Red sky in the morning, shepherds warning…
Jared sparkled awake before dawn just in time to catch a glimpse of the burning sky. Vic was a little more sensible and decided that bed was the cosy place to be.
The air was still and warm and the sunrise boded of weather to come. We dejectedly packed up all our gear into the car ready for the journey home. The start of the last day of a competition is always a little sad.
Vic: I wasn’t quite sure what I was feeling before this shoot. I had quite a lead so I felt like I had a bit of room to play with but I was determined not to get overconfident… Anything can still happen at these long ranges (even in seemingly zero wind!) . I was also feeling a little bit apprehensive after seeing the condition of my barrel through the bore-scope last night. I had to constantly remind myself that my rifle has been shooting like a dream and it isn’t going to suddenly start shooting badly now. I was starting to wish I had never had a look though.
I needn’t have worried. My sighters confirmed that yesterday’s group was probably a bit low and once I adjusted off them, I was holding a great water line. Only one unexplained low shot let me down.
Everything was going well – the flags were pointing straight down the range, I had 3-right on the sights and I was staying withing the five ring. I saw the flags come up and decided that it wasn’t enough to worry about…
Bugger… I should have put some windage o… Hang on… The shot was on the upwind side! That was unexpected. I looked at the flags again and saw that although the back flags had lifted, the front flags had changed direction completely… Whoops! Lesson learned!
I waited for the wind to settle, mentally moved on, and finished the shoot with some solid bullseyes.
Jared: The light winds were looking like they should stay pretty constant until the end of my shoot and I should easily shoot a good score.
Unfortunately during my first few shots, the wind started to rise. I adjusted accordingly and I expected it to stay fairly strong. Suddenly a wild three appeared! The wind had dropped off. I had been spat.
Anticipating the wind to return, I didn’t take the full value off, fired again and copped a four.
Rats… The light winds had returned. After watching for a minute or two to make sure they were here to stay, I carried on with my shoot and finished with a 47.4.
Vic: I was really starting to feel the pressure by now. I was determined to stay ahead. It is one thing to lose your lead when you are only a little way ahead but it is very disappointing when you have such a buffer. Despite this, when I was actually shooting I felt calm, collected and in control. I have always performed well under a little bit of pressure! I had one little “What on earth are you doing way down there?” moment but the rest were in the bull.
On my last shot, I realised that all I had to do was hit the correct target to win. I hadn’t realised that I was strung out until I felt the tension drain out of me. I took a deep breath, double checked that I was aiming at the correct target, closed my eyes (just kidding, I didn’t do that), and squeezed the trigger… A good five to finish! I am not going to complain about a 49.3.
Jared: First down on the last range… what a good place to be! The winds were still lightly swinging from side to side and it was very tempting to shoot on zero. I eventually decided to shoot on the right hand wind and although the group was not as tight as I would have liked, a 48.1 at 900 yards is a pretty respectable score.
Teams match 900 yards
We were both delighted to be selected to represent Petone Rifle Club in the 15 shot coached teams match.
Vic: I was quite tired by this stage but determined to shoot my very best for the team. I was feeling a bit apprehensive as I have not done very many coached shoots lately. I have been finding it very difficult to release shots quickly and I wasn’t sure how I would cope with firing on demand. It turns out I need more practice… I was quite hesitant and the shots weren’t flowing smoothly.
Interestingly, my elevation seems to have gone up 1.5moa from before lunch and this match.
I was mostly holding a good waterline. The wind had become pretty strong and gusty by this point and I got buffeted badly right on the “point of no return” on one shot. Guess which one that was!
Jared: Basically all I want to say about this match is that is was 100% evidence that I do not shoot enough long matches. My first 10 shots were great waterline but my group started to open up after my 11th counting shot. This proves how important it is to practice longer matches when you can.
All in all it was a successful weekend!
Vic won C grade short and long range aggregates and the overall C grade championship.
Jared Won the B grade long range aggregate and the Petone team won the team match!
As well as winning the silverware, we both also had a blast and learned a lot about wind, patience, and resilience.
Another adventure drew to an end and we floated off into the sunset…