Konrad's journal of Highpower Rifle Competition

"Mental Focus. Not Equipment Hocus Pocus."

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The 2007 Highpower Season

The Scores

Date Location Offhand Sitting Rapid Prone Slow Prone Aggregate
4/15/07 Bonfield 92-0 100-1 99-6 194-6 485-13 97.0%
4/29/07 Bonfield 97-3 99-3 98-5 194-4 488-15 97.6%
5/5/07 Milan 189-2 199-11 190-3 192-6 770-22 96.3%
5/12/07 Bonfield 194-5 197-5 199-8 198-4 788-22 98.5%
5/20/07 Bonfield 93-3 100-5 100-4 195-5 488-17 97.6%
5/26/07 Lodi 95-0 99-2 98-0 197-8 489-10 97.8%
5/27/07 Lodi 192-6 199-8 197-7 373-4 961-25 96.1%
6/2/07 Milan 189-3 200-10 198-6 193-7 780-26 97.5%
6/3/07 Milan 95-3 100-2 100-5 195-6 490-16 98.0%
6/10/07 Bonfield 96-2 100-4 99-6 199-13 494-25 98.8%
6/16/07 Wright City 194-5 200-7 197-7 199-9 790-28 98.8%
6/17/07 Wright City 95-0 - 95-2 100-3 290-5 96.7%
6/17/07 Wright City 90-1 99-4 99-1 197-13 485-19 97.0%
7/1/07 Bonfield 196-5 150-9 196-9 199-13 741-36 92.6%
7/14/07 Lodi 191-1 200-8 199-2 185-3 775-14 96.9%
7/15/07 Bonfield 97-1 99-3 100-7 198-9 494-20 98.8%
7/21/07 Van Meter 98-4 99-5 100-4 196-7 493-20 98.6%
7/21/07 Van Meter 99-2 100-6 100-1 194-3 493-12 98.6%
7/22/07 Van Meter 192-1 199-7 197-10 199-8 787-26 98.4%
7/30/07 Camp Perry 94-0 - 100-2 98-3 292-5 97.3%
7/31/07 Camp Perry 95-2 100-5 98-5 192-6 485-18 97.0%
8/2/07 Camp Perry 99-2 100-6 100-5 193-4 492-17 98.4%
8/6/07 Camp Perry 100-3 100-6 99-4 199-10 498-23 99.6%
8/6/07 Camp Perry 192-4 199-16 199-7 195-7 785-34 98.1%
8/9/07 Camp Perry 191-6 - - 197-5 388-11 97.0%
8/10/07 Camp Perry 169-0 - 199-11 196-8 564-19 94.0%
9/1/07 Milan 191-3 199-8 198-8 197-8 785-27 98.1%
9/2/07 Milan 198-5 200-8 199-9 197-7 794-29 99.3%
9/9/07 Bonfield 97-4 98-5 100-5 200-11 495-25 99.0%
9/22/07 Bonfield 196-3 199-8 198-6 196-4 789-21 98.6%
9/23/07 Bonfield 196-5 200-10 200-9 199-11 795-35 99.4%
10/7/07 Bonfield 193-2 198-10 198-6 199-11 788-29 98.5%


The Stories

My main focus for improvement this year (over last year) is my performance in the rapids. This seemed to be strong in 2005 with a weak offhand so I improved my standing for 2006 but dropped the ball in the rapids. But of course getting it right across the entire course is what makes highpower challenging.

Rapid prone has always been a challenge for me and it took me until 2005 to start shooting it consistently. This was based on slowing down, focusing on the front sight and squeezing the trigger. I seemed to have forgotten about this last year and I need to get back to these basics.

I'm not planning to make any drastic changes with my shooting this year. It's really an effort to get back to shooting the way I know I can shoot and not pick up back habits during the course of the year. Possibly the biggest change I'll be making this year is my loading in rapid fire. The NRA has now changed the rules to allow all rifles to load 5 & 5 or 2 & 8. As a service rifle shooter I'm used to shooting 2 & 8 ever since I was shooting the Garand. But I think there may be some advantage to going with 5 & 5. With 8 rounds in the second magazine I feel like I'm firing forever and it's hard to keep concentrating on shooting good shots. By shooting less shots per "set-up" I may be able to keep better concentration on executing my fundamentals. I'll see how it goes and if there are negatives to doing this I may change back but I want to give it a try.


April 15

When we start shooting at this time of the year the weather is rather chilly. Today's morning temperature was only about 50 when we started and I found myself thinking more about my shivering rather than my shooting. With a new barrel I had to get zeros and I tried to get good calls so that I could make proper corrections. It turned out my sights were already set pretty close to where they should be (thanks White Oak) and the shots were coming up on call. The trouble was the calls in offhand were all over the nine ring. While sitting was a clean the group was quite tall and narrow. This stemmed from bringing the sights in and squeezing when they were high and low. Shooting 5 & 5 was really weird and it felt like things ended so fast for the second magazine. I got lazy in slow prone and got a position that strained my neck. This made looking through the sights very uncomfortable and I rushed some shots. 

