Bench or Off-hand

by John White

50 yard target
The 50 Yard Target

We had 8 shooters and 6 observers make it to our gathering. The observers were folks that for many reasons, bad back, strength, arms, etc. that could not shoot with us today but normally do. Thank you for still coming out to observe, support and assist our shoot. We shot the 25 yard NMLRA targets and 50 yard NMLRA targets along with a buffalo silhouette. So thank you to all who could make it choosing to shoot or observe. We had two first time match shooters with us today. What makes them different with us today is i do not think either could grow a beard yet, let alone worry about shaving.

We help each other at these shoots. Guy needs powder, give him some, guy dry balls, help him with ball puller, guy gets a stuck patch, give him a patch puller, flint adjustments, flints, you name it. Atmosphere is number one now. We talk, we kibitz, we learn, we teach, we help, we enjoy the day with friends.

Our first relay started at about 10:05AM and we had the normal kibitzing that delayed some, new rifles to shoot and run through their paces, a Herschel House rifle never shot made in 1997, a new .36 caliber, a new .32 caliber, all three flinters and were beautiful rifles, well made. One was by a member who just finished this .36 as his first ever personally built rifle. We had a brand new built flintlock pistol shown around as well. 25 yard, 6-bull target – Declare off-hand or bench. Warm up started at 9:30AM and many shots were taken and resulting comments made like, where did it go? I was not aiming at that one, geez i hit two targets in the warmup, I am already tired and the list goes on and on.

So after the 10 shots, targets were changed to the buffalo, relay number 2, 6 bull targets turned in for scoring, buffalo target was two bullseyes at 37 yards shooting 4 shots at each bull. During this relay we had a dry ball, one rifle changed out 4 flints, flashes in the pan galore as the heat was starting and the humidity was picking up. So I looked at one of the bench rest guys target as he was done. WOW! Tight group, how did you do that? I am tired, i shot two balls at a time. Half the effort to load, twice the recoil is the bad part. So you still got two balls I asked? So we shot 8 times on the buffalo, no practice rounds. Targets changed to large 50 yard bull and the buffalo turned in for scoring.

Bob at 1st Place gets his score

Out to the 50 yard line went the large bull and four shots were done. For the buffalo and 50 yard bull the plan was for 10 and 5 shots but we reduced it due to the increasing heat and not much shade. Three less shots made a huge difference in how our shooters finished. They shot better overall in this relay, were not totally physically drained and there seemed to be a bounce in their steps at the conclusion. This in spite of shooting a further distance where the sun and eyesight play fits on us all. It was during this relay one of our first time match shooters joined the largest, elite level, largest member count, some cases most embarrassing club in the world! The dry ball club, hey why won’t my gun go off? All the cap does is pop, i get no boom, now what do I do? Welcome to our world!

So we finished up shooting, cleaned the range up of targets, target stands, cleaning patches and made it look like we were never there. Installed some yardage marker pavers at 25 and 50 yards as well as defined the firing line. We continue to upgrade and make improvements to our primitive range every month without being asked to. So start at 9:30 end and last car left at 12:15. Targets were distributed as memento keepsakes. Not bad at all folks. Avoided most of the heat of the day, could still have lots of family time or even a nice afternoon nap with a great morning fellowship shooting BP.

Total max score possible with 22 shots was 220, Bob W. finished with 184, Chris G. with 174 and high score bench was Dennis S. with 176.

Thank you all for coming and enjoying the day with fellow BP shooters. To our two new shooters, thank you for coming out, you appeared to enjoy the day and you were a nice change from looking at old guys with beards. The plan for our July shoot is to have a paper scoring target at 25 yards, off hand or bench and a bowling pin/fence topper knockdown shoot at 50 yards with a simple hit or miss. Prizes will be unique as you will provide your own prize. It is called a blanket shoot. All prizes go on a blanket, high score picks first and so on. Everyone goes home with a prize. Keep your eyes on your email to get further details later in the month.

Take care all, stay safe and healthy. See you next month.

John White
Talking Rock BPShooters – Shoot Program Coordinator

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