A Month of Bull's-eyes and Maggie's Drawers

August 09, 1964

Bearing arms and ammunition, an army of 8,000 shooters will shred row on row of targets this month in the National Rifle and Pistol Matches at Camp Perry on the Ohio shore of Lake Erie. Before the barrage lifts, civilians, servicemen and law-enforcement officers from 50 states, some of them Master and Expert marksmen and not a few of them novices, will squeeze off millions of rounds at targets from 50 feet to 1,000 yards away. Despite the August swelter, heat mirages that make targets shimmer and an occasional "Maggie's drawers" (a missed target indicated by a waved red flag), bullet after bullet thunks into the bull's-eyes. No less amazing is the 2,900-man armed-forces team that, with the help of the National Rifle Association, runs the matches and the Small Arms Firing School (opposite). Dissatisfied with poor American marksmanship in the Spanish-American War, Teddy Roosevelt moved Congress to establish the national matches in 1903. Teddy would grin broadly if he could watch the modern marksmen—and the women and youngsters—at Camp Perry.

Facing north, away from the sun and toward Lake Erie, small-bore shooters fire .22-caliber rifles at 50-yard targets in an "any sight" match (only the bottom two bull's-eyes count). This event calls for 10 shots from each of the four positions—prone, standing, sitting and kneeling. Eligible for the national matches since 1916, civilians consider the small-bore events the most prestigious at Perry matches.

Shooters who can't hit the bull's-eyes on the outdoor ranges can improve their aim in a shooting gallery adjoining the PX building, which offers items for "health and welfare"—milk shakes, jukeboxes and handsome MPs.

Perked up with pretty shooters and colorful team flags, Camp Perry's Glstyle mess dishes out three meals a day. The Army also provides, at bargain rates, cots, bedding and housing for the contestants and their families.

FIVE ILLUSTRATIONSFRANKLIN McMAHON

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)