This weekend was a bit of a curate’s egg really. We brought in a physical trainer to work with the club members on stretching and warming up, and it went quite well; and then we had a club meeting to talk about training levels and targets and that kind of thing. It was good to talk about stuff beyond Bisley, but rather scary in a way. The World Championships and World Cups were mentioned, but I don’t feel ready for the World Championships and I’ll need to sit down with a calendar and work out what the next big goal after Bisley will be.

The actual shooting, by contrast, sucked. I did find another step and another check in my shot plan, namely getting the rifle far enough forward on the stand that the right arm would (if straight) be pointed right down the firing line when it contacts the buttplate; and getting it close enough to me that I don’t have to bring it several inches over to put it on target. But the actual shooting was awful. Maybe I was too tired, or maybe it was just an off day, but I couldn’t stop the fliers at all. I’m taking today off from training to get some rest and back at it tomorrow lunchtime and back to the range on Wednesday.

There’s NTSA squad training on this weekend, but I’m in two minds as to whether I should go to it or not. Apart from stuff covered on boards.ie in the past, the whole idea of going to a second coach a week before a major match is just downright daft; yet don’t go, and I couldn’t plan to go to any other international matches. See, this is why politics in Irish sports administration is so damaging.

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

A trying day yesterday. Work dragged on for an hour and a half longer than usual. Was seriously pondering whether it was worth it to go training at all. But, Bisley’s only 3 weeks out now, so every hour, every shot, every moment on the range counts. Drove out to WTSC, got there for eight or so. Started shooting the exercise that Matt introduced last night with the focussing off to one side while holding.

Matt had me try to drop my head forward with my eyes closed for one part of the shot plan, but it didn’t work so well as I was afraid of hopping my shooting glasses off the rearsight. So instead, I drop my head with eyes open, then look down for a breath to settle and then look back up and carry on. This worked well, but we were still seeing fliers. I thought this was due to my sight picture, but Matt thinks that what’s causing the bad sight picture isn’t my head position being wrong, but the rifle being in the wrong place (so that when I do the head-drop part, it comes to rest in a different location). So that becomes another checkpoint in the shot plan at which we break out if it doesn’t look right.

Progress, slow but certain. Worth going for the evening, despite being late. The getting home at 0130, mind, that I could do with less of ๐Ÿ˜€

Batch testing and new exercises

A light evening yesterday. Strapped the air rifle into a rather wobbly benchrest and did some very rudimentary batch testing. I say rudimentary as there was only three types of pellet to choose from and the bench rest wobbled unless you held it down.

Batch Test setup

Matt says he’ll bring along a proper bench vise and we’ll bolt it to the table next time, but for now the results are interesting. Can’t distinguish between sizes, but definitely between brands – Finale Match is just that much better than Match for air pellets. I’ll post the card once I get to a scanner with it.

Then an hour’s shooting, watching for fliers and what caused them, and then Matt introduced some new shooting exercises.

Training target

The idea is to watch your breathing doesn’t take the sights of the rifle off the vertical line. There was also an exercise on looking off the target while holding that I’m going to be practising again tonight. More on that tomorrow.

NTSA 10m Airgun match

FP set up for match

Went to the NTSA 10m Airgun match this sunday. Wasn’t expecting much, in fact I was mostly there to get the DURC Squad and gear to and from the range, but shot the match for practise and evaluation anyway. Had time to get prepared, but ran into time problems right off the bat. Sighting took far too long, nearly 25 minutes. The new backboard over the targets in the UCD range does not do good things to your sight picture.

Score sheet

Still, it wasn’t a complete failure. The final string was appalling, but it was shot inside of eight minutes; far, far too fast. Had I had another five or six minutes, I could have posted a better score – one without that disasterous flier of a seven at least. A score at the average I’d been at up to that point (95), would have given me a 571 which would have beaten my previous personal best by two points. So I need to work on my shot rythym. But at least I know what to work on!
Position from rear
Position from side

The position felt stable throughout, and my physical fitness lasted the course, which I was actually surprised by as I was a little tired at the start of the match. I would have had enough to shoot a good finals, but I’d have had to have slept a little first. Wasn’t going to happen though, as I had to be elsewhere for the day. I did qualify for the finals, in sixth place overall. Several shooters opted not to shoot, however, so the finals line was a little empty (I still think that for club-level shoots like this, the next highest ranked shooter should be invited to shoot, for the sake of experience if nothing else – finals are most interesting to those who’ve shot in them).

My thumb’s still acting up after the match, so I’m not going to train on Monday, and only lightly if at all on Tuesday. Wednesday’s going to be a combination of working on the shot rythym and some technical work with the rifle, checking how far clicks on the sights move the fall of shot with this new sight radius, and maybe doing some rudimentary batch testing to see if the 4.50mm pellets I’m using give a better or worse group than the other sizes (4.49,4.51,4.52mm).

