Monday, November 27, 2006

SMLE like a rose ...

In keeping with my plan to keep tuning my sense of the fundamentals by shooting a variety of rifles, I took my trusty Enfield No.4 Mk1 SMLE to the range last Saturday and got in a few practice rounds with it. Fed it British 1936 Mk VII Cordite ammo. Love them eggs! Shot 2 sighters plus 20 shots slow fire prone at a 100-yard reduced target. That Big 5 Sporting Goods special turned in a 191-3X. I let the core group sit on the right side of the 10 ring so I could see what it looked like. Most of that ammo that was made the same year Jessie Owens won Olympic Gold can go into an inch and a half. The rest of the spread is a combination of my breathing and the age of the powder. Not bad. Those 70 year old cordite sticks hold up pretty well. I did note to add a minute left to the rear sight to center the pattern for the rifle's zero records. Would have done more shooting but was losing light, it started to get chilly, and I wanted to get my Foster's Freeze hot fudge sundae.

Note: Figured out that the trigger goes into the first finger joint with this gun. Good for slow prone anyway. Keep tinkering. One can feel the ball bearing slip as the trigger releases. Bit of a click. That's probably as good as it gets for now. Follow through.

Most of Saturday at the range was administrative. Showed some new BRRC members the ropes on setting up targets for formal practice on the main range. The safety official for the Dec 3rd 3-gun match also came by to do his site inspection and make notes for any final adjustments to the courses of fire for the tournament.

While I was doing my maintenance rounds I found a nice cache of brass to play with my M1A. I want to experiment with Sierra 175gr HPBT's for long range. For some reason I'd run out of boxer primed .308 brass. I'd actually planned to order some brass. Good fortune smiled upon me. Someone had shot about a case of new Federal ammo and left all the once fired brass at the range. When it rains it pours. I mentioned my good fortune to some of the other guys and one of them graciously said he will send me some harder brass once-fired Winchester cases to experiment with. Dunno if these are the commercial Winchester brass or the once fired military machine gun cases with the thicker bottoms. Federal and Remington cases tend to be on the softer side of brass and stretch in semo-autos. That means case separations sooner rather than later. Will see what happens when I test the M1A. If it looks good the right thing to do is buy a case lot of Lapua's and shoot those forever.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Perfection is only a breath away ...

Took the re-stocked M-1 Garand to the range yesterday. The gun does indeed like being in it's new wood. Fired about 30 rounds and got four clusters of hits once the gun was sighted in. The best group was a sequence of four rounds that all went into the upper quadrant of the X ring at 100 yards fired from prone. This confirms that the gun has probably improved from the 10-ring cannon it was in it's old stock to one capable of producing higher X counts at matches. The X's don't really matter. The tighter group is what matters because that generates another 1/2 to 3/4 MOA of leeway for wind and elevation errors without going outside the 10 ring. That's the true reason for woking on tightening the gun up.

Now a note about four clusters. There should have been two clusters because I was only experimenting with two prone holding variations. When contact lenses dry you get a double vision effect when looking at small objects like bullseyes 100-yards away. For awhile I was alternately centering up on the two images and getting two clusters about 4 clicks apart vertically. Aside from making sure to re-wet the contacts before it's my turn to fire, there's a trick to remember to control this optical effect. The best thing to do seems to be to take advantage of breathing as the final elevation control. Take a deeper breath in. This drops the nose of the gun well below the bull so one can look at the bull image without interference from the front sight. Then by letting air out slowly it's possible to walk the sight back into the sight picture hold image for the same optical target each time. It works. Need to make it second nature instead of rediscovering it mid string every time.

I've been doing the breath walk with my match tuned AR-15 with good effect for 600-yard prone stages. The "as-issued" M-1 Garand seems to require about double the eye muscle concentration versus the AR-15 to produce the same aiming point consistency. Makes perfect sense. The AR has a Bob Jones helper lens in the rear aperture and the M-1 does not. That change is worth about double the eye strain energy to focus on the front sight.

And just for the record so I don't forget. The M-1 Garand liked a lower prone position than the one I had developed for AR-15. Something more akin to the being on one's side with the arm further outstrethed as in the classic photos of the genre. Part of this is because the 100-yard targets are higher off the ground at BRRC and the roll enables the gun to come up higher. Every gun, target, ground situation still needs to be built specific to the circumstances. The best indicator for optimizing seems to be to wiggle to locate the combination that gives you good head position. But the gun also seems to be more settled in these lower positions because they consume less muscle energy. I noticed the AR-15 seemed to like it lower for slow prone as well when I was at Pendleton shooting in dimming light. I feel a rethink of my slow prone position for this stage across the all the rifles I use for competing coming up for 2007.

