I first shot a small-bore rifle with the Air Cadets when I was 13. It was a No. 8 rifle, designed to simulate a Lee Enfield. Not long after that I joined my first target shooting club, Henley Trinity Hall Rifle Club. It was while I was a member of that club that I bought my first firearm, an Anschutz 1907, which I have used ever since.
Since then I have become involved in several other shooting disciplines but small-bore has always formed the core of my shooting activities, and so it has been especially frustrating that this was the discipline I have had the most trouble getting back into since arriving in the USA.
I moved to the USA in May last year (2012). My guns were shipped from Glasgow at the end of April in 2012, and so I estimate that the last time I fired my Anschutz was about 1 year and 7 months ago.
This interregnum was finally brought to an end last weekend in the form of a 50m English Match.
In the end I almost didn’t go. My rifle needed some work to get it back into action, the butt-plate was folded down after shipment and my sights were set up for 25yds. However George Minerich promised me time before my detail to set the sights, and the night before I fiddled the butt-plate into an approximation of its proper position, and so I felt I could give it a go.
The range is an enclosed building with shutters that open during shooting, much like the 300m shooting house I have mentioned previously. The building has a heating system and in winter only very small doors need be opened to poke the barrel through and limit heat loss. The shooters lie on raised platforms that can be moved around for position or pulled out the way for standing shooting.
I had to borrow a shooting mat as the only one I own is designed for full-bore shooting on grass and so lack any real padding.
My detail was due to start at 1pm, however when I arrived at 12:15pm I discovered a prone detail already in progress and was informed that due to a higher than expected number of entrants an early detail was started after the morning 3p match. The detail progressed quickly however so I didn’t have to wait long for my turn.
I was particularly impressed with the high number of juniors present. This event was held as a test to gauge its potential for possible future fixtures and I think it proved a success.
The weather when I arrived was blowy with fairly heavy rain, however by the time my detail started the rain had stopped and the wind had calmed significantly. As you can see from the photos my targets are barely wet, whereas the targets of those shooting before me were soaking when they brought them back.
I think the easing of the weather for my detail was a contributory factor to my final result, which was better than I had initially hoped for, although it was lower than I would have hoped to perform in ideal conditions.
Below are photos of my targets.
I was slightly confused when I saw the results. The highest scorer is called “Match Winner” with the next placed referred to as “First Place”, which is where I came. So in my mind I came second, although first does sound better.
Click this link to read the match report: September 28th 2013 Match Report
I had a great day and it felt good to have my Anschutz back in action.