Monday, March 16, 2015

Back to the Bucket

I have found a new practice site in a near by river bed.  Time for me to go back to the bucket.  I have been experimenting with different trigger springs, have reworked my pre-draw routine, and developed a slight sway, all of which means that my accuracy has suffered.  So it is back to the bucket. (See earlier practice tips)

I have two young shooters in training, age 8 and 6.  The 8 year old is about ready to move from draw developer to the comfortable gunslinger.  His draw is nice and tight, and we can't see much room for improvement until he is free of the two handed restriction.  What he needs now is bucket work.  His shooting height is 36 inches.  So the bullet must travel upward 14 inches to hit a 50 inch target height at 21 feet.  So 14 inches divided by 21 feet is .66 inches for each foot from the target.  If he shoots at a 6 inch target at 6 feet it should be set at 40 inches which is 36 inch shooting height plus 4 inches (.666 x 6 = 4).   Makes no sense to practice missing.  His PR is .915.  I will post his PR 500 rounds from now.

Bucket work for him at 6 feet will solidify his draw and move him into the comfortable stage.  We shoot at a 6 inch target on cardboard set about 4 inches in front of ballistic material.  The wax falls down into a bucket.  The cardboard shows where the misses hit and as the shooter goes through a 50 shot session his accuracy will tighten into the 6 inch target.  We want to shoot quick, but speed is not important, getting the draw comfortable and repeatable is important.  Speed will come naturally was the shooter gets comfortable.

The 6 year old is still on the table and is about ready to transition to the holster.  He is a point and shoot shooter and hits are important to him.  Shooting at 89-90% now.  I intend to hold him on the table for 3 or 4 months to make sure of his gun handling skills.  I see other mentors load their shooter's gun.  I think it is important that the shooter, even at age 6 on the table, load and unload his or her own gun.  Loading and unloading is valuable time learning and becoming comfortable in handling their gun.  They need every opportunity to exercise of their hand muscles and gain the strength necessary to be a safe shooter.  Don't take this valuable time await from them.

I have a issue to resolve with the 6 year old.  Trying to decide whether to move him directly to his two handed hip level shot from the table and skipping the draw, point, and shoot, stage.  I see two brothers with tons of mentoring struggling with moving from point and shoot stage to hip level shooting..  It stems from their competitiveness.  Even at 6, 7, and 8, they want to win so much, the target just draws them back to the point and shoot stage, especially boys.

I think I will keep the 6 year old on the table shooting point and shoot until he gets his fast draw holster.  Then I will transition him to the holster directly to shooting from the hip.  Will never let him shoot, point and shoot, from the holster.  It will difficult for him because hits are really important to him (always has to report how he beat grandpa) but I think that is the best for him.

New adult shooters may want to consider this.  Start with two handed hip shooting.  Skip the point and shoot stage all together.  Watching new adult shooters, they all struggle moving away from the point and shoot stage.   Generally, if left on our own, we spend a lot of time learning to be quick at point and shoot, then spend years trying to unlearn this stage and move to shooting without aiming or pointing.  Just skip it all together.  Going to try it with the 6 year old.  Will post how it goes.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Sewing Basket

Well, I just can't help myself.  See the Warning on the sidebar!

A while back I attended a "titled shoot" on the banks of one of my favorite rivers (name omitted for political correctness.)  As one of my prizes I received a beautiful hand made sewing basket.  It was just an awesome gift.  I brought it home thinking  that my granddaughter could store her dolls in it. The little woman told me that it was not going to clutter up her house, we are at the age of discarding clutter for the heirs benefit, so the beautiful work of some woman on the plains was banished to a closet in the mountains, where I see it on occasion and lament not having a better use for a sewing basket.

It also reminds of a shoot a few years ago, with maybe a thousand shooters, (nofpc) when I received a $50.00 gift certificate as a prize from a custom ammunition vendor.  I took my gift certificate down to the vendor who was on site to redeem it and found that the minimum order for ammunition would exceed my normal cost of ammunition by tenfold.  I have had a recent similar experience from another shoot (nofpc) with another gift certificate.

The point of all of this lament, is that this stems from a certain rule requiring a certain level of prizes for approval of a shoot.  The only way  for a host to meet this level and keep the entry fee reasonable is to give prizes valued at retail from donors.  Don't misunderstand me.  I appreciate the hosts, I appreciate the donors, I like the shoots, I like the prizes!  I don't like someone telling a host what they have to do to put on an event.

Seems like a lot of running around going in circles sort like a dog chasing it tail.  People wonder why we have states with many shooters but no titled matches.   Well, maybe the state is better off without a titled match.

Hope no one is offended!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Winter Range, Tombstone Revisited!

I did not mean to say, but did say, that one of the top four should have intentionally lost for a competitive advantage.  That is not the cowboy way.  I apologize.  My wife has said for years that my thinking is a half of bubble out of plumb.

Having said that, we are now in the planning stage for next year's shoot, be it a jackpot or state championship.  It is informative to look at this year's shoot at Tombstone (Last Man Standing) as compared to Winter Range (Magnificent Five).

Had Winter Range been a Last Man Standing shoot the results would have been completely different.  Last Man Standing would have resulted in Marshall Cooper 5th, Cobb 6th and Brasanda Spur 7th.  Most likely Cowboy Up would have won since only he had no Xs among the top four shooters, although you never know because he would have been shooting the top four in every subsequent round, two of whom were as quick as he. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th places would have been determined on the line between the Draw, Short Keg and Hyde Hunter.

Which do you prefer?  Last Man Standing is the fairer of the two.  (To highlight the unfairness, 1st place had 4 Xs while second place had only 2 Xs at Winter Range)  Magnificent Five/Seven is the more entertaining. Magnificent Seven is used as nationals and world so that is a good reason to use it here. I have been to other State Championships that use Last Man Standing format.

Having won a Magnificent Five I prefer that format.  We can do either in a jackpot shoot or a state championship I have been lobbying for a major shoot with 17 Magnificent Five shoot-offs, I find that format so much fun, even if a little unfair.

Think about it then let the board know which you prefer.  I suggest an e-mail to a board member, something in black and white has more staying power than word of mouth.

Thanks for reading the ramblings of an old fool.