Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Busy Weekend

This Saturday we had planned to do practical rifle / shotgun with one group on Saturday morning and the Saturday afternoon group.

We generally use the two long ranges for training, one is called the ‘270’ range, the other the ‘rifle’ range. A month ago the guys who set up for the IPSC trophy shoot asked if they could use the 270 range this weekend and give me on of the other (shallower but wider) ranges in return. As I would be working with the non-rifle / shotgun people I agreed.

However, Friday afternoon around 3pm the Chief Instructor gets a call telling him that we can not use the rifle range this Saturday as some range works were being done!

This caused us to re-evaluate what we were going to do, as it really is not worth doing rifle / shotgun if we can’t use either the 270 or the rifle range. So we ended up with two sets of plans for Saturday – depending on what the TRUE situation was up at the range.

Normally for a trophy shoot the guys come up on Friday or early on Saturday to set up. When we got there the bulldozer was running around the rifle range, but nothing set up or happening on any of the other ranges.

We decided therefore to go with the original plans and use the 270 range for the rifle / shotgun training and I used one of the wider / shallower range for my group.

We were expecting 6 people for the rifle / shotgun – of which 5 turned up. We discovered the other one had been deployed to Papua New Guinea so we sort of understood his non-appearance.

I was expecting 9 in my group, of which 7 turned up. Most of my group have been shooting for 7 or more weeks and were really getting the hang of gun handling and safety. So I decided that I would make things interesting for them this week. The Chief Instructor made me up 100 dummy rounds so that I could force stoppages.

So after doing a few ‘wake up” standard exercises I asked them to empty two mags for me and take out 10 rounds. I gave them 10 dummy rounds and got them to mix up the rounds and load the mags. We then had a chat about stoppages and jams, how they can happen and what you need to do in each case. I then took the loaded mags off them, mixed them up and distributed them.

We then went to the firing line to practice the ‘bash, rack, bang’ method of stoppage clearance. It was a lot of fun. By about the third stoppage they were remembering to take their fingers off the trigger when they cleared them. We ended up doing the whole process three times with different (loaded / unloaded) start positions.

I then reorganised the range with three targets on the top right corner of the range and three on the top left, with boxes near each group of targets. We then practiced shooting strong hand at the right group of targets, doing a mandatory reload on the way and shooting weak hand at the left group. We then reversed the process. Everyone did very well. No one broke 90 on the mag changes (which is one of the things I was really testing with this scenario).

On another small range I had set up for an El Presidente ( shoot. Three of the trainees were scheduled to do the Range Officer’s role this week as well. So I explained how the shoot worked, ROed the first trainee through, she then ROed the second, who ROed the third. Then they took on the ROing role (with me standing off their right shoulder) for the rest of the trainees. We shot the stage three times and a couple of the trainees were getting sub-10sec times, which is pretty good.

This used up all of the ammo so we called it a day (well it was also mid-day at this stage!).

During this stage the guys turned up to set up for the IPSC trophy shoot. So after we finished I went and had a chat to them about which ranges they needed etc. Turns out they didn’t need the 270 range after all, which meant that it was free for the afternoon’s training group.

All except one of the afternoon trainees turned up by 2pm, so we headed off to the 270 range with rifles in hand. All of the trainees have shot rifles a lot before, however they haven’t had experience with ‘practical rifle’ and the associated rules. We started off just doing static shooting with four different types of .22 rifles. My single shot Stirling and one of the bolt action ones were the most popular.

We then set up a stage with a door and a couple of windows and ran them through a practical stage. Two of the trainees turned up range with the rifles when they had finished the stage – as you would when out hunting (barrels were down, actions open) so we reminded them of the rules of practical shooting. We shot this stage twice, once with the bolt action and once with the lever action. No one had any other issues with the shooting.

So we then set up a target at about 25m (furthest extent of the range) and set up the Hornet on its bipod. We then gave everyone 5 rounds and decided to do a “smallest group” challenge. All except one trainee got all of their shots within a $2 sized area (this trainee only had one shot outside). An Australian $2 coin has a diameter of 2cm. There were 5 rounds left after the trainees had shot. So the Chief Instructor shot two, again within the $2 coin area and then it was my turn … eeekkk … I’ve not done any rifle shooting like this so I wasn’t sure how I would do. Anyway, I managed to get my three shots within the same sized area (phew)!

It was still pretty early when we finished the rifle shooting so we decided to get the semi-auto shotgun and my Tuffy out and had some fun with these.

Once the ammo was gone we called it a day and headed up to the Club House for a beer or two.

The plans this morning was to head out to an Orienteering course bright and early. However “bright and early” didn’t happen. We still decided that we would try and get to the registration point by the close-off time but we weren’t sure that we would make it (it’s about 50kms from where we live).

We actually managed to make it with 2mins to spare!

So I registered while my husband got the girls organised and then we set off on the “Easy Course”. We did some Orienteering last winter and the definition of the “Easy Course” seemed to be that there were easy to follow tracks between the check points. However, there were a few checkpoints on this course that weren’t joined by tracks and actually required some overland navigation.

My eldest normally does the navigation with a bit of help and she managed quite well today. We did lose one checkpoint and found another group of people who also couldn’t locate it. Hubby and the girls decided to have a sit down while I scouted around with this group to locate it. Which, luckily we did a short time later.

My youngest doesn’t like walking at all. So she started complaining the minute we left the start point and didn’t stop the whole time. Falling down twice didn’t help the situation. It’s a bit hard to know what to do with her. My eldest loves orienteering (as do I). Hubby quite enjoys getting out in the bush and we can’t really leave a 6y.o. at home on her own so we need to take her with us. But it does get quite frustrating when all she does is whinge and complain for 2.8kms!

I think being able to navigate via a map (and map / compass) is a very important skill to have so I really want to encourage her to join in with us and help navigate but so far I haven’t found a way.

After the walk we decided to meet up with a friend and go out to a local vineyard for lunch. The platters and wine went down well! A nice way to finish the weekend.

1 comment:

Old NFO said...

That sounds like a great weekend! Family time, shooting practice (I told you YOU need trigger time too); and good training. Re the youngest, I don't have a clue... Maybe try to find 'her' outdoor thing that she likes???