I continue to be mesmerized by how tiny changes have such dramatic effects on the exercise.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Carefully Fitted Parts

Tuning "As-Issued" M-1 Garands for competition is a process best compared to tuning a violin. The rules are basically that you must use mil-spec dimension parts, that for the most part none of the components can be National Match (NM) parts and you are limited to carefully fitting those parts. Ultimately that means managing the stack up tolerances of the pieces of the jig saw puzzle.

My 1980's issued DCM M-1 Garand is a good rifle. In 2005, I spent quite a bit of time tuning it. Subtle details. The rear sight aperture was not perfectly centered and it caused my rapid groups to meander as I chased the shadow of the peep hole. I swapped one that had a nice round hole in the middle of the nub and the groups responded accordingly. I also worked over the gas cylinder raceway, the lower band pin and adjusted the front handguard position so there's zero fore and aft movement. The result was a gun that reliably shoots into the 10-ring. That was enough for 2nd place at this year's CMP Western Games.

The pursuit continues. Another round of carefully fitted parts is in order. I got a CMP M-1 Garand stock kit to see if it would be a tighter fit for the gun. I also got some new metal parts for it. I put a new stock ferrule on the nose of the CMP stock and swapped it with the lower stock on the M-1. Looks like good things. The assembly is a close fit. I can feel the action touching the wood without undue pressure all the way around as it seats. The fit between the stock ferrule and the lower band is remarkably improved and the side-to-side play in the upper forearm is almost gone. Overall the swap looks to have eliminated up to 90% of the play that was in the old DCM lower stock. I've elected to stop here and not touch all the careful fitting work I did on the upper half of the gun so it will keep the upper wood furniture. This is about function not cosmetics and I do not fancy taking the gas cylinder off. That would put all the work I did to the upper half back to square one. No way unless there's a demonstrated compelling need.

Hopefully this change will tighten the groups and the tantalizing tease of my shots orbiting just outside the X-ring will come in enough to start increasing the X-count in my groups. We'll see. It takes a year of shooting and observing to really tell if this did any good or if I'm just having another jolly in the garage.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Designing Practical Training Courses

This week I'm finishing up designing a rifle stage for a 3-gun action tournament. The course of fire itself is simple. My new found friends from U.S. Customs confirmed that my choice of 6-inch targets at 75 to 100 meters is an appropriate training scenario for use with rifles. It'll be fun and I've wanted to get this type of shooting going at BRRC for a couple of years now as a prelude to eventually trying some Infantry Trophy style matches.

What's actually taking more time is aligning the cultural habits of my formal target, police and military training perspective with the expectations of the recreational action pistol shooting community. Their procedures differ from the other parallel universes of shooting. They have not adopted the stringent use of empty chamber incicators (ECI's) yet, these are now ubiquitous in the highpower rifle community. They are still using the "safe container" case/holster approach to cold range management. I actually feel more comfortable with the CMP's "trunk-to-trunk" physical ECI in the chamber even for case rifles policy and am more and more attracted to the concept of weed whacker string "clear barrel" indicators.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Goal Setting

November 13, 2006

Every once in awhile you need to write down your goals. The ones that make the top out of the myriad of nice to haves. Here are the ones I want to work on for my shooting in 2007.

1. Shooting Clean Rapids. These are my strongest stages that will form the foundation for beginning to move up and win matches. I want to get to the point that my rapid fire stages are consistently cleans. That means perfecting my positions. Sitting will need a more solid position less susceptible to heartbeat. It also means truly knowing my zeros and being totally comfortable with adjusting for light and wind at 200 and 300 yards. That Holliger AR upper is capable of quarter sized groups. That means a goal of shooting high X count cleans is doable. It's up to me to do the rest.

2. Getting Offhand Consistently Above 90%. I'm a reliable 85% to 90% offhand shooter now. It's time to gear shift up. I know I can do it because I've done it. Step one is to examine and rebalance managing the energy in the performance. I can shoot X's. I have good focus on the front sight, the breath control, good isometric geometry for my gun-body dimensions combinations. This is about clearing the way for it all to come together another 10-15% more often than it is now.

