Shooting Sports USA | 2020 Marty Brown High Power Invitational At Camp Atterbury
While I’ve shot hundreds of games in my day, nothing feels better than attending a charity event. In November 2020, I was honored to be invited to the fourth annual Marty Brown Memorial Invitational Shoot organized by Revere’s Riders. Namesake Marty Brown, the wife of instructor Phil Brown, was a victim of ovarian cancer. This match is taking place near home as Marty was a friend of my wife Barbara and part of an amazing group of Midwestern shooters that I am proud to call friends. Every year, participants are invited to take part in a position fire and enjoy the opportunity to win prizes as well as two trophies that go to the best marksman and the most eccentric weapon. All game proceeds will be donated to Ovar’coming Together, An organization that funds ovarian cancer research.
The author shoots during a standing portion of the Marty Brown Memorial Open tournament.
As in previous years, this event took place again at the legendary Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center in Edinburgh, Indiana active training camp will host the NRA’s reunited national championships later that year. As we checked into the base housing, we were sung about with the sounds of artillery fire and automatic weapons in the distance. We knew we had a great weekend ahead of us.
The course of the fire is based on 40-lap AQTs (Army Qualification Tests) and consists of a 10-lap standing platform 100 meters away (loops allowed), followed by a 10-lap rapid-fire seated platform 200 meters away. then 10 rounds of prone fire at 300 yards fired in rapid succession, and finally 10 rounds of slow prone fire at 400 yards. All legs are shot at a standard Army D target that measures approximately 25 “by 19” with a 5 “central V-ring. For this event, we scored on the hit count metric, which eliminated the scoring ring scores and disrupted the connections with most of the V-ring impacts.
Shooters on the line of fire at Camp Atterbury for a vulnerable line.
Over the next two days, we wanted to do this COF three times, and whoever got the best score on a single AQT should get the Top Shooter Trophy. For fun, almost all device restrictions are removed. Basically the only rules are no stabilization equipment and no shooting gloves. All sights, nooses, chambers, trigger weights and shooting coats are fair game. For this reason, I chose a 24-inch Anderson AR-15 with 4.5 to 27x Bushnell Forge optics. While a 24-inch barrel isn’t my first choice for positional shots, this rifle produces consistent sub-MOA groups at 600 yards. With the elongated barrel, I wanted to take advantage of the superior accuracy and high magnification optics.
After we all cleared the rules, Phil handed out envelopes, each containing information about something Marty was closely related to – service. These community activities include serving lunch for the children of the local middle and high schools. Each day, we took turns remembering them through those snippets and then pulled for one of over a dozen door prices, including a Diamondback DB9 and a SCCY CPX-3. Of course, there was the Pioneer Arms Hell-Pup AK-47 pistol, but you had to earn that by winning a number of challenge courses, but more on that later.
The author who works on the box during the match. (Photo by Barbara Melloni.)
The first day started with working in the scoring. This was the first time I had the chance, and I was about as excited to mark a “D” target as I was supposed to shoot one later that day. The morning downstairs was fun as it was the perfect combination to meet friends and watch targets get hit just yards away. I also had the chance to smoke a great cigar as we had to put the fun on hold so the military could put out a worrying bushfire a few areas further, probably from those pesky 1-in-5 tracers that encompass a machine gun belt . “That’s pretty normal at Camp Atterbury,” explained my wife Barbara. “A few years ago, A-10 warthogs were strafing runs and then lit them pretty badly.”
After the first group we had our first run at the COF. The pressure was high as our friend James Rose shot a perfect 40 with an 11 in the “V” which was going to be a difficult task. Fortunately, the pressure eased immediately when I was less than three rounds behind in the first leg of the game. I forgot that Revere’s Riders only have two minutes standing up instead of the usual 10 that I’m used to in a service rifle. In the end I managed a 36-5V that kept me going. We finished filming at dusk and handed out the first round of door prizes that didn’t include any of the pistols to be won. I still had to draw.
Barbara Melloni (author’s wife) competes with an M1 Garand rifle at the Marty Brown Invitational.
The second day started the same, except my group wanted to shoot first. I was exceptionally crisp and focused that day so I went for some of the challenging COFs. These courses involve shooting under various forms of stress and precision. For the course I took part in, a shooter had to fire the closest group with time restrictions. I didn’t use a sling to stand. As luck would have it, the wind cooperated and I won – I got a spot in that day’s playoff and hit balloons at a distance of 400 meters while the wind manipulated them as it felt appropriate. It only took me five of my seven allowed rounds to pop all five balloons. This earned me my place in the last jump-off with Dirk Dudeck, who did the same job the day before. That stab would determine the AK pistol winner, and it all boiled down to a single shot fired at a 400 yard target. It wasn’t pretty, but an 8-ring shot put that bad boy in my hands to complete the formal match.
As we neared the parking lot, we stopped at the 500 yard line and gathered with instructor Bradley Settle for some Hornady-sponsored extracurricular activities. Bradley, better known by his nickname “Slim”, gave us a brief introduction to his personal Barrett M82A1 .50-cal. Rifle and then allowed any shooter who wished to make an additional donation to drop some long range bombs on the remaining balloons. After we all had our share of the recoil, we finished our trip to the parking lot to award the trophies and hand out the door prizes.
Attendees gather for a group photo at the 2020 Marty Brown Invitational.
Although I was able to do a 39-11V and a 39-8V, James just got away with the Top Shooter Trophy on his perfect 40. It was a close fight to the end. Our friend Dirk took home the Tactifail trophy by showing up with a 45 degree visor that clearly couldn’t be used – even though Slim gave him a run for his money with his bike-mounted bicycle horn.
We ended the event by reading more about the hobbies that drove Marty. I took the ticket for the SCCY pistol, one of the main prizes. The logistics and cost of shipping it back to New York would have dwarfed its value. That’s why I auctioned them right there and shared the proceeds with Revere’s Riders for the annual donation. It was in that moment that I realized the caliber of the individuals belonging to this group because it was being sold for much more than its retail value. This was not due to a shortage of firearms, but to an excess of care.
More information about this event can be found at overesriders.org.
Photos by Cardinal Acres Photography.
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