By Mike Keleher
This past weekend the Aurora Sportsman’s Club (ASC) in Waterman, IL once again hosted the Mission 22 Multi-Gun Championship, a charity event to raise money for Mission 22. The Mission 22 organization was created in response to the quiet but pervasive national crisis which sees 22 Veterans a day taking their own lives. Yes, that is 22 a day. Every day of the year.
Mission 22 offers considerable resources free of charge for Veterans to include Counseling, Therapy, Health Clinic access and Service Dogs. More information about public awareness, access to services and donations is available on their website at www.mission22.com
The ASC has hosted this match for several years running and keeps improving their facility which in turn attracts 3 Gun shooters from all across the Midwest year after year. Since the original match several years ago, the ASC has effectively doubled the size of their shooting bays. All match fees are charity donations which go directly to Mission 22. All raffles and side matches benefit the charity as well.
Match organizers Matt “Tank” Metzger and Ryan Michael worked with the ASC during the whole year to put on these ten stages for 3 Gun and PCC competitors in September which drew about 100 national level shooters. Best of all, Matt said the event raised over $13,000 for Mission 22 this year. He also said as long as there is a need to raise awareness and help veterans, he will be there to lead the match building efforts.
All shooters are welcome, but you don’t want to walk on with no previous experience to this match- again, it is national level competition of moving and shooting under timer pressure on three or four different firearm platforms. Stages are varied (difficult!) and some practice and preparation is in order for you, your guns and gear. By all means, get working on it for next year if you are interested. The ASC hosts introduction to 3 Gun classes on range throughout the year for people who would like to get into the sport.
What does difficult look like? One of the trademarks of the Mission 22 match, are stage plans have very little directions beyond the safety rules and “with firearm of choice stand in the shooting area and engage targets as they become visible.” Walls and fences are present so you can’t just stand still and shoot every target. You have to move and groove. Some targets are suitable for four different guns- rifle, PCC, pistol or shotgun slug. Others are shotgun/pistol or PCC. Some are designated as Rifle only or High Value (like 50-yard pistol shots) and some are shotgun only. You might use rifle, pistol, shotgun on most stages, and others you might limit yourself to only two guns depending upon target types, distances and just how fast you can reload your shotgun while the timer is ticking down.
Most stages are set up in pistol ranges about 25-50 yard deep. Big fun for iron sights and red dots. No magnification necessary. Bumping up to a 100-yard range this year, you shot some paper targets with your rifle then had to be touching a minivan to make subsequent 100-yard rifle shots. Oh, you can’t see some of the targets without being inside the van. For Chariborne Rangers everywhere who believe they are worthy and oh-so tactical, there is also a falling plate rack for you down there at the100 yard line. That is a fun and maybe maddening target seeing plates fall (or not fall) while kneeling across the backseat of a minivan (no car seats were harmed in the making of this van-based shooting bench). You shot three other steel targets from the van and the plate rack at 100 yds and then, then switch off and shoot a bunch of small steel and clay bird targets running around with pistol and shotgun. Yes. That is a pretty much “normal” stage.
They have an all shotgun “Jungle Run” through pasture ground each year. It is about 200 yds long with 39 steel and clay bird targets and a Texas Star steel targe hiding, spinning, and flying in various combinations to neutralize in 120 seconds. Bring enough shells on your person-remember you can never have too much ammunition or too many friends!
Nod when you are ready. Beep. Get going. Be sure to reload-often.
Photo Credit: Bill Schauff Photography
The biggest stage is on a 600-yard range. ASC is one of the few ranges in the U.S. that can allow action shooting at this distance. This year the stage was named Lance Loving in honor of a deceased Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer. Every other year you would shoot your rifle prone first on 200-300-400-600 yard metal targets then run and shoot shotgun and pistol. This was good because your heartbeat and breathing were pretty calm. This year stage designer Ryan Michael reversed it and you started with shotgun and pistol targets and then ran with rifle to a post with arms to start the rifle targets waaay down range gasping for air and heart pounding. To make it worse, you had to shoot one target from a braced arm position, then had to switch to a different arm to make the next shot- so you had to change shooting positions for each shot at 200-300-400-500-600. Two minutes for the whole thing. Beep.
Photo Credit: Bill Schauff Photography
How big is this match in the eyes of the 3-Gun and PCC vendors? This year’s Premier Sponsor was Aero Precision. Gold sponsors were Vortex and Luth-AR. Silver Sponsors included Rubber City Armory, Laser Ammo, ISO Sport, Magload, Wicked Fast, Timber Creek Outdoors, Obsidian Arms, Primitive Grind and Black Fire Forge. Kel-Tec donated firearms to the awards table and stalwarts like Steel Targe Paint, Gunfighter Targets, Trijicon, Nevada Cerakote, Radcolube, Proof Research, Hunters HD Gold, Athlon Optics and Alex Pro Firearms all donated merchandise and support for the event as well as the thirty-yard-long prize table.
If you would like to come shoot the match next year, get on track with Mission 22 Multi-Gun Championship by “liking” them on their Facebook page to monitor the progress for the 2023 event which will be highly anticipated by everyone who attended this year. Word is, the ASC is going to expand the facility again this next year and hushed talk of “360 Degree Shoot House” is going round!
You should also start laying in a considerable supply of ammunition over the winter!
UPCOMING VETERAN’S BENEFIT EVENT:
Looking for some other shooting fun or an action shooting sampler? ASC is also hosting:
Aurora Sportsmen’s Club’s 6th Annual SHOOTING FOR VETS -October 08, 2022
Fun shoot on October 08, 2022, with Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Al Lynch, and is being held to benefit the Allen J. Lynch Veterans Foundation.
This event open to the public and is a lot of fun shooting with the Medal of Honor Winner to include rifle, pistol, shotgun, Gatling Gun, Texas Death Star, gun raffles, moving and shooting events, .50 Cal BMG and a legacy rifle auction. Ammunition will be available for purchase-cash only.
For more information or register for the shooting event visit AJLynchFoundation.org.
Allen J. Lynch was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during the Viet Nam War and is one of only 71 living MOH recipients.