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Umarex Hits the Mountain!  RMAC 2024

Most of the UX crew that attended RMAC 2024. L to R Abby Casey, Mark Davis, Evan Haddick, Eydin Hansen, Chad Sharpe, and Ckye Thomas.  Missing from this photo are Brad Webb, Justin Biddle, and Jeremiah Alexander.


I hope you got a kick out of that title.  At times it seemed the only target that was hit was the mountain. The Utah wind can be flat out diabolical. But here I am getting way out over my skis with this story and I haven’t even set the stage.


Justin Jacobson (far right, edge of the gravel in white shirt) addresses the attendees.


The good folks over at Utah Airguns have been having this little party out in the desert for quite some time now. The Rocky Mountain Airgun Challenge is a multi-discipline airgun shooting event and the only easy thing about it are the smiles and camaraderie among airgunners no matter what air rifle you are shooting.  You couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting at least three airgunners and all of a sudden you were knee deep in a conversation and figuring out you have more than just airguns in common. What a great event for connecting with some really awesome people.  


High Desert Hijinx


Bright and not so early, Team Umarex went to the desert to zero in their rifles. 


The events were as follows: 100 Yard Benchrest, Precision Marksman Challenge, Speed Challenge, and Big Bore Challenge. Don’t forget that there were both Pro and Sportsman divisions– this meant there was a good deal of effort to keep the appropriate cats in the right herd at the right time. Not enough can be said for the volunteers and UA staff that toiled away keeping air tanks full, ranges safe and orderly, and water in the ice chests in the desert heat. These folks are all aces in my book.  


Jeremiah with his Gauntlet 30 SL preparing to get on target for RMAC.


Team Umarex rendezvoused in Springville at an AirBnB earlier in the week. With one of our favorite sales representatives, Todd Bruner, as our guide, we headed out to the Saratoga Springs desert to make sure our rifles were zeroed and acclimated to the reduced humidity and increased elevation.  The team for RMAC this year consisted of Abby Casey and Ckye (pronounced Sky) Thomas on the Pro Side with Jeremiah Alexander, Eydin Hansen, Chad Sharpe, and myself, Mark Davis, shooting in the Sportsman’s Class. 


Umarex’s Chad Sharpe taking a shot at one of the targets we sat out at 100 yards with his Gauntlet 30 SL. 


Out in the desert I was able to confirm my zero and slip the turrets on my Arken 4-16 power scope to get ready for business at the range the next day. Getting high, that is in elevation, changes things a great deal for shooting. We were able to get most issues sorted out and just had a great time getting to know each other. I know I was able to learn a good deal from all of our Pro shooters, both at the range and then again when we were breaking bread in the evenings. 


Day One

The Author shooting in the Precision Marksman Competition with the Gauntlet 30 SL


Thursday was the first day of the competition. On the AM side of the clock, we Sportsmen shooters were lined up and doped up for the Precision Marksman Challenge.  Well, I was lined up.  I had no dope as I had not really practiced for this event. The dope I had was crude and figured on an online ballistics calculator. Targets for this stage were placed no closer than 34 yards and as far as 190.  The ratio of the targets to distance was nearly 1 MOA at any distance. Yes, even the farther targets were itty-bitty – the hard part was not only being able to shoot 1 MOA, but to compensate for both wind and elevation at distance.  As you might imagine, the struggle bus stopped for me at this event. It was still a hoot. 


Evan Haddick on the left and Mark Davis on the right.  Mark’s strategy on day two was don’t sweat the small stuff. And it actually worked! Much better target than his day one target. 


In the afternoon, round one of the 100-yard Benchrest was held on the same range, after the staff and crew removed the morning’s targets and rolled out the stands for the big paper targets. With our rifles, Gauntlet SL30s, confirmed back on zero, we made our way to the lower range and once again waited for our relay’s go-time. Chad and Eydin shot early while Jeremiah and I shot late on the lower range. Abby and Ckye were on the upper range doing the same thing at the same time.  Due to different start times, we were pretty much all able to watch each other shoot so this was pretty nice. 


