Yep! Another weekend, another shooting adventure!
This trip to Palmerston North for the North Island Smallbore Championships is very likely the last smallbore trip of the season. I am personally quite happy about this. Although I enjoy the discipline involved in shooting smallbore and all the wonderful friends that come with it, I dislike being trapped inside for hours on end (especially in cold dark buildings in winter!) and the acrid smell of .22 rounds makes my throat scratchy. Bring on summer and the perfume of .308 shooting in the sunshine! (…and the brilliant bouquets of mown grass and sunscreen and gun oil and sunshine and all those good things…)
The competition fell on a Saturday and although fullbore season started last week, we made the difficult decision to forego our Saturday club shoot and attend the the smallbore championships instead. We were feeling very bad about putting .22 over .308 until I had the excellent idea of shooting all our smallbore cards first thing in the morning, shooting fullbore at in Palmy North in the afternoon and then bombing back to the smallbore range to take out the finals in the evening (lots of speculations here). I became very excited about shooting on my new fullbore stock.
It didn’t quite happen like that.
We woke up to election day, gale force wind and torrential rain. Thunderstorms, deluges and tempests were forecast for the afternoon in P North, and bitterness and disappointment were forecast for around 40% of the eligible voters in NZ . In our bleary un-coffee-ed state, we packed gear for every circumstance (I had shorts, sandals, plastics, woollies, sunglasses and a lightning rod!). The forecast has been known to be wrong every now and then. Alice Cooper, Billy Joel and Alien Ant Farm kept us entertained for the journey.
On arrival in beautiful sunshine at the range, we squadded quickly and found that our fullbore club shoot had been cancelled but the local fullbore shoot was going ahead… yippee! We made sure that we shot all our cards back-to-back (ouch!).
I had some good scores! I had a 97.2 and a 96.5 on my first shoot and a 97.something and a 94.something on the second shoot. I am not used to shooting 20 shot matches nowadays. My hand went completely numb and when I removed the rifle from my shoulder to get some circulation back, my floppy hand relinquished its feeble grip and I dropped the rifle on my face! Unfortunately everyone saw this… My embarrassing show of clumsiness obviously didn’t distract Jared on the neighbouring mound much – he managed a 98 and a 94 for his first shoot. His second shoot wasn’t quite as good as the first with a 96 and a 93.
All these shenanigans took a whole hour to complete and by the time we finished, the weather had packed it in. We hadn’t heard whether fullbore was cancelled so we packed up our stuff and trundled off to Cheltenham anyway, keeping an eye out for polling booths en-route.
On arrival at the Cheltenham range, we quickly noticed a distinct lack of wind-flags, gun-shots and targets. We also noticed an excess of hurricanes and precipitation. The 60km round trip was not wasted as we enjoyed pies from the legendary Cheltenham pie shop and managed to cast our votes at what is possibly the quietest polling booth in the country.
Tiredness and a complete lack of any imagination around what to do in Palmerston North for the afternoon (is there actually anything to do in Palmy?) led us back to the smallbore range. We both had a nap in the car and then hung around to find that I was third in C grade and therefore was in the graded finals! I was pretty excited about being third (yay! loot!) and I have never been in a finals for shooting before.
In the end, Upper Hutt shooters took out 3 of the top 4 places. Our good friends and adverseries, Rachael Gee and Ewan Cormack were 2nd and 4th respectively. It is so much fun to have friendly competition within our club! I won a set of nice fluffy towels for third place.
Finals were a bit up and down. My first card was great. I felt like I couldn’t miss!. For my second card, I felt like I couldn’t hit. My scores confirmed this with with a 97 and a 93 which again, put me in third. Rachael won the final even with a rifle malfunction. Congratulations Rach!
I am pretty stoked with my scores and how the good shots looked and felt. Since I got the lens for my rifle, my scores have been consistently 94 instead of jumping between 90’s and 99’s. I have also been a little unsure of my sight picture lately. This weekend I got three 97’s a 96 a 94 and a 93 which is a lot better than I have been shooting so hopefully my eye is getting used to my new sight picture! I certainly felt a lot more in control this week.
Results are here
Now for the exciting bit… A TROPHY!
At the North Island prizegiving, the provincial cups were presented. I have been competing in the Lower North Island Provincial Cup. This is the best 5 scores out of 6 over all the regional championships. I am pleased to say that I won the C grade cup!
Here is me all dressed up to receive it!
And the winners of A, C and D grade. (C) Vic McMurdo, (A) Dave Edmonds, and (D) Jess Burgess-Smith.
The North Island Champs was a fun competition as always (officials and volunteers were amazing of course!) and we didn’t even have to feel bad for missing fullbore because it was cancelled anyway. It is nice to be winding down smallbore but I think I will miss it quite a lot over summer. Next year we should be shooting our own rifles which will be the bees bollocks.
Thanks to Jono and Helen for putting us up for the night – So much fun!
Oh… and Happy birthday Jared – sorry that I pasted you on your birthday weekend! :p