Offhand: 92-0

Sitting: 100-1

Rapid Prone: 99-6

Slow Prone: 194-6

Aggregate: 485-13


April 29

Finally the weather is getting nice which makes for a more comfortable day. I felt better in offhand even though my wobble was looser than I would have liked. It also seems like I'm having a hard time concentrating on each shot. For me, focusing my mind on each standing shot is very important and I felt like I could do it on some shots and not on others. Regardless, I dropped my first point on the sixth shot and then shot nines on the last two shots. The last one I actually called good but it wound up high in the black. Although the sights were moving upwards I thought I broke it in time but oh well. Sitting had a decent sized group but still a bit low. I'm still ironing out my zero but I was more concerned about all the motion in the sights as I was shooting. Got to get that stable position! Rapid prone had another decent x-count but with two shots out. I'm trying to analyze what's causing half the shots to go in the center with the rest of them scattered all over the place. My slow prone position felt strained again. I'm narrowing the cause down to having the sling too tight. This causes the rear sight to come back into my face and I'm pulling my head back to avoid it. I'll be working on this next week. 

Offhand: 97-3

Sitting: 99-3

Rapid Prone: 98-5

Slow Prone: 194-4

Aggregate: 488-15



May 5

Today was a great example of how not to shoot a highpower match. I felt like I was just going through the motions and it showed in my performance. The laziness started in standing where the firing point put my forward foot a little lower than my back foot. It felt like I stepped into a hole. Consequently, my left (forward) side was too low and I was constantly straining to bring the rifle higher. The sad thing is that I still shot that way. Admittedly I tried moving my feet around and everywhere on that point felt the same. But still, I should have tried harder to give myself the best conditions to shoot better. Dropped one out the bottom on my first string of sitting but both groups were well centered. Both sighters for 300 rapid were high for some reason that I can't understand but I've seen this before. My first string was an OK group but it was way out on the left side. On the edge of the 10-ring with only one shot that made it in. The second string was centered with one out but the damage had been done. That left getting a zero for 600. We had the wind in our faces with a bit of a fishtail. I started out just fine and was moving through a string of 10's when up popped a seven out the bottom. I didn't correct for this and the next shot was an X. The wind got me for an eight on the right with another eight and one nine somewhere else in there. I walked away with an elevation zero, a very rough windage zero, and the thought that I have a lot of work to do if I'm going to shoot the way I want to. 

Offhand: 189-2

Sitting: 199-11

Rapid Prone: 190-3

Slow Prone: 192-6

Aggregate: 770-22



May 12

I've been working on my standing this past week so I felt like I could perform better than I did last week. I didn't let the firing point dictate how I was going to perform. My first shot in offhand was a nine with an eight a few shots later. These were on call and then I had lot's more shots that were just inside of call within the ten ring. What concerns me more is that I don't have vertical control of the rifle. My support arm isn't consistent in it's position and as I'm coming into the target from the left the sights drift downward or just bounce up and down. My training focus needs to be more on my support arm. The first string of sitting had a called nine out on the right side. Since it was on call, I could deal with it. But the second string had two nines and a sloppier position. I shoot a position which has my right foot under my left calf. With my legs partially bent this creates a certain distance from my feet to my butt. When I sit down, this distance increases because my butt comes down further away from my feet than it was during sighters. A better way of returning to my good position from standing is needed. I'm still fine-tuning my zero for 300. The first string was low but I was encouraged by the group. The second string was a clean but I had shots at the extremes of the 10-ring. But today reinforced that just focusing on the front sight makes a big difference even at 300. My first nine was the 12th shot in slow prone and then shot a nine for my last shot. My position was lower than I would have liked but I kept my eyes open as the rifle went off and this helped me focus better.

Offhand: 194-5

Sitting: 197-5

Rapid Prone: 199-8

Slow Prone: 198-4

Aggregate: 788-22


May 20

While the weather was great to be outdoors, my allergies weren't cooperating.  Standing was moving along fairly well. I wasn't thrilled with it but it wasn't too bad until the last shot. As the sights were moving closer to the center my hands shook the rifle back and forth across the black and then down toward seven o'clock. It seemed like my reflexes were on autopilot and I let the shot go for a six. Ouch! Rapids went alright. There was some side to side wobble in sitting and a rapid prone position that felt like the rifle was too far forward. Slow prone started well and I was still clean through 10 shots. Then I shot an eight out the bottom and another one a few shots later. I'll be doing some position work this week to see if I can isolate whatever is causing me to have these sight alignment errors.

