I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted much so after a little “nudge” yesterday I thought I’d get it in gear and get a post together on yesterday’s Practical Rifle match. As luck would have it the conditions, although forecasted poorly, turned out to be pretty fair and probably kept a lot of shooters from coming out to compete so we probably had 50% less people than normal. The great thing about that is the squads are small and the match moves pretty fast. Armed with my freshly re-barreled Colt we squaded up and headed down into the pit for what turned out to be a pretty darn good match. In typical Practical Rifle fashion there were four stages to test the shooting prowess of the competitors and put their skills to the test.
Stage one is typically designated as a long range shooting stage shot from prone and this match was no different with the exception of location. The match director pushed the stage a bit further down into the pit and as a result we had some longer distances than usual. There were 15 steel targets of various size that you had to engage from left to right as quickly as possible with a 120 second par time. You were allowed one pass and if you skipped/missed a target you were not allowed to go back and I almost screwed up the stage because of that. Along the back wall there was a bank of targets at around 310 yards and the last one was a small plate much further right than the rest of the previous targets. I shot the first six and moved over the the 8th target below and luckily I called out to the spotter that I was moving down. The spotter “reminded” me that there was one target remaining and I reached back and popped it before moving on.
If I had to nit pick one stage that I could have done much better on it would have been this one. Because I changed the zero of this rifle I should have been compensating by holding top of target and as a result I had quite a few misses along the back row of targets. Not only that it took me much too long to realized that was the case and really cost me a considerable amount of time. Stage one, the long distance stage is typically my strongest stage and this time I kind of pooched it. Still, it was a total kick in the pants as usual.
This was the only stage that I had some anxiety over before I shot it because we had it once before and I really butchered it. There are 5 steel plates of various sized that are progressively further in distance. They start at about 40 yards and go out to around 280 yards and are to be engaged from the closest to the furthest, and once you shoot the furthest target you have to start over for a total of two passes. Simple enough, right? But the twist is that you may shoot from any position you wish but the points are based on how you shoot it. Standing is 3 points per hit, kneeling is 2 points per hit, and prone is only 1 point per hit. Now being that Practical Rifle is all about points you pretty much have to hit all of the targets offhand to be competitive. The last time we did this format I just couldn’t connect with the far target and before running out of time I dopped to prone and got the hit, although only scored as 1 point. I was really worried that I would have to do the same thing this time and again, get tanked for the stage. But God’s of offhand shooting smiled upon my this day and as luck would have it I was able to get all of the hits from offhand, thus earning all of my points!
Our squad started here and it really was a great warm up stage that got all of us pumped up. You started in a shooting box to the rear left and once the timer begins you move forward to the first shooting box where you can then engage the first steel IPSC target that became visible with two shots at about 50ish yards. You then ran to the next shooting box further down the hill and put two shots on the next steel IPSC target that became visible. There were two more shooting boxes with two more steel IPSC targets to engage further down the hill and to the right. Quick 8 round stage that really got the blood moving.
Back at the Action Rifle Range there were five shooting positions with either barricades or barrels from which you had to put one hit on three steel plates at around 95 yards. Another fast and furious stage that we all blazed through. I also noticed that I’m pretty sure my scope is canted after it’s recent “move.” (Note to self: Must remember to check that sometime.)
All in all it was a really fun and challenging match with a really good squad to shoot with. We were all neck and neck with one of us beating the others on different stages so there really wasn’t a clear winner which kept it very interesting and very competitive. And as a side note, this was the first match in a very long time in which I didn’t have anything break or malfunction! Hopefully my long streak of bad weapon juju has come to an end.