United States Rifleman's Association

Family, Friends,Community

United States Rifleman's Association - Family, Friends,Community

2014 Boot Camp After Action


This year’s Boot Camp schedule was modified somewhat in that the One Shepherd segment was moved forward to Saturday. This coincided with their “Zombie Attack” event. Since their event was open to the public, integrating it into our boot camp proved very successful. Approximately 25 people overall participated (plus a few zombies to start off with) which made things “interesting” out in the field.

Six teams, utilizing the One Shepherd Mil-Sim laser units, allowed force on force encounters between humans and zombies and some not so pleasant human on human encounters. In the end, it was a great time. Lessons learned, experiences gained, and options explored. I understand that Jason will be developing the scenario for next year and it may provide for a base camp defense so more people can be involved without tramping around 220 acres. So if you didn’t / couldn’t join in this year, plan on it for next year. Bring your chair, control your field of fire, and wait for them to come to you! I encourage you to look into One Shepherd for leadership training. They are on facebook.

Sunday Missouri USRA had a Tactical Carbine event scheduled and since we had enough instructors present, we also did an impromptu Introduction to Defensive Handgun class. This proved to be a nice warm up for the coming week.

After the guns were put away, we had our pig roast followed by the annual meeting. As always, our roaster Darin had more than enough food prepared and it was delicious. Lots of talk at the tables as folks caught up with old friends, making new ones, re-hashing the zombie attack, etc.

At the annual meeting, Doug Finke was elected as our new Vice President while Steve Schnurbusch was retained as treasurer. We went over the successes and shortcomings USRA faced in 2014 and some of the plans to correct same in 2015. An obvious fix we can all help with is promoting our events. Talk it up at work, with friends, a free ad in the local shopper, etc. If you have the best widget in the world, but no one knows….it sits on the shelf. Let’s start getting people to our shoots and expose them to some training that may make a difference in their lives.

Monday Derek ran a “train-the trainer” class for Tactical carbine while Karl and Chris worked with a group on the Defensive Handgun course of fire. Monday night Fred ran the 1st portion of the NRA Range Safety Officer class. Eight USRA members took him up on the offer and after a long day shooting, grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed for the classroom.

Tuesday was Carbine on Range#1 and Handgun on Range #2. Instructors got some time teaching out front as well as some much needed trigger time. Again, after chow, Fred put on the 2nd half of the NRA RSO class. USRA is proud to have 8 more certified Range Safety Officers within its ranks.

Wednesday is always a fun day. Competition day! We started out with the assault rifle match. Lots of friendly trash talk flying around as friends joked with each other as to their abilities, or lack there-of. In the end, KR took home the honors which he says proves 2 points: (1) Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill; and (2) You can’t miss fast enough to win. Congrats to KR for a solid run!

Moving on to the handgun match. Dave set up a couple awesome IDPA-ish stages that tested your ability to move keeping cover in mind, hit targets rapidly but accurately, engage multiple targets and manipulate your pistol. These were timed events that also utilized scoring to arrive at a final score. Speed wasn’t everything! A big thanks to Dave for setting these stages up for us! Congrats to EEL who just squeezed past Justin and took the handgun match!

A new addition this year was the clay pigeon shoot. USRA heard the request of our members that we only did handgun, assault rifle, and precision rifle competitions. In typical USRA fashion, many of our members stepped up and brought enough throwers so that we could run this event without a lot of down time. It was a huge success! It came down to a shoot out between Doug and KR. In the first round, Doug was able to hold off the challenge by KR and win the event. Congrats to Doug and his scatter gun!

The 400 yard one shot was very impressive! Last year it wasn’t even close as Karl walked away with it. This year was an entirely different story! People have obviously been working on their distance shooting. Just as Cherie, shooting irons, thought she had the winner with a shot right on the 9 ring, Justin drops down and drills a bull at 1 O’clock! Then Erik graciously allowed about everyone to use his scoped M1A and things got really interesting! Chad put one just outside the bull at 11 O’clock, EEL then lands one about the same distance but at 2 O’clock. Looks like a measurement will be called for. But wait…Doug manages to edge them both out with a shot at 3 O’clock for the win! Three (3) shots all within about ¼” of each other! A huge thanks to Karl for running a great event and the use of his camera system that, just like the multiple throwers, provided for minimal down time! Congratulations to Doug for taking home the honors. Special award to Erik for his winning rifle / ammo combination!