I need to practice a dance routine that places muscle rest between each shot. I need to record separate zeroes for Offhand and Sitting to acknowledge that I hold slightly different sight pictures and I need to become confident about those pre-sets. Now that I have 80's for 600, may need to experiment with using 69's instead of 75's at the short ranges. They will exit the gun quicker and every little bit counts for minimizing the error integral. And I need to stop goobering the first shot of the string. That took me out of the runnning for Leg Points on both EIC's last week. The goal is to get the first round deep into the 10-ring every time as if everything was an EIC match and then keep it there. From now on, there are no offhand sighters!

3. Garand/Springfield. I want to be able to translate 1 and 2 to other rifles. I want to shoot cleans with the M-1 Garand and M1903A3 Springfield in particular. The goal here is a little different. The objective is 10 ring cleans using as-issued rifles and CMP issued ammo. Both my guns have good barrels with almost no erosion. The 2007 goal is to earn CMP Gold Achievement Medals in both of these rifles.

4. Long Range. I need a long range rifle. Noodle, noodle, noodle. It'll probably be a heavy barreled M1A because I have promised myself not to take the plunge into Match Rifle until after I earn my NRA Master rating. Maybe I'll win that Palma Rifle. I have one raffle ticket. In the meantime, I need to finish working on my M1917 Enfield. It still needs the Timney trigger installed and I need to load 175gr ammo to get it ready for NRA Medium Range (MR) matches. Goal is to get it all ready and tested by the BRRC "Last Ever" 600-yard Long Range Match, the NRA rules change on Jan 1, 2007. If that fails, shoot it with the AR-15 and 80gr's.

5. Lee-Enfield And finally, I want to master my No.4 Mk1 also to the point that I can shoot consistently good scores with it. I've always had a deep affinity for the SMLE's and I'd like to be as good with it as any other boom stick I take past the Ready Line.

Maintenance Day

Nov 12, 2006 - Hawthorne

There's something to be said for a day of puttering in the garage. Even more so if one is puttering with rifles. Sunday was maintenance day. Time to pay attention to the little details.

#1 - The AR-15's buttstock is cracked. It's dufus owner dropped it on the concrete floor. Replacement parts have been ordered and is on it's way. I ordered two so I'm ready for the next time I do something stupid.

#2 - I switched out the Turner AWS sling for a Turner leather one on the AR-15. While a good sling, the AWS's peculiarities have been as much thorn as boon this past year. I gave it a full season but like many other people I'm headed back to the familiarity of leather. I will keep the AWS in the ready gear bag just in case I get the silly notion of shooting a match in the pouring rain. You never know.

#3 - The rear sight on my M1903A3 Springfield was not as crisp as it should be at Pendleton. So I took it apart and did some cleaning up. The detents in the knob were not as clearly defined as the previous one on the gun. A few minutes of stoning made that right. The main axis screw was binding at the screw head. It now turns freely. Presto crisp clicks. Mo betta! I am still contemplating whether to drill the peens in the rear sight base and replace it with a new one. From conferring with others at Camp Pendleon it seems like all the Greek Sringfield sight bases are about 7 clicks too far to the right. I'd like to get my rear sight back to the center so there's equal windage adjustment range on both sides. That's a nice to have though. CMP matches are all at 200 yards and it would take a hurricane to blow the bullets more than an inch sideways.

#4 - Citrus cleaner sprays are a gift from heaven for getting the dirt out of wood stocks. All the sweat, dust and grime cleaned off nicely from the Garand and the Springfield. It cleaned up the BRRC club guns too.

"Teach Peace"

The evening of Nov 10th was special. I got to have dinner with Cath. There aren't really many people in my life who's history with my reaches back 30 years. Cath is one of those special people who knows me from that playful time in college when we were all naive and invincible. Life got much more complex over three decades.

But the greatest reason for my annual trek to Camp Pendleton is stepping out of the grinder of life. And taking Cath out to giggle and be silly for a few hours like the kids we were so long ago is one of my purest pleasures. It's important to recharge your spirit.

Cath's car still has "teach peace" on the bumper. My car is still a post card example of a proper "NRA gun truck." Kate's dining room table is no longer our friendship circle's common ground barring a long detour to Missouri. A French restaurant in downtown Escondido makes for a pretty good substitute. We did confuse the waiter by taking much too long to order because we were giggling too much.

Pendleton - Nov 11, 2006 - Creedmoor Cup Match

Making It Come Together
The Creedmoor Cup match is when all the hot shots come out. To be able to shoot in the company of the very best is a reward in itself. To be able to count among that crown the smiles, hellos and jokes of friendships is icing on the cake of life. The Creedmoor Cup did not dissapoint.

