Tuesday, April 10, 2007

California Service Rifle Championship - Apr 4-6, 2007

Another shooting season begins and I sure am rusty.

Offhand Redux

My pet technique theories about Slow-Fire Offhand carefully nurtured over the winter met with rude reality last weekend in the CA Service Rifle matches at Coalinga. My 200-yard Offhand left me a good 10 points low of the mark that I can shoot. Too erratic. X's when it's on but at least 1/3rd of the time it's not on and that's not good enough to sustain Expert scores. Time for another overhaul. I'm going to try the USMC canted gun method with the AR-15. I experimented with this position using the Beamhit last yesterday and it's an improvement but only using it in a real match will tell. I also took the front weight out of the AR-15 handguard on the White Oak. The barrel and tube alone feel like a better balance with the USMC position. The gun hovers around the ideal weight of 14 pounds. On the plus side of the story, I really like the new method of strapping down the shooting coat with emphasis on tight hip and lower back support the way the CMP's USAMU video advised. It's good stuff.

Happy Rapid Fire

I did manage to win the Rapid Fire Aggregate on Saturday for the Sharpshooter class with a competitive score. Sitting and Prone Rapid are definitely my strongest stages right now. The no wind and elevation zeros for the gun are spot on. I'm getting pretty good at calling the final wind correction to center up the target at 300. And I'm remembering to loosen the BDU tabs to minimize the pulse in sitting. The real enemies now are the position coming loose and not remembering to settle and breathe. Got to remember to keep the sitting stage tight as a drum. Practice adding a tightness check to the string for shots 1, 3 and 5. Make resetting the sling after the first string a habit even for 50-shot matches. Print out a bunch of 50-yard targets, stick the .22LR converter in the gun and shot rapids over and over. I can and so should begin to clean these stages at least 1/4 of the time.

Dialing Disaster

In a fit of misguided brilliance last November, I reprinted my reference card for the AR-15 adopting the method of logging the come ups from the 200 yard HOME point instead of listing incremental come ups from the last stage. Naturally I completely misread the sheet for my first major match of the year and told the gun to put the hole in the upper quadrant of the 5 ring exactly 3 MOA up from the X because that's what was already on the gun from the 300 stage. It obliged me faithfully three days in a row.

On Friday I spent the first 10 shots getting back into the groove and did not begin to shoot into the sweet spot until around round 7. Failing to take the time to count down clicks for the notebook at the end of the day where I would have figured it out, on Saturday I did the same thing again and paid the price in points at the State Champs. I fooled myself into rationalizing it was the wind that I was learning to adapt to for the first half of the string; good story given that it was my first time shooting at Coalinga and I'd heard a lot of hype about the wind but now I know that was not the real deal. I was also hot, tired and hungry. I got sloppy when I should have taken the time to use the club match day as the training aid it was meant to be. Dough natt doo dat agyn. I was beginning to win the 600 yard stages last year and the prone practice I did over the winter says I should be improving on that. Bottom line is I sailed four shots into the dufus zone at the Leg match. Ah well, live and learn. There will be a next time.

Other Equipment Notes

I've started using a blinder to cover my left eye. It's very helpful. It's quite the effort to be left handed but shoot right handed and have a left dominant eye but a superior natural focus on the front sight in my right eye. The blinder does relieve strain.

I need a better shooting hat.

It's going to be a hot summer. I ordered one of those evaporation cooling vests and headbands to try out. They are supposed to be worth about 20-25 degrees of relief. It it works that will come in handy for places like Coalinga and Camp Perry.

Going to start reloading magazine length 77's in addition to the 80's to see if that Holliger gun will stop taunting me orbiting just outside the X-ring with the Black Hills 75 Moly's and push them into the inner ring. Besides, BH stopped shipping ammo to civilians because that military SDM ammo order really took them out of the market.

To Geissele or not, that is the question of 2007.

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