Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Making the shot

I just participated in a .22 rimfire “lost points” fun match.  The classifications were open, any sighting system or operating system was allowable.  Everything started from the low ready and everything was par time.  Par time means that each string had to be shot within a specific time frame, either 10 or 20 seconds.  While many shooters could shoot 10 rounds in 3.5 seconds they gained no advantage in scoring.  It behooved you to use the entire time to get hits.

The only different stage was the bonus stage.  You shot a bolt action rifle at your selection of 3 different distance steel plates.  The rifle, from the 1950’s, had an old optical scope with low eye relief, cross-hairs that couldn’t quite be brought into focus and a front lens smaller than a dime.  Light transmission values had to be in the low 90s and upper 80s.

The three targets were at 50 yards, 100 yards and a distant one at 240 yards.  The contest was simple: the rifle was zeroed at 100 yards and you had 5 rounds to determine your hold at 50 and 240 yards off a rest.  You received an additional 10 rounds to shoot any of the three steel targets for bonus points.  It was a Goldilocks scenario. The most distant target gave you the biggest bonus.  The middle distance and the closest gave you the small and smallest bonuses.  Misses meant you lost points.

After you confirmed your zero hold at 100 yards you gambled on that you thought you could hit.  It was pretty easy to hit at 100 yards.  My shooting squad was feeling pretty smug as we were ringing the 100 yard target without too much difficulty.  That’s when the gun's owner showed us how to do it.  He hit the 240 yard target 9 out 10 times.  With 20 year old Thunder Bolt .22 LR.

Tactical Content

Old doesn’t mean incapable.  Owning the newest barrel, perfecting the perfect load, having the newest laser-optical-sonar sight doesn’t replace practice and skill.  This rifle has been in my friend Scott’s family for 3 generations and the scope harkens back to his grandfather. 

Don’t dismiss the skill set because it was .22LR.  Being hit at over two football fields distance by an ensconced defender will ruin anyone’s day.  Ballistic calculators suggest the 40 grain bullet would have the kinetic energy of one pound dropped 80 feet or 80 ft/pounds at that distance. 

 Considering the target was a 12 inch square, ponder the impact of a head shot at that distance.

I read of a shooter who said:
     If I can see the target,
     If I trust my equipment,
     I can hit it.

That point seems to be proven to me.  Take a little of the time, energy and money you spend on trying to buy success and spend it on the range understanding your equipment.  You too could be saying “If I can see it, I can trust my equipment and I can hit it.”

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