Offhand: 93-3

Sitting: 100-5

Rapid Prone: 100-4

Slow Prone: 195-5

Aggregate: 488-17



May 26

Today's team match was shot under heavily overcast skies with threatening rain. Only being on a three man team made it more difficult since we couldn't coach each other or pair fire. There was enough wind to move me around in standing and I felt like it was a battle just to get in the 10-ring. In both rapids, the points I dropped were just barely out the bottom. In sitting the group was centered but for 300 everything was in the bottom of the 10. 600 was an excercise in getting enough light to see the front sight. Because of the darkness the rear aperture looked like it was shrinking. The wind was steady but I wound up shooting an eight straight out the bottom. Not a good day for x-count.

Offhand: 95-0

Sitting: 99-2

Rapid Prone: 98-0

Slow Prone: 197-8

Aggregate: 489-10



May 27

Today's Regional was shot starting at the 600 yard line. There was a wind coming into our faces and you needed a jacket to stay warm. I started shooting and did just fine for several shots until things started to get out of hand. I'd shoot eights on one side, crank over the sights, get back in the middle, and then shoot eights out the other side. Elevation was good but I just couldn't keep up with the changes. On one occasion I shot an eight on the right, cranked in some left windage and shot another eight in the same place. 300 rapid had some groups I was happy with but I had shots that were juuuuuuuust out on the left. I've been trying to take my time in this event and focus on the front sight and it shows in the smaller groups. Standing conditions were typical of Lodi in the afternoon, windy. But there were lulls and I tried to discipline myself to not force the shot before I was ready. I did shoot one eight but that was the only really bad one. The second half of the string was a 98-5x. Sitting would have been a 200 if my first group was properly centered. But I had some side to side wobble that strung out from the x-ring to the edge of the ten.

Offhand: 192-6

Sitting: 199-8

Rapid Prone: 197-7

Slow Prone: 187-1

Slow Prone: 186-3

Aggregate: 961-25


June 2

The skies looked like they were going to open up on us at any minute. We wound up getting sprinkled on several times today which made for some soggy firing points. I've been working on my standing this past week and I came here ready to shoot. I shot three 9s during the first half of the standing match. Then I went on a tear with a clean back half through 7 shots. Shot 18 was a nine which I accepted and moved on. With two shots left and my timer showing over seven minutes remaining I could take my time and get these last ones right. But I got impatient. The sights settled close to the center and for whatever reason the rifle weaved back and forth before I pulled the trigger. Shot 19 wound up a 7. I was disappointed because I threw away a good standing score. Frustrated with one shot to go is not a good place to be. I hoisted the rifle for the last shot but I didn't discipline myself to take my time and get things lined up correctly. I saw a 10 but my body jerked the rifle. The last one wound up scoring a 6! I get most annoyed with myself when my mistakes are so obviously preventable. All I had to do was wait until the time was right and squeeze the shot off but I rushed and paid the price. Sitting felt fine with my first 200 of the year. My first group at 300 was high with two out the top. I came back and cleaned the second string with a much better group. The elevation problems bit me a little bit at 600 with an eight and a having to come down five clicks from what I thought my zero was.

Offhand: 189-3

Sitting: 200-10

Rapid Prone: 198-6

Slow Prone: 193-7

Aggregate: 780-26


June 3

I was determined to make up for my lousy offhand yesterday. While I didn't throw away a bunch of points in a couple of shots, I was still breaking shots on the way out. The five nines just felt like I was bleeding away a good score. The rapids were pretty good although I could have used an extra click up in sitting. 600 was just like standing in that I didn't shoot any really bad shots but just lost a nine here and a nine there. In the end, it was finally good to break 490 even though it was by the skin of my teeth.

Offhand: 95-3

Sitting: 100-2

Rapid Prone: 100-5

Slow Prone: 195-6

Aggregate: 490-16


June 10

With really calm conditions it should have been easy to drop no more than one or two points in standing. Each time I squeezed the trigger it seemed like the front sight would start to move out of the center. Of course, this means I really wasn't squeezing the trigger. There's something that is causing me to induce motion during the breaking of the shot. This week I am going to look at my support arm position to see if there is upward muscle tension that is providing my elevation. I need to relax this so that there isn't a relaxation during shot release. Sitting was well centered but with a large group that used most of the 10 ring. Rapid prone followed a recent pattern. There were eight shots that, if centered would easily have fit in the x-ring. But there were two shots that were well out of the group. I need to aim and squeeze for all 10 shots not just 8. I did realize another benefit of shooting 5 and 5 in the rapids. When I stood up at 300 I picked up the magazine that I shoot second. If I did this with an 8 round magazine I would have to have switched magazines again before shooting. Now, it didn't matter since both have 5 rounds and I can shoot them in either order. With some below par scores in slow prone I needed a confidence builder. Last weekend I felt that I was shooting too fast and not spending enough time getting the sights exactly where I wanted them. Today I slowed down and became a lot more discriminating about what I felt was an acceptable sight picture. I wound up calling a lot of shots high but the one that was out was straight out the bottom.