Nov 11 was the day to bring the week of shooting together. It's an NRA match which means you get two sighter shots at the beginning of each stage, not nearly as daunting as the EIC match. And you compete in divisions based on your NRA classification and the type of gun you are shooting. I'm in the Service Rifle Sharpshooter Class. My objective for the day is to win this division.

Me and my mouse gun enjoying the outdoors.

Offhand Stage - 20 shots for record plus 2 sighters in a time limit of 22 minutes at a range of 200 yards. I use an 80 degree stance with my AR-15. It puts the gun in front of me. The reason is because I have an A1 buttstock on it. My friends ask why don't use the 90 to 100 degree stance and the answer is because the A1 butt of the AR-15 is shorter than the butt of the A2. I made the mistake of not resting the gun on the stool between shots. I got tired towards the end of my string and dropped more 8's than I wanted to. I shall have to practice a change in my routine to lower the fatigue factor in my offhand stage.

Rapid Sitting - 2 sighter then two strings of 10 rounds with each string fired in a time limit of 60 seconds at a range of 200 yards. This is one of my stronger stages and I've learned a few things that will make this even stronger. I'm still getting too much heartbeat effect in my shot pattern. The reason is my feet in position. I need to change to a feet out sitting position to get the gun lower and less vulnerable to heartbeat vertical stringing. My 2007 goal is to improve this stage to the point that I can deliver cleans, that's all rounds scoring 10's or X's.

Note: I need to modify my dope sheets to list different sights pre-sets for Offhand and Sitting. The vertical hold difference is about 1 MOA. That's just the way my eyes perceive the most comfortable way to aim at the target. I lost points on the sitting stage because my sight picture favored the lower half of the bullseye for the first portion of my Offhand stage. Separate pre-sets should help bring the scores up.

Rapid Prone - Move back to 300 yards and shoot two strings of 10 rounds in 70 seconds each plus 2 sighters. Both wind and light begin to become factors at 300 yards. Not so much that it'll take you out of the bull but it will take you to the outside edge of the 10 ring and if you do that you'll leak out a lot more 9's. It works out to a judgement call of about 1/2 to 3/4 MOA. Get one wrong and the pattern is up/down/left/right. Get both wrong and the shots group in to the diagonal quadrants. Get everything right and you print holes dead center. At yeaterday's EIC I was too timid and caught the upper right quadrant. Today I was aggressive and nailed it dead center both strings. It felt good. I think my rapid prone can be improved further by adopting a lower front arm further out position. It's worth exploring. I want to clean the targets at this stage also.

Slow Fire Prone - Move back to 600 yards and shoot 20 rounds plus 2 sighters in 22 minutes. There's everything to be said for underdtanding the physics and theory of shooting when it's late in the day and the sun is going down. Wind becomes less challenging as it dies down but light becomes more challenging as it gets darker. It's important to do things like take advantage of yellow glasses to amplify the contract as the light turns to gray. Today's 600 stage went pretty well I was able to balance out good combinations a couple of times and get some runs of 10's and X's going between wind shifts. Adjusting elevation every 5 shots for the light is a must at dusk. Also it seems better to use a center hold at this time of day to minimize the light down sight down effects of the image bloom.

An the Winner Is ...
Yup it all came together and I won my division today. One more match and I'll probably get my Expert card. Then I can start climbing the ladder all over again.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Pendleton - Nov 10, 2006 - "Leg" Match

My very first full fledged EIC match. How cool! And I did not do too badly with a 452-2X. That's middle of the pack. I can also see you need to shoot some stellar scores to earn EIC points. This is going to be a chase that will take some work. Onto the notes.

I need to set up two sets of zeros for 200 yards. One for rapid sitting which is a hold into the black sight picture and one for offhand which requires about a minute more of elevation for the sight picture I tend to balance on.

Three lessons today at 300 Rapid. One, light was brighter and I should have brought the elevation down by about 1/2 MOA. Two, I saw the wind and called it correct as 1/2 MOA left but wimped out on moving the know. I was too timid and it cost me. I need to be more aggressive with wind. If I feel it I need to do it! Three, that Holliger barrel can shoot! There was a quarter sized rathole where the core cluster of rounds hit the target. The gun is capable. Anything still wrong is me.

600 Slow Fire went well. Yesterday's zeros in the practice match put me on paper. From then on it was about driving the wend.

