DFTC May 17 Match Report

The past few days have been exceptionally warm in the Bay Area with temps hitting 100+ degrees. Saturday night, I just finished marinating some chicken for after the match and went outside to put the trash out and realized it was still warm. It got me thinking about how hot the match would be and its effect on everyone's shooting, myself in particular, lol!!! Heat has been known to affect both shooter and equipment adversely in the game of FT, would Sunday be any different?

I got up surprisingly early, for me, and got my gear and grub loaded into my Cherokee. Its feeling warm with a hint of humidity so I'm thinking man if I am warming up already at 8:00am, its gonna be hot today!!! Scores be damned, I better dress for the heat or heat stroke might be in the cards for the day. I was originally planning on wearing my Creedmore Shooting Jacket today to see if it helped any but I left it at home and wore an aloha shirt instead along with an appropriate pair of sandals! Scores be damned, I'm going to be comfortable as can be with the heat at hand!

Driving down the highway, I decide to catch Lonnie S. on the hip. He's about 30 minutes ahead of me and telling me that he can feel the heat increasing as he gets makes his almost 2hour trek from the coast toward the range located inland.

The course is bustling with activity as guys set up as I arrive and begin unloading my gear. Its good to see that I wasn't the only one silly enough (urrr!, I mean dedicated) to show up to shoot in the heat!! Misery loves company right? As I walk to greet everyone, I see the warm faces of the usual suspects and some new faces as well. It is always a pleasant and welcomed surprise see new faces at our airgun events and matches!

The new guys, Jonathon R., Ron E., and Matt L. traveled quite a distance to make it shoot as one drove all the way from Reno, Nevada, talking about wanting to shoot some FT!!!

After a bit of warming up, Greg T. called the Shooters Meeting so the match could commence and hopefully end before broiling temps were reached!

I was paired up with Eric K. and starting on Lane 4. Eric was shooting Hunter Class with his R1(.177) with V-Mach Kit in that is extremely smooth shooting(so smooth that after shooting it a couple times at the last Fun Shoot, I couldn't resist and bought one as well with V-Mach Kit, lol, but that's another story) Eric was of the same mindset as me wearing shorts, sandals, etc., dressed for the heat:

Were getting into a rhythm of knocking some targets down and hit lane 6, the off hand lane(my nemesis). The heat is ramping up and Lane 6 is where Eric typically excels as he is a Silhouette Shooter and has no aversions to off hand work but misses a couple shots for some strange reason.

Now that I'm up with my not so off hand friendly 17lb. USFT #49, lol, I raise the Blue Bazooka with Big BSA set to 10x and try to settle down on the far target, bouncing along, squeeze and the resounding smack of the faceplate! Set the rifle back down on the table that is next to the firing line. I adjust the scope to 15x, cock, reload and try to relax, hoist my air canon up and try to settle in again, much better sight picture at 15x, timing the bouncing and trying to slow it down, click, clank, sput and that wonderful sound of the target dropping.

On the 2nd and closer target, I was feeling good, big killzone, should be 2 gimmes if I'm feelin' like I did on the previous shot as I'm holding on target and pulling the trigger to set up on the second stage, I get distracted by a sound in the background and squeeze the shot off to early and miss!!! Oh well, in the end, shot 2/4 which typical for me, so much for initial feelings of potential triumph over Lane 6!

Elsewhere on the range, new shooter Matt L. is paired up with veteran FT shooter Guy O. and long time air gunner Riz M. Matt L. is one of those guys that doesn't just dive into the pool, he dives in head first with commitment! He decided that he wanted to shoot FT, despite no FT clubs anywhere near him, so what do you think he did, went whole hog and bought a shiny burnt orange USFT with a Big Nikko on top of it:

Matt is a friend of Riz (and a bunch of other blokes at the club) who has transformed a Daystate X2R FT Rifle to another level with a dramatically improved trigger(night and day difference honestly as I used to own the subject rifle) and ergonomics. Over the past week or so, Riz had been noticing some fluctuations in POI so he was concerned about how the gun would shoot at the match, especially with the exceptional heat at hand, time would tell. Riz M.:

Another new shooter, Jonathon R. was paired up with Kevin Y.. Jonathon was shooting his R9 Goldfinger Combo in hunter class and eager and as excited as can be. Take a look at the patch of white on his fore end screw, the star washer was lost and he wanted to shoot his rifle so he decided to put paper in there to act as a temporary bushing to shoot the match, talking about the spirit of Run with what you brung!!!

Ron E. is a second time shooter at Diablo FT who won his very first FT match last month at the club with his self tuned Air Arms EV2 MKII shooting Exacts at 12fpe. He's fed that rig 40,000 pellets preparing to shoot that first match at Diablo, a serious shooter no doubt and proud member of Diablo FT and the Air Arms Owners Club. Today he was paired up with Lonnie S. and his Daystate MKII FT-R:

As Eric and I make our way along the course, John L. and Doug B. are having a big ole time cheering, jeering like usual, in the lane ahead of us.

