Mr. Mark Johnson,
Please let me explain the reasons, both good and bad, for this letter. My name is James Yockey, and Thursday (10NOV2016) I made my first visit to the CMP store. This was a five-hour journey that involved a hotel stay to make sure I was the first person in line. My friend (a long time CMP customer, Brandon Critchfield) and I were the first individuals in, and immediately headed toward the gun rack to find a shooter. To mine, and Brandon’s surprise a few CMP Specials in 308 where present. Because I am still getting into the high power rifle game this was great since I could use the same ammunition as my M1a, another purchase motivated by Brandon. I quickly became target locked on one rifle as a gentleman named Mike behind the counter instructed me to start the paperwork process when he realized I wasn’t going to put the rifle back on the rack. After some time I ended up leaving with a CMP Special in 308, and other non-rifle goodies that were calling my name while my paperwork was being processed.
After leaving the store we hopped in the car and ventured to the CMP range. This was something that Brandon has not shut-up about for the last year. I must say everything that he described, and the pictures I had see, did NOT do it justice. My buddy, a true lover of the M1, helped me get setup at the 100-yard range by instructing me how to grease up the newly acquired rifle. A few short minutes later I was shooting on target, but I was shooting very low and way left. This is where the trouble started.
I was attempting to make a group and when I would adjust the elevation or windage on the rifle it just seemed like I was only making things worse. So I enlisted the help of my friend to fire my rifle and maybe make some adjustments. After a few shots he went to make an adjustment and just like with me his adjustments didn’t help the accuracy issue…. it seemed to only compound the problem. Upon closer inspection we could see the peep sight raising and lowering elevation with the turn of the windage knob. Being that the rifle was brand new my friend opted to ask for assistance from the range personnel. This is when I really began to get nervous, after all I just dropped over a $1k on this “brand-new” rifle, had shot several dollars of ammo, mind you we are about 50 rounds into this fun, and Brandon didn’t know what the problem was. I started trying to make myself feel better by saying some jokes, like I’m beginning to think this is why these guns were phased out, but inside I was really getting nervous.
The range officer tells us that up the hill at the 200-600 yard range there is a man by the name of Leon who should be able to render aid. So we packed up our stuff and headed up the hill. Leon was a name I heard Brandon speak of before, as he told me how he had helped him pick out his first M1 several years ago, and had given him some good advice over the years. Once there my friend found Leon and flagged him over to get his input on the issue. Leon started to adjust the sight and immediately said something along the lines of “that’s not right.” He then asked if we had pliers. My immediate thought was “I don’t think I want pliers applied to my brand new rifle.” My heart hated to see pliers taken to the rifle but my buddy assured me if anyone was going to take pliers to it, Leon was the guy to do it. After he got the rear sight removed (my guess is it was incorrect threading) he looked at us and said, “I’ll be back.” I’ve heard this phrase before at other gun shops and it’s usually code for “I don’t know what I’m doing, let me find someone else to ask.”, so again I started to get that sickening feeling in my gut. After about 10 minutes we see Leon coming down the steps of the main building with some items in his hand. He gets back to the rifle and starts re-assembling my rear sight with some new parts. After he completed the assembly, he tells me “That should do it. Give it a few shots. Go 6 clicks for elevation from 0 and you should be able to get it on the paper.” Needless to say I had a sense of doubtfulness as I lay down on the mat and fired my first shot…. but to my amazement I was on paper at 200 yards. I made a 2nd shot and realized it was starting to group. I made a few small adjustments and it was spot on in fewer than 16 rounds! Leon was my hero, I only wished I hadn’t wasted all that ammunition earlier. I told him that he was my new best friend. All of a sudden I started to fall in love with that rifle much like the love I have for my M1a.
We wrapped up the day around 4:45 (having been all day) I shot around 200 rounds between the rounds I had wasted earlier and those shot after Leon worked his magic, and was even able to shoot my new M1 out to 600 yards and shoot decent groups. Leon saved the day and also saved me time and money by repairing the rifle on the spot instead of having to go back to the CMP store. My buddy had told me before that the CMP’s customer service and experience is something that is unmatched anywhere else. I’ll admit after the initial wasted ammo and a rifle that wasn’t working as it should’ve, I was beginning to think it was all hype, but by the days end, I understood what Brandon was talking about. Leon’s actions were more than I ever expected out of the CMP’s customer service and because of that I needed to put this story into an email. Thank you for your time and patience while reading this long story. As I said before, I’ve heard great things about the CMP and then I got to see the famous customer service, first hand, and during that process you all gained a customer for life.
-James W. Yockey