Friday night Rika training

So evaluation day didn’t go quite as well as hoped. Got to the range a bit late, got set up with some dry-firing and then set up for the Rika. Calibration took a while longer than I expected (and we never did get it perfectly synced to the electronic targets) and then I put 20 shots in on the Rika. The targets looked okay-ish:

Evaluation series 1

(One wierd flier, but otherwise okay)

Evaluation series 1 and 2

Again, a weird flier but otherwise okay. Looking at the Rika traces showed the fliers are coming from the triggering, so at least I know what to work on.

Unfortunately, we mucked up the setup of the Rika and lost the traces, and by this time my back was sore – that being the role of the jacket, not to help you shoot a ten but to help you shoot more than 20 of them in a row, which seems to be where my limit is at the moment. Something else to work on..

So I put another ten rounds in while still on the Rika:

Evaluation series 3

Not a horrible group, if a bit loose (which was more to do with the back I think). Here’s the Rika trace:

Note that the traces didn’t match the points of impact exactly:

Rika group picture

Minor differences between group sizes and shape – seems the Rika configuration drifts over time. Looking at the score-v-time graphs, they’re reasonable enough (reasonably level up to the release and no big spikes around release).

Rika Traces

So, new plan. Work on back muscles to push the muscle limit past 20 shots, and work on the triggering to eliminate those weird fliers. Which probably means more Rika time in the next few weeks.


Rika testing

This evening’s training was a bit of a trial for tomorrow more than anything else. Yesterday’s shooting with my eyes shut was a good indicator that there was something wrong, but the air pressure problem prevented any real diagnosis, and the more I thought about it, the less I could see it doing to help because I couldn’t tell if it was bad triggering or bad hold that caused the problem. So today, I wanted to set up the Rika to see what my hold looked like. I didn’t quite think this through though, and wound up trying to set up the Rika after warming up – while still in full kit. If ISSF think the “penguin walk” is a bad thing, they’ve not seen the penguin try to get over a 3′ table while in full kit…

Anyway. Finally got the Rika set up. For those who don’t shoot, the Rika is an electronic training aid, made up of three main parts: the target, which has two small infra-red LEDs on it and which holds a normal paper target and sits down the range in the usual place or as close to it as you can get:

RIKA Target

Then there’s a sensor that’s slung under the barrel of the rifle, and an interface box that’s basicly all the magic electronics that interprets the sensor and gives a very basic (two-line dot-matrix) interface.

RIKA Sensor and Interface box

This interface box plugs into the PC and that’s where the real magic happens…

 

But, while that video trace is really useful, it’s not the only data the software can give you…

Cant angle report

RIKA score-v-time graph

RIKA hold area statistic report

And these statistics (and a few others) can be run over groups of shots as well as individual shots.

So tomorrow’s plan is to shoot a few strings with Matt observing to get some baseline data and see how things are going. An evaluation day, in other words…


A happy moment…

You’ll have to forgive the lack of a needed swear filter on this piece of video I’m afraid – think of it as a Billy Connelly act without the jokes 😀 What you’re watching is the result of the last few weeks of hard graft and training. This is what it’s all been for…

Result!
Result!

 

Peashooters: NTSA National Air Rifle Championships 2011

Peas And Potatoes

The Peashooters list from the NTSA National Airgun Championships 2011 is up:

Shooter Club
Ray Kane DFST
Sean Baldwin DFST
Terry Wearen DFST
Aisling Miller DURC
Emily Wallace DURC
Frank Lavery DURC
Heather McLoughlin DURC
Ivan De Wergifosse DURC
Katharina Wilhelm DURC
Logan Hasenbeck DURC
Michael Cullinan DURC
Siobhan Scarlett DURC
Cillian O’Sullivan UCDRC
Claire Leyden UCDRC
Donal Bourke UCDRC
Joe Thompson UCDRC
John Lancaster UCDRC
Tian Carey UCDRC
Yuecong Wang UCDRC
Laura Cunningham WTSC
Mark Dennehy WTSC
Paul O’Boyle WTSC
Susan Cunningham WTSC

 

And here’s the Spudgun list :

 

Shooter Club
Peter Friend Addiscombe RC
Joe Conroy Fermoy
Tom O’Brien MPAI
John Lancaster UCDRC

 

Congratulations all 😀

MEC Silence

I’ve had the same earplugs now for quite a while – basic E.A.R. ones:

E.A.R. plugsThey did the job well, but they have a disadvantage in that they block all noise equally, and that meant taking one out when being coached, and sometimes shooting without putting it back in (naughty, and leads to hearing loss). So during the last kit purchase from Intershoot, I splurged a bit (because decade-old earplugs are probably a bit hygienically unwise anyway) and bought a set of MEC Silence earplugs:

MEC Silence

The little black bit you can see in the middle of the earplug is the fancy bit that drives up the price. MEC describe it as a membrane that closes when hit by loud sounds, but which stays open for low sounds, like speech. You can have the little eyes in the end of it like there, or use a plain shoelace for the same job:

MEC Silence

But personally, I took out the string because it kept catching around my neck while shooting and annoying me. Having used them now on the UCD range and the WTSC range, I’m happy with them – they certainly work as advertised, I can talk to Matt during coaching without removing them and they still block or deaden the sound of the air rifle, even with my ear up near the muzzle end (no, not in front of it :D). They’re a bit expensive compared to the E.A.R. ones (they’re about €31 or so), but they’ll last for a few years and the convenience is worth it to me. So in case anyone was wondering if they’re a gimmick or if they work, yes, they do what MEC says they do 😀

