After my brief furlough and getting to see some folks shoot a deceptively simple course of fire I really wanted to see how I would do at the same thing. Here it is for those who haven’t read my last article:
4 minutes to fire five rounds at a distance of 100 yards from each of the following positions: sitting, kneeling, squatting, and standing. The target for each position was approximately 8” (if memory serves), with each position having a separate target. The rub was that each competitor had to do 20 pushups prior to each position (total of 80 pushups), and that the rifle and magazines had to be empty prior to each position.
I didn’t have the cool targets from the competition, which consisted of a life size photo of two humans with scoring areas on the chest and head (ahhhhh!!!!!!!!!). As the scoring areas were approximately 8”, I was going to use paper plates. When I was looking through what kind of targets I happened to have on hand, I noticed the Redneck Challenge targets, which is meant to be a 4 MOA target at 100 yards, so it’s a scoring circle approximately 4.2” in diameter. Being a glutton for difficult rifle shooting, I thought they would be perfect for putting myself through the same course of fire with a scoring area half as big. It also fits in better with my goal of being able to hit a 4” target on demand.
Incidentally, the standard Redneck Challenge consists of 4 positions, 5 rounds per position in a limited amount of time. It’s actually a ton of time, 10 minutes, which will push someone who doesn’t know what they don’t know. So what I shot on this day was like the Redneck Challenge, with the prone “gimme” position omitted, substituted with rice paddy prone, in 40% of the allotted time, with 80 pushups added and no rounds loaded prior to starting. I decided to single load, instead of taking time loading them into the magazine each time.
Adding physical and time stress always makes what is normally easy into something less predictable. I might be a 2 MOA shooting in sitting at this point if I got my NPA and had a few seconds per shot. As it was only 2 of my shots from the seated position were good enough to score. In this position I should be able to easily fire all them inside the circle. Undoubtedly this is an issue of being able (or not being able) to quickly index my position according to my natural point of aim. If I had been using the 8” target all of the shots would have been good. After I shot my first position I only had 2:24 minutes left of my original 4:00. That’s too slow.
In kneeling I had some technical difficulties that I had not encountered before. The bolt would not go forward. I thought the round was hung up so I dropped the floorplate, which didn’t solve the problem. It turned out to be that my scope’s ocular mounted, non-locking focus had turned, and my scope cap along with it. It was blocking the forward movement of my bolt. That probably cost me 20 seconds or so. I completed the kneeling course of fire in time, then ran out of time during the subsequent pushups. I decided to continue because I just love pushups and shooting is okay too. Actually; the basis of my decision was that quitting is not acceptable. The score on the kneeling target was 2 hits. If the target would have been the 8” target I would have gotten 2 additional hits. My total score before running out of time would have been 90, which would have been pretty good in comparison to the field of individual scores (halving the official team scores).
The brass is in the air near my left hand. It appears that my right hand moved quickly and instinctively to the butt of the rifle for some reason. Why? I don’t know, and it doesn’t make sense. I should have a fresh round in my hand by that time, unless that was the last round of the string. Cleaning that up will probably save me a minute or so over the entire course of fire.
Squatting went fine, except I threw one low just of paper. 2 proper hits, and 2 on the “if it were 8”” standard.
Standing wasn’t bad at all after 80 pushups. I got 3 good hits, and the other 2 would have scored on the 8” target. Actually, I got more hits in standing than in any of the other positions. Weird. My total time was 7:24.
I would have been a lot quicker if I had my gear squared away. Fishing for rounds every time slowed me down by quite a bit (but not nearly enough to account for 3 minutes). The pushups take 17 seconds for the first 2 sets, then a little longer after. The rest is just speeding up the “meat” of the shooting. Anyway, it’s a baseline.
I notice a shift in point of impact sometimes in positional shooting. My scope is set up as sort of a compromise so that I can use different positions and it works, although it’s not optimized for any particular position. It’s biased a little towards supported positions, since that’s what I would use as a first choice. What that means is that in some positions, usually unsupported with the sling, I get some shading from improper eye relief. You can see that the groups weren’t that well centered. I found out later while doing some more intensive positional work, that I could address this by paying more attention to my scope image.
A good lesson to take away from this is although I didn’t get all my shots off under the allotted 4 minutes, the hits that I did get in time counted toward a score that was on par with the top few shooters at the event I attended. There’s no point in pushing faster than one can hit with some degree of success. I think that it’s true that you can’t miss fast enough to win.
First, for the “what if” scores. For the standard Redneck Challenge I would not have run out of time, but only hits in the black counted. My score would have been 9 (my score shooting the regular Redneck Challenge in July of 2012 was 8. My best score is 12). For the course of fire with the 8” targets in 4:00, as I already said, my score would have been 90, since the scoring at that shoot was worth 10 points. As it is, as I set up the course, my score is 40, since I ran out of time after 2 targets. As I like to say, at least there’s room for improvement!