DURC Squad kicks off

So last night saw the first night’s training for the DURC squad. Not a bad attendance, with twelve shooters down for training all told, and another six sending apologies. Some serious potential in there as well. We should see most of them top the 520 mark by the time the match rolls round in March/April next year.

Half the squad doing trigger control exercises

Last night saw the explanation of the intervarsities, what the squad will do, what’s expected of the squad members, and how the training will progress. Then we did some trigger work for a good half-hour or more. I think it was too long to spend on it myself, but shot without jackets it was good endurance training for the muscles as well as for trigger control. We won’t be doing anything for quite so long without firing pellets again though, but we’ll keep the drill going over the course of the training. We managed to get rifles assigned to people (and we’ve still got six to go there at least, so it’s going to be interesting from a logistics point of view), and got cheekpiece setups for two people sorted out. Stefan will be helping me coach, so that’s going to make things much easier – two pairs of eyes being better than one here.

We do have too many people showing up at once though; I’ll have to organise four or five shifts of an hour or 40 minutes so we can get more work done, and email round the new times for people.

A small competition at the end without jackets and with each shot timed and scored as in a 10-shot finals (but with 30 seconds to mount the rifle, aim and fire) worked quite well, I think this will be a mainstay for us. Scoring was simple, using the Edelmann control targets:

  • Clip the ring or get inside it; +1
  • Miss the ring but hit the aiming mark; 0
  • Miss the aiming mark; -1
  • Fail to fire in 30 seconds; -2

    (that last one caught out stefan twice, hence the lack of his crushing defeat of all the newbies 😀 )

    Qualifying Round 1
    Qualifying Round 2

    And the three-shot tiebreaking final (and the coach’s contribution 😀 ):

    Finals and the coach's card

    Next time, we sort out the cheekpieces and work on sighting and aiming…

  • DURC Air Rifle Open

    Mark Dennehy Scoresheet

    Rather says it all, really.


    Okay, so not really. Thing is, the position did feel better, once I’d gotten used to it – but there’s a lot of vertical movement in there. I’m guessing that’s got a lot to do with hand position, but I’m not sure. It’s on to the horizontal lines come Thursday anyway. Matt says that it didn’t look too bad, but that we’ve work still to do and I agree.

    One thing is definitely for sure though, and that’s that Susan’s still on form:

    Susan Cunningham

    For those keeping track, that’d put Susan between 19th and 28th place in the last European Championships Junior Women match, and her PB of 395 would have put her in joint first place. It meant she left everyone else in the dust in the 40-shot match as well, her nearest rivals being Declan Kelly and Liam Spillane, tied on 383 each (Declan being ahead on countback).

    Ah, there’s nothing like having a bit of serious competition to live up to!

    All change…

    Drove out to WTSC on thursday, and after some delays, got down to shooting. Matt took a closer look at that horizontal pulse and eventually, after trying a few different things, had to make large changes to the rifle setup, taking off the foreend completely and altering the hand position and hand shape. It seemed to slow the pulse a lot, but not eradicate it. Going to try it in the DURC Open this weekend, but I’m not expecting great results as I’ve had all of about fifteen minutes training with the new setup. If I hold at 550ish I’ll be happy, as there’s still work to do on that position. Lots to get right before Bisley. And by my count, I’ve only 26 training sessions left between now and getting on the plane. Which isn’t much, when you think about it.

    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

    When your training starts putting lines from The Second Coming in your head, you generally know you’re in trouble. It seems appropriate though. This new stance had a lot of promise when we first tried it, but for whatever reason I’ve not been able to consistently assume it when shooting. So we tried working on that. But now the problem is that it didn’t hold properly; no matter what we did, the hold had a horizontal pulse that we couldn’t fix. More work on Thursday to fix this 🙁