Offhand: 96-2

Sitting: 100-4

Rapid Prone: 99-6

Slow Prone: 199-13

Aggregate: 494-25


June 16

A hot and humid day for the Missouri Service Rifle championship. I only had a chance to work on my offhand twice this past week but I went into the weekend feeling confident that I could shoot a good score if I just took my time. Most shots were breaking on call except the two eights that I shot. They seemed to at least hold the black when I shot them. My rapid prone position wasn't right because I put my sling higher on my arm than normal. This caused the rifle to pull back into my face. I spent both strings pushing it away and muscling the gun. This tension gave me a noticeable side to side wobble in the sights. Conditions were calm at 600 and I was clean until I pushed a nine out the top for my 17th shot.

Offhand: 194-5

Sitting: 200-7

Rapid Prone: 197-7

Slow Prone: 199-9

Aggregate: 790-28


June 17

The team match today followed the President's Rifle course of fire. I just couldn't get comfortable in standing and the sights were moving around so much it was hard to get them into the middle. No eights but five bad shots nonetheless. My 300 position was way too low this time. Maybe I was compensating for yesterday by putting the sling too low. The group went off to 10 o'clock and was pretty ugly. I knew I had to clean 600 to still shoot a good aggregate, so I did. Slowing down and only shooting when I was ready has really helped my slow prone.

Offhand: 95-0

Rapid Prone: 95-2

Slow Prone: 100-3

Aggregate: 290-5


June 17

Leg match starting at 600. I held great elevation with plenty of x's including 8 on the second half. But the wind got me for an eight and a nine straight out on the left side. There was a stiff wind for standing and it didn't help that my lower back was bothering me and I couldn't get the proper back bend that I normally do. My overall performance wasn't as disappointing as seeing only 12 shooters in this leg match.

Offhand: 90-1

Sitting: 99-4

Rapid Prone: 99-1

Slow Prone: 197-13

Aggregate: 485-19


July 1

I can't believe it's July already. It seems like the season just started. Offhand was my training focus for this past week. Using an electronic trainer helps me see the scores I'm capable of shooting and then transfer those thoughts to the range. This morning's offhand went smoothly even though I didn't think my hold was that good. Stopping the shot process when things weren't going right was key. My vertical NPA put the sights just above the black and I was spending too much time trying to get the rifle to come down more. During the magazine change on my second string of sitting two rounds tried to chamber at the same time. Not wanting to mess around with an alibi I tried to clear it but was not successful. The first magazine had 4 x's and one ten so at least I was confident I could clean the second string. My front sight focus was not nearly as sharp as it should have been for 300 rapid and I lost three 9's on the first string. My confidence in slow prone has been high lately and I was trying for a clean here but I broke one shot that I called on the right side and there it was, just out.

Offhand: 196-5

Sitting: 150-9

Rapid Prone: 196-9

Slow Prone: 199-13

Aggregate: 741-36


July 14

Some kind of wind seems typical for Lodi matches and today is no exception. It wasn't much for standing but I was fighting a position that wasn't completely comfortable. My vertical NPA was off and the shots kept breaking high. Not much but the only x that I had was my lowest shot. Even though I cleaned sitting the groups were larger than I wanted and I feel like I'm lucking into the cleans rather than controlling them. Concentrating on front sight focus has really been helping to shrink my 300 rapid groups. The first one today was right at the edge of the 10 ring from one o'clock to three o'clock. The second group was on the opposite end of the 10 ring with one shot out. Still, I was happy  because the groups were small enough to tolerate the position shift. At 600 I started with about 12-14 clicks of wind and went as high as 15. Things came back to 13 and I stayed there for a while dropping 3 points in the first half. By the middle things started to get ugly and I tried to keep up by taking more wind off but could never catch up. I finished at my no wind zero.

Offhand: 191-1

Sitting: 200-8

Rapid Prone: 199-2

Slow Prone: 185-3

Aggregate: 775-14


July 15

Despite all the mid-week work I put into my offhand, sometimes it doesn't show up at the matches. It's not so much the score as the felt performance. There is a position that I've been able to achieve where I bring the rifle down and over to the target with controlled precision. It's hard to replicate though. Today it seemed like the rifle was moving on it's own and it was hard to get it in the middle. On one shot I had brought it in but then it rose up to break with no black showing for an 8 out the top. My calls were good but my hold was not. My luck in sitting didn't hold out today with a shot just out on the right side. It was simply trigger control with a shake in the rifle instead of a controlled squeeze. With my "focus and squeeze" mentality at 300 rapid I was confident of a good group. When I dropped down into position the sling tension was just right with plenty of force back into my right shoulder. With the position taken care of I just worked on getting that front sight into focus before I broke each shot. The results were a small centered group, just what I needed. For slow prone it was a bit harder to get front sight focus because it looked like there was a white line above the top edge of the post even with center of mass. I tried to ignore it  and just deal with the sight but I had two shots out. Not terrible but I was expecting better.

