Pistol match, Oct 20, 2009: the good and the bad

Last night after work I drove up to Bay City to Duncan’s Outdoors Shop to compete in a pistol league match. It’s the second one I’ve made it to, and shot some of my best…and worst scores.

National Match Course 1 Total
SF TF RF
95 91-2X 93-1X 279-3X
National Match Course 2 Total
SF TF RF
86 99-3X 92-2X 277-5X

Starting with a 95 was great. It’s been a long time since I’ve fired a 95 on a slow fire target. Maybe 10 years. There were 5 tens and 5 nines, which speaks to the consistency of the group.

As to what I did to bring about that score, all I can think of is that for each shot, I:

  • took some good deep breaths to counter a little match pressure I was feeling
  • closed my eyes, tipped my head up, and visualized what I wanted to see in the sight picture
  • during visualization, also mentally reminded myself on the grip (middle and ring fingers pushing towards me, thumb pushing towards target)

After that great target, I completely fell apart and shot a 91 in a timed fire! Yikes. I probably average a 97 in timed fires, and don’t have a record since I’ve been keeping track in June of shooting a timed fire target that low. Same story on the 92 rapid fire.

So why the low sustained fire scores? Lack of recent match experience. When I’ve been out to the range this past summer, my practices haven’t really included range commands with enforced 10 or 20 second strings.

Basically, I seem to have no confidence in my ability to know how much time I have for timed or rapid fires. I can’t think of a way to remedy this except to practice with enforced times.

So, I ordered a refurbished iPod shuffle and I’ll record range commands onto it (I already have them in iTunes) so I can play those commands to myself when I go out for practice.

First pistol practice of the season!

I made it to the range today! The afternoon was sunny and seemed like it was in the high 30s. My fingers were stiff on the cold pistol, but the lighting was beautiful and the wind was light. This was the first time I’ve shot at the Saginaw Field & Stream club. It has an excellent 50 yard pistol range.

I had a small mixture of .22 ammo, which I shot in this order:  50 rounds of Remington Target (standard velocity lead), 5 rounds of Federal Lightning (high-velocity jacketed hollow-point), and the remaining 35 rounds were Remington Thunderbolt (high-velocity jacketed).

Thoughts on the ammo

This was the first time I’ve shot Remington Target rounds, and, frankly, they were great. They felt very consistent and they functioned reliably in my old Ruger Mk II.

The Federal ammo was cheap stuff, and, oh man, was it bad. Of the 5 rounds, 3 stovepiped. And, they felt very inconsistent. The Remington Thunderbolts are also cheap stuff, but they were consistent and functioned fine.

I ran through a practice 900 match (conventional bullseye pistol).

So, here’s how I shot.

Slow Fire National Match Course Timed Fire Rapid Fire Total
SF1 SF2 SF TF RF TF1 TF2 RF1 RF2
88-2X 88-1X 81-0X 93-2X 97-3X 94-3X 93-3X 97-1X 91-1X 822-15X

That adds up to 822-15X (out of 900 possible). Average score of 91.3.

Really, I had no right to shoot that well, since I haven’t practiced at all for over a year. So, this is a good benchmark to start the season with.

I hope to get out to the range every week, starting in mid-April, and I would like to compete in at least a couple matches by the end of the outdoor season.