Getting back into the habit

Since the end of the 2016 hunting season I have been making an effort to shoot more regularly. Fortunately there is a winter high-power league, and a regular small bore practice events happening on alternate weekends, so I have been taking advantage. When I first moved to the USA I bought a “brick” of 500 rounds of .22LR match ammunition, and to my shame it took me until the end of last year to use up. When I was regularly shooting in Scotland I would probably go through at least that much in a couple of months, so I have some catching up to do. Last year however I bought two new bricks of SK match, and with all the shooting I have been doing I have already got though one: things are looking up. My scores have also been improving, and although I am shooting on the NRA 50m target, not the international (which is somewhat more challenging), I have been pleased with my groups and scores.

Here are a few examples of recent targets. They are not my best targets, but they are representative.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On the high-power side of things, I have also seen some improvements. My offhand (standing) scores have steadily improved, and the last few weekends I have managed to get all my 10 shots onto the scoring area (5 ring or better), and occasionally even into the 10. My best score was an 88/100 a few weeks ago.

My sitting rapid is going well, mostly because I can now get into position without feeling like I will break, and this last weekend I shot a decent group. It would also have been a decent score if it was centered on the bull. It wasn’t though, but I take what victories I can.

Prone rapid is going okay, and although I haven’t managed to recreate my early successes (several 100/100) I came pretty close this weekend with a 99/100. Here is a picture of the group.


There were actually 12 shots recorded rather than 10, since I forgot to switch the system into match mode after my two sighters. The high 9 was one of the sighters (honest).

In an effort to get better at offhand, easily my worst position, I have built a small 10 meter air rifle range in my basement. In truth is it probably only 9 meters, because that’s the furthest I can go between the foundations, but for practicing my technique it works great. I am borrowing a junior CO2 powered air rifle for that, and I built a target box with a steel back plate to keep the ricochets down.

Here’s me in action:


The air rifle weighs considerably less than my high-power rifle, which I will try to correct at some point, but I hope the practice will be worthwhile anyway. The state championship is happening at the end of the month, and since I plan to enter the 3P event I will try to spend as much time in the basement as I can before then.


Shooting Results 15th July 2014

Yesterday for the first time I shot from standing (or offhand as they say over here) and sitting positions.

I attended a 200yd practice at my club. The discipline they were practicing for is NRA highpower which involves shooting from various positions at various distances and at various speeds. So far it has been a lot of fun and yesterday was no different.

The quote below was taken from the Minnesota Rifle and Revolver Association website ( It explains the course of fire for NRA Highpower competition.

High Power

In NRA Conventional Highpower Rifle Competition, shooters compete with either a service rifle or a match rifle. The service rifle category is generally limited to either the unmodified M1, M14, M16, or their commercial equivalents such as an AR15 or M1A. Match rifles typically are of custom make, conforming to the desires of the shooter. They are more free of regulations than are the service rifles. All shooting, with the exception of limited long range events, are done only with metallic aperture, or peep, sights. Shooting consists of either across the course or long range matches. Shooters competing over the course are required to fire at distances of 200, 300, and 600 yards. In a typical Regional, or 800 point aggregate match, the course of fire is a total of 88 shots. Twenty record shots are fired in each stage, plus two sighting shots. Each shot is worth a maximum of ten points, with the entire match being worth a total of 800 points.
Over The Course (OTC)…

– The first stage of fire consists of two sighting shots and 20 shots for record in 20 minutes. These shots are fired at a distance of 200 yards in the standing/offhand position. The target used has a 3 inch X-ring, a 7 inch ten-ring. Each succeeding scoring ring is three inches wide. The aiming black is 13 inches wide, consisting of the 9,10, and X rings. The lowest value ring is the 5-ring. X’s are scored a vlaue of ten and are used for tie breaking purposes.

– The second stage of fire consists of two ten-shot strings fired rapid fire from the sitting position with a time limit of 60 seconds for each string. This string is also done at 200 yards using the same target as was used for offhand. The string starts with the shooter in the standing position. Once the clock starts, the shooter drops into the sitting position and shoots the 10 shots. If the shooter is using a semi-automatic rifle, 2 shots are fired then a clip change is required and the remaining 8 shots are fired. If the shooter is using an NRA type rifle, 5 shots are fired then a re-load is performed and the remaining 5 shots are fired.

– The third stage of fire is rapid-fire prone (lying down) at 300 yards. Each of two ten-shot strings are fired in a time limit of 70 seconds. The dimensions of the target are the same as the 200 yard target, with the exception of an additional ring of black to facilitate aiming. The string starts with the shooter in the standing position. Once the clock starts, the shooter drops into the prone position and shoots the 10 record shots. The shooter uses the same re-load procedure as with the 200 yard rapid sitting.

– The final stage is fired at a distance of 600 yards. Twenty shots for record are fired slow-fire from the prone position in 20 minutes. The target used has a 6 inch X-ring, and 12 inch 10-ring. The 9 and 8 rings are each three inches wider. Each ring of value below that is six inches wider. The aiming black consists of the 7, 8, 9, 10, and X rings, which constitutes a 36 inch aiming black.

I didn’t do very well at the offhand shooting. I found it hard to prevent the rifle swinging side to side, although I found I could hold the elevation quite nicely.

The rapid fire sitting was a bit awkward at first. It found it hard to get down into a position where the rifle was naturally supported and I could see through the sights, but after a lot of wriggling and struggling I found a relatively stable position and shooting commenced.

I did better than I expected. My first string went high, mostly in the 9 ring and I scored a 94/100. I dropped my sights a minute and my second string was better, centered on the target and mostly in the 10, I scored 97. My third string didn’t feel as good, but was better still. A 99 with one shot dropped into the 9 at 6 o’clock, which I had called at the time I shot it.

Not a bad start I thought.