Offhand: 97-1

Sitting: 99-3

Rapid Prone: 100-7

Slow Prone: 198-9

Aggregate: 494-20


July 21

Since this Regional championship in Iowa has always been hot and humid, the almost chilly temperatures in the morning were quite a pleasant surprise. Even though the weather was not a factor, the range faces east so the early morning sun was a challenge. While pair firing standing I added just a little more tension in my grip hand and that seemed to steady the gun more. A teammate told me that there were 4 x's from the first magazine in sitting. Something happened on the second mag because I put a nine just out. I'm not only focusing on the front sight in 300 rapid but trying to keep my eyes open during the string. I think this is helping me keep the focus on the front sight and not go back and forth from the post to the target.

Offhand: 98-4

Sitting: 99-5

Rapid Prone: 100-4

Slow Prone: 196-7

Aggregate: 493-20



July 21

Leg match. Still putting a little more tension in my offhand and it's working well. The hold seems better and I'm able control the rifle more. Rapids worked out fine even though my 300 had two shots right on the line at 7 o'clock. At 600 most of my shots were on the left side of the ten ring with one nine on that side. There were three nines on the right side though and one elevation 8 out the bottom. It's always tough when you're doing well to throw it away in the last stage.

Offhand: 99-2

Sitting: 100-6

Rapid Prone: 100-1

Slow Prone: 194-3

Aggregate: 493-12


July 22

With some good offhands this weekend I was hopeful to keep the streak going into the Regional. The first half had two nines and felt natural but the second half felt like I was working too hard. The pace slowed down and it took a lot of effort just to get a shot to go. Dropped another point sitting which is starting to get frustrating. I shot the first group at 300 with one click right and got a group that went from the center to two shots out on the left. The second group was centered better with one shot on the line at 7 o'clock and one just out in the same place. I started out at 600 with about three clicks on the gun. Early on I wound up taking most of this off and shooting with only one click. Came back to three clicks and spend most of my time there until late in the string. Shot 19 came up out on the right side so I threw two more clicks of left on and fired the last 10.

Offhand: 192-1

Sitting: 199-7

Rapid Prone: 197-10

Slow Prone: 199-8

Aggregate: 787-26



Now it's off to Camp Perry for two weeks.



The President's rifle match started with some breezy conditions. While you weren't being blown off target in standing, there was enough wind to move you around. I tried to keep the rifle controlled but it wasn't easy. My wind call for 300 rapid was two clicks left. I fired four shots from the first magazine and the last round got jammed between the barrel extension and the bolt. My hand went up and I would be firing an alibi string. When my insufficient target came up with the four hits I saw that there were two x's on the left side and two tens just off the x-ring at 9 o'clock. I knew I had to clean the alibi string to keep from dropping points in this stage so I put on four clicks right for the refire. It felt good and I cleaned it with one ten on the line at 3 o'clock. 600 was uneventful but I still dropped two points as I chased the spotter across the ten ring.

With a 292 in the President's I felt like I had a chance of making the shootoff. I hauled all my gear to behind the 600 yard line on Rodriguez to find out. The CMP was still posting scores as they came in but I was now pretty confident I'd be shooting ten more shots this afternoon. After standing around for a while the tower announced the 20 who would be in the shootoff. Gary Anderson gave us some final instructions and our squadding. As we were dispersing, the tower called us to the line and told us our preparation period would start in two minutes. I panicked a little when I heard this since I still had to walk in the opposite direction to get my shooting gear. I started to set-up on my firing point and began to get my stuff in position. I still hadn't put any elevation on my rifle or decided how much wind I was going to use. I had barely gotten into position when my preparation period ended. The targets came up and other shooters started shooting. As each person shot, their target was pulled into the pits and stayed there. When I finally lined up on my target it was a little hard to see because of the shadow on the face. I sent the first shot downrange and the target went down. In the background I could hear people talking about how my target was pulled down as I shot. When all the targets were raised for score mine had a six straight out the top. The tower called for any challenges and I raised my hand because I felt the target was pulled out from under me as I fired. One of the line officials told me that the target was pulled down because time had expired. There was nothing I could do since I had no way of knowing whether the time that was being kept in the pits was correct. The targets were pulled down and re-exposed for the next shot. All of us kept firing in this one shot at a time manner until we had fired 10 shots. Due to that six my placement in the top 20 had pushed me down several places. I walked away very dissatisfied with the way the shootoff was handled.


