About the Blog

Educating fellow Jews about the sporting and defensive use of firearms. Especially Jews in North America, too many of whom are instilled with the belief that guns aren't for nice Jewish boys and girls.

If you know of notable Jewish shooters that should be documented on the blog, even if it is only at the local club level, I am happy to report and profile them. And don't be shy if that person to be documented is you! Please drop me a line at jewishmarksman at gmail dot com. Also follow me on twitter @JMarksmanship.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jewish Marksman Shoots a Chai Match

18 is considered a lucky number in Judaism. The word for "life" in Hebrew is "chai." The Hebrew letters for "chai" are also numbers which add up to 18.

So given that, how could I resist a chance to shoot a real across-the-course (XTC) NRA High Power match this weekend? You see, the prone portion of the match is at 600 yards, which is 1800 feet!

I shot fairly well, all things considered. Besides being my first real XTC match (I normally shoot 100 yard reduced target matches), it was the first time I used my own hand loaded rifle ammunition, and I had no idea exactly how to zero my sights for the different yardages of the match (600, 300, 200) for that ammo, and you only get 2 sighting shots per stage. Take a look at the picture above, which are the 20 shots I made in the 300 yard prone rapid-fire stage (10 shots in 1 minute with a magazine change). The first 10 shots are marked in red, using the sight "come ups" recommended by a friend. They were centered but just a tad high and left, in what could have been a 97 scoring group if the shots had been centered. I guesstimated the elevation sight adjustment, then made the green group, which is the correct height but still off to the left, probably due to cant in my seated position which I haven't dialed in yet. Overall, I shot an 89%, which was pulled down from 90+ primarily to an abysmal offhand performance due to strong wind gusts. No, the wind wasn't really affecting my 77grain sierra bullets so much as it was blowing my barrel around and making it very hard to confidently get a shot off. I waited for breaks in the wind to hit my 10s and 9s, but impatience and a lack of experience in the wind got the best of me, and I let a few really bad shots off. All the other competitors' scores suffered offhand for the same reason, so I don't feel too bad about it.

I'm confident that next match I will shoot above 90% now that I have a much better idea of where my zeros are for the ammo I load. Every combination of powder, bullet, primer and barrel will have minor differences in velocity, which affects the bullet's travel time over distance, which gives gravity more or less time to pull the bullet down. So the only way to get consistently centered is through trial and error. Without a wicked wind I might even flirt with another master score...I do have an industrial fan in the garage, maybe I'll have it blow on me while I train with the Scatt this month!

In case anyone is wondering, I shoot in the Service Rifle division with an AR-15...everything must be (more or less) just like a standard issue military rifle. We do get to put in match barrels and triggers (4.5 lbs. but 2-stage is allowed), but everything else is standard-issue such as plain old rear aperture and front post battle sights.

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