We were able to demo a few rifles at the zero range set up by the great folks at Utah Airguns. Left to right, Ckye, Chad, Eydin, an unknown attendee, and Justin.  


What I learned during this first experience at the bench was … the wind, even a slight breeze, can have a dramatic effect on accuracy. In my relay, the wind was calm by comparison to some of the wind I witnessed earlier in the day. That said, there were several moments where I just reloaded my magazines and refilled my tank waiting for the gusts to die down a bit. Oh, I also learned that when you cram 20 targets on a 15 target sized range, it’s really easy to shoot someone else’s target. Yes, I sent one through my neighbor’s target. I caught this in my scope before the match was over and notified the RO right away. Humiliation doesn’t begin to describe that feeling. 


I had a couple of X’s and a fair number of pellets inside of the 8 ring, but some bad wind reads had me with a bunch of strikes in the 3-5 territories. Yuck. 


Day Two and Three


Eydin Hansen on the big bore bench with his Hammer. The targets on this stage were placed between 85 and 290 yards.


Friday, was formatted in the same way as Thursday. My second go-round with the bench found the wind blowing a bit harder and more gusty than the day before. This effect was even greater on the Upper Range where Abby and Ckye were shooting in the pro class.  There the wind never really settled and was at least 15 mph throughout with gusts often measuring 30 mph or higher. Abby managed to punch out her card to a 4th place finish in the relay that day. 


For me, the 2nd relay was at least more consistent than the first, in spite of the wind.  Granted, by the time I shot the wind was still gusty but not nearly as severe as the wind Abby and Ckye faced. On the plus side, I didn’t have any pellet strikes in the 3 ring, AKA NOT THE TARGET. At the end of the relay I was able to look at the target I guessed an average of 7 – a solid score but not competitive. My guess was pretty close to what I ended up with officially. This put me in the 47th spot overall.  


Jeremiah on the big bore bench with his Hammer. Jeremiah was really good at figuring the shooter’s dope via his background in optics and long range shooting on the firearms side of things.


Getting your butt kicked usually has one of two effects.  You either want to never do that again, or you want to do everything you can to get better. As I write this, I am four solid days on the other side of RMAC and I can’t wait to get back out to the range and shoot some more. Once again, I’m a bit over my skis. 


Saturday was for other events I wasn’t involved with, so I took notes and helped out at our demo booth. Abby, Ckye, and Jeremiah shot in the Big Bore Challange I got a master class in spotting from Jeremiah. He and Ckye are both from the precision and long range firearm world, and giving it a go in the airgun world because, why not? In this event we were getting some wacky dope. Wacky in that it *seemed* like they were getting unusually high velocity out of the Umarex Hammer.  I still don’t know what was happening, but we were consistently hitting higher than should have been possible. At 200 or more yards this is really weird. 


Abby Casey turned in a solid performance in the harsh wind on day two.  She came in 4th place in her relay. 


Sunday was the finals for PMC and 100 Yard Benchrest and Utah Airguns pulled out all the stops for making this day a treat for all involved.  Helicopters, trucks, shooting platforms and other barriers were used for PMC. On the bench, shooter’s just had to buckle down and make 25 pellets really count.  

Ckye mugging in front of the chopper that was landed to use a barrier for the Pro Precision Marksman Competition. And yes, that is a Gauntlet 30 SL housed in a custom Grayboe stock.


A Touching Finale


That evening we all gathered in downtown Springville for a big banquet. It was here we were able to finally see who won what. It was also here where we got to see how big Justin Jacobson and all the airgunners in the crowd’s hearts were.  I can’t speak for everyone, but I know my eyes were leaking a bit when the men behind Kids with Disabilities Adventures got up to share about their program.  The joy these men bring to kids in Utah is priceless. It was so good to see tens of thousands of dollars offered to support such a worthy cause. 


To put a final point on this, our friends from Utah Airguns are competitive as all get out, but they are also wonderful folks. And with that said, I’m looking forward to coming back to next year’s event as a much better shooter.



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