I found out later that the CMP rule book stated that the time limit is "50 seconds or when all shooters have fired". If I knew this beforehand I could have re-fired the shot since the time limit didn't really matter. The moral of this story is to know your rules!


Offhand: 94-0

Rapid Prone: 100-2

Slow Prone: 98-3

Aggregate: 292-5

Shootoff Score: 94-2





The morning of the N.T.I. had some of the calmest conditions for standing. Despite this, my body was shaking and I just couldn't get settled down. I guess I felt like I had to perform well and had all kinds of expectations. Sitting went fine but rapid prone had a shot just off the 10 ring at 10 o'clock and a mid-ring 9 at 12. I though that I had good front sight focus so I don't know how that shot wound up so high. At 600 I couldn't believe how much trouble I had holding elevation. I would shoot a couple of nines at 12, come down a click of elevation and still shoot a nine up high. Then I'd start shooting nines out the bottom and never really did get centered up.


Offhand: 95-2

Sitting: 100-5

Rapid Prone: 98-5

Slow Prone: 192-6

Aggregate: 485-18





I was actually somewhat relaxed at the start of the six-man team match. I coached the first pair and took my position on the right of the last pair. The rifle didn't hold that well but I could get it close to the middle and break good shots. Most of them were inside of call and my only nine was one where I had fired when the post was towards the bottom of the black. I had to fire sitting a little faster than normal because I had the bolt lock back with one round still in the magazine. We decided to go with two clicks left at 300 but the shots were going on the right side. So my coach gave me some "favor left" and I pushed the front sight out and kept the clean. 600 was really tough with the predominant condition going out to the right. The problem was that it would keep stopping into a boil and reverse ever so slightly. Since it was doing this too often we had to shoot through it. Despite our best efforts I gave up seven more points here.


Offhand: 99-2

Sitting: 100-6

Rapid Prone: 100-5

Slow Prone: 193-4

Aggregate: 492-17




It had rained the entire day before the 4-man team match so there was plenty of humidity in the air. The thing that was most noticeable though was the heavy overcast. This lowered the amount of light that I saw through the aperture so everything downrange was dark. I could still make out the sighting black but the target and my front sight were more "gray" than black. I don't really like to put on windage for 200 yards since I'm so close so I started shooting straight away. It didn't take me long to see that I was coming up to the right of call. During the string I was clicking over and finished with three clicks of left wind. On most shots I was inside of call and had lots of shots on the right side of the 10 ring. Going into 300 rapid still clean was a good feeling since I've been shoot rapid prone pretty well. My group had all five 10's down at 5 o'clock and one 9 that was just across the line. After a long time in the pits I came out to shoot 600. I spent most of my time in the middle but my coach had me clicking fairly often as well as plenty of favoring to one side or the other. It turned out to be a pretty good day, but team matches are a great place to shoot well.


Offhand: 100-3

Sitting: 100-6

Rapid Prone: 99-4

Slow Prone: 199-10

Aggregate: 498-23




The first day of the championship was a rain out so now we will have to shoot four matches in each of the remaining three days. Today's conditions were quite benign and I started out alright in offhand. But just like in the Rumbold I wound up coming more and more to the left (I finished with 5 clicks). My bad shots were nines but I shot a few too many of them on the back half. My first string of sitting felt decent but nothing to write home about. It turned out to be a 99-9x. I couldn't recall where the nine came from since I couldn't call anything that was out that far. The wind was pretty much in our faces for rapid prone but my concentration was on keeping my eyes open during the string and focusing on the front sight. I could see the brass flying out of my rifle as I shot. My first sighter at 600 was an eight out the top and I knew I had some work to do. I lost two shots to wind but three more to elevation. I just have to keep pushing and trying to shoot the way I do at home.


Offhand: 192-4

Sitting: 199-16

Rapid Prone: 199-7

Slow Prone: 195-7


Rain, rain, and more rain. Today was supposed to be an 80 shot but it was raining when we started out in the pits. Just when I was ready to move up to the line for my relay there was a rain delay called and we had to come back an hour later. The rifle held pretty good in standing when I put a little more tension in the pistol grip. I started shooting and things went allright but it didn't take much to put me out. I would shoot a few 10's and then a 9. Then the process would repeat. Not the sort of performance I would expect since I've shot some pretty good offhand. The rapids were cancelled so we just shot 600. The ralay before mine shot in pouring rain and my scope got so wet I couldn't see the targets to score. When I came up to the line suddently the skies parted and the sun came out. My sight picture was very clear. I had a nine on my first shot and did just fine until I dropped an eight out the bottom about shot 14. The overcast came back for the last 5 shots and made the targets very dark.


