A Very Rainy Day

For a change the weather prognosticators were right and Saturday morning was better day for a torpedo shoot than any kind of a rifle match.  Over the course of the morning it went from a drizzle to a downpour and back – several times.

We had changed the event from a Winter Offhand Match to an electronic target learning session.  It was a learning session because all of us were going to figure out things about our system.

There was a brief introduction to the system and review of how it works, and then we went over how we intend to set up targets for a match.  We covered sensor setup, cables and target insert installation.

Then, we took all the time folks needed to figure out just how to set up their display device (Smart Phones, dumb phones, tablets, Ipads, Fires and whatever) to connect to our server system.  It was good to see everyone helping one another.  No one person knows just how each and every device works, but one way or another, we figured out how to get everyone hooked up.

I demonstrated how shots show up on the display, and then I divided up the group into “Target 4” and “Target 6” teams and we shot a match on the simulator.  We shot slow fire strings, we shot rapid fire strings, we learned how to handle cross fires and what to do about just out and out misses.

There were questions asked – some of which I could answer, some we just haven’t decided the answer as yet – and some I just don’t know – but I’ll find out.

Probably the most amazing thing at the session was what we found when we took a break.  Most of us have never been out at the range in a serious rain storm, so today was a first for us.  Check out the pictures of the creek.  The creek flows from north to south (right to left) across the range.  On the north side of the bridge that crosses to the 100-yard targets, water had backed up like the bridge and culvert was a dam.  Drift junk has piled up like a beaver dam on the north side of the bridge and just to the south of the bridge water was spilling into the ditch like a waterfall.  What a mess!

That’s not water over dam – it’s water over the bridge – with a waterfall just downstream. Note the “Beaver dam” pile of trash

Unless things just don’t work out, I plan to hold this same training session later this month as an evening session for members who couldn’t make this session.  I am going to send out a notice to the High Power group as well as a general notice to the club.  Thanks to everyone who came out today – it was a good day!

The creek is just about at the top of its banks

Electronic Target Year-end Update

Electronic Target Update – December 31st

Well, the High Power Elves were busy over Christmas; cutting, screwing, clamping, gluing, stapling, measuring twice and trying to cut just once – and we now have four electronic target frames completed.  We’re halfway there! 

Mike Grannis and I plan to go to the range on either January 2nd or 3rd to calibrate the three new targets.  (We will decide which day based on weather and just what kind of a mood we are in …).  If you want to come out to help, observe, kibitz, make helpful suggestions or take a few shots – welcome!  Gripers and complainers – just stay home.

  Harrumph!  I will post a High Power email with details as we get closer. 

At the January Winter Offhand Match, I plan to have the usual 12 targets as well as the addition of targets E1 through E4 – these four targets.  You are invited to use them in the January match if you wish.  This will give me some experience in managing several shooters at a time.  If we run into uh-oh’s or aw-pooh’s, I will let the brave volunteers reshoot on manual paper targets. 

I invite folks to bring some extra ammunition.  Then, after the formal match is over, I want to do some more shooting on the electronic targets.  I want to run some rapid fire strings and I want to simulate things we see in a match like misses and crossfires.  We will shoot until everyone who wants a turn gets a chance – just stay and help me tear down.

I am excited about using these in our summer matches.  They promise to make matches run faster and …  NO PIT DUTY!

Winter Offhand Match- First E-Target Match

Well, for two months in a row we have had a good weather day for a Winter Offhand Match.  Saturday December 14 was just about as mild a day as we could ask for in mid-December; about 35-degrees, no wind and an overcast but bright morning.  We had eleven shooters show up – and at least two more sent notice that family obligations had to take precedence this month.  (That’s one reason we only count three of the five matches for season aggregate!)

By 8:50 we had a full line and no one else in the parking lot, so we started a bit early.   By 10:15 we were done and the day’s standings were as follows:

First:                Mike King        382-6X

Second:           Randy Jahn     372-2X

Third:              Mark Walters 369-7X

This was also the first time we have used our Silver Mountain Targets E-target in a match setting.  I had a high level of confidence that the target would work well, but a lot less confidence in how I would be able to run the system when someone’s score mattered.  I asked Mike King if he would be my guinea pig for the debut – since he is the State High Power Champion, I felt confident that he would do well in this first test.

Mike did very well, as the scores above show.  And, I was pleasantly surprised when the practice in my basement in how to handle things worked out nicely on the range.  In addition to just watching shot placement on the target, folks looked at how the system shows shot velocities and how it calculates the standard deviation of velocity across the string.  Once Mike finished his two strings and saved his target on his phone, the rest of us played with the target for a bit and I practiced deleting cross-fire shots and inserting misses into a shooter’s string.

