The State 2 Gun rimfire match was held yesterday at the Durham Rifle and Pistol Club. For the first time since I started participating in these matches 3 months ago, I finally had my equipment squared away. It took some time and effort, but it was completely worth it.
I believe that getting the right equipment is a never-ending process, but it seems to me that there are some modifications that are completely necessary. For example, having decent triggers in both the rifle and pistol is extremely important. I spent most my free time in the 30 days since last match building range carts, targets, and modifying my pistol and rifle. Unfortunately that didn’t leave me much time to practice. But that’s okay. Thus far I’ve placed 8th in my first match, 6th in my second match, and 4th in the match yesterday. All signs point to moving in the right direction.
Here are some pictures from yesterday’s match. First, here’s a shot of the range buggy in action
Here’s Stage 2. It’s a pistol stage that requires one to shoot the right and left plates first, then the middle plate. Hitting the middle plate stops the clock. This was my worst stage, as the best I could do was 1.6 seconds. The better shooters could do it right at 1.0, which is pretty dang quick.
Stage 3 was a very interesting rifle stage. There were three shotgun shells. Each was inserted in the contraption. The colors of the shotgun shells corresponded to the colors of the plates. The idea was to start with the rifle laying on the table with the safety on. You had to lay your hands flat on the table to start. At the sound of the buzzer, you had to hit one of the three paddles revealing a colored shotgun shell. Whatever color the shell was corresponded to the no shoot target. So if you got blue, for example, you had to hit the green and white plates. The stop plate was the cross shaped plate in the middle, which of course was shot last.
One of the hardest parts was telling the difference between the light blue plates and white ones. Stage 4 was also interesting to me. It was a pistol stage that required you to hit the yellow targets twice and the white ones once. The tricky part was the stop plate. If you hit the pink one, it added seconds to your time as a penalty. It was difficult to remember NOT to shoot at the thing in the middle. You had to hit the white part of the target to avoid the penalty. This tripped up quite a few people.
There was also a “drag race” stage. This happened to be Stage 5. There was some very fast times on this stage, with a few people averaging 5 shots from the ready position in less than a second.
On the right you can also see a bit of Stage 6, which was mostly single shot plates, with one double tap thrown in the mix. They were partially obscured with cardboard. I didn’t find that stage to be that difficult, and since I was focused on the match and repainting targets/scoring/etc., I did not take pictures of every stage.
Stage 1 was a rifle stage. The blue plate had to be shot twice, but it could not be shot in succession. Therefore, you had to shoot the two white plates to the left, then the blue plate, and then the white plates to the right. One could also choose to shoot in reverse order, and go from right to left. Either way, one had to make sure to hit the black plate to stop the time. If you shot at the black plate, and hit the pink plate instead, your time stopped but you did not get a time reduction bonus of 3 seconds. Therefore it was very important to hit the black plate. My first attempt I hit skipped the blue plate and had to hit it in succession, which killed my time. The next three strings were clean. Making mistakes like that can cost you if you aren’t careful. On each stage, they throw out your worst string. The key is to stay consistent as you can, and don’t make many mistakes. And if you do make mistakes, just make them one time per stage.
If you ever decide to shoot a rimfire match, there are two things that you can do as part of your preparation that will help immensely. The first is to make sure you really clean your guns so that they function reliably. If you swap out a part to upgrade the gun, make sure it still functions very well. A light strike, or failure to extract or eject, can cost you.
Whether you shoot optics division or iron sights, it is also very important to zero your optics or sights. Sometimes there are very small targets that require you to hit them accurately. That black plate on Stage 1 was pretty small. I had my rifle zeroed for 25 yards, and these plates were a bit closer. Fortunately for me, I aimed right at the center of the plate, and the round landed on the plate every time, which meant I got the -3 second bonus. But the rounds hit a little bit low. I would have been better off to aim a little higher on the plate or re-zero my rifle for 15 yards. It worked out okay, but the margins are very small. The difference between 1st and 4th place was 3 seconds. The difference between 3rd and 4th place was 0.26 seconds. When the margins of victory are that small, one mistake or penalty that counts against you can knock you completely out of contention. One is always better off to slow down and shoot accurately than to get in a hurry and make a few costly mistakes.
Safe and happy shooting to you all,