Offhand: 191-6

Slow Prone: 197-5





There was no announcement as to what the course of fire was going to be for today so I brought enough ammo to shoot an entire 80. After walking out to Viale in a slight rain it turned out we would shoot the standard course for the last day of the championship. The skies were dark and the wind was blowing. I could deal with the low light but trying to keep the rifle still was a real struggle. I'd get the sights close to the black and get ready to shoot when I got moved past the center or back out. I shot multiple sevens and even a six. This poor performance really dragged me down in the standings. The sun was coming out by the time we moved back to 300. The lone shot that was out was at 5 o'clock. This is where a lot of my groups in rapid prone wind up being. Mirage was quite noticeable at 600 so I could keep up with changes except when I was on the gun.


Offhand: 169-0

Rapid Prone: 199-11

Slow Prone: 196-8

Aggregate: 1737-64





This was our state Service Rifle Championship and the first time I shot since Perry. My coat didn't dry off properly and had some mold on it. Overall I felt like I was just there but not there to shoot. During offhand I had trouble getting a good vertical NPA because the targets are slightly downhill. I kept coming down to the target and the rifle would hang around at about the seven ring up top. So I was constantly trying to bring everything downward. No shots were out of the black but I just kept shooting nines. At one point I had three in a row. Looking back I probably should have moved my right foot forward but my mood was such that I just didn't care. As soon as I got down into sitting I could tell this was going to be a struggle. Because of the firing point, it felt like my feet were elevated and I was curled up into a ball. I was actually squeezing good shots except for one one on the first string where the sights danced across the target. The first group at rapid prone was clean but all the shots were at 10-11 o'clock. Coming right one click centered my windage but then I had two straight out the top. Except for some dark targets things were going fine at 600 until I shot an elevation eight. I've had several of these this year and they feel just like any other shot. I have to make sure I get that front sight clear before I squeeze the trigger.


Offhand: 191-3

Sitting: 199-8

Rapid Prone: 198-8

Slow Prone: 197-8

Aggregate: 785-27





I seem to be able to shoot better in team matches than individuals mostly due to a better offhand. I guess I just feel more relaxed because I'm always talking to my coach and my pair-fire partner. It's like we're shooting as a group instead of just individual shooters. I had a nine for my first shot which was on call and then another for shot 10. There weren't very many X's in the first half but most shots were inside of call and I could tell where they were going. The rapids were alright and the only point I lost was at one o'clock on my first string at 300 but that's what happens when you don't shoot round groups. At 600 it took me a while to get my elevation sorted out. Early on I shot an 8 and then followed it up with a 9. Each shot felt like my whole body was shooting it. It wasn't just a trigger finger squeeze. It was a feeling of movement throughout my whole body when the shot went off.


Offhand: 198-5

Sitting: 200-8

Rapid Prone: 199-9

Slow Prone: 197-7

Aggregate: 794-29





I had some high hopes for this morning's offhand but it was not to be. My hold was actually pretty good with the rifle slowing down and almost stopping on occasion. The problem was my decision making, something which I feel is the main criteria that divides a good offhand performance from a mediocre one. On one shot the sights settled with a sliver of the sighting black just jutting out from the top of the front sight. This was obviously a nine at 12 but I pulled the trigger anyway. On another shot the sights were coming up from the bottom and I broke it just as they got into the black. For most of the string my calls were pretty good but my timing was just off. Sitting felt like it normally does. I felt the group wasn't very small but I didn't see anything out of the 10 ring through the sights. I felt embarrassed when the target came up with two nines. One was even mid-ring. While I was in the pits I mulled over my score and now felt that I had to clean everything else to shoot an acceptable score. I'm not sure why this was the cut-off but that's what was going through my mind. Rapid prone was an average performance but I was quite pleased with slow prone. I took my time on each shot since the light today made it a bit more difficult to focus on the front sight. There were several shots that I broke that I worried about but they still came up good. I had a few that were on the line (mostly on the right side) and my x-count was better in the second half.


Offhand: 97-4

Sitting: 98-5

Rapid Prone: 100-5

Slow Prone: 200-11

Aggregate: 495-25






My confidence in my offhand has grown since the 198 a few weeks ago. This morning I just stepped up to the line expecting a good score. I feel a lot of it comes down to slowing down and only breaking the good shots. There were four nines but I still felt like I performed to expectation. The one nine in sitting was called but I still thought both groups were larger than they should have been. The first one was a bit low with the lost shot just off the line. With the size of the groups I still feel like I'm getting lucky with a clean rather than expecting one. I cleaned the first string of 300 rapid even though it was on the right side. The shots were breaking too fast on the second one and I didn't take the time to line things up. The result was one out the top and another at five. Slow prone was a heartbreaker since I cleaned this a couple at the last match. The shots were on the right for a while then they were at the top of the 10 ring. It was hard to get centered up and my x-count shows that.


