2nd Competition Win In A Row
After winning my class in the CRPA California State Championships in Standard Gun Smallbore Metallic Silhouette rifle competition with what was one of my worst scores ever I have been itching to do another match to make myself feel better. Unfortunately scheduling and financing and a new job have gotten in the way. That is until yesterday.
I just got back Friday night from a nice long trip to a customer site. For those that don’t know I’m a geek by trade and in my current job I do my geek job in a services capacity instead of, as has been the case for the last 20 years, as in internal resource. Trips to customer sites are usually sudden and open ended which is stressful and has had a severe impact on my ability to make the normal silhouette match circuit.
Getting in late Friday night I was very much not looking forward to waking up 4 hours later, then driving 2.5 hours to the Monterey County Swiss Rifle Club, competing for 4 hours then driving home for another 2.5 hours and then finally getting to some errands I had to run. That sort of running around and lacking sleep usually has a serious negative effect on my scores. Fast food breakfast and orange juice just aren’t good for the nerves after abbreviated sleep and jet lag.
The trigger on my Standard Class rim fire gun has a 2 ounce first stage and (now) a half ounce second stage. It’s a wickedly amazingly horrifically sensitive trigger that’s honestly extremely difficult to use for anyone that’s not as calm as the Buddha.
If I’m having an on day then that trigger and the 36x44mm scope and the custom stock that fits me like the barrel in an HK P4 fits in the slide (that is to say snugly and precisely) become a unit and I’ll shoot a class or two (more commonly 2) above my rank. If it’s not an on day then the scores start dropping back to my normal ranking quickly. For some scale, my ranking is what you get for having a 35% or less hit average. When I’m on like I was at the rams during the match Saturday then I make closer to 70% hits with that gun.
The day started out cold and calm with good sun but frigid air. We started out with a little practice and DOPE confirmation shooting. I always shoot a round or two at each range to check my DOPE then I’ll run 5 or 10 rounds at each range to make sure my shooter DOPE is what it usually is (that’s the delta between my rifle shooting from a bench and how I’m shooting that day). Turned out I needed to drop a half minute because I was breaking the trigger late and add 2 clicks of wind on the rams and zero it out at the other 3 targets. I was hitting 85% in practice and was thinking I might have a really epic day but, history has taught me that amazing performance in practice doesn’t net amazing performance in competition.
At the end of the day I walked out with 37.5% hits and won my class by 4 hits. Because it was the 2nd time in a row I’d shot out of my ranking in standard gun small bore I got bumped to the next class which was a goal of mine for this calendar year. I was hoping to get bumped in all 4 of the divisions I’m in (both standard and hunter gun for small bore and high power) but so far I’ve only got both high power and rim fire standard gun. I don’t shoot hunter gun that often. As it happened this match was a prize match with a drawing and I didn’t know about that beforehand. For winning my class I got a bottle of Martinelli’s sparkling cider and a 1.5lbs block of Toberlone. Neither of those things I enjoy but the wife and kids love that stuff.
When the drawing came up I won one of the prizes. All the prizes were the same, a folding allen key set or a set of drill bits. I already have an allen key set but I was plum out of complete sets of drill bits. My coach took 3rd overall and tied for 2nd in his class. His eldest son took second in his class (the same class I was in, kid’s a seriously good shot) and his eldest also won himself a set of drill bits.
My hits were 2 turkeys at 77m then 7 rams at 100m then 4 chickens at 40m and finally 3 pigs at 60m for a total of 15/40. Starting on turkeys is rough. I usually like to start on pigs. Starting on the turkeys I was having trouble keeping stable and was shivering in the cold. Then the sun came out for a few minutes and shone right on me at the rams and I smoked em’. Up to the chickens and I was doing ok. The 36x scope is a lot that close and made things a little difficult because the targets were just a little far apart to have 2 show up in the optic at one time. That means I had to count left to right in a 36x scope. Not easy. Time for the pigs came up and boy was fatigue setting in and it showed in my score. I normally hit 40-60% on pigs as they’re the easiest to do. This time it just wasn’t there and I missed every pig in my first bank of 5. I pulled it out on the 2nd bank and took the first 3 of 5 and just could not hold steady enough to hit the last 2. Thankfully I didn’t need to hit the last two to take the win.
After the match and the drive home and errands I curled up with a good (well actually terrible, and intentionally so by all appearances) zombie flick and a couple Lagunitas Maximus beers.
For those that wonder about shooting a .22lr at 100m. I printed a .7″ group using SK Rifle Match from that Anschutz 54 from the bench then without a word my coach picked it up and printed a 1.2″ group standing offhand. I think he was just showing off.
If you haven’t taken the opportunity to compete in some form of shooting match please go out and try it. Metallic Silhouette is the hardest form there is but there are other things to do out there. GSSF uses stock to wild glock pistols in IPSC style scenarios, international trap only needs your hunting shotgun, sporting clays is a shotgun match with a low barrier to entry, IPSC is just fun runnin’ and gunnin’ like Glock but not brand specific, PRS matches and F-Class are held all over the country, etc…
You don’t need to win and you should not hope to. Hope to go out and do your best. Hope to have a good time, learn something and start making some more high quality life long friends. All of those hopes can easily come true. After a couple matches you’ll probably start winning or placing and watching your scores improve.
I don’t compete to know I can shoot well, I compete to learn to shoot well. So does everyone else.