Silhouette

The Continuing Saga of the 1712 – And my Eleventh Silhouette Match

So, yesterday was the first silhouette match that I have shot since I got my Anschutz 1712 back. I originally was using my Vortex Viper but after sighting in the last time, I decided to switch to my Weaver T24 because the dot is larger on the reticle and I prefer that to the smaller dot in the Viper. Here it is set up accordingly: DSCN1767 Well what a difference a Boelter makes! I haven’t shot silhouette in 6 months and I come out of the gate and shoot a 31/40! I was ecstatic! Thanks again, Steve! I can really tell a difference with this rifle. I shot much better than I had in the past and was very excited.  Now, I know the old expression, “It’s not the arrow, it’s the Indian” and I understand what that’s all about, but as the Indian, I have to say I really appreciate a quality arrow!  My “arrow” and I got this Saturday too. Very happy! DSCN1766

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Tenth Silhouette Match

Well finally after 10 official matches I have done it! I got my first 10 in a row pin! My awesome Savage/Anschutz Model 64 Match felled 10 pigs in a row. I was elated, so much so the rest of the match and the following Hunter class match I could barely focus! I shot like crap. I knew once I had done it, I wasn’t going to be worth a darn! And I was right. I shot a 24 in the Standard rifle match, 6 Chickens, 10 Pigs, 4 Turkeys and 4 Rams. Following in the Hunter match I shot a miserable 16, 5 Chickens, 6 Pigs, 3 Turkeys, and 2 Rams. Nevertheless, I was excited. Yah!

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Ninth Silhouette Match

Ok, after several months away I’m back on the silhouette range! The aforementioned NS522 went down the river as they say. I just couldn’t marry up to it. In it’s place I found a used Anschutz Model 64 Match rifle and I have fallen in love! She was right dirty when I found her and I was afraid it might be in real bad shape! I inspected the gun as best I could at the LGS and brought her home anyway. I got to it right away and she cleaned up great! The post-cleaning inspection revealed no real damage and the wear is really just confined to the stock. At that point, I was pretty happy with it, then I shot it! Now, I’m ecstatic! She shoots great! (Watch the Rimfire Roundup section for a more complete write up and pics. Coming soon!) All that brings me up to this month’s match. I set the rifle up with a Weaver T24 and zeroed at 40 yds. Unfortunately, when I dialed up 8 MOA to 100 yds. I ran out of adjustment and was still low so I had to aim about an inch over the back of the ram. I suppose I will have to shim the scope, we’ll see. Anyway, I shot rather well given I had spent so much time off. In Standard Class, shooting my Anschutz, I shot 6 Chickens, 6 Pigs, 4 Turkeys, and 8 Rams, 5 of which were in a row earning me a 5-in-a-row pin for the Rams!  Total: 24.

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For the Hunter class I had to switch to my much loved CZ 452 Style and shot a 19. 5 Chickens, 7 Pigs, 3 Turkeys, and 4 Rams. Not outstanding but I could definitely feel a difference in the stability of that lighter rifle compared to the heavy Anschutz. After the matches were over the Match Director decided to have a little Thanksgiving Holiday Turkey Shoot. He set up 10 Turkeys at 100 yds. and each one was worth $10! Well, there were 3 of us competing and the first nine turkeys actually fell pretty quick. The last Turkey proved to elude us for several rounds. Finally, the Match Director declared, “If no one takes it down in this round, I’m gonna shoot it.” Well he’s a champion shooter and no doubt would likely have hit it on his first try. Anyway, the other two guys took their shots and missed and out of the corner of my eye I could see the MD donning his shooting coat. I knew I couldn’t let him take his shot, I had to take down that turkey. I had been missing a little high so aimed right on it and fired my shot. Ting! Off the rail it flew! All in all I had hit 6 of the 10 available turkeys and won $60! I was thrilled. It was a lot of fun. The best thing about the day though was my little fella, my 5 year old son. He stayed on the range with me the whole day, keeping my score, and helping set targets. He did a great job and was a really well behaved little guy. I was very proud of him.

