Writing about shooting is probably not going to broaden my audience (as this isn’t a shooting blog, I’m not an expert by any means so there’s no reason to consider what I write) and runs the risk of driving away a few readers.
OTOH, it’s my blog, and this is what interests me. Also, there’s no HIPAA for shooting, so I can talk about it.
I’ve recently become interested in long-range shooting, have taken a long class, gotten myself a very nice setup, and done a little practice. I do it for a lot of reasons: I like the precision and self-control required, there’s plenty of technology (more than I thought), feedback is immediate on the target, and I finally found a sport I can do lying down.
(I’m not a hunter. Mostly because it doesn’t interest me, and I’m not hungry. Should I miss a few meals, I’ll have no trouble becoming a hunter, and this training would come in handy.)
Speaking of training, I am fortunate to live fairly close to a high-end training center that specializes in just that. I took one of their courses, bought a very much better rifle after the class, and did some training afterward, though not enough (dang job). One of the best ways to see if you’re learning something is to compete, so off to a long range shootout yesterday.
The competition was quite well organized, well (and safely) run. The competition was to shoot sporting clays, which were 120mm (4.7”), 90mm (3.5”) and 60mm (2.4”) orange targets. From 400 yards. Clays are fun to shoot as they usually break very nicely, visible through the rifle scope, so hit/miss is easily discernible. Big=10 pts, medium=20, little=30, so relay max =150 points, with 5 relays in the competition. Oh, and you get 8 minutes to fire a maximum of 10 shots per relay.
There was a sighting-in period, then the competition. I had to move my firing position after sight-in, as my rifle has a muzzle brake (it reduces my felt recoil substantially: my rifle goes boom but doesn’t kick) but it blows air backwards. This was showering the shooter next to me with dirt. So moved, built a little barrier with a soft rifle case, and he’s good.
First frame I had the first-competition jitters: all these guys are better than me, and I haven’t actually practiced at this distance; there were a bunch of shooters who brought massive shooting benches from home, with clamps to hold their amazingly detailed rifles and their 40 power scopes in place, I’m shooting prone.
Before my first shot, my goal: be in the middle. At the end of my 10 rounds, new goal: don’t be last. Terrible shooting, just awful, and it’s all me.
Second frame: better, but left the two little ones; cleaned the third frame, and left one little one on 4&5. I might make the middle! As with most things, being comfortable makes all the difference.
There were 6 perfect scores, all bench shooters, and they had a one-shot shootoff; 48 shooters, I scored 550, for 16th place. Upper third! That’s encouraging, but the gunner in me now has to do better. I enjoyed it, and exceeded my expectations quite a bit (especially with quite the inauspicious start).
Next: handloading! Time to get the variation out of the ammo…
Many thanks to the Tarleton State High Power Rifle Team for pulling and resetting targets. They did a quick and terrific job, helping the competition go as smoothly as I can imagine.