MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - Groups like the Rocket City Practical Shooters hold competitive matches at gun ranges around the area. But one shooter we found, doesn't have to go far to fire his guns. And all that practice paid off with a trip to the World Championship.
When the urge to shoot hits Jeff Cramblit, he walks a couple of hundred yards from his house and opens fire. He owns 27 acres in Madison County that includes his own private shooting range. “A lot of my friends love to hate me,” he said with a laugh. “They’re like, I wish I had a range at my house but they always come out to visit too.”
Jeff’s love of shooting started early. “I started hunting and things with my dad when I was a little kid,” he said.
He fell in love with the sport of Practical Style Shooting while he was in the Navy. “I was the best shooters among all my friends,” he told us. “But I went out there and I realized I didn’t know anything about shooting compared to some of the people that were there were competing.” That was more than 30 years ago.
Jeff works for a Huntsville defense contractor but he also helps private citizens, like myself, law enforcement officers and members of the military, sharpen their shooting skills at his range. That led to an opportunity of a lifetime. “They said hey, do you want to be on the team,” He recalls. “And I’m like, uh, yep.”
Jeff and 15 fellow Americans went to Kubinka, Russia for the first ever World Rifle Championship. “It was a big event,” Jeff told us. “I mean, 39 countries from around the world.” And Team USA did well. “We had three teams competing,” Jeff said. “We had an open team, an open senior team and a ladies team competing.”
Speed and accuracy count. ”When the buzzer goes off and starts you, you want to hit all the targets as well as you can and as fast as you can,” he said. “You’re scored on the targets but it’s also timed down to the hundredth of a second.”
Jeff brought home two medals. “We’ve got the first place,” he said while proudly showing us his medals. “For being the best team in the men’s senior open division and then my individual bronze.” It was a once in a lifetime experience.
He made two visits to the winners stands. “And it’s really an awesome view when you’re standing up in front on one of those podiums,” he proudly said. “And they’re playing the national anthem when you’re standing in Russia looking out over 600 or 700 people.” He couldn’t stop smiling. It’s a memory to last a lifetime
Jeff's looking forward to more competitions in the fall. He plans to take part in the Alabama Sporting Clays Championship in October and the Costa Rica Pistol Nationals in November.