At some point last week, I was infected with a coughy, sneezy, goopy type of virus. I was hoping it would be all cleared up for Saturday’s shooting but no such luck.
I woke up at 5am drenched in sweat, drowning in snot, coughing, snuffling and feeling more than just a little bit unwell. On top of this, the cat was trying to lie on my face (I am still not sure whether this was an attempt at a sympathetic cuddle or at assassination). I evicted the cat and swallowed some cold/flu medication which did nothing to alleviate the symptoms of this nasty illness although the 50mg of caffeine that it contained bounced me awake and out of bed.
I did what any sensible person would do. I ate some breakfast, knocked back some coffee and went for a run.
Seven and a half arduous kilometers did what the medication couldn’t, and by the time we turned up at the range in the (surprise, surprise) rain, I was feeling a lot less snotty, a little less fever-y and slightly more human.
We were to be shooting the Union Shield which is a coached teams match. For those who don’t know, a coached match is where the shooter just has to concentrate at aiming at the target and squeezing the trigger – the wind coach dials the wind onto the sights and instructs the shooter when to release the shot. Both Jared and I were selected to shoot for the club in the three person C grade team.
I was a little apprehensive about shooting 300 yards. I am still shooting Jared’s rifle and I haven’t shot it at 300 yards before so I didn’t have any sort of idea how I wanted to set up my foresight. I decided to do what I usually do in this situation – just use what Jared is using! André was our coach for the day and we thought we would use up some more of our 20 year old ammo.
Jared shot pretty well just dropping a couple of shots low in the middle of his shoot and a rushed final shot went high. Jared scored a 47.3 which isn’t bad!
Jared had been using a 0.5 eagle-eye for his shoot. I got down and had a peep through the sights. The target looked HUGE! I have never tried using any magnification at 300 yards mostly because the foresight elements don’t go large enough when I am using my longer rifle. It looks like I can get away with it here due to the shorter sight radius of Jared’s 28 inch barrel.
Jared also used a 5.2mm foresight element which is the largest we have and he thought it was too small. I also thought it looked a little tight but lately I have found that I am getting better scores when my foresight is a shade smaller than the prettiest option. What was interesting with this sight picture was that the target was either in the middle of the sight or it wasn’t. There was no “um… I think that’s the middle…”, the target seemed to snap into the centre of the sights almost by itself.
Anyway, time to try it out.
André gave me the go ahead to fire my first sighter…
Surprisingly nice start! I released my second sighter…
Needless to say, we converted them both! The rest of the shoot just seemed to flow. I was calling the direction of my shots fairly accurately and was sitting on 45.6 with one shot to go…
It was a wobbly shot – the worst of this shoot…
Yippee! my first 50 of the season (actually only my second 50 ever!). High fives all round! Thanks André for the wind coaching!
Here is a screenshot of my shoot.
Needless to say, I am delighted with it! For reference, at 300 yards, the inner ring is the super-V (marked as X) which is 32.5mm diameter (only the scope shooters use this so we just count it as a V-bull), the next ring out is the V-bull which is 65mm diameter and then the 5 ring which is 130mm diameter. It always surprises me how accurate aperture sights can actually be – our eyes and brains are amazing!
By the time 600 yards rolled around, I was feeling pretty drained and starting to feel unwell again. We had some problems with our targets which delayed our start and by the time our team got down to shoot, it was getting towards 4.30pm, the chilly southerly was picking up and we were losing light. We ended up shooting on another club’s manually marked targets and had a delightfully fast marker.
Jared had a brilliant shoot. He had a similar experience to what I had at 300 yards with a seemingly self-centering target and this came through in his shooting. He shot a superb waterline and was coached in tricky wind to a 45.3.
My shooting wasn’t so admirable. I decided that I would try out the foresight set-up that Jared was using since he was using the 0.5 eagle eye. I have a proven set-up for 600 yards using a 0.3 eagle eye but I thought that I might be able to improve on it with more magnification.
The sighting was OK but not awesome. I think the foresight element might have been too large which makes sense as I am finding that I often prefer 0.2mm tighter than Jared’s preference. I was struggling to tell whether the target was centered. Having said that, I was cold, tired, unwell and it was getting dark so it could equally have been me shooting badly! I didn’t see where my shots went but It sounds like I lost two shots over the top, and two shots underneath the bull. I also ended up with a 45.3.
All in all a fun day with everyone in the team shooting well.
Our team won the C grade match (by one point!). Full results are here.
Here we are with our trophy… André Doyle (Coach), Stuart Brown, Jared and myself (I didn’t realise my socks were so exquisitely ugly!). Thanks Casey for the photo!