Well guys, I just finished up a 4 day competition with the Shiloh Sharps, DONE PRETTY GOOD TOO!!! We had a 2 day comp. on the mid-range shooting at 200yds. 300yds. and 600yds. I had never shot on this range and did not have any sight settings but I had some from the Silhouette range that was close enough to have me on target. You only had 4 sighter shots before you had to go for score. The first day at 200yds. I shot a 100 score with 9 of the 10 shots in the X ring and 1 shot in the 10 ring by 1/4". That 1/4" cost me tying the range record that was set last year. The second day I shot another 100 score with 7 shots in the X ring. My goal here was to out shoot a friend of mine that has been the state champion 3 times, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
Now on to the 300yd. range, getting harder now guys. Well the first day I shot 4 in the X ring and 1 shot in the 10 ring and let 5 shots go in the 9 ring, final score was 95 out of a possible 100 score. Not bad, not bad at all, this was about a 2nd place score at this distance. Still ahead of the state champion! Hee Hee. This is where I'm really getting a lesson about reading the wind. The second day, the conditions only got worse, more wind and it was switching back and forth and then it would just die then pop back up, now here comes a head wind, then switch back to the left, Man, it was a crap shoot as to what the effects would be on the bullet. Oh well, still had a score of 91, not great but I was still in the running.
Oh crap now out to the 600yd. range. Well, this is where the great shooters walk off and leave the rest. It is not the shooting skills or the load or rifle that makes the difference here, it is the ability to read the wind and know when to shoot. You want to shoot in the best possible conditions and that would be when the wind drops down. But, will that happen 14 times in the time you have to shoot, probably not. So you try to pick out the prevailing conditions and shoot in that. It might be with a headwind and the wind at the 300 yd. line blowing to the left and the wind at the target blowing to the right, so you sight in under those conditions and go for it. So you are dependent on your spotter to watch for the right conditions and tell you when to pull the trigger. If you have a spotter that can't read the wind, good luck, if you fired your sighter shots in conditons that don't come back around, good luck, you will be chasing the shots all over the target with sight adjustments. I can tell you this, there is a big difference in shooting past 500yds. with a 45-70. Well, the first day the conditions were bad with the wind switching around, I shot a 79, and that was as good as some of the more experienced shooters were doing, but it was bad enough to put me out of winning the whole 4 day competition. The second day on the 600yd. line was even worse as far as wind conditions, it blew my cap off my head twice! I think I had a score of 71. They alot you time for you and your spotter to shoot and both of you have to be done in that time. I finally gave up on waiting on the conditions to be right and just shot my 5 last shots regardless of what the wind was doing, I had to or my partner was not going to have time left for him to shoot. Doing so really hurt my score but I did not have a choice.
We also had a King Of The Hill Match on the 600yd. line. 20 shooters paid $50 and the range chipped in $100 also, so we have $1100 on the line now. You get 2 sighter shots, you do your own spotting with no help from anyone else. They only mark the target on your first 2 shots and that is it. Now you get a 3 minute break and then shoot for score. You can not see bullet holes at 600yds. so your spotting scope is useless, all you can do is watch for the right conditions and pull the trigger, oh yea, the clock is running also and you have 7 minutes for 5 shots, not very much time to wait on the wind to get right. My 2 sighter shoots were left on the target at 9:00 oclock on the 7 ring. I had shot them with out any right wind but I knew I would not have time to wait on that condition for my 5 shots for score. I only put 1 minute of right in it and was going to use the wind to make up for the rest to get it in the center. Oh well, so much for that, I did get to shoot all my shots with the wind blowing right, and that wind plus the 1 minute of sight adjustment put my shots at 3:00 oclock right off the edge of the target and I had a score of "0". The guy in the target pits said Dam it man! You had a great group, they were just off the target. Oh well, it was fun and a learning experience.
