By David E. Petzal
About a month ago, I qualified in a 600-yard rifle match which was, as they say, a learning experience. There were about 20 shooters, and all were veterans, and far better shots than I. They included at least one Distinguished Expert, a national record holder or two, a state rifle team member, and so on. I was in way over my head. But what impressed me most about these virtuosi was not only how well they shot, but how fast.
We shot three 20-shot strings for record, and for each string we had 20 minutes. However, from this 60 seconds was deducted the 15 to 18 seconds it took for our targets to be pulled, marked, and run back up. So we got about 45 seconds per shot. Just about all the competitors needed far less than that. Each relay finished in about 15 minutes, which is really cranking them off. And remember that this included cycling the action, checking the wind flags, noting where your previous shot had gone and wondering “WTF?”, aiming, and squeezing the trigger.