Pendleton - Nov 9, 2006 - Creedmoor Practice Match

Know Your Zeros!
Today was the practice match for the Creedmoor Cup. Tomorrow is another EIC Match but this next one will be a full on AR-15 Service Rifle contest. So we all spent the day shooting a practice match, using our score books to plot shots and sight settings. I confirmed my zeros for 200 and 300 yards with the Black Hills 75gr ammo and got a baseline zero for my 80gr loads at 600 yards. Updated the dope sheet. Cleaned the AR-15. We are ready to have some fun.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hawthorne - Nov 8, 2006 - Change Over Day

Back home for the day. Took the car in to have a squeal in the brakes looked at then set to work changing over from M-1/1903's to AR-15's.

Inspected the BRRC M-1 that had gone blunderbuss on Herman. Sure enough the gas cylinder plug has loosened. That explains those big shotgun patters on his target. I cleaned that gun and did a parts tightening on it. It should shoot fine again.

I cleaned my Garand and Springfield and noticed that Greek HXP .30-06 puts a lot of copper fouling in the gun. So much that you can feel the drag in the bore. The normal cleaners were not enough. I had to use Sweets 7.62 to work on the fouling.

I also did some maintenance on the IRA webservers and best of all picked up Rachel from school and we went to get an afternoon snack together. Got the Tahoe back from the shop with the squeal diagnosed and repaired. Headed back to Oceanside.

Pendleton - Nov 7, 2006 - Garand EIC Match

I finally got to shoot my first "Excellence In Competition" match. I missed last year's Western Games EIC and the one in Phoenix in the spring got rained out. I did not win any Leg points. That would have been very lucky indeed. What I did was learn many new things.

First, it takes shooting scores equivalent to "NRA Expert" or higher to win Leg points. Second, you can make up to one error and still get stand a chance to win Leg points. You won't be match winner but you can still make the cut. That's valuable information I did not have about EIC's.

I repeated my slow prone and rapid prone scores from yesterday and was positioned to try to score as high as 380. Then I made two errors and dealt with a wind conditions change in this match. All of the problems were related to shooting procedures I do not normally do.

Looking good. The day starts with good solid work in the slow and rapid prone stages. That downward slope is real. Some of the firing points at Wilcox are like foxholes.

Error one was in the rapid sitting stage. I built an excellent position for the M-1 Garand, stood up at the "stand" command, then dropped back down into my AR-15 sitting position. I realized it after sailing four shots well outside the black before my brain caught up and asked me why I had my feet in the wrong position. Eleven points evaporated. After correcting the error, the remaining shots went into the core of the bullseye. So the lessons here are (1) a proper position does work and he position differs depending on the gun, target and firing point. (2) when assuming any position you have to think it through instead of going into auto pilot when the targets appear. This is a very good argument to shoot different types of rifles at practice matches and prevent autp pilot myopia.

Caught in the act doing the half and half. Feet tucked in and arms stuck out beyond the knees. Nothing is connected. Notice the gun angling up at the sky and the unbalanced head position pushing down to get the gun up. Where's them ducks?

Error two was just plain silly. I do this every year at Wilcox with my M-1 when the wind starts to come up in the offhand stage. I start thinking about managing the wind and launch a round off prematurely before my sight picture has settled. It makes for a visible miss and this time was no exception. One shots. 10 points lost. The key is to learn to make the change from calm air to wind shooting better.

The conditions challenge was the wind picking at the end of Relay 4. The last two shots of offhand were in stiffening wind. I got one off well. The last one caught the gust oscillation wrong and I went out on the left side of the bull. The bottom line is I need to shoot at Wilcox more often. There's only one way to get better at wind shooting.

I can do something about these. And if I do I can win EIC's.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pendleton - Nov 6, 2006 - M-1 Garand Match

I surprised myself pleasantly today. I shot a good match. Used all five sighter shots to confirm how my M-1 Garand moves versus the SR's at 200-yards on Wilcox Range. It's a blessing to have five shots. You can do some deliberate over corrections to really gauge the movement of the elevation and windage knobs on the gun. The prone stage went very well and I was able to stick to the same dialed in sight picture, much better on my brain cells than the visual adjustment approach for yesterdays 1903A3 Springfield match. Rapid did well also. My M-1 is a good 10 ring gun. Not an X drill but for CMP matches using issued ammo this rifle's beaten zone is plenty good for the task. I made it to the Offhand stage with seven points to spare to earn a CMP Gold Achievement pin. I'd have to do my my job keeping most of the shots in the 9 ring or better. Ten one shot matches. No more sighters. Every round counts. Time to get aggressive.

