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Shots to Victory – Meet the Winners of the Mammoth Sniper Challenge

Mammoth Sniper Challenge
Mammoth Sniper Challenge
January 18, 2024
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In case you’ve been living off the grid, the Mammoth Sniper Challenge is an annual long-range shooting competition that tests the skills, precision, and endurance of sniper teams from around the world. Held on the ranges, roads and tank trails of US Army Base Ft. Eisenhower, Augusta, GA, this event has gained a reputation as one of the most demanding sniper competitions globally. 

Teams typically consist of two competitors, reinforcing the importance of communication and cooperation in this elite competition. Mammoth is famous for the variety of challenging shooting scenarios, such as engaging moving targets, shooting from elevated positions, and navigating obstacle courses. The inclusion of physically demanding elements, and long hiking requirements, ensures that participants not only possess exceptional marksmanship but also the physical fitness required for the demands of real-world long range precision fire missions.

Now that you have a better idea of how difficult the Mammoth Sniper Challenge is, let’s hear from the winners and of the latest event, in their own words:

Name: Luke Keller

Age: 38

Hometown: North Carolina

Relevant military or outdoorsman training: 15 years military service.

Years competed at Mammoth: 3

Weapon used: Lone Peak Fuzion action, 26" Proof Research Competition Barrel, MDT ACC Premiere Chassis, MDT Double Pull Ckye Pod, APA Brake.  Pistol was a Staccato P with a DP Pro.

Optics used: Nightforce 7-35 ATACR with Tremor3.

Favorite gear: Bible app on my phone. I've done well at matches before and have underperformed at others. It's always good to have fun, but keep things in perspective of what truly matters.

Thoughts about the event: Every year I've shot, the match has a different flavor to it.  Last year pistol targets were sometimes harder and mattered more for standings and the rifle target shapes difficult to differentiate.

This year, pistol mattered less, there were more moving targets (brought by Marathon Targets), and rifle targets were often small and difficult to range.

Advice for other competitors: Train on a clock with an emphasis of concise communication between partners once you have good fundamentals of marksmanship down. Also, have fun and enjoy the amazing community!

Hardest part: Knowing how many points on each stage we left out there. Every stage is blind and making good choices on the clock in the limited time available can put you in a significant position of advantage. However, at the end of many stages we often reflected on the one or two better choices that would have increased our probability of obtaining points.

What surprised you: The level of competition at this years match. Any team within the top 10 or so teams could have absolutely crushed it. I have been beat by many of them at other matches. One more stage or so could have altered the standings significantly. It is very humbling to be surrounded by such high performers.  

Any final thoughts: I always love meeting people from all walks of life at the Mammoth. It brings a certain kind of person that has a passion for challenges in time constrained performance, teamwork, and physical perseverance.

Name: Zach Reed

Age: 32

Hometown: Bountiful, Utah

Relevant military or outdoorsman training: 10 years of military service with SF, Artillery, and Infantry units. Was an engineer with Applied Ballistics, LLC for four years doing R&D with all aspects of long-range shooting. Conducted long-range training for military units in that capacity at times.

Years competed at mammoth: 3

Weapon used: American Rifle Company Archimedes action, 26" Bartlein 400MOD 5r barrel chambered in 25 Creedmoor, MPA HNT26 chassis, APA brake, and Ckye Pod. Pistol was a Glock 19 with an RMR.

Optics used: Nightforce 5-25x51 ATACR with Tremor3 in a Spuhr mount.

Favorite gear: My favorite piece of gear is my sleep system. I have a Klymit 20 degree down bag and one of their Recon V sleeping mats. A good night's rest in a warm bag after a hard day of rucking and shooting cannot be understated. Good sleep and recovery is key.

Thoughts about the event: This year's Mammoth, like previous years, ran very, very well. The staff was on point and the stages were very fun. I really enjoyed the difficulty presented in both rifle and pistol marksmanship.

Advice for other competitors: Learn how to excel with the absolute minimum of equipment, and learn how to use that equipment to your advantage on a stage. Is starting the stage with binoculars in a tripod valuable? Maybe the rifle instead? I'd also say that working to minimize the number of intermediate steps in the "find-range-engage" kill chain is extremely valuable in a time constrained environment.

Hardest part: The morning of the second day started with rain at about 4 AM. Everything was wet, cold, and miserable - especially when the fog/mist rolled in at about 8 or 9 AM.

What surprised you: Every single year I'm always surprised with how quickly a 5 or 6-minute stage can go by. Watching other people shoot makes it feel like an eternity, but when I'm in the thick of it it goes by in an instant.

Any final thoughts: Chris puts on an incredible match, and I'm very, very thankful for the support from the community as well as the sponsors. This is consistently my favorite match, as it is (in my mind) the perfect blend of practicality, precision, and physicality.

*The above statements are directly from the competitors, and do not reflect the opinions of Mammoth, American Grit or any affiliates, nor do they constitute endorsements.*

Do you have what it takes? Sign up for Mammoth 2!

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