The Turkey shoot was won by Brian Bird. While it may sound easy, putting 1 round on target closest to the center of the star is not an easy task when you have this many quality shooters around! Brian took his time and put his round where it needed to go. Congratulations to Brian! The Bird brothers, Bruce and Brian, have been long time supporters of USRA and are a staple at Boot Camp. If you need any promotional items, (pens, shirts, can koozies, you name it) see Bruce!

Thursday and Friday were open range days. Some worked on polishing handgun skills, some worked with their carbines, still others worked with their scatterguns on the pigeons, while others spent the day on the distance range getting solid dope on their rifles (getting the jump on next year’s 400 yard 1 shot no doubt!) Yes, the bowling ball mortar made its appearance, much to everyone’s enjoyment! Thanks Mike, Chad, and Zeb!

Saturday was tear down day. USRA and One Shepherd have an agreement that is beneficial to both. They allow us to use their tents and we help store them away for winter. Simple arraignment by 2 like minded organizations. We got the jump on things by capitalizing on good weather Friday and tearing down the 2 medium tents. With the assistance of the One Shepherd people, the remaining 2 tents were stowed in short order. Many hands make light work!!

So the 2014 Boot Camp came to a close. But wait! No camp fires!? No side stories!? No new phrases!? Oh YEAH! The camp fire burned 24/7 from Sunday night until Saturday around 1400 when we departed. Not 1 deuce and a half, but TWO! Bowling balls whistle. New phrases? How about “Don’t Ginger my truck!” ….. “Safety is the other guy’s problem” (Sorry Fred! You know they’re just joking!)…. “You can’t miss fast enough to win”…. “Will someone PLEASE take that stick away from her”….and….”Quit attacking my chair!”

Next years Boot Camp is already on the schedule—October 17-24, 2015. Put it on your schedule now!

The USRA Board members want to thank all of you that attended. I hope it was all you expected and more! Thanks to all the individuals that gave 110% to make Boot Camp a pleasant experience for everyone. Not an exhaustive list so if I missed anyone….sorry: George, for getting up every morning and helping with breakfast, Fred, who came down just to teach the RSO class, Dave, Karl, Derek, Mike, Chad, Cherie, Zeb, the Birds for the “Jitney”, Jason for the range and all the improvements, One Shepherd for shelters and the zombie event, and, well, everyone. If someone saw something that needed doing, they did it.

And that is what boot camp is. That is what USRA is. That is who we, all of us, are.

Family, Friends, Community.

See you all next year. Bring a friend. They’ll be glad you dragged ‘em along!


Photos from Boot Camp 2014.


2014 Schedules Posted for Illinois and Oklahoma

The USRA 2014 Schedules are posted for Illinois and Oklahoma. Event registration is open for shooters and instructors may sign up for events.

We have also added a “Suggested Reading” section to the website. These are book recommended by our instructors.

There is also a new Governance page to find information about how our organization is operated.

USRA BOOT CAMP 2013 After Action Report



I arrived in Osage Beach on Friday afternoon in order to confirm the layout, take care of last minute items, and get squared away before everyone started rolling in.

While walking around the property, we made up a list of chores that needed addressing on Saturday. Trees needed to be limbed, cut, and hauled to the fire ring, brush piles burned, stairs repaired, lights hung, etc.

I figured we would have plenty of willing help because that’s how this organization was formed. I wasn’t wrong. Saturday, everyone pitched in with whatever skills, experience, tools, or strong backs they had and by mid-afternoon we had blown through the “to do” list like Derek through a full mag of .223.