Doug, the clubs unofficial jester, that loves to keep things lively and entertaining with his Paul Watts Advanced Tuned TX200MKIII:

As we get to Lane 9, we are staring at one of the cute little AA Targets, a pig with killzone staring proudly at us. Eric took a couple unofficial shots at it to test his HFT skills but that target stood defiantly proud at him. As he shot his official targets, he realized quickly that his gun was shooting low by a or more. Could it be the heat, could be the lubes from the fresh tune be finally burning off, don't know but one thing for sure -- Erics gotta make some on the fly adjustments without clicking to compensate, fun, fun, fun!!!

He beat my pride on the last go round with him, no doubt about it, but I figure this time try and relax and get a neutral shooting position, focus and break the shot after a bit of fiddling with body position, I tried to settle in, sight picture is tightening up to minimal wobbles, start taking up the trigger, locked at that 2nd stage bump, exhale and break the shot and down goes Mr. Piggy!!! I was shocked, cocked, reloaded, actively trying to keep my head and heart rate under control, break the shot and it falls again, all I could do was scream YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!! I tell ya, I could miss all the next shots and still feel like a Grand Champion at days end!

As we make our way to Lane 10, John and Doug were sitting there and asked how I did on the pig and I said I dropped it twice, they start laughing and say yeah he heard you screaming YESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

I tell ya, I was elated and it got me on Lane 11, easy-peasy shot at 14yards, rotated my elevation knob to 14, staring at a monster(well big at 50x) killzone, squeeze the trigger to watch the Squirrel shake violently, standing proud!!! Huh?!?! Look closely, yep the Elevation Knob is on 14 but needed one more revolution to be correct, lol!!!! Argggh, mistakes make me my scorecards worst enemy!!!

Eric is doing a good job making adjustments for the sudden POI shift and dropping targets as we head over to Lane 1 and 2, our courses farthest targets. This is where my score usually suffers.

The heat is peaking and the wind is kicking up intermittently for us. The first target is about 35 yards, an owl placed up on a wall about 7 feet off the ground. Not a bad shot but I managed to miss it once. Not sure what happened, shot felt good, wasnt excessively wobbly. The second shot was what I knew to be 45+ yards, nestled up on the hillside:

My scope is telling me its 55 yards, uh oh can we say Optics Related POI shift due to temperature changes! Houston, we have a problem!!! This is new to me, I range it again, rotating the opposite direction on the Sidewheel and its still saying 55 yards!!! Not knowing from past experience or discussion what to do, I click for 55yds, break the shot as religiously as I could and miss, cant find the pellet mark, let shot #2 fly and another miss! Ok, try and keep a tight head now, shake it off and set up for target #3 at 27+ yards:

This partridge is a club favorite that everyone has a profound Love/Hate relationship with! Its endured years of service and fortunately this year, the paddle is taped up red with fresh tape every match compared to years past where it was just left natural/lead coated gray!!!

Well I goose-egged this target as well!!! Oh well, at least I got the pig twice, right?!?!

After Eric and I finish the course, I make the rounds to check out how everyone else is doing catching up with Riz, I get the 411 that he was practicing yesterday and feeling light puffs of air hitting his face with each shot. Through the course of the match, his rifle blasted more air and got louder upon closer inspection, his bolt probe 0-ring was gone! It must have been slowly disintegrating over the past week or so, hence the POI shifts despite the equipment issue, Riz pressed on, doing his best to holdover as Eric did to compensate!

When it was all over, we went inside for the results, raffle and cold refreshments. The final scores, broken out by overall class of Springer and PCP are as follows:

Piston:

Name Score
Doug B 30
Erik K 27
Jonathan 20

PCP:

Name Score
Guy O 45
Tony I 43
Lonnie 42
Kevin 40
John L 34
Matt L 29
Riz 25

After the meeting, we finished up putting targets away in the brand new locking cabinet that we spent the better part of Saturday building in the heat, lol:

As usual, we set up the barbecue grill to prep some chicken to go with the some home made Macaroni Salad that Lonnie made(but admittedly his wife added the final touches to enhance it, gotta give credit where credits due, lol!). Food, lots of cold beverages and more shooting & airgun talk for the next few hours with temps cooling down is the perfect close to a match!

Funny thing is, I had to shoot Lane 1 again and, wouldn't ya know it, that owl target, I quickly realized after a few shots that I was shooting center mass and hitting high! Aiming at bottom of the killzone and it would drop like clockwork! Mr. Fat squirrel/rodent on the hill now my scope is reading 50yds., click to 50 and falling like clockwork Mr. Partridge falling the majority of shots I took -- go figure -- the heat does strange stuff, I'm now a believer having experienced it first hand with temps topping 100 degrees!!!

It was a very challenging, fun and safe shoot thanks to Diablo Rod and Gun Club and all the participants that were there. The camaraderie and sportsmanship was as high as the temps we shot in.. br />
I am looking forward to seeing these faces and many more at the upcoming Fun Shoot on May 31 and throughout the year!

Regards,

Tony