I finally shot a full course match for the first time since the 29 Palms NRA Regional last November. I noticed a lull in the storm for Saturday so I decided to head out to the 80 round XTC at Camp Pendleton. Good thing I did because the weather was definitely adequate for shooting.
While I started off strong, the second half of the match showed a lot of rustiness.
In 200 yard standing I shot a 194-6x, which I was very happy with. I started off the match with a funny brain-fart moment when my first sighter was an 8 at 11 o’clock. I knew I broke the shot a little to the left, but when I saw the spotter come up high, I knew I had my rear sight set for 300 yard. Took a look at the elevation knob and sure enough, it was set for 300. Anyway, the 6 points I dropped in standing were five 9’s and one 8 (shot 5 for record).
In 200 yard sitting I shot a 197-4x (98-2x, 99-2x). I played around with a center hold for the day’s sitting strings. I was breaking the shots a bit high in the 10-ring and the three 9’s were right at 12 o’clock just outside the 10-ring. Center hold seemed pretty comfortable. The one thing I noticed with the center hold in sitting is that any wobble in the post was very pronounced compared to my usual 6 o’clock hold in sitting. I think this has it’s advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that my call will be very accurate. One disadvantage is that I am more hesitant to break the trigger on each shot because I spend a lot of time trying to frame each shot perfectly. Granted, you shouldn’t break the trigger when it’s not a good shot, you don’t want to spend too much time framing that shot. But I think this issue is more of a position problem since a good sitting position will eliminate any instability/wobble in sitting.
After that, it started going downhill.
300 yard rapid I posted a miserable 180-1x (89-1x, 91-0x. My first string was blown to the left side. I put on 1MOA right windage and it wasn’t enough. I put on an extra minute for the second string which ended up grouping on the edge of the 10/9-ring at 3 o’clock. I should have put on only 1.5MOA. But what made the 2nd string even worse was shot #9 in that string which was a 5 (yes, a 5) at 11 o’clock. When I broke the trigger on shot #9, I knew something went wrong. For some reason, my right shoulder moved a split second before I broke the trigger and the rifle recoiled and the sights returned on target abnormally so I knew that shot went wild. I think my right elbow moved/slipped on the mat which caused that errant shot. Dumb.
In 600 yard prone, my most consistent stage of fire, I shot a miserable 181-3x (82-2x, 99-1x). Looking at that stellar 99-1x in the 2nd string, you’re probably wondering what happened in the 1st 10 rounds for record. Well, I lost the bulk of those points when I crossfired shot #2. First time I ever crossfired in a match (even a non-registered/approved). The crossfire was a stupid mistake, and there were a few minor factors that led up to it. My first sighter was an 8 at 6 o’clock. I had dialed on 54 clicks from bottom, so I came up a minute and a half which put my second sighter in the 10-ring at 9 o’clock. Then my first round for record was a 7 at 12 o’clock. That shocked me because even if I over adjusted and my second sighter was actually shot with the front sight post low, it shouldn’t have been that much of an error (7-ring would be at least 1 MOA of error). So I took half a minute off my previous adjustment and took shot #2 (the crossfire). While I was focused on why #1 was a 7, I didn’t take the time to read my number board. I was on firing point 98 which had a black number board. I had two other shooters on my right. Firing point 96 also had a black number board. When I took shot #2, I simply looked for the black number board with 2 targets to the right of it. What I wasn’t counting on was that the two shooters’ targets on my right were pulled down for scoring. Thus, target 96 was up along with 97 and 98 (mine). I immediately picked out the black number board on 96 and saw the two targets to it’s immediate right (97 and 98) and broke the shot. Dumb.
Well, yesterday’s match showed how much a 2 month lull in match participation can make you rusty. At 300, my wind call was pretty bad and I am usually pretty good at it, especially when adjusting for the second string. At 600, that crossfire due to being dumb just shows how I’m forgetting fundamental common sense (read your number board when acquiring sight picture and alignment).
Even with those mistakes at 300 and 600, I am very happy with my standing performance. One of my goals this year is to improve my standing average to 96% or better. That 194 (97%) is a good start to the year.