I know my offhand sight picture shows more black than my prone picture I gave the Garand one click up and off we went. Today each of those shots worked out. My equipment was working, my wobble manageable and my shot calls were dead on. I managed a 281-2X. That's two points into the cut score for a Gold Achievement medal. Yippee! The score ultimately put me in second place overall for the 2006 CMP Western Games M-1 Garand Match. A very good day indeed.

I'm a happy camper. My Springfield Match score from yesterday held up pretty good too. It was enough to stay in the top ten. Gonna have to keep learning more about that gun.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pendleton - Nov 5, 2006 - Springfield Match

The M1903A3 Springfield rifle is a fascinating gun. Mine is a Greek return obtained from the CMP in 2005. It is an accurate bolt gun. The sights are aperture and post but the adjustments are cruder than the later M-1 Garands, M-14's and current M-16A2. M1903A3 elevation stops are in 4 MOA increments and windage about 1.5 minutes per click. The front sight blade is also about 1/2 the width of a typical current generation U.S. military rifle font sight, even thinner than a match front blade. This means you can only use the mechanism to get close and then you have to start playing with managing your sight picture to hold just the right spot to get 10's and X's. And that's what makes this gun so fascinating. The final element in the game is mental imaging.

I had a great time shooting the Springfield Match today. This was my second time using this rifle in competition and I remembered to move my head out of the way of the bolt. The first time I shot a rapid fire string with the M1903A3 I cut myself four times. The combined length of the bolt plus the cocking piece on the end means that a good disciplined stock weld you learn to do with a semi-automatic rifle gets you nice crescent shaped cuts.

See the CMP Western 2006 Springfield Match Results

As of Sunday evening I was 4th overall in the this year's Springfield competition. Another round of competitors will shoot the match on Monday and their scores will be mingled with the Sunday results. Not bad for the gun's second time competing.

Monday will be my turn to fire the M-1 Garand match and my score from that will co-mingle with Sundays Garand shooters. Final practice this evening.


Because I took the GSM Master Instructor Course, I got to shoot the First Relay this year. That means you get to stay on the line all day as a coach instead of going to the pits. It's considered a prestegious slot and you do get to shoot in the morning before the wind comes up at Wilcox Range at Camp Pendleton. But you also work all day coaching with no break until the end of the match. The reality is I think taking a turn in the target pits is better. You can relax, eat and exchange stories in the pits. No time to do that when coaching. But if you have a bunch of new shooters on your firing point and you enjoy teaching, which I do, it's a very rewarding way to spend the day. Bright smiles from fellow humans are the true treasures of life.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Pendleton - Nov 4, 2006 - Day Two

We completed the CMP M-1 Garand Master Instructor Course today. We practiced how to teach what we had learned then used our training to use supporting the CMP Western Games clinic. And we all got an extra t-shirt. Pretty cool.

CMP Garand-Springfield-Military Rifle Master Instructor Course Class of November 3-4, 2006 gathers for a group photo in the 1st Marine Division compound at Camp Pendleton.

Pendleton - Nov 3, 2006 - Day One

I spent nine hours in class on Mov 3, 2006 and enjoyed every minute of it. The day was spent at the U.S. Marine Corps base at Camp Pendleton, CA for the classroom postion of the Civilian Marksmanship Programs's M-1 Garand Master Instructor Course. It was taught by Director Gary Anderson and I have to say I am filled with respect from watching him deliver the material. Many years a go the first book I read on Position Rifle Shooting and the the mental discipline of doing it well featured pictures of a much younger Gary Anderson, a man who won two Olympic Gold mdeals and seven World Championships, the most ever by any American in International competition. That book shaped the way I thought of target competition. And yesterday, I saw that book come to life.

There are some people who's experience and perspective about how to balance the teaching of a subject must be witnessed to be appreciated. People who have a reason for every choice they have made in selecting what to say when teaching a class are impressive enough. To witness someone who can also artciulate the tradeoffs and logic of why a choice is right for a situation and how to evaluate the broader range of possibilities that might be the right answer under other circumstances is to truly learn from a zen master.

I basked in good things and saw once again the importance of not being limited by the prejudgements and false comforts that once so easily creates for oneself not just in shooting technique. This was definitely a worthwhile day.

Friday, November 03, 2006

"You can ask because I love you."

Today's Thought: I love the romance that life delivers just when you've convinced yourself it probably won't. And it never ceases to amaze me how Leslie can make my life feel so complete.