2nd Place, It’s Not First Place But It’s Close
On Saturday I went to do the last smallbore (rimfire) metallic silhouette match I could this year before the big Ted May match next weekend. I wasn’t shooting up to my potential but I did ok and would eventually take 2nd place.
This time the match was a turkey shoot in acknowledgement of the coming feast day. That being the case the winner of each class got a turkey, I didn’t get a turkey because I didn’t win. However, 1 of 10 targets in each stage was colored differently than the rest. For chickens the center chicken was yellow, the center pig was pink, the center turkey was red and the center ram was black. The other targets were white. If you knocked down the specially colored target then you got a prize. For chickens it was a can of whole kernel corn, for pigs it was a can of Spam, for turkeys it was a can of cranberry sauce and for rams it was a can of black olives. 2nd place in each class got a pumpkin pie and 3rd place got a large acorn squash. The overall match winner got one of each which is basically a whole TG dinner.
I decided that since I had recently been bumped up a class in heavy gun division I’d try my hand at the light gun division and get a ranking, hopefully a nice low ranking but one that doesn’t require me sandbagging my own performance. Well, I ended up ranking in the same class as I’m now in for heavy gun. Sigh. Can’t catch a break 😉 .
I did shoot both guns but I was competing with the light gun and the other was just for score of record. As it happens I was shooting well under my usual level and barely cleared 30% hits. If I’d have shot up to my usual level I’d have crushed the field and not just won my class, I’d have smoked it. I’ve gotten to where I shoot slightly above 40% on average in heavy gun but I decided to spend some time really working out the trigger control on the heavy gun and figuring out how I’d hold the light one. The heavy gun has a 2-stage trigger and we recently lightened the pull. It’s now running 0 ounce first stage and a half ounce 2nd stage. It’s not a trigger for the inexperienced or impatient and is very difficult to run even if you know how. It does make for amazingly precise firing when standing up if you can run it. The whole rifle is built such that once you chuck it into your shoulder and get a stance and get your eye through the amazingly tiny 1.2mm exit pupil on the scope there’s exactly zero ability to hold it wrong or even any differently. It fits together with a shooter like the whole system was designed by someone very clever and obsessive in Switzerland.
I started out on the pigs and did ok. 40% hits out of the gate. Then to the turkeys where things turned deeply south. I shot poorly there and in the middle of it my back decided had a very firm and pointed discussion with me about it being dragged out of bed and made to strain out in the cold without so much as a good stretch. To complicate matters we were running without spotters, my coach and I were shooting next to each other and in the same relays. To make matters as hard as possible, me and my coach would run one relay, then trade guns and run another right away. That’s a lot of sustained rifle holding and standing still and trying to NOT MOVE YOUR FEET lest you destroy your well planted stance.
After languishing on turkeys I did pretty well on the rams and then back to marginal on the chickens. In the end I managed to win 2 cans of spam, 2 cans of olives, 2 cans of corn and a Sara Lee pumpkin pie. I had a great time shooting and an even better time chatting with the many really great people that frequent these events.
Here’s some video from March 14th match.
More videos can be seen at my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSvqgqVNtzcLFuQkGxh-Egg
The Ted May memorial match is an annual 2 day rimfire event with 4 matches spread across those 2 days. This is a gnarly event and really takes a physical toll. I’m, of course, pretty excited to go. There will be tons of prizes and tons of competitors. I encourage anyone in reach of central California to come out and give it a try. The entry fee is 100 bucks and you’ll have a hard time finding more fun to be had or a better bunch of folks to have it with. The event is being held November 21st and 22nd at Avenal Gun Club. You can camp at the range or stay at one of the motels in Coalinga. Ted May was, before his passing in 2011, a hugely important part of the California silhouette shooting scene and this match is just as huge in remembrance and celebration of his life. Come out and play with us. All you need is a .22lr rifle and a few hundred rounds of some match grade ammo.