I got busy right after the matches ended, first working on my Son’s graduation gift, and then on a project for VCDL, and I never got my final wrap up post from the Atlantic Fleet and All Navy Rifle and Pistol matches written.
I ended up not doing as well as I had hoped, but was improving by the end of the All Navy match so I still have hope for the future.
One thing I was very happy with was my rifle. I didn’t have a single failure of any kind, my actual sight settings were as close to exact as I could hope for (What I mean is, when I put in 8 clicks of adjustment, I got two minutes of angle of change in POI. What that tells me is that the sight adjustments are calibrated correctly and are accurate), it was putting the holes in the targets right where the sights were aligned (I’ve just gotta get better at aligning the sights with the X in the middle of the target), it was very easy to clean (for an Armalite Rifle - The official designatio... More) with very little copper fouling. I’m just ecstatic with how it performed.
One thing that’s interesting is that my other AR…the one for which I purchased a pre-assembled upper that was built by a reputable company…is less reliable than the one I completely put together on my own.
I don’t know why yet, but if the Del-ton upper on my M4 style rifle is the least bit dirty, it starts having chambering and feeding issues. I haven’t messed with it yet to figure out what’s going on, but I want to change the configuration of it anyway, so I’ll be completely disassembling the upper here in a while and figuring out what’s up with that.
But I digress.
My lessons learned from this match: I need to practice more. Most of my problems were related to inconsistency in my positions, and the fact that getting into position isn’t as natural an act as it should be. The only thing that can fix that is practice.
My off-hand, as usual, left a lot to be desired. I was calling my shots virtually unerringly…the shots were going where the sights were aligned, but I wasn’t getting the trigger to break when the sights were aligned at the right place. I need LOTS more dry fire practice in off-hand.
On the plus side, as I mentioned in past posts, I was very pleased with my wind-reading and adjusting. I think I handled the weird, swirling and shifting winds of Dam Neck as well as anyone and better than most. By the end of the All Navy match, I had more than a couple people asking me what I thought about the winds before deciding on their final adjustments. That’s gratifying.
One of the most frustrating things for the better shooters about the rapid fire stages is misreading the wind by just a little bit and making a nice tight group…all in the 7 and 8 ring off to the right or left. My problem isn’t getting the adjustments right. Every one of my rapid fire groups was centered perfectly…my groups were just too big because I wasn’t consistent enough from shot to shot. I basically dance all around the X ring.
So, finally, how did I do?
Overall, about normal. By the final match of the second week, the All Navy EIC match, I actually fulfilled my goal of moving up in the standings, but leading up to that, I pretty much was solidly in the middle of the pack every time.
How I did in that final match, however, did a lot for boosting my confidence and encouraging me to keep working and do better next time.
Here are my final scores and placing.
|Fleet Forces Command Atlantic Individual Rifle|
|78-0x||86-1x||87-0x||189-3x||440-4x||78 of 148|
|Fleet Forces Command Atlantic EIC Rifle|
|83-0x||83-1x||90-1x||180-2x||436-4x||73 of 133|
|All Navy (East) Individual Rifle|
|82-0x||94-1x||90-0x||193-6x||459-7x||49 of 118|
|All Navy (East) EIC Rifle|
|82-0x||91-0x||94-1x||185-3x||452-4x||21 of 70|
So, as you can see, not terrible, but not great and pretty consistently so.
I did improve my scores slightly from week 1 to week 2 which is encouraging, and improved my overall placement relative to the other shooters pretty steadily as well.
The reason I moved up in the rankings on the All Navy EIC match, even though my score was not as good as the Individual Match, is because the weather conditions were much more challenging on EIC day than during the Individual rifle match. Because I adapted better to the…um…interesting…wind conditions, I did better with respect to the other shooters, even though my score actually went down slightly. During both weeks, the winds on EIC day were worse than during the Individual match. I actually shot better than most at 500 yards in the EIC All-navy match, which helped make up for my typically poor performance in off-hand.
Anyway, the bottom line is that I need to practice more, both at home practicing my positions and dry-firing, and at the range actually putting lead downrange.
I’ve found out that one of the gun clubs in the area has been doing monthly high powered rifle matches at Blackwater in North Carolina, so I’m going to start competing in those as often as I can. Shooting a regulation match once every three or four years just isn’t cutting it, even if I do shoot reduced range 100 yard matches in between. There just is no substitute for actually going to a real rifle range and shooting at 500 or 600 yards.
I just wish there were more rifle ranges around here to do that at. Every time I drive by any of the many golf courses in this area, my immediate thought is “what a shameful waste of a perfectly good rifle range…”
Anyway, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I’ll stop blathering on and boring you about the matches…at least until next year.