- John occasionally brings sweets – donuts, cupcakes, etc. – but won’t touch them himself until the match is over;
- Younger shooters (that’s younger than 50 or so) are more passionate in their frustration and can become borderline reckless if their handguns jam more than once – keep an eye on them;
- Renold usually has a tune going in his head as do I and, passing close to each other on the way out to the targets or back, we hum aloud to compare notes, but adopting his tune doesn’t help me shoot as well as he does;
- Most of the High Masters have a lot of upper-body strength, often from childhood, but there are significant exceptions so it’s not a requirement for that level of performance, just a help;
- Couldn’t see a double on someone’s otherwise excellent target one day, scored it as a miss, didn’t change my story when the shooter pointed out a slightly elongated hole, he challenged it (for a buck), the jury agreed with him, then I re-scored it but possibly gave him too much thereby apparently compounding my faults – like a shot in the five ring, “it happens,” and all you can do is move on;
- The conscious mind can only think one thought at a time but Bullseye requires a skilled coordination of observations and actions – it can be a long road for those who insist on “figuring it out” because that path forces no more than one step at a time;
- I feel an odd tension around Bill – we’re too much alike, perhaps, even though we appear to be quite different;
- Bob will move up and out of Sharpshooter land after today – good, because he’s shooting Master-level scores which sure knocked me out of the run for one of those new pistols, the prizes for this competition;
- I’ll need 90+alibi rounds of wad for the 45 competition today, plus 30+alibi of ball for Service Pistol team and another 30+alibi of ball for the Leg Match;
- I lightly cleaned the wad gun last night so it’s ready; and
- Yes, my shoulder and grip are both tired but no more so than yesterday or the day before – I’m ready.
Let today’s matches begin!
I won’t have the complete scores for a day or two but, at this point, I know how I did, and it was “extremely well” on this last day.
Here are my scores across all four days of this annual event:
|Service Pistol Team||220-1||73.3%|
|EIC Leg Match||252-4||84.0%|
|Everything||4099-68 *||85.4% *|
After four days of shooting a 900 plus one or two NMCs in each day, my technique has settled down considerably.
Significantly, in both of those final NMCs, I think my performance was just about the same but for the Leg Match, I had changed to some ammunition given to me many, many months ago by John Zurek. This change seems to show the gift ammunition flying substantially better than what I had used just moments before.
About this gift ammo John Zurek had said, “Save this for a Leg Match. It’s really good stuff.”
And I’ve had it sitting in the supply cabinet for, what, maybe a year now? A while back, I tested a scant 10 rounds in the Ransom Rest and they printed within a 1.5" circle at 50 yards. Oh yeah, that’s good stuff!
So today, I used another 30 of those rounds for the Leg Match.
As I released each shot, I called it and then looked in the scope. The truth of John’s words looked back at me because practically every shot was on call. And while it’s true I still messed up a couple of them, when the Leg Match was done I had a very respectable score.
With that, I also learned that the ball ammunition I had been using in the Service Pistol matches, both individual and team competitions, simply did not get along with my ball gun. At least some of the blame for the dismal Service Pistol scores goes to the ammunition / gun mix. They just don’t get along.
I have ten rounds of the “good stuff” left and I’ll have to figure out what to do with them. Certainly I’ll be measuring them with calipers every possible way I can think of. And ultimately, they’ll probably get fired from the Ransom Rest again but this time with a chrony in front and then a virgin target way out at 50 yards. Whatever I get from all that will be both my starting point and my goal in developing a ball load.
Yes, there’s a lot to be done.
But looking back at the last four days, it’s been absolutely wonderful.
- I shot some really good targets in a major competition with 60+ shooters.
- I renewed acquaintances with shooters from California and Colorado, and made new friends with others from as far away as New York state.
- From the preliminary numbers, it would appear I placed very well within the Sharpshooter ranks – I think I came in second in that (my) classification.
- I had quite a few very good trigger releases and have a very good idea what that should feel like, and a very good idea of how to make it happen more often than not. In other words, my “shot plan” has received some careful honing and is working substantially better than before.
- I learned that I need to develop, not buy, a ball load that flies well from my ball gun. (The “White Box” ammunition John Zurek gave me as a gift is over twenty years old and is no longer being made. I have only those ten precious rounds left from which to begin my efforts.)
- I had a really fantastic time!