Later, some took advantage of the open range time to warm up the pistols and rifles while others chose to sit back and take in the glorious view the changing colors of the trees offered.

Sunday, more campers arrived and the place started to come together. Canopies and tents sprung up, trailers leveled, kitchen equipment set up, gear situated, and re-acquainting with friends went into full swing.

Darrin, our pig roaster, arrived on schedule and the pig roast was on! He was amazed, once again, with how much food this group can put away. While we had roughly 35 partaking in the feast, he cooked for 42. We only had about 1 ½ pans of pork left over and all the sides were devoured. Pappy and Terry welcomed the left overs and had a plan to work them into the next day’s food.

At our annual meeting, Justin Anderson was elected as President and John Morton was re-elected as Secretary. Justin has been very active in USRA here in Illinois and I’m sure he will do a fantastic job. He has other capable officers and the finest group of Americans I’ve known backing him. He will take the reins on January 1, 2014.

We started off each day with a hearty breakfast. With full bellies, we made our way to the fire ring to raise the flag, say the Pledge of Allegiance, and have a muster so everyone was up-to-speed on the day’s activities.

Monday was Introduction to Defensive Handgun on the pistol range and American Marksman on the 25M range. After dinner, Pappy put on an excellent clinic on how to strip the M1 / M14, do some maintenance, lube it, and most importantly, re-assemble it! He then transitioned right into the AR15 family of rifles. Knowing how much and where to put what type of lube can be very important to keeping these guns running.

Tuesday was a repeat of Monday, thus giving everyone an opportunity to take both classes. The distance range was opened up to 300 yards for those that had their rifles dialed in and needed to dope them at actual yardage. The after dinner clinic was a “High Power” orientation. We learned the basics on gear, target reading, scoring, pit duty, etc. Hopefully, we can get a few more USRA members to make the trip to Camp Perry and compete next year.

Wednesday was “Competition Day”. A day designed to put our shooters thru the paces with their rifles and handguns. Nothing like a little pressure due to friendly competitive trash talk and a few bucks on the line to amp up the adrenaline and give you a good case of the jitters. This gives you a whole new perspective on how good you think you can shoot vs. how you actually do under stress.

Wednesday was also our day for One Shepherd. Ten or so guys (and Viper) strapped on the M.I.L.E.S. gear, grabbed a laser fitted AR carbine and a few mags of blanks and headed out for some force-on-force gaming. All I saw was smiles when they returned. Chris lowered the price for the Tru-Combat gaming for our guys. This is a direct result of us helping tear down the tents last year at the close of Boot Camp. One organization helping out another like-minded organization. Doesn’t get any better than that!

I encourage you to look into the One Shepherd organization. They are on the web and Facebook. A good group of guys teaching leadership skills, organizational skills, map and compass work, and other useful knowledge.

Thursday was another awesome day! Derek had been working on the Introduction to Tactical Carbine class for over a year. The class was great! His course of fire flowed nicely. It followed a logical progression from understanding the operation of your AR15, to shooting it quickly and accurately from various positions, to reloading, to clearing the inevitable malfunctions, and more. The round count was kept to an acceptable number.

Later, Mike brought out the bowling ball mortar. To say we were all impressed would be the understatement of Boot Camp. That thing was awesome! Even the video Erik posted doesn’t do it justice! Thanks Mike for sharing your “toy”.

After an outstanding pork steak dinner, we made our way out for the night shoot exhibition. A head count was taken to insure safety. We tried out several options in night vision, tracers, thermal imaging, flash hiders, and more. Hitting targets at 400 yards in pitch darkness was exhilarating!

Friday was an open range day. An RSO was assigned for each range and our shooters made their way to whatever range they needed work on.

At 1:00 p.m., George put on quite an informative shotgun demonstration. Nothing at all like what we’ve all seen come out of Hollywood. Slugs, 00 Buck, 4 Buck and birdshot were compared at various ranges from various barrels. The shotgun can be an important tool, but you have to know its pattern, capability, and limitations.

