Whitney team wins vintage sniper match, breaks record

Reporter: Ellie Mahan

December 22, 2021

John Bass and James Fletcher

John Bass and James Fletcher, both Whitney residents, won the Oklahoma Civilian Marksmanship Program Vintage Sniper Match, with a record-breaking score.

Bass said that he began shooting guns about seven or eight years ago, and his partner Fletcher triggered his interest in the hobby. Fletcher moved from California to his hometown of Whitney about 10 years ago, after retiring from his job as a college professor. Bass later found out that Fletcher grew up riding the school bus with his wife. From this connection, the two became friends, and shooting was something they could do together.

Bass said, “In the competition we were in, there were eight or 10 different matches. The Vintage Sniper Match was the last match. We had been on the verge of winning it half a dozen times, but there was always something that happened. A gun went down. A scope fell off, something small. This time everything was perfect.”

The 2021 Oklahoma CMP Games and High-power Rifles Matches were held October 17-24 at Oklahoma City Gun Club. Over 400 entries covered the ranges in a variety of modern and vintage military rifles and pistol matches held throughout the week.

The event Bass and Fletcher won was the Vintage Sniper match. The rifle for this category must be a manually operated or semi-automatic rifle that was an original military rifle issued for sniping in 1953 or earlier, or a commercial replica rifle of the same type and caliber.

The Vintage Sniper Match is a two-person team event designed to replicate and test marksmanship skills similar to those employed by traditional military sniper teams. The course of fire consists of five minutes for unlimited sighting shots and 10 record shots for each team member at 300 yards on the 300-yard high-power target. Each team must make a wind correction estimate and take each record shot within a 15-second period. Teams fire a total of 40 shots for record with a maximum team score of 400 points.

The friends claimed a new Oklahoma CMP Games record in the Vintage Sniper Match, netting a score of 395-13X for the win. Both fired Springfield 1903A1 rifles with 8 power Unertl scopes, also known as U.S. Marine Corps Model 1941 Sniper Rifles. This rifle model was used by Marine Corps snipers in both World War II and Korea.

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