This weekend felt like the proper opening day of the season. Both Vic and I had our new stocks, Vic also had shiny new electronic earmuffs, and with the Palma team training at the range, the place was buzzing and it was a great opportunity to catch up with friends and acquaintances from all over the country who we have not seen since last season.
The two rifles playing nicely together during a mid week clean
After a week of changeable and unpredictable weather forecasts, we gratefully awoke to a bright sunny day. Looking at the rain radar and the clouds on the horizon we knew it was probably too good to last! By the time we got to the range to help with the set up, it had become overcast and threatening. Vic had cycled to the range so had already had a taste of the strong northerly. We crossed our fingers and hoped the weather would hold.
Out on the range, the continuous battle between Vic and me could recommence. With our new stocks we have an almost identical setup. This will definitely make the competition more fierce, but being in different club grades this year will help take some of the heat out of our rivalry. Somehow Vic managed to enter into a competition with one of her rivals in her grade – the winner was to buy the loser a drink. I still think that is backwards but Vic was the one willing to play!
Down we got for our first string – so very excited by our new toys and raring to go! Shooting happened and we both got up thinking, “Well, that was underwhelming…”. Both our plot sheets looked as if they had been shot with a shotgun – a complete splatterfest. The scores were too embarrassing to mention, and not quite terrible enough to be proud of. Vic had just struggled to calm down and relax, and I was getting random elevation shots in a difficult and wildly swinging fish-tail northerly, and well… you get the idea! I changed my king screw tension, Vic had a little conversation with herself, and after I did some wind coaching for Rachael, we got back down again for the second round. We were both more settled and comfortable and we got up with respectable scores. My 48 helped put a smile back on my face, and Vic got a 45 where most of her shots were lost to the changeable wind.
With our new-found confidence, we decided to get down for a just-for-fun 15 shot Bisley-style shoot to finish the day (Alternating shooter and scoring for each other). Vic shot very well nailing the V’s and X’s ending up with a 70.7 and eventually figuring out her elevation and wind-zero to finish on a couple of X’s. We discovered a loose handstop at the end of the shoot which may have accounted for a couple of wild 3’s and 4’s. Vic tightened this with all her mighty strength before the shoot but obviously some more muscles are needed. I tried my best but could only muster a 71.3. I thank god we were not scoring on the 6.1 system or I would have had my arse handed to me.
Here is the screenshot of our combined shoot… the last three shots were Vics… yikes! (So were both the 3’s although one was a sighter!). You can see where we got caught by the wind!
The shooting proved to us both that we had made the right decisions about gear. Vic LOVES the heaviness of the stock (so stable and less recoil!) as well as having a solid cheek-piece for the first time ever! With a bit more work on our setup and a few little problems to iron out, we will have very special rifles indeed. We can’t wait for the rest of the season although with the weather being so changeable, the painting of the stocks may have to wait a bit.
The rest of the afternoon and evening was happily spent with beer, friends and catching up with everyone. I cannot express how good it was to see everyone again! I can see now how much I have taken for granted the support, generosity, and camaraderie of the shooting community. It’s like having a big family – some times dysfunctional – but always the people you come back to and look forward to seeing when you haven’t seen them for awhile.
Bring on next week!
P.S Vic neither won nor lost her challenge… it was a draw! Next time Alex…