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Eighth Silhouette Match

A bit late in posting this but as they say better late than never!  Saturday, June 15th marked the eighth attempt at knocking little steel critters from their ferous foundations.  While it proved to be a slight improvement over my last attempt it was nothing to write home about, but I guess I’ll blog about it!  Anyway I returned to the CZ Style/Vortex Viper combo for the day as the NS 522 is in the process of transformation.  (More on that later.)  So for the Standard match I toppled a lackluster 22 critters, 7 Chickens, 5 Pigs, 4 Turkeys, and 6 Rams.  Usually I perform better in the second match, the Hunter class, but today not so much, only bringing down 19 steel critters in the form of 6 Chickens, 6 Pigs, 2 Turkeys, and 5 Rams.   Not the best of days but not the worst.  I could feel a bit of difference in the movement of the rifle as the weight is not that of the NS 522 but I figured out quickly that my muscles were fatigued likely from dehydration.  I was simply asking more of them than they could offer at the time and while I drank a lot of water and felt the condition improve it was too little too late.  Otherwise it was a beautiful day, Sgt Dork shot again in an effort to avoid the open sun and heat of the Steel challenge match and scored a solid 11 and 17 respectively.  He has had good luck with the CZ 452 American I have lent him and seemed to be doing a little better with silhouette in general.  A couple went to a shoot off in the second match and it came down to 4 turkeys!  Both are accomplished and experienced shooters.  It was impressive.  More so because the guy shot the second match with an open sight rifle he borrowed from another competitor!  He had never shot open sights before for silhouette and he had never shot that gun before.  In the first match he shot a 33 with his own scoped rifle and in the second match with the borrowed gun?  He shot a 28!  That my friends is talent, skill at its best!  Maybe one day I’ll get there!

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Seventh Silhouette Match

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Ok, so the above image more or less describes my feelings after my seventh smallbore silhouette match.  On Saturday I was able to get away for the match at the Piedmont Gun Club in Rutherfordton, NC.  First let me say it was a nice range.  It is a dedicated range and they shoot the silhouettes from pedestals instead of rails.  The grounds were well cared for, nice bathroom facilities on site and it was thankfully a pretty, clear, sunny day.  Additionally, the match was very well run.  It was efficient and timely with everyone helping as needed.  The people there were simply excellent folks.  I really enjoyed meeting the Griggs and many others.  Unfortunately, my enjoyment stops there and the frustration picks right up!  The first match, Standard rifle was a disaster with a frightening score of 12!  The Hunter rifle match was not much better, with a dismal 17.  Now, like most folks I begin to seek out what in the world happened as just two weeks ago I shot a 27 and a 29 respectively.  This is where the frustration comes in.  I know I can do it, (score in the high 20’s) so when I don’t, I get real frustrated.  Anyway, in the ever crazy quest for an answer to why I deduced there were some things going on that could have contributed to my bad shooting.  I’ll group them into two categories, first: The REAL possibilities, followed by the second: the SUSPECT possibilities.

So for the REAL possibilities first we have the wind.  Now it was breezy Saturday and I know that was an issue as several times I was having trouble staying on target as the breeze was blowing steady at our backs and it pushed me around a bit.  However, my biggest problem likely stemmed from a breach in confidence. When sighting in before the Standard rifle match I simply could not get a good zero and it seemed the rounds refused to group at all.  When I mounted the scope and zeroed it last weekend I was getting very nice groups at 40 yds but I simply could not reproduce them Saturday despite my best efforts even off the bench and sandbags.  This completely shattered my confidence as I was constantly questioning my equipment and having that ever horrible internal argument, “Is it me or is something else going on?”  Of course you want to blame yourself and just figure it’s you not your equipment but sometimes it is the gear.  Either way once you get distracted by that, you’re done!

On to the SUSPECT possibilities category where we have a few more things.  First, they shoot meters at PGC instead of yards like at MCRC.  Not sure that really had anything to do with it but since I didn’t truly re-zero but just tried to modify my existing yardage based zero before the Standard match this may have been an issue.  Also I was shooting my NS 522 with the new Weaver T24 mounted on it and I have never shot this scope before and the adjustments were not the same as my Vortex and it’s zero of zero at chickens, 2 mils up pigs, 4 mils up turkeys, and 7 mils up for rams.  I spent the break between matches sighting back in and actually changed my zero on the scope turrets and found the mil changes to be very different too.  (zero chickens, 3 mils up pigs, 6 mils up turkeys and 9 mils up rams) Incidentally I noticed something else disturbing.  After not being able to zero before the first match successfully using my sandbags I borrowed (thanks Glenn) a Caldwell solid shooting rest.  I could hold dead on with no movement and noticed on a shot or two I had a major flier.  I have not had this issue before with Wolf MT but I had one that was distinctly 2 inches high!  Now, I know I didn’t pull the shot on that one.  I was solidly rested and holding on target.  I know I have a couple of different lots of ammo so maybe I had a lot that had some fliers in it where as the previous lot I had been shooting was more consistent.  Who knows?  This is where my frustration comes from.  Also PGC shoots white instead of black silhouettes, but I really don’t think that had anything to do with it at all.  Finally, they shoot on a downward slope and that may actually have had an adverse effect.  I noticed I really had to play with my NPA and in the future when shooting at PGC I may adjust my left hand to a fist rest instead of the split finger rest I normally use to lower my barrel a bit.

