Well, this last Saturday, Andy and AJ made that dream come true at the "DIFTA Fantasy Shoot".
They worked REAL hard at bringing a LOT of fun into an airgun match that was still challenging, disconcerting, heartbreaking, humbling, exhilarating, and hysterically funny.
We arrived to a very normal, sighting in-range:
When the shooters meeting was called, it all started with Gunnery Sargent AJ asking, . . . NAY! DEMANDING RESPECT for his course! How were we to show respect? By having FUN!
Then, Major Andy stepped in to lay down the safety rules and stressing that any shooter caught moaning, grumbling, twitching his mouth or grimacing, would be immediately expelled as a cold-sore.
Having dispensed with the formalities of shooting order, squadding, and making sure that we all understood that some lanes had specific instructions, and if they didn't then we could just as well shoot it as we pleased, as long as it was safe, we proceeded to break the yellow police line and reach our POD, or should I say "point of no return"?.
Veronika and I were, as usual, squadded together and we were assigned to start at the "Flipping Pigeons" lane.
The lane was composed of three targets, to be taken offhand. Two traditional FT's and then two "stars" of clay "pigeons". 1 point for every target felled and two points if you hit one of the clay "pigeons" (about 2" ) at around 40 yards.
Next lane was the Candy Shop:
First target was a wafer (about 1/2" ) glued atop a golf tee:
Then a tiny lollipop (about 3/4" ) and last a standard size Chupa-Chup (around 1").
The play of light and shadow, the wind, and ABSOLUTELY no feedback on misses made it a very interesting target, especially when the candy in question went up in a puff of sugary dust. Scoring system was 1 hit, one point; 1 miss, -1 point! LOL! It was possible to loose up to 6 points in that lane!
Then came "The Hangman" a set of four re-settable disks that had to be put up and then reset with as few shots as possible. 6 points for putting up and resetting all in 5 shots, and from there on 1 point less for each shot taken. ¿The Catch? It HAD to be reset or you lost ALL points! Verónika hit one, missed the next one, hit the next one, and when she missed the next one, decided to go for the reset and ensure the 2 points she had. Risk-reward at its finest!
Then came "The Wire", from tea light cases to medium cans, to large reflecting stainless steel disks, you had to hit two. Tea light cases were so light that the smallest breeze made them swing, a hit would make all the wire dangle and all the tea lights dance around. The cans were more stable, but the breezes made them hide behind some ferns, so you had to time your shots. At the longest distance were the steel disks, . . . with a large hole in the center! LOL! No sense in aiming at the center because there was NOTHING there to hit!
On top of that the breeze swung them all over the place and made them rotate, so that at times they were facing you, at times you only saw the edge.
Then came "Tack Driver", a contraption worthy of Top-Shot! Up close and personal, it looked like this:
A board with large tacks with painted heads that you had to hit squarely, so that the tack would be "driven" and, on top, two pieces of conduit elbows that took the pellets and turned'em sideways to make it hit a bell. Two pipes, one 3/4", the other 1/2", all the tacks 1/2"
I got into trouble here and hit only one of the bells and my two pellets landed close, but did not drive the tack, this was my worst lane, however, Veronika did manage a few hits on the bell and she drove neatly her chosen tack:
We had a spotting scope, so I tried to take a pickie throug the scope. At 20X, this is what the camera captured:
Then came "Pop-Top". You had to hit offhand the TAB of a soda can as near target and then the base of a larger soda can as far target. Two points if you managed it in your first shot, 1 if you managed it in your second shot. Hitting the tab of a soda can produced a distinct and very visible "pop" where the whole tab was pushed in by the pellet.
Then came "2 birds with one stone" where you had to hit the EDGE of a blade, to split the pellet and drop the TWO sides of the target simultaneously. 6 points if you managed it on the first try, 5 on the second and so forth. Here is the target in the up position:
(sorry for the picture quality)
And here is in the proper down position:
If only one side fell, you had to re-shoot it!
Then came "Rodent Roundup" a fairly traditional FT lane, except that it had to be shot offhand and the distances were NOT short! LOL!
After that, we went back to "The Nutcracker" where we started shooting at peanuts glued to tees, progressed to Pecans, and then Walnuts. Nice explosions in all those targets on the first round ensured you a two point score for each distance. Second round hits counted as 1 point. With similar racks as to those used in the Candy Store, the main thing was to choose well your target, among the 60 or so available, as the play of light and shadows, the mottled background of the forest, and the absence of any SOLID surface from which to rangefind, as well as get feedback, made it a VERY interesting lane.
And last, the 'piece de resistance', the aptly named "Intruder", where you had to shoot at an FT that was BEHIND a screen of reflecting disks. Of course we did not know that when we were shooting, I thought that the disks had been cut out of camo material of some sort when in reality what I was looking at as a "finish" was the reflection of the forest environment in the disks! Those reflecting disks were the same we had faced in "The Wire", but this time the hole in the middle was what made the shot possible.
This is "The Intruder" up close and personal viewed from the shooting position:
Now, when viewed from the side:
This target raised some VERY interesting questions: How do you range it?, Where do you shoot? How do you position yourself in relation to the target?
6 points for bringing it down on the first shot and then 1 point less for each attempt.
After that, since some people had to leave, we tried to go for the second round, but after the pistol duels with cans were over, we decided to go on the award-giving ceremony. Here I have to stress that Andy and AJ made sure that EVERYONE got away with an award for the specific named lanes, and then on top of that awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd. First place went to Mr. Martin, that shot the complete match offhand! His award was a 0.308" Win keychain, 2nd place got a 0.223" keychain, and Veronika placed 3rd and got a 9 mm's Para keychain.
To be continued.