In the afternoon, we dispatched 2 of our guys to help the neighbor change out his well pump. We had been tapping off his well and the pump finally gave out. He didn’t ask, we didn’t offer. We just did the neighborly thing and did what needed doing. Family, Friends, Community. The basis of USRA.

Saturday, Boot Camp was winding down. Around a dozen or so of us tore down the tents again. Many hands make light work. They were all down by 11:00. Chris and Jason made sure everything got stowed where the critters can’t chew on them over the winter. Chris assured me that the tents would be up again and available to us for the Boot Camp in 2014.

You think you got it all? Not hardly! Pappy and Terry put on outstanding meals each and every day. The mess tent was up and running each morning bright and early. Hot coffee, BACON, spuds, eggs, biscuits and more greeted us as we crawled out of our sleeping bags. Dinners were top rate. No skimping here either. Salads, garlic bread, veggies, and more to go with the main course. Many, many thanks to all the hard work and preparation these 2 guys put into making this happen. It was very well received as no one had to worry about packing 6-7 days’ worth of food, keeping it cold, bringing pans and stoves, cooking it up, and maintaining a clean work area. These guys planned and shopped so well, I think we will be able to offer all 3 meals next year!

So now you think you got it all? Not even close! Too much happened to put it all here. Things like: Extrapolate, visual acuity, inclination, brush pile (again), “I’m so disappointed”, “arwy”, jitney, camp fires that burned 24/7 from Saturday to Saturday, camp fire talks that lasted almost that long, dog attacks, our mascot “Donkey”, and so much more.

I want to thank each and every one of you that came, participated, contributed, learned, taught, shared, laughed, and worked. YOU are the reason USRA exists. YOU are what makes Boot Camp happen.

Mark your calendar now for the 2014 Boot Camp: Oct 18-25

Bill “EEL” Essling

P.S. Dale Spencer will be posting pictures from Boot Camp on our web site. Visit www.usrifleman.org and click the “Boot Camps” tab at the top.

P.S.S. If you have pictures, get them to Dale so he can upload them.

Boot Camp Schedule of Events

SI Exif

October 19-26, 2013      Osage Beach, Missouri



Saturday Oct 19

  • Travel day / open range day
  • No scheduled USRA activities
  • Sight in rifles
  • Practice with pistols
  • Assist in set up of ranges / classrooms / tents


Sunday Oct 20

  • Travel / open range time until 1400 hrs
  • At 1400 hrs all ranges will close for the day
  • 1400 hrs – Pig Roast
  • 1600 ish hrs  – USRA annual meeting at the range.


Start times are in stone.  Be prompt.
Close times are “ish”


Monday Oct 21

0845 – 1700         American Marksman clinic on the 25M range.

0845 – 1700         Intro to Defensive Handgun on the pistol range.


Tuesday Oct 22

0845 – 1700         American Marksman clinic on the 25M range.

0845 -  1700         Intro to Defensive Handgun on the pistol range.

0845 – 1700         Distance range open for shooters that are ready

1900 – ????         CMP/High Power orientation


Wednesday Oct 23

“Competition Day”

0900 –1500          Assault Rifle match,“Turkey Shoot”,Bowling Pin match and 400 yard “1 shot” Match

1530 – ????     ***One Shepherd – Force on Force***

1900 – ????            Tactics and Strategy discussion

***OPTIONAL***You will need approx. $100 – $130 for MILES rental and for .223 blanks.  AR-15 carbines and magazines are provided.


Thursday Oct 24 

0800 – 1700     Distance range open for shooters that are ready

0800 – 1700     25M range open for practice

0830 – 1200 –  Defensive Shotgun Demonstration

2100 ish –          Night Shoot Demo– tracer, NVD,

flash hiders, Thermal Imaging, etc.

on the Distance range


Friday Oct 25

0800 – 1700    Distance range open for shooters that are ready

0800 – 1700     25M range open

1300 – 1700  “Tourist or Terrorist” on the pistol range


Saturday Oct 26

0800 – 1700    Distance range open for shooters that are ready

0800 – 1700     25M range open

1100 –               Assist in tearing down tents



Boot Camp    **USRA member**                            $175

Boot Camp    **non-member**                                  $225

  •  Range fees are included in the Boot Camp registration
  •  Pig Roast is included in the registration fee
  • Breakfast and Dinner (Mon-Sat) is included in Registration fee
  •  Entry fee for 1 round in each match is included in the registration fee

Fun shoots / Matches

All fun shoots will be settled at dinner with a 50/50 split to the winner.