Ultimately, I don’t know what happened other than I missed (a lot!) because I pulled the trigger when the sights were not on target.  So maybe some or all of the above contributed to why the sights weren’t on the target when I broke the shot.  Who  knows?  People say, “Maybe you just had a bad day.”  No argument here, but I want to know why I had a bad day and how to avoid it in the future.  Or can you?  I will say the confidence thing played hell on me for certain and may be the single biggest component to my poor shooting performance on Saturday.

All in all, a bad day of shooting is better than a good day at work especially with good weather and good folks to share it with.  Hey maybe it was all because I was shooting my NS 522 while wearing my CZ hat?  Perhaps that created some crazy bad cosmic mojo that killed my shots?  Hmmmmm.

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Sixth Silhouette Match

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Well, I’ve been off awhile, much to my dismay and largely against my will, but such is life.  Anywho, I was able to get away yesterday and plink some pesky metal critters at the range.  We had a good turnout yesterday, a total of 10 people.  We shoot the Standard Class Match first in which I am a AA class shooter.  I scored a 25 and took the AA class title and followed that by another win in the Hunter class where I am an AAA class shooter taking that title with a 29.  Needless to say I was very pleased with my shooting especially since I hadn’t shot or even practiced in two months!  It was an extra special day too because Sgt. Dork and my bud Tricky Ricky joined me yesterday for the match.  This was Sgt Dork’s first Silhouette match.  He used my CZ 452 American which he has never shot and he did surprisingly well!  It should be noted he is not a rifle shooter.  He is an action shooter, a run-n-gun kind of guy.  He shoots USPSA, Steel Challenge, Wild Bunch, Cowboy, etc and this basically wasn’t his bag.  Nevertheless, despite all of that, he sported an 11 in the first match and a 15 in the second match which actually won the combined (A, B, Unclassified) category for both matches, although it took a single round shoot off to garner the Standard match honors.  So congrats to the Sarge!  Incidentally, I don’t expect to see him on the Silhouette range very often!

I did make some changes in my setup yesterday.  I chose to shoot the NS 522 and my newly altered scope.  I had sent my Vortex Viper back to Vortex and had them replace the BDC reticule with a fine crosshair/target dot.  Both rifle and scope performed very well.  I thought the new reticule was great and made it much easier to shoot those steel critters.  I highly recommend one for silhouette.  The fine crosshair/target dot creates less visual distraction in your field of view and made it a bit easier to focus visually and therefore concentrate on the targets better.  The NS 522 performed flawlessly and will now be my new silhouette rifle of choice although I’m not giving up on my CZ Style.  The extra weight in the barrel was awesome at improving stability and it was right on the money.  I did buy a Weaver T24 with target dot from a buddy and I think I may put that on the NS 522 and return the Vortex to the Style.  We’ll see.

Nevertheless we all had a great time and hanging with Sarge and my bud Tricky Ricky for the day is always a bonus!

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Fifth Silhouette Match

Well, March was the 5th Silhouette match.  February was weathered out, it was the same day I did my cartridge sorting, so no match there.  Needless to say the layoff showed in the results of this month’s match.  A two month absence and unfortunately no real practice either led to  a rather dismal performance.  Now, the weather was beautiful, warm, sunny but WINDY!  Nevertheless my scores were as follows:

Standard Class Match: 7 Chickens, 7 Pigs, 4 Turkeys, 3 Rams for total score of 21

Hunter Class Match: 5 Chickens, 4 Pigs, 7 Turkeys, 3 Rams for a total score of 19

I have been reading David Tubb’s latest book, “The Rifle Shooter” in the hopes of picking up a few extra points and improving my skills, however the book appears to be aimed more at the Highpower shooter.  I have found some good tips and Tubb has certainly forgotten more about successful rifle shooting than I’ll ever know but it is a difficult read.  Tubb is a bit longwinded and while I don’t begrudge a professional such as himself that right I am looking for more direct instructional information.  Anyway, it’s still a good book and I’m enjoying it.

