Albany ’99 Spring Machine Gun Shoot

By Jim Wright

Greetings from the PRK. It’s spring and one’s fleeting thoughts turn north to Oregon, a NFA friendly state, for the Albany Rifle and Pistol Club’s Spring Machine gun shoot. Oregon is indeed a beautiful state and the people really are friendly (unless you tell them you’re from CA and you’re thinking of moving there). The state is so friendly the local State Patrol even publishes their “maximum enforcement” time and places in the local newspaper. For example the paper tells you they’re using their airplane to catch speeders on Interstate 5 Sunday from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM between exits so and so. Of course if you’re not a local, the chances of you seeing the local news paper are small. But come on up. In addition to the chance to meet and shoot with other NFA gun owners and enthusiasts, the lush green forest and valleys are worth the trip.

If you are not local, Albany is a little south of Portland right on Interstate 5. The Albany Rifle and Pistol Club permits campers to park at their facility but there are no hook ups. If you need motel accomadations try the town of Albany about 10 miles north of the range or Eugene which is about 25 miles to the south.

The Albany Spring Machine Gun Shoot is held every year on the 3rd weekend in May. There is also a winter shoot in December but even the locals say the December Shoot weather usually “sucks”. The Albany Spring shoot is both Saturday and Sunday. Each day’s activities are roughly the same. Formal matches are conducted for subguns, assault rifles in both major and minor calibers, and crew served weapons. Fun shooting and machine gun rental take place throughout both days. Saturday’s paid attendance was 350 people. Sunday’s attendance was about half of that. In spite of the national political anti-gun climate, attendance at the Albany shoot has been climbing steadily each year over the past several years. A lot of the credit for this goes to the efforts of Mark Cook, the event coordinator, and Allen Ericksen, operations manager, for the Rifle and Pistol Club. The club does an excellent job of offering a safe, fun event with something for everyone’s interest.

The subgun match is held on the north range. NFA rules apply.On Saturday the course consisted of 47 total targets plus two bonus targets and the usual “no-shoots”. Starting behind a barrel you engage 11 metal targets plus one swinger and one turner. Moving to a barricade you engage approximatley 12 metal targets through a 2” vertical slot. One of the metal targets had an exploder. If you hit the exploder (instead of just the metal plate) it was worth a five second bonus. Moving again to another barrel you engaged another series of poppers and plates. One of the poppers triggered a clay pigeon thrower - if you hit the clay in the air it was worth another five second bonus. One other tricky target was to break a stationary clay through a hole cut out in a no-shoot that was the same size as the clay. This target was intentionally close so those who didn’t allow suficiently for the bullet path being below the sight path shot the no shoot.

The Saturday Subgun Match consisted of 30 shooters.

The class winners follow:

1st - Steve Arnold, M1A1 Th.
2nd - Robert Dunlap, MP5
3rd - Greta Morrel, 1928 Th.

Sunday’s course was similar with 42 total targets and three firing positions. At stage one the turner was back with a bunch of metal plates, pepper poppers and a few no shoots. The exploder bonus (5 seconds) was on this stage Sunday. Stage two involved a number of metal plates shot from behind a vertical barricade. Targets painted blue were engaged by firing from the left shoulder. Targets painted white were engaged firing from the right shoulder. Targets painted red were not supposed to be engaged, period. You basically shot all the blue targets then shifted rifing positions and shot the white plates. Moving to the third firing position you were to engage a plethoria of plates, poppers and bowling pins. The shoot through the hole in the “no-shoot”, so popular from Sat., was back. Sunday’s Subgun Match had 25 shooters.

The winners follow:

1st - Jim Wright, MP5
2nd - Wayne Woodcock, 1928 Th.
3rd - Chad Wallace, M11 9mm

The course of fire for the assault rifle and crew served matches were very similar. Targets consisted of four metal plates at 100 yards, 6 metal plates including one no shoot at 150 yards and 2 or 3 metal targets at 200 yards. For minor caliber the two plates at 200 yards were five second bonus targets. For major calibers one of the three metal plates was a five second bonus. Crew served weapons had to get all three 200 yard plates. The Assault rifles ended the course of fire by puncturing a gallon water jug and putting three rounds in an IPSIC target at 50 yards. The crew served weapons started with the jug and paper IPSIC target. All assault rifles had to be sot with the equivalent of “iron sights”. Rifles with optics were considered the “unlimited” class.

Saturday’s winners were:

Assault Rifle Minor caliber (.223)
1st - Mel Andrews, M16
2nd - Hal Gould, M16
3rd - Jim McDowell, M16

Assault Rifles Major caliber (.308)
1st - Larry DeMello, M14
2nd - Jerry Hesting, FN-FAL
3rd - William Kaald, M14

Unlimited Rifle (magnifying optics)
1st - Michael Toney, M16
2nd - Wayne Woodcock, G3
3rd - Fred Sims, M14

Crew Served Weapons (belt fed guns)
1st - Rex Wemmer, 1919A6
2nd - S. L.Wozony, 1919A6
3rd - Branden Wemmer, 1919A6

As you might expect most of the spectators and participants seemed to be from Washing and Oregon. Based on my informal survey of license plates in the parking lot on Saturday, Washington cars almost rivaled Oregon cars. I also saw four Idaho plates, three CA plates and one Nevada plate.

