Another round at Kingsley HFT, still one of my favourite places to shoot and even better than usual today. Almost perfect conditions, and after a slow start, ended up with a my personal best.
Based on my previous post about positional shots (see here), that’s the main thing I wanted to improve. I also wanted no ‘zero’ shots (i.e missing the plate completely) and a score above 48.
The weather was on our side again. Clear skies and only the gentlest of breezes promised some high scores from the top shooters. And they turned up in force today. One of the busiest club shoots I have seen in a while. The forecast predicted no change in these conditions so no worries there, this was looking good my target score of 48.
I also noticed something different compared to the last shoot here. At the zero range, quite a few gun bags were being unzipped to reveal TX200’s and HW97’s (and a nice looking HW98). There was some talk on Facebook of people bringer their ‘boingers’ and they didn’t disappoint! For a recoilling fan like myself this is great to see. Partly because it gives me a better indication of how I am doing with mine. If the field is mostly PCP’s, it can be hard to judge.
My shooting partner and I started on peg 18. A nice easy one to start, close enough to just aim flat and a generous enough kill zone to let me get away with my first shot nerves. However this didn’t last long. After 3 shots I had 6 points. Perfect start but I got it into my head that I could be on for a good score again. This was a mistake! At the fourth peg I was suddenly all hyped up. My heart rate had gone up and I wasn’t controlling my breathing, and I missed low. Next peg I missed left, and the next I don’t even know where I hit the plate. Perfect start officially ruined.
I’m confident that I was ranging the targets right, but that’s not worth much if you can’t hold the sights on target. My preferred prone position is holding the gun quite high up the peg with the butt pad in my shoulder (as opposed to resting the pad on the ground). This is more comfortable for me, and reduces my parallax errors, but it does slightly reduce my stability. So I need my breathing and heart rate to be under control.
I had a quiet word with myself and took some long deep breaths before my next shot. Because it was busy today, I had a bit of time to compose myself. That seemed to work a treat and I the next target fell down. A silly miss at lane 25 (snatching the trigger) meant I had dropped 4 points in the first 10 targets.
By this point I thought I was heading towards a score of 45. I’d still be happy with that, but not chasing a higher score meant I could relax a bit. Suddenly I was enjoying myself again. It’s a shame it took a third of the course for this to happen because underneath all the other goals, having fun is the main reason I do this. Anyway, hopefully lesson learnt!
The benefit of relaxing more? Heart rate dropped, anxiety down and breathing under control. As if by magic the targets started flopping over left right and centre. Now I was enjoying myself AND confidence was high. I only dropped 3 more points for the rest of the course. One positional, one that I didn’t range properly, and a tricky close shot that I didn’t use the correct aim point for.
All in all, not a bad recovery! Finishing with a personal best of 53. What could have been if I had sorted myself out at the start? But hindsight is a wonderful thing. Whats more important is that I learnt some lessons, and achieved some of my goals:
- No ‘doughnuts’ – Done. I don’t always manage this, but with the calm conditions, I would have been quite disappointed with any 0’s
- Get my positional shots – Unsupported stander? Check. Supported standing and kneeling? Check. Unsupported kneeling? So close! I just missed bottom edge. But I got my supported shots which I what I had been working on this week. So definite improvement there
- Score 48 or more – Smashed it
- Try to relax at the start of the shoot
- Have fun from the firs to the last shot
- Remember my boots next time!
Just a final word to say congratulations to whoever won (I haven’t seen the yet). I’m looking forward to seeing the recoilling scores, although I’ve been reliably informed that a certain shooter who got his HW97 back showed us how it was done with a 55.
Next week is round 2 of the Daystate Midland Hunter Series. Can’t wait to get back out again!