This was the last “home field” matches before Camp Perry so I booked the weekend full of matches.
Saturday morning was NRA High Power. It was a full house with a lot of people trying to get some trigger time before Perry. Tropical Storm Bill had been predicted to doom the weekend’s matches but the weather held off. It was hot and muggy, perfect practice for Perry.
High Power Sitting
I beat my personal best on Saturday which felt great. I did reasonable in off hand which helped but I did a little above average for myself in slow and rapid which helped pull me up. I wasn’t really happy with sitting. This is the second match in a row I felt a little off in sitting, specifically bouncing around too much. Most of this boils down to rushing and loosing focus on trigger control. I’ll keep working on it. “All i need to do ” is to pull off one more good match over the expert cut (89%) to move up to the Expert Classification. Maybe with a little luck I can make this happen soon.
Sunday I shot a Garand Match and a Springfield Match. The Garand Match was a little sloppy. I was “wildly inconsistent” in slow prone as my shooting partner described it. More times than I’d like to admit I bouced from the X to the 8 ring… and once to the 7. That and a mediocre rapid prone held me back a little. But I was able to do ok in off-hand to fall just 5 points under the medal cut. I would have felt better going into Perry with a high score but its within reach at this point.
Garand vs 03A3 in slow prone.
On a later relay I brought the 03A3 out for its first Match. It has been a long project but it performed well all around. I had been apprehensive about rapid prone as in practice I had rushed myself into some ugly scores. However I was able to keep it together in rapid despite a dirty chamber and rough HXP causing some tough primary extraction issues. Between the fatigue, handling a new rifle, the heat, and rushing my shot, I dropped not one but TWO misses in off hand. Otherwise it was a good sting. Perhaps ironically, I was able to come in just 2 points under the medal cut, besting my performance with the Garand where I got all the rounds on target. So, I suppose “all I have to do” is not miss next time. Sounds easy right?
Some folks say competitive shooting has no practical application. While no one is going to conceal carry a M1 Garand with a 1907 sling, high power reinforces the basics of marksmanship which can have real benefits, especially for hunting.
A few lessons I’ve learned from high power that have helped me become a better hunter.
1. Trigger control. The difference between Squeezing the trigger and jerking the trigger will be the difference between dropping the deer or watching its tail as it runs into the woods.
2. Breath control. I think this one is especially tricky in the field. A little buck fever makes it hard to remember to take your time and wait for the scope to pause at the bottom of your breath.
3. Sling use. I have a Turner 1907 on my hunting rifle and have practiced, both live and dry, using hasty sling for both sitting and off hand. Taking the time to lock into the sling before a shot in the field can really pay off.
4. Hand loading. I’m not sure this counts as marksmanship but I started reloading so I could have a steady supply of ammo for my Garands. Lessons learned while making consistent rounds for match shooting apply to hunting rounds as well.
All of the practice I’ve put in this year and a fair amount of luck helped me take a nice 10 point at about 150 yards between trees this season.