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My next step is to send off my Vortex Viper scope to have the manufacturer replace the BDC reticle with a fine crosshair with a target dot reticle.  This seems to be the preferred reticle among silhouette shooters and after shooting a few matches and looking through others who have them I can better appreciate why it’s preferred.

The day wasn’t a total loss though.  I picked up a nice used NS 522!  With 2 mags, ok one mag but the seller said he has another one he just has to find it and get it to me at the next match!  I’ve heard and read great things about them so hopefully it will be a good one!  Besides I got a great deal on it.  Looking forward to shooting it!

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January Silhouette Match

Ok. Its over. Has been for bit. Haven’t been able to bring myself  to blog about it.  It was ugly.  Sadly, it seems the events of the last month (personal) have been rather stressful to say the least and I think it has had a real effect on my shooting, needless to say I had a rough day.

The scores broke down as follows: Standard class: Chickens: 7, Pigs: 7, Turkeys: 4, Rams: 5 for a not so grand total of 23.  I followed that by a less than stellar Hunter class performance: Chickens: 6, Pigs: 8, Turkeys: 3, Rams: 4 for another not so grand total of 21.

This was my worst performance to date.  Obviously, I am not pleased.  I simply could not focus.  I tried throughout the day to rally my mind but my focus simple was not with me.  As they say, ces’t la vie!  We’ll see what the next month will bring!

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Well isn’t that interesting?

After last month’s silhouette match I noticed when shooting at 100 yds my groups were opening up a bit. Actually it turned out they were large groups that were high and right. (See target.) I went to Chopper Dog’s place, (Thanks Chop!) and decided to shoot on target from a bench to diagnose the issue.  Well it worked!  It took me a minute or two to figure out the issue, but I got it.  I remembered something a friend of mine had said about David Tubb, that he doesn’t use overtravel stops on his triggers because they negatively affect his follow through, so I thought maybe the overtravel stop screw I had put on the gun may have been my issue.  Sure enough after I removed the screw I shot another couple of groups and voila!  Problem solved!  This rifle shoots very well at 100 yds!  No more excuses for missing Rams!

The target below tells the story.  From left to right, both upper and lower targets are as follows: 40 yds, 60 yds, 75 yds, and 100 yds.  The top row of targets as well as the bottom 75 and 100 yd targets were shot with the OT stop still in place.  Point of aim for each group was the center bull.  I then removed the OT stop and shot the 75 and 100 yd targets again this time with POA on the bullseye for the top 100 yd target and the bottom 40 yd and 60 yd targets.  The POA for the bottom 75 yd and bottom 100 yd targets was the bottom of the largest yellow circle.  (Got all that?)  Anyway, you can see much better groups as a result, not the high right stringing I got with the OT stop in place.

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Third Silhouette Match!

Well yesterday was my third official smallbore silhouette match.  Myself, the Match Director, Mical and another competitor, Ed were present for the day’s event.  As usual we shot the standard match first then the hunter class match.  I shot a 27 in the standard match finally breaking the 26 streak with which I was stuck.  In the hunter match I shot a 30, finally, I broke the 30 barrier!  Obviously, I am pleased.  I am now contemplating how I can squeeze into those master class scores.  I know I have to continue to practice and I am trying to think up new ways to enhance my skills.  A couple of things I learned from yesterday’s match; first I need to relax, not so much mentally but physically.  I noticed I was too tense and I was imparting some extra shake to the scope.  I found if I relaxed I had less tremor and could hold a bit better.  Also I employed another neat little technique a fellow shooter shared with me.  I count to three post shot to help maintain my follow through.  I wasn’t totally consistent with that, but I will keep working on it.  (Thanks to TB at RFC for the tip!)

I also closed out the final five in a row pin for the hunter class, knocking off five rams!  I almost got a 10 in a row pin too but 1 hunter class pig stood in my way.  Shot nine, but of course it only takes one and your out.  I suppose next I will be shooting for 10 in a row pins in hunter class and to close out the remaining 5 in a row pins in standard class.  Mical shot a ten in a row for the umpteenth time on the pigs.  Apparently he applied for his Grand Slam pin and there was some problem with a missing report of one of his previous ten in a rows on the pigs so he just decided to shoot it again!  Must be nice just to decide you’ll drop ten targets like that!

As far as new gun mods go, I have added an eye blind shield to the ocular of my scope to fold out and block my left eye so I can have both eyes open while shooting which reduces eye fatigue.  It worked well and I’m glad I bought it.

Anyway, Mical’s girlfriend was present at the match and she was kind enough to take some pictures for me.  Enjoy!

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