Licence granted!

Huzzah! Applied for my air pistol licence on Dec30, and just got the call now from the local garda station that it’s been granted and is ready for pickup. One day shy of three weeks, with new year’s in the middle of it – not bad at all guys! So, in the next little while, I’ll be going plinking with one of these on the 10m range: IZH-46M

It’s an IZH-46M, a russian-made air pistol that was designed for use in olympic air pistol shooting. Single shot, manually charged with that lever at the bottom:

And it shoots the same pellets as my air rifle (though much more slowly – you can actually watch the pellet going downrange when you pull the trigger). It’s not going to take the place of air rifle for me – I enjoy that too much – but it’s going to make for a fun plinker, and there’s a nice degree of challange in there too when I want to take it up seriously. And at รขโ€šยฌ250, it’s a quarter the cost of the modern german air pistols like the P40.

All told, a nice package, and I’m going to have a lot of fun with it ๐Ÿ™‚

edit:Apologies to those who saw the photo above before I found some nice chap had swapped the photo at the far end of the link for a rather graphic photo of a bad ankle injury.

Why lunch should be interrupted…

So last night indicated why weight control is important for this game. Shot five shot groups with all the buttons of the jacket open, button 3 open, button 4 open and both buttons 3 and 4 open. End result, the jacket’s now too small for me – or more accurately, I’m too big for the jacket. Yeesh. It’s soup for lunch for the next month for me, I’m afraid ๐Ÿ™

The rest of the training went reasonably okay. The dry-firing routine is transferring to the range well, and I ought to be documenting it tonight (even got the camera and tripod ready and all). The groups weren’t fantastic, mind, but that will tighten up once the jacket refastens… I hope! ๐Ÿ˜€

Progressing nicely…

The DURC squad training on Monday night was rather gratifying. It’s always nice to see progress being made, but when it’s made so rapidly after you change the way you train people, it’s doubly so. Mind you, we have some excellent people to work with this year – several had damn good positions from day one, and the others took no time to get into workable positions. Their shot plans are consistent and the results we’ve seen so far still say that by the time colours rolls around, the squad average will be 520+ and I’ll bet we’ll see one or two breaking 540.

This week it was mostly working on overall outer position and checking the zero position, as well as working on shot rythym and pacing. Simple enough, but takes a while to get right.

Lunch, interrupted.

Only ten minutes of training today, alas. Darn work, always with the stealing of the time. Anyway, live range time tonight in WTSC and I’m about ready to document that shot plan.

In other news, found a neat site called bellygraph.com which allows you to keep a graph online of a lot of different kinds of things. Set up initially for weight tracking, obviously enough. Useful little idea, last time I tracked my weight over time, it involved using gnumeric and havign to manually generate the graph every so often:

Whereas now I can fill it in online and it’s generated daily automatically for me:

So, I’ve made it a part of the site’s template, over on the right. Right now it’s at 250lb, which is obviously far too high. It ought to be at most 220lb. 30lb to lose. Again. *sigh*
I hate loving food, you know?

Lunchtime again

So 20 minutes today just working on the initial mounting of the rifle. Another day or two and I’ll be ready to document it fully for the training diary – that’ll probably happen on the range out in Wilkinstown. I’m wondering if this change mightn’t be a blessing in disguise – the new shot plan allows me to place the buttplate much more precisely than before. The only drawback is the slightly firmer grip on the pistol grip it necessitates. Swings and roundabouts, this game…

WTSC 12-hr Shootathon

An interesting event on Sunday – the first 12hr Shootathon. The idea was to run an event to raise funds for the Bisley trip next month, so we ran an endurance shoot over 12 hours with shooters sponsored in the age-old sponsorship card fashion. Not a bad result, with over a grand taken in on the day and some more still due.

Myself, I shot for four and a half hours before I had to give up my place on the line for new shooters. Two matches, a 60 and a 40 shot match, both with bad scores. However, I had just changed my buttplate (Richard noticed the top segment had rotated too far and was outside ISSF limits. D’Oh!), which messed up my entire shot plan from the first step ๐Ÿ™

60-shot match

40-shot match

Gah. And especially Gah to the 4 that crept in thanks to a buttplate slip. *sigh*

So after the two matches, I rebuilt the buttplate to the full ISSF legal limit, and Matt and I spent a half-hour redoing the start of the shot plan to get around the change in the buttplate shape. I’ll train with this for the next week or so and we’ll see how it gets on. As Geoff pointed out though, when the shots are going in, they’re sweet – very tight groupings. But it’s the fliers that kill you…