Now the other 2 days was the Silhouette match shooting at animal targets at 200yd. offhand, 325, 450, and 550yd in the prone position, now we are back to my game. At the end of the first day I had a score of 31 in second place. One local guy had me beat by one target. I had beat all the big shots that came from out West and from the North and all the "Know It Alls" on the famous forums of shooting these Ole Buffalo Rifles. On to day two, started out on the off hand chicken shooting it went O.K. You get 3 sighter shots and hit dead on with one of those, you hate to do that because you can't count that one. These are really just practice shots because you already have your sight settings. I only hit one chicken in the first 5 shot string and I had an extra bullet so I told my spotter I was going to burn that one knowing it would not count, hit that sucker, man that's the way it goes. On the second 5 shot string I hit 2 more, so I hit 5 chickens but can only count 3, not bad the state champion only hit 3 also, so I off to a good start. Hit all 10 of my pigs at the 325yds. On to the Turkeys at 450yd. these are the hardest ones to hit. Looking at the score board most of the shooters are hitting 7 or 8, I can do that, so I might just win this 2 day shoot. Got up to the line and started shooting my 3 sighter shots, first round and my spotter said I didn't see a thing, WHAT! I saw dirt fly so I knew I was shooting at the spotter animal. I raised my sights and fires #2, spotter said I didn't see a thing, WHAT! Well I didn't see any dirt fly so I thinking I hit the spotter target which is welded on a pole, so it does not knock over, so I must have hit it right? O.K. here we go fired #3, spotter said, I still don't see a thing, I didn't see any dirt fly so I don't know what the Hell is going on now. I looked at his score board in his hand and he had the Ram score sheet on there, He is looking at the Ram sight in target and I'm shooting on the Turkey line and not sure where I'm hitting. No more sighter shots and I've got to go for score and the clock is running. So I take my first shot at the first bird while he is changing the spotting scope, that baby flew backwards off the rail, Great I'm on! Now he says, your right on target go for it, he is now looking at the right sight in target. This has really taken a toll on me mentally and I'm trying to settle back down and not blow this comp. and the clock is running and I'm a ball of nerves now. 2nd shot, MISSED! fired #3,4, and 5 all hits, I'm still O.K. They reset the targets and we go for the last 5. If I make all 5 shots that will give me a score of 9 on the Turkeys and I can win this 2 day part of the comp. We have a fire command, I'm calm now, should be no problem, chambered a round and it will no go all the way in. I have a small lever to finish this up because I have my bullets set out to where they engrave into the rifling about 1/8", but I should be able to push it in with just thumb pressure, so what the hell is going on now? I don't have my little lever with me so my spotter takes off to my box to get it, the clock is running down and I'm having to just lay there and wait. I get the tool and lever it in the chamber and it was hard to go in, fired the shot and it went 14" over that Turkeys back, this could cost me the whole match. I could have ejected the round but the bullet would have stayed in the rifling, I could have knocked it out with the cleaning rod, this would taken up too much time to do and I didn't have an extra round on the line with me, so, all I could do was what I done. Well, I'm done mentally now, I'm fried! I managed to hit the other 4 birds and finished with 8 total, hey, that's not bad, because 2 of the other top shooters just hit 7, so I'm still in this thing! Feeling better now.
Now on to the Rams, got a lot of mirage to deal with now, it's running from right to left and changing back and forth. It will push your shot off the target one way or the other and right in the middle of the change there is what is called a boil where the mirage can't make up it's mind which way it wants to go and that will throw you high over the target, so don't shoot in a boil! Here again you are at the mercy of your spotter. On the way to the line one of my buddies had checked out the scoring board on the wall and said, hey if you get all 10 Rams, you will win this shoot, that will put you one shot ahead of everyone. No problem, I've done this many times but it is not a cake walk either, it will be hard to do. I have out shoot all the big boys, the state champion, and 49 other people that have come from all over the U.S., even the guy that won the King Of The Hill Match, even the guy that designed the bullet I'm shooting, even the guy from Miss. that usually wins every shoot he goes to. No pressure here RIGHT!!! Got sighted in everything was good, so here we go. My shots are slowly walking over to the right of the animal but not bad, probably the mirage messing with me, not to worry. OH CRAP!! shot # 5 just went right under the Ram's neck, that just cost me first place. Made a sight adjustment and put the last 5 shots dead center, the spotter did not even have to move the pin on the board to show the impact of the last 5 shots.
O.K. to sum it all up, I came in second place in the Silhouette shoot, out of 50 shooters with some of the best known in this game from all over the U.S. Gave it my best but came up one shot short. The 2 day mid-range shoot I came in first place in the Expert Class. That was my first mid-range shoot so I was not qualified to be in with the master shooters, so I took first place in the expert class. I also shot more X ring shots than any of the other 50 competitors. I have 2 nice plaques to go on the wall, first place expert, and second place silhouette. I had more fun than I've had in a long time and made a lot of new friends from all over this country. The silhouette winner was a young guy from Alabama, the King Of The Hill Winner was from Kentucky, I don't recall who won the Mid-Range match. They combined all the scores for all 4 days and had an overall winner, he was one of our own shooters from North Georgia that shoots with us every month.
I know my mentor that got me started in this game had a little smile on his face yesterday, I hope I done the Ole Coots gang proud, I can't wait till next year to show these guys again that the Southern Boys can still shoot!