Montana Shooting Opportunities


Below is the info for the upcoming tournaments at Missoula’s Deep Creek Rifle Range.  Additional info about other various locations and shooting disciplines in Montana can be found at the website.  Also, it looks like we will be adding 2 across the course matches this year in Townsend, MT.  More info in a future email!

All Missoula tournaments will be fired on Shotmarker Electronic targets in 2020.  This means many things; including easier accessibility to shooting sports to those that are unable or have difficulty performing pit duty, less time on the range as matches go significantly quicker, and no pit duty.   We may be able to fire additional matches too!  We ran the Northern Rockies Tournament last year on Electronic targets and things went well.  The vast majority of problems occurred on day one at the tournament, and what appeared to be shot detection issues were actually due to shooter error – not knowing your zeros and crossfires being the main shooter errors.  We did see some trouble in the cold weather with 20″ 308 Winchester rifles firing M118LR with the 175 SMK (or its equivalent).  The rounds had difficulty being detected due to their low velocity at the target.  The low velocity generated by short barrels, marginal BC of the bullet in this application and the low Density Altitude environment from the early Winter weather all contributed to shot detection issues.  All other rifles, including 308’s firing other bullets, did not have this problem.  This was a unique problem limited to just a couple rifles, but it is something to be aware of.  These targets require a supersonic snap of the bullet at the target.  We were able to solve this issue by getting the shooters 185 grain berger 308 rounds to shoot.  

Last Spring, Don Erpenbach did a fairly good sized analysis of several 1000 yd targets with many shots on each, and found the plotting of the scores to be within ~.15″ of the actual impact on the target and no statistical change of score.  (If you know Don, you know he is detail oriented and through!)  While these target systems are not cheap, they are affordable and offer many advantages to the shooters, match directors and increase the overall enjoyment of competitive marksmanship.  

Each tournament will have a team matches as previous years.  I am a big fan of these matches, as the team match provides shooters with a great training opportunity and helps improve a shooters ability to read the environmental conditions.  Plus, they are a lot of fun.  We will continue to have additional prizes and chances in the raffles for those shooting in the Northern Rockies team matches.   We will also recognize shooters that rack up the most “first shot is an X”.  This is a fun award to reward marksmanship for those shooting an X on their first cold bore round down range at any match.  

Other match info:

  • Registration will be only by the included form in the match programs.  We ARE NOT utilizing practiscore this year. 
  • Because of our electronic targets and EZ-Up canopies, we will hold matches rain, snow or smoke – whenever possible.  Over the last 10 plus years, we have had one match shortened due to weather and last Fall we had to cancel our first day of shooting ever as visibility of the 1000yd targets was not possible, due to snow.  So, in other words, plan on shooting!  
  • In the very unlikely event of electronic target system wide failure (incredibly unlikely), we will revert to manually pulled targets.  
  • 2020 Event Dates and courses of fire are below.  Match programs with the registration forms are attached as pdf documents.  

Camp Perry 2019 and 2021
This past Summer, the MRPA sponsored a team of 9 adult and junior men and women shooters that attended the National Rifle Matches at Camp Perry.  Newer shooters learned a lot, and two of the shooters made the Presidents 100.  Plans are now being made for a return to Camp Perry in 2021.  We are always looking for additional shooters to join us on this awesome, patriotic and fun trip.  Start thinking about it for next year.  

Warhorse DevelopmentChas Bales of Valier, MT will be hosting two national level NRL and PRS tournaments this year, and these are the only national level matches to be held this year in Montana.  These matches require significant volunteer help and Chas needs people to step up and assist in making these tournaments a success.    The tournaments are June 18-20th and September 25-27th.  The range officers are needed to spot impacts and score at the various stages in the tournaments.   Chas has some perks for those that do volunteer and they will be able to shoot the some of the course.  Contact Chas at or see if you are willing to lend a much needed hand!

2020 American Battle Buddies Warfighter Challenge
Ben W. has forwarded me info about what looks to be a great match that will be taking place in Central Montana this June 5th.  It will involve 16 mile ruck, land nav, and shooting events.   For more info follow this link:  Hopefully, this match is the start of some endurance challenge type shooting matches in Montana!