    UCD Open 1

    Pretty crummy match from my score’s point of view 🙁


    Not so hot from the rest of the technical point of view either. I didn’t have my shot plan down and practised, so when I went to get into my position, I was slightly out somehow, and couldn’t track it down. The hold was far too large for a decent score, and it was very fustrating overall. Still, I suppose I should have expected this to be a possibility for the first match with the new setup. I’ll chalk it up to experience and work on what went wrong. So it’s paperwork time again, documenting the rifle’s setup (moved the buttplate from 2.5 to 3 for the match in UCD, by the way, as the targets were a tad high), documenting my shot plan and match plans, and so on. *sigh* Who was it that said target shooting didn’t involve writing? 😀

    Some other images from the match:

    Marc Smyth and me shooting Pistol
    Marc Smyth and myself shooting air pistol at the end of the Open in an informal DURC internal match with UCD’s new P40 pistols.

    Nice pistols, but far too expensive for beginners in my honest opinion, at nearly a grand a pistol. I’ll stick to the Baikal I’ve ordered. Have to go see the local Garda and give him a heads-up on that, let him know there’ll be an application going in in the next few weeks.

    UCD Pistol Stalls

    Have to say, the stalls UCD have set up for safety are an excellent idea. Haven’t given them the acid test of shooting at them, but I suspect (from similar experiments in TCD) that they’d hold up quite well. Presumably UCD have already carried out those experiments. The trigger on one was a bit light though – it felt like 1-200 grams, instead of the regulation 500! Naughty, naughty 😀


    Liam Spillane shooting. Excellent technical form, note especially the upright head position allowing the inner ears to function like they evolved to. Something to try to get people to emulate, at least in the basic principles (Liam uses hefty raiser blocks to allow him to use this position).

    Mike Burke

    Mike Burke shooting. This is an example of what happens when your rifle isn’t set up right. Mike needs raiser blocks (he’s since had them added to his rifle) and because he didn’t have them here, his head has to go right over to the rifle to see through the sights, which throws the rest of the position totally out of whack. There’s even a risk here of chronic back problems if you shoot like that habitually. (Happily, we’ve since fixed Mike’s rifle and his position to something much more sane and his shooting’s improved enormously as a result as well).

    Iain Nash

    Iain Nash shooting. Excellent upright head position; not so hot on the back, though the rest isn’t too bad. But that bend looks far too severe. Something to experiment with in the run-up to the Intervarsities next March/April.

    It's all in your head…

    Training went reasonably well last night. Nearly a full firing line training in air rifle and air pistol. A new club 40-shot record set by Susan at 394 (ex 400), and the best thing about it wasn’t the score, but that she can still improve on it. (Hell, two clicks left on the sights and she’d have put in three or four more points).

    The air pistol stuff is still early days yet. Tried my hand for a ten-shot string, but my group is only about the size of the aiming mark, and the sights on the pistol needed altering. I reckon that given my own IZH-46 and a few days to set it up for my hand, I could put in around a 490-500ish score at the moment. Add a bit of training and I might be able to put that up a tad.

    My air rifle shooting is doing a bit better though, but the biggest problem now is fliers caused by a lack of concentration at a critical moment. That’s the mental game for you, and I’ll have to work on it because technically, Matt figures I ought to be putting in a 570-580 score at the moment. I’ll get a chance to do a competition this weekend with the UCD open, but it’s poor training for Bisley 🙁 I don’t know what we’ll do for stress testing for that match, but I’m guessing it’ll be unpleasant 😀

    Anyway, the plan is a good night’s sleep on Saturday, out to DURC for 0800 to pick up some of the guys and gear and ferry it out to UCD, watch over the novices on the 1000 detail until around 1115 or so and then do my own match prep. My detail ends at 1345, I’ll help DURC & WTSC out again for the last detail and then I may be shooting in the final if all goes well.

    RO, RO, RO your DURC….

