Electronic Targets at the ready- The wind hasn’t picked up as yet!

Saturday, May 9th was the inaugural 50/80 Match on the new Silver Mountain electronic targets.  Our target setup can support five active shooters per relay (one target is held as a spare in case something happens with an active target) and we had scheduled two relays in the morning session and two relays in the afternoon session.  Twenty shooters quickly pre-registered for the two sessions and as things progressed, three shooters had to drop out and they were quickly replaced with three more.

Saturday morning dawned as a frosty morning; there was frost on the grass over much of the range – but the wind was initially calm.  We had scheduled to have our first shot go down range at 9:00, but the first and second relay had gathered by 8:40 and when Jim Sweeney, the FWRR President arrived for the First Shot Ceremony, we got things under way.  Jim noted that “… the future of organized High Power shooting was moving toward electronic targets and this match marked the start of a new chapter of FWRR High Power.”

Jim Sweeney fires the Ceremonial First Shot at the Inaugural Electronic Target match

As the first and second relays moved through the match, the calm wind conditions that existed at the start of the match quickly changed – and gusty, cold and blustery winds became the rule.  In accordance with social distancing guidelines, competitors were asked to wear masks except when actually shooting and it turned out that masks came in handy just to keep noses warm!  By the time we moved back to 300-yards, several shooters were heard to make the comment “I can’t feel my fingers”.  Such is May in Indiana.

But, if High Power shooters aren’t complaining about being hot, they have cold to mumble about, so we went back to 300-yards and finished the match. The morning session closed out about 11:15; two-and-a-half hours for an 80-round Regional Match Course.

As the morning shooters packed up and headed to the house to warm up, the afternoon relays took to the course.  We started about 12:00-noon and finished at 3:00.  The afternoon relays might not been as cold as the morning, but the winds became even more blustery as the day progressed.  One afternoon competitor measured winds at 25 MPH with gusts to 32+MPH.

Relays 3 and 4 – Sitting Rapid. Note the wind ribbon on the scope stand

But all in all, it was a good day.  Competition for top spot was close, but Joe Bakies from the Lima Sabers “Creedmored”  FWRR’s Mike King to take top honors for the day

Match Winner:           Joe Bakies                                           772-25X

Second Place:             Mike King                                            772-22X

Third Place:                 Mark Richard                                      762-18X

High Junior:                Madeline Schnelle (Wildcat Valley)  564-  4X

The electronic target system worked well.  There were some issues with targets going off the air, but we believe that this is due to some super-cheap Chinese cables supplied with the batteries.  We have replaced those cables with regular cheap Chinese cables and we believe that should eliminate cables as an issue.  We also had several bullets just vanish on the way to the target (probably about five bullets), but we believe that the extremely blustery winds might have had something to do with that.  A 99.68% arrival rate isn’t bad for a first outing.

I want to offer special thanks to the crew who acted as “Pit Sitters” for us; Marty Didion and Chip Seidel in the morning session (thanks for the donuts Marty) and Mike King and Mike Bailey for the afternoon.  Having people in the pits to resolve battery and cable issues as well as swap out target faces was a huge factor in moving the matches along.

And, as always, another huge THANK YOU to Glenna and Mike Grannis for their willingness to be my Stat Office; collecting money and registrations, gathering and tallying scores and just running around and helping in a lot of places.

Our next match will be June 13th – the second Saturday in June.  As of now I plan to run five relays in this match; two morning and three afternoon relays and I plan to start the match at 8:00 so we won’t run so late in the afternoon.  By 8:00 we have absolutely fantastic light on those white plastic target faces and it will make for a good early session.  This will give us places for at least 25-shooters, and if several things develop as they promise to do – we may have room for up to 35 shooters that day.  Stay tuned for more information on this!