DMHS Round 1 – Nomads

Today was Round 1 of the Daystate Midland Hunter Series at Nomads HFT club in Worcestershire. Great course, great atmosphere, but mixed feelings about my own performance…
Found time for a short write up this evening.

For those that haven’t heard of it, the Daystate Midland Hunter Series (DMHS) is a 6 shoot HFT series that runs throughout Winter. One shoot each month from October to March. Each one at a different club around the Midlands, UK:

  1. Nomads – 1st October
  2. Zone – 5th November
  3. Furnace Mill – 3rd December
  4. Wood End – 14th January
  5. Loughborough – 11th February
  6. Misfits – 18th March

At each round there are several classes:

  • Open – For PCP’s
  • Junior – 16 years old and under
  • Veteran – 60 years old and over
  • Recoilling/.22 – Springers of any calibre and .22 PCP’s

At the end of the 6 rounds, your 4 best are totalled to give your overall score.
I am planning to use my Air Arms TX200HC for all of the rounds, so will be in the recoiling class.

Round 1 – Nomads
I had never been to Nomad’s before but I had heard two things about the club. Firstly it was a really good place to shoot, with great courses. Secondly watch out for the wind. After today I can say both are true.
My aim for the day was 45. This is less than my personal best but a bit above my average. I have been shooting as much as I can lately to prepare for this series, so I went into it feeling confident.

The weather forecast wasn’t too bad. Rain wasn’t predicted until 2pm by which time we would hopefully be finished. Luckily this was true and the rain held off, but we still had to deal with the wind.

I would say the course was split into 3 types of lane. Some were completely in the open, with no cover from the peg to the target. These were obviously the most effected by the wind. This also happened to be where I started. I gave the first shot half a dot for wind. It then blew all the way across the target and barely plated it on the other side. This showed my inexperience at shooting in the wind. I usually use the history of the target to help me judge how much wind to allow for. But on the first shot there is no history, so it needs more skill and experience to get these shots. I’m not quite there yet.

Some of the targets were in the trees, but there was a small amount of open space between the peg and the start of the tree line. I guessed that there wasn’t enough wind to make much difference in this short distance, and I think I was right. I didn’t give any of these shots allowance for wind, and it paid off. I managed to knock a few of them over, and the rest landed either high or low. The left to right was OK. Sometimes this is nice to know because it gives me a bit more confidence in my zero and my technique. I have found that if my trigger technique is not perfect every time, I very easily pull shots left or right. In this case though, I was just ranging them wrong.
One shot that went very wrong for me was lane 7. This is where I got my only zero of the course. On this shot there was a loud crack from my gun and the pellet sailed straight over the top and into the bushes. This had happened twice earlier in the week when I was shooting paper, and both times the shot landed a full mil-dot high at 25 yards. I think the explanation is dieseling. This shouldn’t be happening because there is barely any grease in the gun, but I think I must have missed something. Either way it cost me at least 1 point, and means the gun will need to be stripped down before I use it again.

After the semi-open lanes, the course went down into a dip and then back up hill through the trees. These targets were much more sheltered, and I thought I would be able to make up some of the points I had dropped earlier on. I knocked a couple down, but then got into a streak of 5x plates in a row. Some of these should have been relatively simple shots and I missed all of them high or low. Again my range finding was letting me down! 
I would like to say that this was just inexperience, but some of the problem was me second guessing myself. One target I initially thought was 10 yards. This would be 1.5 mil-dot hold over with my set up. However as I was looking through the scope I thought it looked too clear to be only 10 yards. In fact it looked more like 15 yards due to the way it focused. So I readjusted and shot 0.5 mil-dot holdover. Lo and behold the pellet struck the plate 1 dot low! If I’d gone with my initial instinct, it would have been 2 points.

After these 5 plates walking up the hill, it was clear I wasn’t going to get my target of 45 points today. With 5 shots to go, I counted up my score and realised I could still get 40 if I knocked over 3 and plated the other 2.
Time to concentrate and make these last shots count. From here on I went through my routine more thoroughly. Once I was in position I checked my trigger finger position, then took a couple of deep breaths before very slowly squeezing the trigger. I also tried to not change my mind about the range once I was in position. It seemed to work and I actually got 4 over, and plated the very last target. This included one which I’m sure was 45 yards, and that I would normally struggle with. Needless to say this rescued my score a bit!

So I finished the day with 41. Not what I was hoping for but a good learning experience. Reflecting on some of the shots I missed, I reckon there were 3 or 4 that I would have got 9 times out 10 on any other day. However hindsight doesn’t change the scores.
Looking at the rest of the results it looked like quite a few people found it challenging today. However plenty of scores in the 50’s, including a 52 in my class show that it can be done. More practice needed then!

Things to take away and learn from before the next round:

  • If I keep a close eye on my trigger technique, I can keep pulled shots to a minimum
  • My range finding definitely needs more work

Not yet sure how I am going to work on my range finding. But I have two club shoots next weekend to practice whatever I come up with. I will probably write a short report on those too, so keep an eye out.

Thanks again to the teams at Nomads and the Daystate Midlands Hunter Series for a great mornings shooting. Congratulations to all those that did well. Scores are shown below and have come from the DMHS Facebook page (click here for link), along with my scorecard.

1st – Ryan Ashman 58
2nd – Elliott Reed 57
3rd – Chris Pantling 57
Elliott Compton 56
Dave Hunter 54
Jacob Pantling 53
Andy Dickson 53
James McLachlan 53
Peter Richmond 52
Richard Rushton 52
Theresa Reed 52
Nigel Smith 52
Ian Millward 52
Simon Howarth 52
Andy McLachlan 52
Kev Brooks 51
Mark Thompson 50
Michelle Parsons 50
Sarah Pantling 50
Ian Howarth 50
Nick Parker 50
Dave Smith 49
Lewis Collins 49
Andy Watkins 49
Bill Birch 49
Nick Aldridge 49
Darren Crofts 49
Jason Bressington 49
Kevin Scott 49
Richard Jones 48
Jake Miller 48
James Watkins 48
Stuart James 48
Simon Harrison 48
Matt Taylor 48
Sam Hemmings 47
Dave Wheeler 47
Kathy Thompson 47
Mick Hinett 47
Mark Taylor 46
Dave Freeman 46
Harry Compton 46
Karl Guest 45
Dave Hemmings 45
Steve Thompson 45
Steve Handley 43
Phil Tombs 42
Matt Lee 40
Josh Sprakes 40
Wayne George 38
Laura McLennan 38
Conner Turner 35

1st – Megan Reed 54
2nd – Ewan Pantling 52
3rd – Ethan Pantling 49
Myla Parsons 40
Conor Jones 38
Rob Walker 35

1st – Ken Pothecary 53
2nd – Graham Cole 45
3rd – Tom Morgans 42
Rob Shepperson 39

Recoiling/.22 Combined
1st – Andrew Timmins 52
2nd – Perry Broad 48
3rd – Luke Wells 46
Kev Gaunt 45
Stew Powell 44
Steve Whiting 44
Mick Fern 44
John Ferrier 43
Nick Yates 43
Richard Tinker 42
Dan Gordon 41
Trevor Sorrell 41
Stuart Hill 40
Bob Clay 40
Nick Stanhope 40
Keith Daughtrey 37


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