2020 Memorial Day Weekend Ironman High Power Rifle and Pistol Matches
This coming Memorial Day Weekend we will continue to have a great spread of rifle and pistol matches along with an alternative course of fire for the Field Precision Rifles.  Eric and James are the Points of Contact for the Pistol Matches.  Pre-registration for the rifle matches are by the mailed in registration form that is in the attached match program.  This match is sold out typically, and your spot on the firing line is held by registration and payment.  

  • Friday and Saturday, May 22nd and 23rd: Crawford Memorial 2700 Outdoor Precision Pistol – James Poelstra   CMP Service Pistol EIC and CMP .22LR EIC matches – Eric Gillitzer
  • Friday, May 22nd 2-5PM:  600 yd practice.  Pre-registration required and a small fee will be required.  Assistance with target set up required.  
  • Saturday, May 23rd, Across the Course (XTC), 100 shot match which will include 2 x 600yds.  Service and Match Rifles with a separate course of fire for Field Precision Rifles*.  
  • Saturday, May 23rd – 10:30AM – F-Class and Prone 2 x 600yds.  Fired at the same time as the XTC/FPR course of fire.  Limited squading.  
  • Sunday, May 24th: Sling, F-Class and Field Precision Rifle* – 3 x 600 yds.  Plus Team Match 1 OR 2 matches at 600yds
  • Monday, May 25th: Sling, F-Class and Field Precision Rifle* – 2 x 1000 yds.  Plus Team Match 1 x 1000 yds.  

2020 Montana State Designated Marksman Championship
All rifle types are welcome in this state Service Rifle Championship (winner will fire a service rifle).  See Match Program for further details.  

  • Friday, June 26th 2:00:  Marksmanship clinic and practice.  Pre-registration required.  
  • Saturday June 27th: CMP State Service Rifle Championship.  XTC 100 shot match which will include 2 x at 600yds.  
  • Sunday, June 28th: CMP 2 person team match in AM followed by 50 shot CMP EIC Leg match.  

2020 Northern Rockies Long Range Tournament
All levels of shooters are welcome to come out and shoot in our premier tournament, and mingle with national champions, international shooters, national record holders and professional military shooting team members.  This event is split into 2 weekends; one weekend for sling, service and field precision rifles and the other weekend for F-class.  These matches are typically sold out and require registration and payment to hold your spot.  Registration will be by mail in form only (we are not using practice score this year).  

Sling/Service/Field Precision Rifles Weekend

  • Friday, September 11th: ~11:00.  4 person team match, Palma format with 15 shots fired each fired at 800-900-1000 yds.  
  • Saturday, September 12th: Individual matches.  Palma format match followed by 20 shot 1000 yd match.  
  • Saturday Evening: Catered dinner and prizes.  
  • Sunday, September 13th: Individual Palma format matches.  

F-Open and F-TR Rifles Weekend

  • Friday, September 25th: ~11:00.  4 person team match, 2 or 3 1000 yd matches, 20 shots each.  
  • Saturday, September 26th: Individual matches.  Palma format match followed by 20 shot 1000 yd match.  
  • Saturday Evening: Catered dinner and prizes.  
  • Sunday, September 27th: Individual matches with two 20 shot matches at 1000 yds.  

*Field Precision Rifle
“Whats a Field Precision Rifle?”  Mentioned up above is that some tournaments will include a separate course of fire for Field Precision Rifles.  Field Precision Rifles include hunting rifles, military M24, M110, M2010 rifles along with PRS/NRL style rifles.  Suppressors are encouraged, muzzle brakes discouraged, and rifles must utilize folding bipods.  The idea is that this would be an actual rifle that you would CARRY with you in the field!  This division is a further evolution of this unofficial rifle division we began a year ago.  We had a number of shooters in this division last year and received good input on the new course of fire from them.  

New this year fr the Field Rifles are different positions at various yard lines using diverse equipment to challenge shooters in scenarios which might be encountered in competition, tactical environments, or when hunting.  You will be firing at electronic targets from 200yds out to 1000yds, and receive nearly instant and exact feedback on your shot placement.  This will afford you an excellent opportunity to see the effects of wind drift and your POI offset with differing positions and equipment use.   Our goal, as with traditional high power events, is to help shooters improve their marksmanship fundamentals to better prepare them for their chosen activity.  This course of fire will be fired along side the other matches that are going on at the same time.  The course of fire may be further modified to challenge field match shooters and hunters alike.  The course of fire for the May Ironman Tournament is being hammered out now and it looks to be a lot of fun!  We will have future announcements about the FPR division courses of fire for Missoula matches in the near future.