When we went down-range and compared the group on the tablet to the actual group on the target, if there was any difference in the two it was hard to see and by anyone’s judgment it was much less than one-half of a bullet diameter.

Here is the actual target face at the end of the day.  Only one of the shots out in the white is Mike’s, his second sighter was out at 8-o’clock.  The others and the .308 holes were added in our after match activities.  If all goes well, I want to try to have at least three e-targets for the January match so I can get some experience in managing several shooters at a time.

Actual Target Face

It was good to see some familiar faces we haven’t seen for a while. Russ Bell came out to shoot today, he’s been buried with work and stuff for the last couple of years. Marie and Dennie Shook came out to visit and kibitz – it was good to see them as well.

Our next match will be January 11 at 9:00 AM. Come out and shoot – or just come out and visit for a while.


A line from a movie says; “I love it when a plan comes together!” Well, today a plan came together.  A week or so ago Mike Grannis and I went out to the range to set up the first electronic target and calibrate the target face to the frame.  Well, it didn’t work out so well the first time and we went home with our tails between our legs to learn a bit more about the software.

I did some studying, set up a six-target system in the basement and played with things for a while.  Dave Schnelle answered some questions and late last week I was ready to try again.  Mike and I went out to the range this afternoon and started the process again.  We set the target up at the 100-yard line and went through the setup and calibration process step-by-step.

We’re glad no one was around to watch the process.  Having two retired engineers try to read a set of instructions on operating a computer system is, to say the least, interesting.  Mike had his iPad, I had my Nexus 7 and we followed each other along as we tried to figure out the simple directions.  It was an “Insert Tab A into Slot B while folding at Line C” procedure and each step was thoroughly debated before any buttons got pushed.

But, after a while we got things going and it was time to put a hole in the target to do the up-down, left-right correction. Mike got to do the honors and shot a 10, just out of the X at 11:30.  The uncalibrated system showed it as a 9, just out of the 10 ring at 11:30. We went downrange and measured the vertical and horizontal offsets from the center of the X.  We went back to the warm clubhouse, (thank you Mr. Sweeney) – made the conversion to millimeters and punched them into the system!

SON OF A GUN!  The shot’s location on the two displays popped to exactly the position it had been on the target.  We looked, compared and decided that it was time go for it.  I put on my Range Officer Hat (really a warm fuzzy cap today) and called the shooter to the line.  I set Mike up for 2 sighters and 10 shots for record on a 200-yard target.

Electronic Target on 100-Yard Line
Yes, it was that dark, dreary and sloppy!

Things worked just like we had hoped they would.  The system marked the first two shots just where they were on the target and labeled them S1 and S2.  The third shot was labeled as 1, and so on it went through shot 10.  I had Mike shoot mid-ring shots, shots at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock out in the white.  He finished up with X-ring shots to close out the string.  The system scored properly, every shot showed a velocity and there was a running calculation of velocity Standard Deviation as the string progressed.

My confidence in the system went up a lot on the third shot in the string.  According to the system, Mike put a shot right on the 10-ring at about 2:30.  When I took a look through the spotting ‘scope, there the hole was was, sitting on top of the 10 ring line right where it was supposed to be. (You can see the hole in the actual target and Shot 3 on the display)

TargetView Display on Nexus 7 Tablet
Note location of shot 3 – right on the line

Actual Target Face
Compare Shot 3 on 10-ring line at 2:30 to TargetView Display

There is more testing to be done and I still have to learn more about the operations I need to do to run a line efficiently.  But, we have demonstrated that we can build a stable target frame, can set up a system and have confidence that the system is telling us what is really happening downrange. 

Many thanks to Mike Grannis for his advice, insight from his experience with his SMT system and sweat and chilling as we learn how to make this work.

Now we just need to build a bunch more!

Heat at the Range – Update

Range Update: 

For the last several months, we have had issues with the propane furnace in the Clubhouse out at the range.  The initial issue was with the gas valve.  Jim Sweeney replaced the gas valve and the unit operated intermittently for a while; then the igniter didn’t spark. Jim worked on the igniter circuit, cleaned contacts – adjusted points – whatever, and it worked intermittently again. 

By now, too much time and money had been spent on it and by the time we would have had a professional come out and take a look at it – we would have had over half the cost of a new unit in the repair on a well-used unit. So, the decision was made to just drop in a new unit.  Guess what – the new unit didn’t work either. 

