Yet again the Club struck lucky with more excellent weather for shooting as we bade farewell to July and welcomed the arrival of August.
These two full days of shooting were preceded, on the Thu, by a smaller session organized by David Calvert for some long-range practice and short-range grouping practice. At the end of the grouping practice David Calvert, Jim Lindsay and Chris Hockley went down to the butts to check their groups to find that the NRA staff, keen to clear up and get away, were clearing down all targets. Jim Lindsay sprinted, well ran at a pace faster than a trot, as he saw there was no longer a target in the frame but the NRA Staff member was still in his golf buggy and about to clear the butts. Jim was assured that the target was out of the frame and under the mantle but had not been patched up. When DC and CJ arrived copies of the groups were made by placing plain sheets of paper on the target and using a pencil to punch through the holes. The targets were then patched out and the sheets taken away for analysis over a drink at the Clubhouse. Unfortunately, the NRA Staff were overzealous in packing up to get away and when Jim, DC and CJ arrived at the gate to drive off Century Range they found it had been locked. It took a while before friendly help arrived and the gate could finally be opened enabling our 3 shooters to escape.
The forecast for Fri was for the mercury to peak at 32C and a moderate, predominantly right, wind coming from behind. In fact, it was the hottest day of the year so far and by midday 33C was being recorded and the wind was fishtailing. It was just as well that the morning session at long-range was on manual marked targets and feedback was forthcoming, most of the time, for those shots that may have strayed off the target. As we are now permitted to shoot with 2 shooters on each firing point, we shot as pairs on 2 targets. The original plan was for 1st target to start with Fray and French, followed by Trowbridge and Lindsay with DC shooting as a single at the end. The 2nd target started with East and Fitz followed by Jenvey and Silver with CJ shooting as a single at the end. Plans are a good starting point but rarely last after first contact. And so when Matt Fray text to say that duty called for him to attend an important project meeting, the plan was swiftly amended by the Range Officer, Mike Jenvey. After everyone had shot at least a round of 2+10 at 900x, the group moved back to 1000x and did the same again. Special thanks for this session go to the RO, Mike Jenvey and The Ammo and Empties administrator, Jim Lindsay.
On Fri afternoon the temperature soared and there was little shade to be found at 300x on the “Shotmarker” electronic targets. The sun’s glare made it difficult to see the shots on the NRA’s “Amazon Fire” tablets but shooters can use their own tablets or smart phones by simply joining the “Shotmarker” WiFi. We shot at 300x all afternoon but being a weekday the session ends after 3 hours at 1630 so there no time to be complacent if all 6 shooters on each target were to get at least 2 rounds of 2+10. On the 1st target was: Fray (who had now managed to escape from duty), Fopp, French, Glanville and Smith. On the 2nd was East, Fitz, Jenvey, Silver and DC. Each would shoot a stream with the next shooter down and ready to takeover as soon as the preceding shooter had finished. Again, the plan never lasted as Scott Glanville text to say that he was required to stay on duty in the afternoon to help generate more helicopters. Jim Lindsay took his place offering to pay Scott but Scott kindly insisted that a beer of two would be fair exchange. On completion of the shoot everyone beat a retreat to the Clubhouse where Ali Carnell had opened up for some much needed rehydration and an informal washup meeting observing social distancing on the RAFSAA lawn. Well almost everyone. Jim Lindsay had an unwelcome surprise when he couldn’t open the boot to his car and then found that it wouldn’t start. The Battery was completely flat. Fearing he might be stuck on the range again, he sought help from the NRA who were clearing the firing point equipment. When help arrived, two eager young lads approached with a set of jump leads they had borrowed from a friend. The leads looked heavy duty but that was cosmetic and they achieved nothing and melted the plastic grips. Fortunately Mike Jenvey was still on the range and, using his mighty Volvo, towed Jim back to the Clubhouse before the Range Gate was closed for the night. Then he produced a pair of genuine heavy duty jump leads and Jim’s car, or actually is wife’s car, roared into life again. Jim and Mike joined the others for some rehydration and banter before the Bar was closed for a few hours to enable everyone to eat. It reopened again at 2100 for the banter to continue. Oh, and why did Jim’s wife’s car’s battery go flat – he had turned the ignition on with the air-conditioning selected and left it in that state for 3 hours.
On Sat morning we had one electronic target at 900x and another at 1000x for the complete 4-hour session. We had 12 shooters with the 1st 6 starting at 900x and the 2nd 6 starting at 1000x. As shooters finished their shoot at one range, they rotated over to the other range to complete their session. The same rotation applied to the Range Officers. Shooters were: East, Fitz, Silver, Niblett, Lindsay, DC, Ouston, Smith, Moxon, Jenvey, Hockley and French. It was a much cooler day with the max temperature reaching 24C and a fresh wind that was predominantly left but as the morning and afternoon wore on it’s angle and strength fluctuated until becoming steadier in the late afternoon. An ideal test for shooting. Those trying to shoot their string quickly on the electronic targets making sight alterations based solely on their previous shot, there were some nasty surprises – The moral is, don’t rush and use all the information available: flags, mirage and fall of shot to make sight adjustments especially when the wind is variable. It is also an advantage if you set your wind sights for left wind and not right wind when there was clearly about 7 mins left at 900x. No names but he was one of our most experiences shooters. Thanks to the ROs: Jenvey, CJ, Silver and DC and to the Ammo and Empties administrator Neil Moxon.
On Sat afternoon we were back on 2 manual marked targets but shooting at short range, starting at 300x and falling back to 600x. We shot in pairs with Steve East and Julie Ouston starting on the first target followed by Chris Fitz and Mick Silver, then Mike Jenvey and Alan Robertson. On the second target, Hannah French and Jim Lindsay started, followed by David Calvert and Dave Niblett with two left-handers, Neil Moxon and Clive Smith, completing the line-up. The weather was perfect for shooting: dry, good light and a readable wind that was moving around gently. Steve East’s wind zero seemed to be off the call but that didn’t matter as Julie Ouston’s was off by the same amount and so it was an ideal selection to get them shooting as a pair – More luck than judgement by the Session Manager, Jim Lindsay.