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In Memoriam: Elmer Schweitzer

Pennsylvania’s senior statesman of the sport and  shooting icon Elmer Schweitzer passed away on February 28, 2017 at the age of 93.

Schweitzer was well known for his  shooting skill as well as high quality gunsmith work, coaching, teaching, mentoring, and being a friend to all.

Elmer shot his first 1600 in prone competition at the Pennsylvania State Championships in Wilkes Barre, in 2002, at the tender age of 79.

​His citation for membership in the Pennsylvania Shooters Hall of fame reads, in part:

Contributions —  A strict, specific and demanding coach to young (and old) children, Elmer demanded perfection from the beginning of a kids career and guided them methodically through the stages of development into young shooting stars.  Always involving the whole family in developing young shooters, Elmer and his wife Anna of over 50 years would load up a car-full of kids and drive across PA or other states to participate in hand selected matches for the better development of their skills for future competitions.  Elmer also contributed in developing and improving rifles for youth and all ages of competitors by working closely with Winchester Firearms for a number of years when the Model 52 was the premier and developing competition rifle.  Elmer’s suggestions, travels to Connecticut, and research & development along with top engineers at Winchester provided the cutting edge target rifle in the Winchester Model 52 across the USA.

Participation – Not only did Elmer develop his own children, Jack, Bill, and Mary Anne, into shooting stars across the nation in top colleges, competitions, and into Olympic-level competitions, but he developed all of his students in the same manner, as though they were his own children.  Elmer participates and guides the Lancaster County Youth Field Day every year by maintaining high discipline, rigid teaching, and ultimate assistant coaches to guide and promote the sport of rifle shooting among 10 to 15 year olds….and open the opportunity to an alternative sport to the rat-race of today’s youth;  A sport that will be with a person for the entire length of their life.

Coaching – Elmer Schweitzer has been the consummate coach for over 70 years in Lancaster, PA.  He has rubbed elbows with National and International coaches, putting some of their techniques and teachings to shame, as Elmer coaches in his own manner that brings the best out of each individual.  Not an easy coach, but one who demands respect, attention, and off-range training that encompasses all regards to rifle shooting and mental toughness – in shooting and life.

Tenure – Elmer coached for 53 years,lived in Lancaster County, PA for over 70 years and participated in the Inter-County Rifle League from almost the beginning stages back in the 1920’s.

Category: Other Smallbore Information

About the Author: Hap Rocketto is a Distinguished Rifleman with service and smallbore rifle, member of The Presidents Hundred, and the National Guard’s Chief’s 50. He is a National Smallbore Record holder, a member of the 1600 Club and the Connecticut Shooters’ Hall Of Fame. He was the 2002 Intermediate Senior Three Position National Smallbore Rifle Champion, the 2012 Senior Three Position National Smallbore Rifle Champion a member of the 2007 and 2012 National Four Position Indoor Championship team, coach and captain of the US Drew Cup Team, and adjutant of the United States 2009 Roberts and 2013 Pershing Teams. Rocketto is very active in coaching juniors. He is, along with his brother Steve, a cofounder of the Corporal Digby Hand Schützenverein. A historian of the shooting sports, his work appears in Shooting Sports USA, the late Precision Shooting Magazine, The Outdoor Message, the American Rifleman, the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s website, and most recently, the apogee of his literary career, pronematch.com.

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