I’m now just wondering if letting you hear what’s being said on the range more clearly is a competitive disadvantage (the RO commands are always loud enough to hear, but the chatter in the background from spectators would now be loud enough to hear as well…). More on this after the nationals I think…

Peashooters: UCD Open II

Peas And Potatoes

The Peashooters list from the UCD Open is up:

Sean Baldwin DFST
Terry Wearen DFST
Aisling Miller DURC
Emily Wallace DURC
Frank Lavery DURC
Kate Wilhelm DURC
Michael Cullinan DURC
Siobhan Scarlett DURC
Cillian O’Sullivan UCDRC
Donal Bourke UCDRC
John Lancaster UCDRC
Tian Carey UCDRC
Mark Dennehy WTSC
Paul O’Boyle WTSC

John (from UCD) and I were talking about this idea and we thought we should also have an air pistol version – garden peas aren’t really at the same level of difficulty for pistols, so we took the score you had to hit to hit a pea, figured where than landed on an air pistol target and walked through the vegetable bin to see what qualified, and guess what, small new potatoes do

So here’s the Spudgun list :

Tom O’Brien MPAI
John O’Brien RRPC

Congratulations all 😀

Tired and wobbling, but still training…

Was exhausted on Friday and generally at a low ebb. Didn’t get to eat properly before training either. And it showed. Wobbling all over the place, huge amounts of body sway.

Training 18.03.11 Group 1
Training 18.03.11 Group1
Training 18.03.11 Group 2
Training 18.03.11 Group 2
Training 18.03.11 Group 3
Training 18.03.11 Group 3

So I did my best to ignore where the shots were landing and focus instead on learning the new shot routine and on small points regarding the inner position, weight distribution and so forth. It wasn’t a wholly wasted day, but definitely not a high point.

Here’s the new shot routine, roughly (with huge amounts of body sway 🙁 ):

MEC Puck

While I was down training on Tuesday, I noticed that someone had a new piece of kit – the MEC puck. Been meaning to take a peek at one of these for a while now, and having now done so, I’m jealous 😀 It is a very nice bit of kit.

MEC Puck

MEC Puck

It’s a very simple idea – it’s a milled aluminium pellet tin. Which sounds odd since you get a free tin with every 500 pellets, but this has the nice feature that the bottom is rounded like a small wok, so grabbing just one pellet is made much easier. It also has a nice sealing ring to stop the lid flying off, and the body will sit into the upturned lid to keep things tidy.

MEC Puck

MEC Puck

It’s a very nice, very simple, very straightforward and very well-executed little idea. More like that would be a Good Thing!

Peashooting

One of the many funny jokes airgun shooters get from people who’ve never tried the sport because airguns aren’t loud enough for them, is the title of “Peashooter”.

I’ve been thinking about that, and I’ve had a fun thought.

How about the NTSA – or one of the airgun clubs – brings in something akin to the old DURC Standards, namely the “Pea Shooter” title?

See, here’s the thing. Your average garden pea is about 8mm in diameter. That’s just inside the 10.5mm diameter of the 8 ring on an air rifle target:

10mAR Pea Target

In fact, if my math is right, you have to shoot a 8.4 or higher to hit the area on the target that’s the size of your average garden pea. Which is about the 516/336 level in air rifle, which is a good point for a mid-range novice prize.

Seriously – this might be a neat way to get people to enjoy the first few months of the sport – get some badges made up, like the old DURC standards, it’d be easy enough to measure off the electronic targets, no extra prizes, just a list of “pea shooters” published in the results and rankings, that sort of thing…

Unlearning is hard work

So the plan for tonight was to try to replicate Friday’s success by widening my stance a little. As you might imagine, that didn’t work, but the night wasn’t a complete loss. I suppose the complete power failure to the range when I got there should have warned me it was going to be one of those days 😀

Setting up was easy enough once power was restored – getting the camera high enough to get an overhead shot was a bit fiddly, but nothing too horrid. And the temperature was pretty appallingly low as well. But no big deal. Into the kit, into position and shoot away (the same way as on Tuesday) for a few shots to warm up, and then widen the stance:

Widening stance
Spot the difference...

Not by much, but it was enough to stop the hip kicking up to silly amounts. However, after that improvement, it all went sideways. Either everything worked right and I saw really solid holds and very deep tens:

Or something went wrong, I didn’t spot it and I saw wild eights at either 3 or 9 O’clock (vertical dispersion was minimal even then):

Lousy groups
Okay, that last 9.2 was a trigger error, but the rest?

The actual outer position itself doesn’t look horrible:

Outer Position from above

But the inner position is all weird and unfamiliar. That’s not necessarily bad in and of itself; but it does mean a lot more training over the coming days without necessarily firing anything, just walking through the shot routine, fine-tuning bits, learning other bits and worst of all, unlearning the old sense of what was right with the inner position.

After a fairly frustrating two hours of shooting on the range, some of which was watched by Geoff, I packed up and went to talk to Geoff about this. This is where the session was turned around, and we spent about an hour going over my inner and outer position and shot routine, nailing a few defects, getting a few plans together to improve things, and generally analysing whether there was enough potential in the new setup to continue with it. The upshot of which is that I’m keeping at it – when it worked, the new routine was the most stable setup I’ve ever had. So I’m going to crack on with it, and hopefully by the time the next match (the UCD Open) rolls around on the 27th of this month, I’ll have enough practice in that I’ll break the 560 mark and be back up to parity with the old position, and can continue to improve towards the Nationals on April 10. Breaking 570 (which would be a new PB for me) at the Nationals would be very sweet indeed…