between the details of the match book and his briefing, there was no confusion on what we were going to be shooting or where we were starting. Being that we were shooting on 4 different ranges throughout the weekend, this was very helpful. After some words form Travis Ishida and Tyler Frehner, and the Pledge of Allegiance, we were released to get to our starting points and start slinging lead.

Squad Charlie started on Lower and Upper Range 6 shooting 12 stages on Saturday. As usual, I had some great stages, some bad stages and some middle of the road stages. All stages were fun and challenging. My favorites were Stage 4: Improved Mover and Stage 10: JC Steel Coyote Hunt.

I just dig movers and despite very little experience shooting them I seem to do pretty good on them. I went 7/10 with 2 window shots for 80 pts. I really like shooting out of vehicles, since we shot Stage 10 out of a “Hippie Mobile”, I was looking forward to it. 4 coyotes at 260, 330, 505 and 550, 1 shot each from 2 positions. It took me a little longer than I wanted to get settled into the 2nd position and timed out with 2 shots left with 5 impacts for 50 pts.

Despite the mover breaking a few times, we shot 12 stages in just over 6 hours. An outstanding BBQ dinner was served. After enjoying a few adult beverages we headed back to the hotel.

Day 2

Day 2 started with 6 steel stages and a paper mover that I did pretty good on again. From there we moved to the long range paper stages. This was a ton of fun. My squad was in the pits first and all of us were rooting for our shooters to make the correct wind adjustments to get in the scoring rings or closer to the center.

I like running and gunning, so the run to the 600 yard line and put 4 shots on target was my favorite. Overall, I didn’t do that great on these stages. I shot a few MOA groups with good elevation that were just outside of the scoring rings and a few that were inside of them. The positive that I took away was that my rifle is dialed in and my fundamentals were solid. I just need to work on wind corrections.

Awards and Closing Ceremony

We were treated to a great taco lunch. As usual, the prize table was stacked deep. I walked away with a nice gun case from SKB Cases. Thank you for donating it to the prize table.

Congratulations to Jon Pynch, Daniel Bertocchini and Brian Pence on their Top 3 placing. As well as everyone else who showed up and competed.

Final Thoughts

I want to give a quick shout out to Solomon Manansala and Danny Nguyen. If you hadn’t let me know that this match sells out in about an hour, I would have missed it. Thanks again.

I had been hearing about how this match is one of flagship matches nationwide with the courses of fire, the organization and the professionalism of the staff. So, I came in expecting that. It lived up to the hype and more. Justin and his crew ran a phenomenal match that was smooth with very little downtime. I’ve never shot a match that 3-4 ROs on every stage. They all were on point with their stage briefs and keeping us moving along.

Again, thank you to all the staff, sponsors and anyone who took time out of their lives to help put this match on. Can’t wait for the next one!

About Erik Severson

I have been shooting precision rifles in small local matches and with friends since 2015. In 2017 I wanted to shoot a big match, so I joined the NRL and signed up for the Owens Armory Battle Royale held at Gunsite. I didn’t shoot well at all but had a great time. I made a commitment to get better and make the Championship match this season. Shooting monthly matches with SoCal Precision Rifle Team has helped me a lot. I’m looking forward to more matches in the future.

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