Sunday’s course of fire was similar to Saturday except you started by bursting a water jug hidden from view by cardboard IPSIC targets at 50 yards. There were four metal plates at 100 yards, six metal plates and a “no-shoot” at 150 yards and one small bonus target each at 150 yards and 200 yards. For Sunday major & minor calibers competed in one single class.

Sunday’s winners were:

Assault Rifle
1st - Wayne Woodcock, G3
2nd - Dick Thoma, M16
3rd - Craig Mitchell, BAR

Crew Served Weapons
1st - Jerry Hesting, MG34
2nd - Jim Wright, HK21
3rd - Mark Cook, HK21

Over the last several years the Albany Rifle and Pistol Club has made substiantial improvements to their facilities. Under the clever desguise of “sound moderators” both north and south ranges have large metal buildings to “mitigate” the noise from firearms. The buildings also do a wonderful job “mitigating” the normal inclement weather that usually prevails. (You can shoot all day, be under cover and not get wet. ) But this year the weather god smiled. Not a drop of rain fell during either day of this years Spring Shoot. But take my advice, if you come next year at least throw some rain gear in the car. It rained Friday and rain was predicted again Monday. I didn’t hear it this year, but a usual joke is that in Oregon even the Subguns are water cooled.

While the matches were in progress there was plenty of opportunity for just fun shooting and machine gun rental. You could rent anything from a silenced .22 pistol to a M2 .50 cal. Targets consist of water jugs, metal plates and strings of helium filled balloons at various distances. There were lots of Browning’s, MP5’s, Uzi’s, AK’s, MAC ect. One of my favorites was a gentlemen who fired a belt of probably 250 rounds from the hip through a Landes MG-74 (post ’86DS MG42). The NFA people from the northwest are a creative lot. It was interesting to see how adept they are at making new different caliber uppers to fit some standard lowers. Likewise there were all sorts of modifications to magazines to enable a basic magazine to be used in a wide variety of firearms and some clever ways to mount guns on mounts for which they were never intended. And while the MG shoot and Sub Gun matches were going on Sunday the Albany Rifle & Pistol Club also had a Cowboy Shoot take place simultaneously on some of the adjacent north ranges. They really do have some nice facilities.

Personally I thought the Albany Rifle and Pistol Club put on a splend event again this year. In addition to Mark Cook and Allen Ericksen there are a host of Club members who volunteered their time and hard work and made this year’s event a success. Three particular individuals who deserve mention are John Nichols - Lead Range Safety Officer, Wayne Woodcock - Subgun Match Director and Mel Andrews - Main Range Match Director.

SAR readers in Washington & Oregon. If you don’t go to the Albany Spring Shoot you should. For readers a little farther away it’s worth the trip. Plan to take a few extra days and go up to Seattle and Vancouver BC after the shoot. Or go over to the Oregon Coast for a jet boat ride up the Rogue River or just come back down Highway One. Readers from Nevada might just like to seen things naturally green for a change.

If you’ve been to the shoot before skip the following directions. If not I suggest you read on - the exits are not exactly at the range. From the north take exit #228. Incidently the ARCO station there generally has the lowest gas prices around. From the freeway exit go east .7 mile. Turn right on 7 Mile Lane and go straight as the arrow flies south for 5.0 miles. At the curve turn right on Shedd Rd. and follow it for 2.0 miles. Just where Shedd truns right to cross I5 look over to your left and you’ll see the Albany Rifle and Pistol Club. Look for the large metal buildings. From the south take exit #216. Go west over the freeway until you come to the town of Hasley. Turn right on route 228 East and go north for 2.4 miles which brings you to the town of Shedd. On the north end of Shedd turn right on Boston Mill Rd. (there are signs pointing right for “Plainview” and “Gun Club”)and follow it until it crosses I5. Again the Albany Rifle and Pistol Club is just ahead and slightly to the right. Again look for the metal buildings. For those using “alternative” transportation Albany has a public airport (no commercial service to my knowledge) and an Amtrack station. The airport has rental cars. I don’t know about the train. The nearest commercial airports would be Eugene or Portland. For more information you can call 541-754-1605. If you’re doing form 5320.20’s the address is Albany Rifle & Pistol Club, 2999 Saddle Butte Road, Shedd, OR 97377. The Club also has a web site - htp://www.proaxis.com/~arpc

Next year come on up to the shoot. You’ll be glad you did.use

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V3N1 (October 1999)
and was posted online on December 18, 2015


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