The Goal

The Goal

Thursday, 31 December 2015

For the love of shooting

In last week's missive, I confessed to being a filthy hypocrite who hasn't picked up a rifle in weeks (months!) because of work, family and running, so it is something of a relief to be able to say that I have finally got off my backside and done some SCATT training in addition to a little live firing.

You know what? I rather enjoyed it.

It may sound a trifle sad to say so, but I enjoyed setting up my kit, lying down in my living room with my rifle and spending about 45 minutes clicking away at the sterile paper target set up next to the television. Probably the most welcome aspect is the feeling of muscle memory getting dusted off and being put to use once again. Things that were once automatic reactions becoming so once again; fully relaxing my left arm is probably the most significant for me; I can physically see the wobble getting less with each shot as I remember how to let down the muscular tension and allow the sling to do the work. When I can do this without thinking about it, and the same with my right shoulder, I will be ready.

The return to training is a bit late, as the NZ Nationals kick off in a little under two weeks' time. I may have been a little tardy starting my preparations; however I'll do what I can to make best use of the days available to me, helped by the fact that I'm on vacation for most of them. In addition to loading the remainder of my ammunition (185 rounds of short range ammo loaded and 150-something rounds of long range ammo to go) I'll try and get on the SCATT for 30-40 shots every day. I've already checked my kit over, so I should be good to go in that regard.

I'm looking forward to heading down to Upper Hutt again; to see who's on form and what the conditions are going to be. Most of all, though, I'm just anticipating the fun of spending a week on a rifle range with a bunch of likeminded folks and doing a bunch of shooting.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Proper prior preparation prevents...

It's been a while because of work, family and (to a lesser extent) running but today I made it out onto the range for the first time since I shot at Bisley in July. Actually, I must confess to being a terrible hypocrite because much as I go on about training, I've virtually not picked up a rifle since then either; and it shows.

While my core groups at 300x today were OK, I had a flyer at each range: one was definitely me, as I saw it go way left in the inner and the target came up with the spotting disc pretty much where I thought I had put it; the other I didn't see go, which worries me. On the other hand there are two handy potential culprits today:
  1. It's better when your foresight iris doesn't unscrew itself while you're shooting; and
  2. One of the pillars that holds your cheekpiece in place stops doing that

If it does this, don't shoot.
The good news is that I can fix both of these things very quickly and it was only a practice; this being what practice is for. The bad news is that its doesn't matter if it was an equipment failure, these are avoidable errors. Still, lesson learned. Move on.

To finish on a positive note, there were many things which went well today. I felt comfortable with the rifle and although my first few shots were wobbly (two V sighters in my first shoot, thank you very much) things started to settle down quite quickly. My routine seemed to re-establish itself quite quickly (see video below*.) My test ammunition also shot well, with both short range and long range loads going well.

I've got 22 days before the nationals at Trentham so I need to get on the case with the SCATT and the visualisation. Fortunately I only have 3 days left until I'm on holiday for Christmas and only another 3 days at work. I will inevitably spend some of this in a G 'n' T, wine and port-induced stupor but I do intend to spend at least some of it working on my game.

* Yes, I now have a GoPro. Actually, I have a SJCAM5000+ which is as good and about a third of the price. I'm going to work out if and how I can use it to learn more from my shooting training sessions. I apologise in advance if you see lots of short videos of me shooting from now on.