Foggy Rifle Range Memory

Calling Marines of 1958 PI boot camp era: can anyone remember and provide the rifle range details for this old Marine, obviously now in his mid-seventies who, much to my dismay, is having difficulty recalling the exact firing protocol for each position with our M1’s back in the day? Specifically, what the did we shoot in the four positions of offhand, kneeling, sitting and prone? This is all I remember (I think): 100 yds. offhand; either 200 and/or 300 yds. kneeling and sitting; and pretty sure we did prone at 500 yards. Which positions and associated distances were shot in slow fire and which in rapid fire? Referring to the USMC Manual of the day yielded zero results. Your help to answer these nagging questions will be very much appreciated. Semper Fi to all brother and sister Marines.

Lionel “Leo” Caldeira – Cpl.
’58-’62: 3rd MarDiv; 1st MarDiv

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20 thoughts on “Foggy Rifle Range Memory”

  1. The KD (known distance) course of rifle qualification, as I knew it, consisted of:
    200 yard line – 10 rounds slow fire in standing, off-hand position.
    10 rounds rapid fire in sitting or kneeling position, with magazine/clip change.
    300 yard line – 10 rounds slow fire in sitting or kneeling position.
    10 rounds rapid fire in prone position with magazine/clip change.
    500 yard line – 10 rounds slow fire in the prone position.
    Something that I will never forget is “target #5.” Our D.I. and PMI told us to burn our target number into our memory and woe be the Marine who fires on the wrong target. I can’t remember the target numbers from any other re-qualification, but you can bet you ass that I will never forget “target #5.” Can you remember your target number from boot camp?!??
    Semper Fi!!!

    1. Camp Pendelton 1954
      You are correct MSgt. My target #13. Not unlucky as I qualified at 235. I loved my M1.
      I am now 84 and can still remember those quonset huts.

      Semper Fi!
      Ron Routh

      1. Hi Ron – I’m not quite as “Old Corps” as you. In 1964 at Camp Matthews we lived in tent city. Hitting the sack in the daylight and reveille at zero-dark-thirty. What a life, Semper Fi!!!

    2. You almost have it right. 200 yard line, 10 rounds off hand, 10 rounds rapid fire sitting position with mag change. 300 yard line, 5 rounds sitting, 5 rounds kneeling slow fire, 10 rounds prone rapid fire with mag change. 500 yards, 10 rounds prone in 10 minutes.

      M/Sgt (retired) Jan 65-Dec84

    3. All good, M/Sgt. Prothro, M-1 Grand Rifle. The rifle held an 8 round Clip so when 10 rounds were required to be fired a Clip and Two rounds were inserted in the the Rifle. After the first two rounds were fired you heard the distinct sound of the Clip being ejected and you were reaching for your 8 round clip to insert into the receiver and resumed your firing position to crank off the remaining 8 rounds.
      Stay safe & Semper Fidelis,

      Sgt. Major off Marines (Retired)

    4. Coach from 1955 to 1957 on the Rifle Range at Camp Lejeune. Some additions: 10 rounds offhand from 200yd. line at Able target. (12 inch diameter bullseye); 10 round sitting at Dog target (head and shoulders) in 50 seconds. 5 rounds sitting and five rounds knelling at 300 yds. at Able target; 10 rounds rapid fire at Dog target in 60 seconds. Ten rounds prone from 500 yds. at Baker target ( 20 inch diameter).

    5. (10) rounds 200 yards off hand in 10 minutes; (10) rounds standing to sitting 200 yards in 1 minute; (10) rounds kneeling 300 yards in 10 minutes; (10) rounds standing to prone 300yards in 50 seconds; (10) rounds prone 500 yards in 10 minutes

  2. I was a recruit aboard PI in 63 in 3rd Battalion. The above from MSgt Prothro sounds accurate from my memory. Hope this helps. Semper Fi

  3. I still have my Data Book from September 1969, with the M-14 (Edson, Camp Pendleton) and October 1971, Cherry Point with the M-16.
    Qual Day, Thursday, 9/11/1969
    M-14, in the Book, Target # 37, Range # 2
    200 Meters Slow – Offhand, 10 Rounds
    200 Meters Rapid – Standing to Sitting, 10 Rounds
    300 Meters Slow – Sitting, 5 Rounds, Kneeling, 5 Rounds
    300 Meters Rapid – Standing to Prone, 10 Rounds
    500 Meters Slow – Prone, 10 Rounds
    Actually would have qualified on Monday if it would have counted…the rest of the days except for Thursday that week, were NOT that good

