As such, the rules can be relaxed a bit.
And in the interest of time, we’ve found what I think is a pretty good balance between family and shooting almost every Sunday.
I’ll call this the “Quick Practice 2700” format and it allows shooters to be back home by lunchtime or shortly thereafter. Sunday afternoons remain open for family activities. Family outings and get togethers can be scheduled from mid-afternoon on. (And those “Honey-do’s” left-over from Saturday can still receive some attention … but you don’t have to tell her I said that.)
First, we start early; first shot is at 7:30AM.
For those who have to drive up from Tucson, this becomes a real demonstration of their serious intent. They are up well before dawn and “on the road” by 6:00AM.
My drive is less, only about a half hour but I still arrive early to put out the targets and connect up the PA and target turning system so that, when the “Tucson bus” (Steve Reiter’s SUV) pulls up, we are ready to begin.
That early start is the first element that enables an early finish.
The other essential is to shoot more, and to score less.
Specifically, instead of scoring after each ten (10) rounds, we go twenty.
Yes, twenty (20) Slow Fire rounds into one target can all be counted and scored, even in 45 caliber. And remember, this is a practice match so scoring doesn’t need to be as nit-picky. The basic rule is to keep things moving and score things honestly, but if in doubt about a close one, go ahead and score “up” to avoid haggling. Keep it moving.
So we begin by firing twenty rounds of Slow Fire. And although we allocate twenty minutes, as you probably know most shooters will finish a little early. If the caller is paying attention, he can ask, “Have all record shots been fired? Does anyone need additional time?” And if everyone is done then, “Okay, we will dispense with the remaining time. Let’s make the line safe …” and so forth.
The Slow Fire target of the National Match Course is the only time we fire ten rounds and then score. From there on, it’s twenty shots per target again and again.
That means that the NMC’s Timed and Rapid Fire targets are both fired into one piece of paper.
And the Timed Fire match’s twenty go into one target, and Rapid Fire’s into another.
Scoring is done in almost the usual manner except that rather than writing down all the Xs in a single row on the score card, most scorers split them evenly into the two rows of the two “targets” being scored. This tends to be a little misleading if you don’t know what’s being done because shooters usually get two targets with almost the same score.
But what matters is not the score. What matters is the shooter’s knowledge that he threw a seven (or worse). It’s not the numerical score, it’s the exceptions that matter. And they’re just as much on a target with twenty holes as they are with ten.
And you can have some fun with this.
Someone might predict, “I cleaned my first Rapid Fire target but I don’t think the second will be as good.”
Someone else might say, “You know, I think I did too!”
And if you have a reasonably skilled set of shooters, you might just discover that everyone cleaned their first target but then blew it on the second. (Remember, there are twenty holes in the target – it’s anyone’s guess as to which is the first set of ten and which holes constitute the second!)
“Wouldn’t it be incredible,” you could ask (and suggest), “if we *all* cleaned the first target at the same time?”
And if everyone catches on and writes the scores in the traditional manner – all the Xs on one line followed by all the tens and so forth spilling over to the second line (second target) when needed, you may find that everyone truly did, according to the score cards, clean their first target while putting all their bad shots in the second.
What an amazing coincidence!
Between guns we take a ten minute break. Shooters have their fresh fruit or energy bar, get a cool bottle of water from the range refrigerator, rest their feet and talk about this and that, like always."
But then it’s, “Shooters to the line!”
If the caller keeps up a steady pace, we can be done with all three guns and the complete 2700 by 11:30AM. Even an alibi or two will only add a couple of minutes.
“Shooters to the line for the 45 competition and we will dispense with the three minute preparation time. Instead, signal when you are ready and we will begin!”
For an unofficial 2700, give the “Quick Practice 2700” format a try.
Your family may like it.