Each summer, competitors from across the country travel to Camp Perry in Port Clinton, Ohio, for the national games, which are open to the public. But many people don’t realize that shooters of any level are welcome to shoot at Campo de Petrarca and the National Matches. Petrarca Range, located on the grounds of Camp Perry, is an indoor shooting range open to the public on Mondays and features electronic targets equipped with the most innovative technology on the market.
“Petrarca Range is for civilians to learn, practice and have fun,” said Mike Conrad, director of Petrarca Range.
The Petrarca Range firing stations are located at the edge of bay gates that swing open to give people access to the range’s 10 electronic rifle targets. The targets feature Kongsberg Target System (KTS) technology that relies on acoustics to determine the location of the shot. Score is instantly displayed on easy-to-use touchscreen monitors at your side.
“There are microphones at each corner of the lens. The microphones pick up the sound and triangulate where the shot is,” Conrad said. “There are no scoring rings. This eliminates the need for someone with a spyglass.”
The KTS-enhanced targeting system is one reason Jim Sherman commutes over an hour from his home in suburban Cleveland several times a month to shoot Petrarca.
“It’s good because scoring is really fast and very easy. You just look at the monitor. That’s important because I shoot from all positions and I don’t want to get out of position to look at my score,” Sherman said. “You’re not sending someone into the pit to constantly change targets, and you’re not relying on a spotter. Relying on a spotter makes shooting more complex, and Petrarch eliminates all of that.”
Philip Edwards of Marblehead learned to shoot while serving in the Vietnam War, but his wife, Joyce Edwards, was new to guns when they started shooting air rifles at the Gary Anderson CMP Center of Competence next door to Petrarca. Joyce instantly took up the air rifles, but was hesitant to move on to larger guns on Petrarch. That soon changed.
“I could tell when he first shot Petrarca with his .22 that it was hooked,” Philip said.
Joyce shoots accurately enough, Philip said, “to shoot a golf ball 100 yards all day.” Within the comfort of the Petrarch Mountains, Joyce quickly transformed from a timid competitor to a medal winner. Philip and Joyce began shooting Petrarca in 2017, and in 2019 they won gold and silver medals respectively on small-bore bench at National Tournaments.
“We have been very blessed with the Petrarca staff. They are so amazing, so personable and so accommodating. They understand that shooting is something new for some people,” Joyce said.
But the range is just as suitable for experienced shooters like Philip. The range offers some protection from the elements while also exposing shooters to the difficulties they present.
“I like the range because it is a challenge. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it snows and sometimes it is windy. It’s a challenge because it’s never consistent,” Philip said. “You have to figure out how to shoot in any circumstance.”
The CMP will host an M1 Garand, Springfield, Vintage Military & Modern Military (GSMM) Match on June 24, with the first relays beginning at 9 a.m. The competition is open to the public. The cost of a GSMM match is $40 for adults and $30 for youth. Two games are $70 for adults and $50 for juniors. Three games are $100 for adults and $70 for juniors. CMP achievement pins will be awarded to winners.
GSMM Match will be governed by the CMP Competition Rules which can be found at http://thecmp.org/competitions/cmp-competitions-rulebooks/. For more information about the game, call CMP Competitions at 419-635-2141, ext. 714, or visit https://ct.thecmp.org/app/v1/index.php?do=match&task=edit&match=24146.
“The GSMM Match is like the long range but smaller. They will shoot from all three positions (prone, prone and standing),” Conrad said.
Petrarca Range is open to the public most Mondays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., but people should check the hours before traveling to Camp Perry. The pitch will be open on various days/times during the National Matches in July and August. In addition to electronic rifle targets, the range also offers cardboard gun targets. The range rate is $10 per hour or $25 for three hours. Only ammunition no larger than .30-06 can be fired at the range.
Sherman appreciates having access to the KTS-enhanced electronic targets.
“Many ranks are switching to these targets. It’s the wave of the future,” Sherman said. “It’s a huge time saver. As a shooter, it’s wonderful to have instant feedback. It is worth the hour and a quarter of the trip.”
Philip and Joyce said it’s not just the technology and challenge of the range that brings them to Petrarca several times a month. They also come for the camaraderie.
“It’s more than shooting,” Philip said. “It’s about visiting friends. We talk about shootings and current events and all kinds of things.”
For more information on the Petrarca Range, call Mike Conrad at 419-635-2141, ext. 753 or visit https://thecmp.org/ranges/cmp-targets-at-petrarca-range/.
The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally chartered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearms safety and marksmanship training and the promotion of marksmanship competition for United States citizens. To learn more about the CMP and its programs, log on to www.TheCMP.org.