    Cushing, J.M., Sgt, ’69 – ’75

  4. All good, M/Sgt. Prothro, M-1 Grand Rifle. The rifle held an 8 round Clip so when 10 rounds were required to be fired a Clip and Two rounds were inserted in the the Rifle. After the first two rounds were fired you heard the distinct sound of the Clip being ejected and you were reaching for your 8 round clip to insert into the receiver and resumed your firing position to crank off the remaining 8 rounds.
    Stay safe & Semper Fidelis,

    Sgt. Major of Marines (Retired)

  5. At a gun show a while back a vendor had non-standard two-round en-block chargers for the Garand. My mind immediately went to Camp Matthews, 1962. How handy they would have been – I hated that two-round fumble.

  6. Hi MSgts Correll, Prothro and Tony and most others, that is the way that I remember the rifle range exercise at Parris Island in the latter part of 1953, with Pltn 341. Something that I would like to forget is I went UNQ at PI and had to wear my cover backwards for a week, along with three others platoon members. I still have my boot camp receipt for that M1. I also still have my U. S. Marine Corps Rifle Marksmanship and Data Book to commemorate the first of 5 times (the first time was November of 1968 after returning to CONUS from VN in August while with 2ndANGLICO) attaining Expert Rifleman status. Prior to that, most of my rifle range appearances resulted in high Sharpshooter, the last 2 or 3 points evading me like that blonde we all dreamt about as youngsters. 2x’s had to wear the “toilet seat” or “pizza box” but at the time was proud to have avoided that UNQ!

  7. MSgts….
    That’s the way I recall it also. I remember my “Coach” telling me as we went to the 500 yard line that if I intended to quality: “you better shoot a possible.” Meaning all 10 rounds in the bull. He scared me… and I had a score of 48. Total:…188.
    Requal the next year…213.

  8. How can I remember the rifle range if I don’t remember snapping in! :)…….don’t let the lack of memory nag you. 🙂 But I do remember maggie’s draws.

    Semper Fi, brother.

  9. I was in platoon 100 in the spring of 1954. I’m left handed and they made me shoot right handed. I made sharp shooter with 216. We were in tents at the rifle range and in tents across from the parade field. They sent me to Camp Geiger, Force Troops, 8th Communications Battalion(when radios had tubes). Always wondered what Force Troops was?

  10. MSgt Prothro nails it for Camp Mathews in 1958 (plt 324). Rapid fire killed me at 200-300 yards. My glasses would get knocked around by recoil just enough that I would have to re-acquire the target after readjusting them, so I had to rush my shots to get in all ten. The 500 yard line saved my bacon. One day we were at the 500 yard line and one of the benches down at the 200 was taking a beating, wood chips flying! They called cease fire, then started making one guy after the other take a shot. They got to the culprit when his shot made some more kindling from the bench. After an “explanation” of the importance of adjusting his sight for distance after moving further up the range, and after a few smacks on the head with his own utility cover, we resumed practice.
    Another day, 300 yds kneeling, one guy just couldn’t seem to find the target. The range master called a short cease fire so the noise wouldn’t distract him while the instructor knelt down. He told the recruit to relax, hold his position and just concentrate on the shot He would load each round. On about the 3rd round he, of course, slid a dummy round into the chamber. When the guy pulled the trigger he bucked the shot so hard that he fell over. One cover-slap on the head for each word as the instructor repeated, over and over, “Squeeze the G–DAMNED trigger!”
    Lest we forget, Mathews also had a 1000 yard line. It wasn’t for us newbies though. One day we got to pull butts for the rifle team shooters – 1000 yards, open sights. I wasn’t in the butts but got to watch them shoot. Amazing.

  11. Great to hear from old Marines. I was at Camp Mathews in the fall of 1955, Plt. 155. We were allowed to sing “Honey Babe” at the rifle range. I have talked to Marines from other times and they do not recall doing that. Do any of you remember?

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