Saturday I drove up to the Berwyn Rod & Gun club in Bowie ,MD for my first Rimfire Sporter match of the year. First, thanks to Mike Cacic, who did a fine job as match director. I am working to get my club’s board to approve hosting CMP-RS matches here in central Virginia this year, too.
Rimfire Sporter is a very fun way to enjoy shooting in a low-key but competitive environment. The course consists of six stages including slow and rapid fire in each of prone, sitting and standing positions. Prone and sitting are shot at 50 yards; standing is at 25. It took about two hours to shoot the match, at a relaxed pace. With a 9-ring that is 3.5″ across (7 MOA at 50 yards), it’s pretty easy to shoot a decent score which makes it satisfying for anyone who can shoot Appleseed Rifleman. But to be competitive you need to shoot above 580 of the possible 600 points (at the national level, above 590). The 10-ring is only 1.75″ wide (3.5 MOA) and the X-ring is .875″ (1.75 MOA) wide. I am aware of only one perfect score on the match so far nationwide.
This was my first rifle match since last Fall – insane work hours and cold weather kept me mostly off the range during the past three months. I took it as a chance to sweep out some mental and physical cobwebs, and to set a benchmark for my training this year. Here are my notes:
- I had to stone a new OEM hammer as all my 10/22s have triggers below the 3-lb minimum pull weight. It took about an hour at the bench on Thursday to get a perfectly crisp, 4.5-lb trigger. I use Brownell’s ceramic stones which cut slowly but leave a nice, polished finish. That pull weight didn’t matter much with a good, firm grip. It felt the same as a match trigger on an AR. (Service rifle minimum pull weight is 4.5 lbs.) I plan to buy a trigger group and have Brimstone give it a 3.25-lb Tier 2 trigger job, and will review it when it’s done.
- Although a few days earlier weather forecasts called for a warm, sunny day, it was hardly above freezing most of the morning and the sun didn’t come out until noon. The sweatshirt I as wearing as an outer layer was too loose and bulky for the sling to stay in place. In the slow-fire stages I had to re-tighten it on every shot and it never felt solid. I’ll need to find a better warm garment.
- Another problem caused by the cold was hardening of the bullet lube in my Eley Target ammo. My sighter stage was abbreviated due to malfunctions. I changed to Norma Tac-22 which has a greasier lube (more like lard or tallow) and kept both magazines and the box of shells in my pants pockets. There were no more malfunctions after that.
- I was at a distinct disadvantage shooting with my aperture sights against scopes in the T class. In the O class (0pen sights) you can’t have a peep rear sight. I may mount a Nikon Pro-Staff Rimfire scope, or a vintage 4x if I can find a good one, for the next match to see how much difference it makes. I suspect it will be significant.
- “Fussing the shot” in the slow-fire stages made me worse. I actually had higher scores in the rapid-fire stages than in the corresponding slow stages. Just get the sight on the target and take the shot. This is easy if you have a solid NPOA, which will improve when I accomplish this next point:
- It’s time to get in shape. I shot fine in prone but sitting and standing were just not comfortable, especially sitting. I need to lose at least 20 lbs as quickly as possible, stretch daily, and get into the weight room at least twice a week. You may not think of shooting a rifle as much of a sport, but if you want to shoot competitive scores you have to be an athlete.
If you want to have a fun time and improve your shooting, especially if you want to take your Appleseed training to a higher level, try Rimfire Sporter. You can find the nationwide match schedule here: Upcoming Rimfire Sporter matches link.