You may enter a match more than once by paying an additional fee.


Bowling Pin Match                                                                                   $5 per entry

400 yard “1 shot” Match                                                                          $5 per entry

Turkey Shoot                                                                                             $1 per entry

Assault Rifle / Zombie shoot                                                                   $5 per entry

Tourist or Terrorist                                                                                   $1 per entry


PLEASE REGISTER ASAP FOR BOOT CAMP.  We need numbers for food, pig roast and shirt sizes

Fees for additional match entries will be handled in cash when you walk up / sign up for that match.

You can call me at 630-292-6452 or e-mail info@usrifleman.org with questions.

See you there!


USRA to hold Annual Boot Camp in Osage Beach MO.

USRA will be holding it’s annual week long Boot Camp in beautiful Osage Beach, Missouri in October.  The Boot Camp runs from Saturday October 19th through Saturday October 26th.

The Boot Camp is open to all that share the desire to learn more about their firearms and / or have a passion to pass along their knowledge and skills to others.  You do NOTneed to be an Instructor to attend.

Saturday the 19th may be used as a travel day, sight in your rifle day, try out that new handgun, etc.  Things will officially kick off on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. with a pig roast followed by the Annual Meeting.  This is where members of USRA can elect their Board of Directors, provide input to instructional curriculum, and generally, have a say in how this club will be run.

There will be numerous activities to keep you busy and your barrel warm.  The 8 hour Introduction to Defensive Handgun course will be taught on Monday and Tuesday.  Our American Marksman course will also be taught on those same two days.  You may change courses day to day or re-take the same course to get the material ingrained into your memory.

The 400 yard range will be open to those that complete the American Marksman course so bring that center fire rifle too.

There will also be a number of “fun” shoots.  Test your competitive edge at the Bowling Pin shoot, Terrorist or Tourist shoot, The Zombie Shoot, and the 400 yard “1 shot”.

Camping on site is allowed and encouraged.  No better way to make friends than over a campfire.  There are a limited number of RV electric hook-ups also available.  Food, ice, Wal-Mart, and other shopping are approximately ½ hour from the range.

Don’t know anyone that will go with you?  Won’t know anyone there?  Not a problem.  USRA is built on the foundation of Family, Friends, and Community.  If you show up, you will quickly make friends, friends that will still be friends after the Boot Camp closes.

The pig roast, breakfast and dinner, range fees, and match entry fees are included with the registration fee.

Click on the “Boot Camp” tab at the top (to be added soon)for additional information, a complete schedule of events, and to register



Mark your calendars for USRA’s second annual Boot Camp in Osage Beach, Missouri Oct 19-26, 2013. Activities include: Introduction to Defensive Handgun classes, American marksman classes, Competition day, Defensive shotgun demos, night shoot demo with tracers, NVD, thermal imaging, lasers and more.

Breakfast and dinner is INCLUDED in your registration fee. More info and a complete schedule will be posted by Aug 5. We will outline the daily activities, gear required, guns and number of rounds needed, etc. Check back on Aug 5 for full details.

USRA Board Meeting July 13 in Waterman.

USRA will be having a board meeting following the NRA classroom portion of our rifle shoot on July 13 in Waterman. We will hold it in the township building we use as the classroom. Among the things on the agenda are the boot camp and how we are going to handle the wave of requests for CCW classes. Bring ideas and thoughts on how we can improve USRA.

For those not close enough, either post up here or send Eel a msg via FB.

Hope we can get many of you put to help with the NRA class and hang around for the meeting. Pappy says we will either grill some grub or order some food from Pub West.