Fryeburg Academy in Maine denies yearbook photos of junior shooter

Well, at the risk of coming off as a gun-nut, I want you to be aware of this bigotry: Gun Bias Check (from Xavier’s blog).

The short of it is, young Joshua Enos is a trap shooter and submitted a senior photo of himself with his shotgun (unloaded, open, safe) to the Fryeburg Academy yearbook committee. Upon denial, he tried a photo of himself with his trophies, but was again denied. The reason for both denials is that there were guns in the pictures (the trophies depicted guns too).

I can understand denying a photo of a kid brandishing a gun unsafely. I’m all for discouraging that sort of behavior. However, guns are not going away, shouldn’t we promote the safe use of them instead of denying their existence?

Pull your head out of the sand, Fryeburg Academy. Addressing social issues means sometimes facing them head-on, not censoring out anything gun-related as evil.

This kid is proud of his sport. Just as a basketball or football senior might pose with a ball, he has posed with his trap gun.

Shooting is humbling

Adam and I ran a practice 900 point match today. It consisted of thirty shots of slow fire at fifty yards, thirty shots of timed fire at twenty-five yards, and thirty shots of rapid fire at twenty-five yards. We scored each ten-shot target, and ran it fairly close to how a real match would go.

And, wow, I’m glad it wasn’t a real match!

My first two slow fire targets hurt my score the most. They were both in the 70s. The final score for my practice was 804-6X out of a possible 900 points. So there’s a benchmark to improve from.

A clean target

Yesterday, Adam and I headed out to the range. Adam has a new mil-spec 1911 .45 from Springfield Armory. He pounded through 100 rounds of hardball. It was awesome.

We’ve been going out shooting more regularly for at least a few months now, and I have finally cleaned a target. (A clean target refers to a target with all ten shots in the ten or X-rings.) It was probably in rapid fire time, which is ten seconds per string of five shots, though I wasn’t shooting with range commands. Regardless, I haven’t cleaned a target for a few, oh, say five years. It’s sort of a mental milestone. Now I expect to shoot 100’s more frequently.

More Slow Fire scores

I shot again this evening. My first target of the night was not a great start: 74. The very first shot was way out in the white, and I had a few more by the time my first ten shots were up. The string felt reckless. I took shots I should not have taken, and the second target, though better, had some similar aspects.

In both cases, the very first shot of the string was a flier. I seem to remember that same phenomenon happening on a few targets. On one target, the first shot was in the white, but then the next four were tens.

So, I will try to counter that first shot problem by not taking the first shot. Instead, I will dry fire the first shot on Slow Fire targets until I see a clean shot break. Then I will move to live rounds.

Another thought that occurred to me while I was shooting was a memory from a Small Arms Firing School I attended at Camp Perry a number of years ago. One of the shooters giving a talk proposed this: Many of you want to hear us spill the secrets of great shooting. Well, there is no secret. The difference between a great shooter and an average shooter is just this: A great shooter doesn’t fire the bad shots.

So, underlying that idea is this: It is my decision to fire or not to fire. If I bring the gun up and something in the process indicates that the shot is questionable, there is no reason to take the shot, during Slow Fire. I should lower the gun, take a breath, and start the cycle over.

So, with those in mind, I finally did shoot a decent Slow Fire target. It was a 93, with all the shots in the 8-ring or higher (X, 10, 10, 10, 10, 9, 9, 9, 8, 8).

It is good to end on a good target, but, wow, what a spread from 74 to 93. That’s a really big spread. Part of the game is consistency, and that first target was very telling. I need a little more focus.

Slow Fire scores

Since I’m shooting a little more often now, I’ll start recording some scores and some goals, especially for Slow Fire, which is my weakest stage of fire.

Here’s some background for those who haven’t done this sort of shooting. The style of shooting is called “conventional bullseye pistol” shooting. Competitors must shoot from a standing position, one-handed, unsupported. Some matches are .22 caliber only, others are .22, center-fire, and .45 caliber. Many people shoot a .45 for both the center-fire and the .45 match.

