Anders Brolund gives you his story:
Norma sent three internationally sponsored shooters, Matthias Raiber from Germany, Simon Aldhouse from Britain and Carsten Brandt from Denmark. The coach was Anders Brolund from Norma.
It seemed too good to be true - all the help we received from the organisers with accommodation, registration, airfare, promo products and ammunition. Everything was arranged. However, there was perhaps the most important detail left - which we took for granted would resolve itself quickly - application to the BATFE: i.e. approval to be allowed to take rifles into the United States. The day before departure we still had no response and there were many telephone calls to the team shooters, customs in Detroit, and BATFE. There was no chance of being able to take our own rifles. We made a decision late on the day before departure, to go over and hope to have the opportunity to borrow rifles once we were there.
Once in Ohio – which was hot, about 32 degrees - we began our search for rifles. The NRA, which was the match organizer, was alerted and the message was sent to major players. The days went by and we ourselves started to ask the stores in the area about the possibility of being able to borrow a rifle in under 4 days.
The day before the match started, the U.S. Army’s coach Amos Preslick contacted us and explained that he had heard about our problem and also that he could resolve the issue of rifles so we could participate and compete.
The idea was that we would market the 6XC (6mm) during the match but the rifles that were available were of .30 caliber. We made a quick phone call to Mr. Skoglund at Norma, who immediately gave instructions to our distributor in the United States, to urgently send .308 Win 168gr Sierra Match to Camp Perry - our guys are in trouble. The rifles were available but were not the right caliber. We had pre-sent 6XC that were in place. These will now remain until next year’s competition.
We had a quick visit to the shops to obtain a front rest, shooting mats, chairs, rear pads, cleaning items and various other small things. Then we headed quickly to the zeroing range.
We had ten minutes to sight in the rifles at 50 yards, as no longer range was available. The target we shot at was also used to zero the rifles at 300 yards, which was our first match distance. The Australian David Waters heard about our mishaps and the inadequate time we had to zero the rifles. He offered his help with his contacts on a private shooting range, just 5 minutes from Camp Perry. Once there, we saw a lay-bye 5 meters from the highway with a table and benches. We wondered why we had stopped here but it turned out that the table was used as a shooting bench and one shot almost diagonally with the road. The distance was 200 yards, and we had great trouble with the windage, but thanks to David, we were at the match day absolutely right on target.
We used the evening before the match to study Norma’s new app for windage and the trajectory for .308 Win 168gr. We immediately wished that we had our own rifles with us in the right caliber. The problem was probably not shooting badly, but successfully reading the mirage (the optical phenomenon that distorts the visual cues) and being able to adjust our sights between shots.
Team Event, we were divided into two different squads where one group were in the shooting butts and the other two were on the shooting range. They took turns to shoot and be the wind / mirage coach. During the day the range was warm and windy, which made it difficult to see the differences in the increase of the wind. There were no flags to help so one had to depend entirely on what the coach saw in the spotting scope. This was something new for the three of us in the team. Matthias Raiber was the only one who could read the fluctuations in mirage. I drew the winning ticket and got Matthias as a coach. We all fought our way through the day with pretty good results. Brolund was the best at 593 out of 600p. The team finished in second place.
The first individual match, shootists were paired up using a lottery system and stayed together for the whole week. I ended up with an older American who was instrumental in developing the new marking system that differed greatly from what had been used previously. We also helped with the reporting of results. Small problems started to come to light about the servicing of the rifles. It was necessary to purchase various cleaning items and spend a few hours cleaning the rifles. Once again Brolund had the best performance for the team with 592p.
Now things started to fall into place, like how to move our equipment from one place to another. We just wished that we, like all the others, had a cart to transport things between the firing points. It took us two trips between 300-500 yards to move all our kit. Some of us were doing really well before the finals at 600yards but the wind became too difficult, particularly with our heavy bullets at low velocity. The Dane Carsten Brandt was best on the team with just two inner tens more than the next team-shooter also at 591p.
A storm warning was the first thing we heard about when we arrived at the shooting range. I ended up in the butts to put up targets for the shooting team. A target frame was broken off and hats were blown away by the strong wind, which made it impossible to carry out the shooting. A decision was taken to cancel the day, which was the first time in 61 years that there had been a cancellation because of strong winds.
The final date of the competition. Once again a hot day, but still pleasant weather to compete in. The wind continued to blow but it was perfectly ok to shoot. Everyone on the team had good results until the final 600 yard range. That is where the problems started again. The wind subsided and then rapidly increased again. If you were not ready for the changes in the wind then you ended up in the 6th or 7th ring. I don’t think any of us managed to avoid these problems. Brolund finished best out of the team with a total of 593p and 3rd place overall.
Everyone on the team agreed that this was a unique competition and very different from anything we are used to in Europe. We are also incredibly grateful for all the help we received from many people before and during the competition. The sponsors for this trip were Norma and the NRA. Many thanks also to Nath (Team Remington), Amos Preslick (Coach U.S. Army). Gene Clark Gunsmith (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit) and Dave Waters (Australia).
Anders Brolund, Team Norma