Offhand: 196-3

Sitting: 199-8

Rapid Prone: 198-6

Slow Prone: 196-4

Aggregate: 789-21





I got about four hours of sleep last night and wasn't really sure if I'd shoot. If we had one extra person for the team match I probably would have given them my place and I would just run the match. It turned out to be a really nice day with clear skies so I'm glad I shot. Like yesterday I had lots of confidence in my offhand and I started out shooting only the shots I wanted to shoot. In the beginning the front sight looked clear and my calls were really good. I cleaned the first half and I was curious how far I could go. As I got into the second half it was more and more difficult to get the post sharp and my calls were not as good. Out of the four nines in the second half there were two shots that only just missed the 10 line. The sitting groups were a little better than yesterday with a pair of 5x cleans. My first string at 300 rapid was a little low but I felt that this was because I had too much black above the post and didn't want to correct for it with the sights. The second string was great for elevation and small but slightly on the right side of the x-ring. I really wanted to have a good slow prone performance to make up for yesterday. There was nothing out of the ordinary except that I took care to get the front sight clear when I shot. It was a good aggregate score and ties my personal best at this range.


Offhand: 196-5

Sitting: 200-10

Rapid Prone: 200-9

Slow Prone: 199-11

Aggregate: 795-35





With temperatures pushing 90 and high humidity, it felt more like July rather than October. My back has been sore the last couple of weeks and I could feel it in standing. My normal offhand position has a lot of back bend in it with an exaggerated lumbar curve. When I get this back bend I settle into the position and there is less movement in the rifle. When I tried to get this back bend today I felt a lot of discomfort so I had to hold my back a little straighter. This used muscle tension and I got more rifle movement that rarely settled down. The amount of movement wasn't a lot more, but enough that I had to take more shots on the move. There were more outside tens and a couple of more nines than I was expecting. Sitting had one nine out in each string. My first string of 300 rapid came up with two shots out on the right side and most of the group in that direction. I took my time in slow prone and just focused on executing the shots with the front sight in focus. One thing I have noticed since I got back from Perry is a sudden zero shift in all of my positions. I finished the year with my rapid zeros a couple of clicks left of where they were for the Nationals. Standing was even worse with a 3-4 click zero shift to the left.



Offhand: 193-2

Sitting: 198-10

Rapid Prone: 198-6

Slow Prone: 199-11

Aggregate: 788-29




End of season reflections


My main target for improvement this year was my rapid fire performance, especially 300. In 2006 I was averaging 99.0% in sitting and 97.7% rapid prone. This year I finished with averages of 99.6% and 98.9% respectively. Not a big improvement numbers wise but quite a bit when it comes to shots in the 10 ring on the target. It was nice to only drop six points in the thirteen rapid strings I fired at Camp Perry.

As usual, my standing really came around towards the end of the season. I just wish I could get the same focus and concentration in the middle of the season as I do at the end.

Even with the higher scores I actually feel like my sitting was a let down. Though I was shooting cleans or 99's all the time I still felt like I was not in control of the string. It felt like I would drop into position, send the rounds down range, and any cleans would be based on luck, not anything positive that I did about it. A lot of this has to do with group size. If you're shooting up almost all of the 10 ring, you better be centered up if you don't want to drop any points. For next year it's important that I work on a way to shrink my sitting groups. This is more for my confidence in this event rather than for score's sake.

Overall, at the end of this season, I think I may have broken through and advanced my shooting. It's always hard to gauge these things but I feel like I can expect to shoot a score a few points higher than I did a year ago. Now, there's so much less that is left to chance and fewer points that can be dropped. I'm eager to see what I can do to make it to the next level next year.

Loading 5 and 5

This was probably the most obvious change in my shooting and I felt it was a big help for me. For some reason doing this was like adding 10 seconds to a rapid fire string. It seemed like I had more time to drop into position, more time during the magazine change, more time for each shot, and more time at the end of the string. This wasn't what I would call a primary advantage where you can point to an increase in an average score because of it. It was more of a secondary advantage where you don't know what's better about it but it just "feels" better. Again, the fact that it seemed like there was more time supported being able to take more care on each shot, and that's a primary advantage.

Shooting Less

After seven straight years this was the first season that I didn't shoot the Thursday night league in Racine. Driving there took almost two hours through Chicagoland traffic. By the time I arrived I already felt tired. The shooting was enjoyable but the logistics made it more like work. I've been trying to get more enjoyment out of my shooting and I felt that eliminating the rat race of fighting traffic would help. By only shooting on weekends it seemed that my interest in highpower lasted all through the season. Even by the end of the year I still had motivation to shoot and perform well.