    Range Officer duty again last night in DURC. Quiet night, though I’ve heard that there’s a lot of the students who don’t know we’re operating or where we are – even after having joined up in fresher’s week 🙁 Must see about fixing that…

    The evening went reasonably well. We’ve got an ERASMUS student from Germany with a 560+ average, which is always good as it drives up the level of competition. Some of our juniors were down shooting again, this is always good to see, and they’re making progress. Had a novice competition which will become a regular thing for wednesdays now, using one of the edelmann training targets which has a single scoring ring, the aiming mark and the ten-ring on it. If your shot misses the aiming mark (the black circle), it’s a -1; if it hits it, you score a 0; and if you get the shot inside the scoring line without breaking it (the equivalent of shooting a 9 or higher in competition), you get 1 point. Plus, we natter away behind you to simulate match pressure. It’s a pretty nifty training exercise for mental control. Then after that, the Equestrian Club were down training for the tetrathlon. Always good to see them, always a pain when they don’t stay with the shooting, even though they know that in terms of cost-benefit analyses, training in shooting is better than training in any other part of the tetrathlon because they gain so many points. Oh well. Maybe this year will be different…

    We’re starting to train the Intervarsity squad in DURC soon enough as well; we’re hoping to start around the 21st of November this year and get them up to speed, training on Monday nights. More details to follow.

    On the .22 front, shot in the Leinster 25yd Open in RRPC this weekend. Awful match. Hadn’t picked up the rifle since the Nationals, but could still drill the centre out – when I could see the target properly. Keelan’s said it himself, the lighting needs fixing at the end of the range to get rid of shadows. Still though, I’ve put in a 580 and higher there before, and Richard Stapleton Jr put in a 587 this weekend, so the real reason for that awful 565 is my lack of .22 training. That’s not going to change anytime soon though; Bisley takes priority for now.

    Speaking of air rifle, tonight’s squad training night in Wilkinstown so it’s off to there this evening a little before five (ah, the M50 followed by the N3… must bring a book to read along the way 😀 ). Time for some training before the UCD Airgun Open this weekend. Time to ask about the progress with sourcing the air pistol as well – with WTSC apparently being the only club sorting out authorisations so that all the shooters can try pistol matches, it’s getting annoying seeing pistol matches held in other clubs where you know you can’t legally take part by borrowing a pistol 🙁

    The big rebuild : Simplify, simplify, simplify…

    Training night in Wilkinstown last night. Traffic was brutal, so I didn’t get there till 1930, by which time Liam and Marc had been training for a while:
    Marc training

    Got into the gear, less the jacket, and left the rearsight off the rifle and started shooting. Matt thought I was bringing the rifle too far over to the left, leaving it trying to bend around my ribcage, and changed the stance, bringing the rifle over to the right. After two hours of shooting, I was sortof used to it and shot a 97/98 card (10 shots, one card, can’t be sure if one of those shots was a 10 or a 9). So a success, overall.

    Like I said, the support hand position is a bit funny:

    Hand Position (1 of 4)

    There are three reference Contact points I’m using, marked above. (These are so I can tell when the support hand is correctly placed). Point 1 is the back of the support hand’s index finger – the fingernail is resting against a bend in the metal of the rifle’s foreend:

    Hand Position (3 of 4)

    Point 2 is the pad of the middle finger touching off the end of the laminate foreend section on the far side of the rifle:

    Hand Position (2 of 4)

    And Point 3 is marked by a line drawn on the masking tape on the stock and is where the end of the top grip pad on the palm of the shooting glove comes to rest against the stock:

    Hand Position (4 of 4)

    Not quite textbook, but it works, thanks to the raiser blocks, and the results are pretty decent. Nice solid hold, good feel. Brought down the foresight element size in fact, given the new level of the hold, from a 4.5mm to a 4.0mm ring.

    Informal match at Wilkinstown

    So made it out to Wilkinstown on Sunday to shoot. Felt a bit better than I thought I would. Shot on the first available detail, and was okay for about the first 30 shots, but then my reserves just ran out. Group four was *awful*. Overall score was 556, so not too bad given a week of tonsillitis, but I could feel that my shot routine was all over the place, and Matt confirmed that afterwards. Next training is in Wilkinstown on Thursday night, we’re going to get the top shooters on the line together and see if we can’t get a regular training session going to drive up the scores for Bisley.

    The scoresheet from the match:
    WTSC October 05 Informal Match result

    See what I meant about group four?