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Heed Warnings of More Experienced Shooters

This morning and afternoon were the outdoor NRA Air Silhouette matches at our club.  One match in the morning, and one in the afternoon.  Last Saturday, I was at the club looking at some resettable silhouette animals we were considering buying, and adjusted my sights higher.  Rowland, one of our best shooters, advised me, “Better not set those sights in this cold.  When we get out shooting in warmer weather they’ll be off.”   I knew he was right, but readjusted anyway.  I wanted to see if I could land hits on chickens at the ram distance.  With a CO2 gun like mine, the pressure is a function of temperature, so below a certain degree (about 60 F), your point of impact starts dropping, and becomes a bit erratic.  Last Saturday it was 45 degrees, this Saturday it was 65 degrees, with a bit of a head wind.

Come this morning, I went through my first bank of chickens without a hit.  I can have off days, but missing 5 chickens in a row?   Crank the settings back down.  Next bank of chickens.  Miss 5 more.  Blow through 5 pigs without a hit, trying to figure out where I am, crank up, crank down.  Listen for the “tink” of hitting the rail telling me I’m getting close.  Blow through 4 more.  Finally!  I hit one.  I’m in the ball park.  I check on paper a few times on the even relay.  Could be better, but no more mucking around for this match.  Take down 12 turkeys and rams.  Oh well, at least an A score, not a B.

We broke for lunch and I went back to the chickens and got them right where I like them: hold on the leg.  Then back to rams to see where I was on them.  Hold on the back.  Great.  Pigs will be just about where chickens are, and turkeys will be pretty much dead on body hold.  Second match I shot a 33, which is a master score, and the highest score I’ve ever shot with air pistol open sights.  I won 5 dollars for having the highest open sight pistol score.  I won’t complain!

I am currently AAA for outdoor air pistol open sights, but now have one leg up into master.  If I shoot two more master scores, I will be bumped up to master.  It’s always good to have goals, but in trying to achieve them, listen to those who are more experienced.  I could possibly have been a match winner if I hadn’t mucked around with my sites.  We have several master shooters, so those opportunities don’t come around often.  Rowland can typically figure out in a few animals where his sight settings are.  I do not yet have that talent.  For me, I think the best recipe is not to change my settings once I have them, and to check before the match starts.  The last thing you want to be doing is trying to find your sight settings while you lose points in a match!

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