There are three courses of fire: Slow Fire, Timed Fire, and Rapid Fire. Each Slow Fire target consists of ten shots in ten minutes. Each Timed Fire target consists of two separate strings of five shots, each in twenty seconds. Rapid Fire is two strings of five shots, with each string fired in ten seconds. Outdoors, Slow Fire is typically shot at fifty yards, while Timed and Rapid Fire are shot at twenty five yards.

Alright, so as far as my own goals go, I’m not too worried about Timed and Rapid Fire. My scores aren’t perfect, but I don’t typically lose all that many points on them. On a normal day, I probably average around 96 or 97 points per Timed and Rapid Fire target.

Now, compare that to a Slow Fire target and you’ll see why I’m going to focus on Slow Fire. Typically, my Slow Fire targets are in the mid-80s. Today, for instance, I shot an 87-0X and a 88-1X in Slow Fire, and I don’t feel bad about those scores. (The X refers to the “X-ring,” which is a bullseye.) So, I’m losing far more points in Slow Fire than in Timed and Rapid Fire.

Thus, my goal for Slow Fires is in two parts:
1. Every shot must be in the 8-ring, at minimum.
2. My scores need to be 90 and above.

Today, I didn’t make it. Here are the scores for my Slow Fire targets.

Slow Fire targets, April 17, 2006
Stage 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total
Slow 10 10 9 9 9 9 8 8 8 7 87-0X
Slow X 10 9 9 9 9 8 8 8 8 88-1X

Shooting update

Adam, Andy, and I went out shooting again today. It was a beautiful day for it: just a little windy, blue sky, and up in the fifites, I think.

I shot my Clark .45 for the first time in a very long time, and shot some okay groups. There were a few in the white, but most of the shots were in the black.

And, I shot my best timed fire score, a 97, since I’ve started shooting again. I had three nines and seven tens–I don’t remember how many Xs. We started at fifty yards, and I had some acceptable slow fire targets in the mid-eighties.

Both Adam and Andy also shot very well. It looks to me like each time we’ve gone out shooting, their groups get tighter and the fliers become fewer.

Stop gun laws. Strengthen enforcement.

As a nationwide gun ban in Brazil is due for a vote, I’m left to wonder if the anti-gun movement is just simply off-target.

The article linked above mentions that the armed police are feared more than the armed drug dealers who walk the streets. Take guns away from lawful Brazilian citizens? What’s to stop a corrupt police officer (or crew of corrupt police officers) from taking advantage of these same people? I’m going to guess a law won’t change whether or not the drug dealers carry firearms.

Isn’t the point to reduce gun-related deaths and injuries to innocent people? I haven’t reviewed any laws recently, but isn’t that sort of use of firearms already illegal? So, do we really need more laws about that?

Why not put all that effort and activism into convincing law enforcement to actually start cracking down? If the gun crimes are so common, isn’t this an enforcement issue instead of a legislative issue?

Now—I have no idea how you’d enforce that beyond what is being done already. Seems like there ought to be some creative answer to that.

Congratulations to the Junior Pistol Team from the Ottowa Sportsmen’s Club

A group of young pistol shooters from the Ottowa Sportsmen’s Club in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan performed well at the National Pistol Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio, this past week.

The following is an excerpt from an email report from my father, who has been coaching the young shooters.

There were 18 Sharpshooter Class teams entered in the National’s and our boys beat all of them, along with 25 “Expert” teams and one Master Class team!!  The team captain was Pat Miller and the shooters were led by Sam Gardner, with a total of 814-15X (900) for the 3 team matches, followed by Jeff Tuomi with a score of 797-8X,  Kurt Szyszkoski with a 790-18X and Ben Granroth with a score of 758-11X.

National Junior Pistol Champions!

The Junior Pistol Team from the Ottowa Sportsmen’s Club of Pelkie, Michigan swept the Marksman class team competitions at the National Pistol Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio this past week.

Very impressive shooting from a young team!

In addition to the team’s accomplishments, Jeff Tuomi placed 2nd Marksman and first Junior Marksman, Kurt Szyszkoski finished 5th Marksman, and Sam Gardner finished 9th. And, Mark Saari shot his best scores in all phases of the matches!

I’m sure the young shooters’ families, their coach, and their supporters from the Ottowa Sportsmen’s Club are very proud of them all.