After some more checking and poking about, it turned out that the pressure regulator on the propane tank had failed.  The propane guy said “Well, they hardly ever fail”, but after he checked all of our work – guess what?  It had failed. 

The heater wants about 1 PSI gas pressure – not a lot of flow.  The regulator on the tank had failed and was putting 50 PSI to the heater gas valve.  The valve is designed as Fail Safe – it just won’t open with that much supply pressure on the inlet side.  Good idea – that much gas would blow the back out of the building if the igniter tried to light it. 

Now – we have a new furnace (the old one really was past fixing), we have a new regulator on the propane tank and – we have heat in the building!  Thank you, Jim Sweeney, for dealing with all of the aggravation.

Winter Offhand Match – November 9, 2019

Saturday, November 9th was the opening match for the 2019 – 2020 Winter Offhand season.  This was the first time we have held this match on a Saturday morning, and 12 shooters came out for the match

The weather looked a lot like Indiana in winter, about 30 degrees and overcast – but no wind to speak of.  The line filled up early and we got underway at 8:55.  The final Cease Fire was at about 10:15, so it was a quick match.

Mark Richard “Creedmored” Mike King to take the top shooter of the day position.  Both Mark and Mike shot 377’s, but Mark’s 7X bumped Mike’s 3X into second place.  Mark Walters took third with a 364-4X.

The Overachiever of the Day award goes to Kris Hartwig with a 168-0X in the first string.  Kris shot a 1917 Enfield with an open ladder sight that required him hold on the target frame for an aiming point.

The first target frame and electronics of our electronic target system were on display and several folks took the opportunity to log into the server hotspot on their phones.  I plan to have the first target active for the next match to give me some experience on managing an active target.

Our next match will be the second Saturday in December – December  14th at 9:00.  Come on out and join us.

Mid-Range Tournament; October 12, 2019

The Wailing Wall – Still Better Than A Spreadsheet!

The formal 2019 High Power Season closed on Saturday, October 12th with the Mid-Range Tournament.  The tournament consisted of three 60-shot matches which could be shot with any rifle (Service or Match) but at least one Match had to be shot with iron sights.

As suited a day in early fall it was a brisk morning, about 35-degrees at the match start and it only warmed up to 45-degrees as the day went on.  The light 7 MPH wind from the SW built up  through the day and by the last Cease Fire at 1:30, it had wound up to a 13 MPH wind with gusts to about 25 MPH.  But – it didn’t rain and we can claim that for 2019 we did not have a single High Power Match rained out.

Eleven shooters made up the group of participants.  Mark Walters won Match 1, an ANY/ANY Match, with a 200-7X clean but Dan Weigel took the other two matches with an ANY/ANY 198-7X and an ANY/IRON 197-5X.

Overall Match results were:

First:                Dan Weigel                 594-22X

Second:   Mark Walters             590-18X

Third:              Don Link                      570-12X

Thanks to all who came out for the Match and Thanks to the folks who made it happen while I was out of town.

Our next Match will be a 40-round Winter Offhand Match on the second Saturday in November, November 9th at 9:00 A. M.  Note the day and time– a change from our 1:00 P. M. Sunday format we have kept for a long time.           

Leonard Johnson Memorial Match Results

On Saturday 28 September we held the Leonard Johnson Memorial Match.  Eight shooters in four teams participated on a day that threatened, but never delivered, rain.  More importantly, there was no wind for most of the day – an important fact when you consider that shooting .22 rimfire at 200 yards can be like shooting .30 caliber at 1000 yards if there is any wind to speak of.

The Match Winners were the team of Larry Howell and Jim Jackson with a team aggregate of 772-20X.  The .22 caliber rimfire winners were the team of Jerry and Doug Johnson with a 386-10X.  They also won the Service Rifle 300 yard stage with a 381-8X.  Mark Walters and Jim Schieltz were the Match Rifle 300 yard winners with a blistering 392-15X.

200 Yard Prone the Hard Way; .22 Rimfire!

The Wailing Wall Tells It All ...

Electronic Target Progress

Progress on Electronic Targets

The electronic target project is moving forward fairly well.

Our target hardware has been ordered and we had planned to pick up the equipment at the State Championship at Atterbury last weekend, but Silver Mountain – the target vendor – found an issue with an upgrade.  The issue did cause some delay in the State Tournament and Dave Schnelle, the US representative for Silver Mountain decided that the upgrade that he had incorporated in our equipment was not quite ready for prime time.  There is testing going on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and we will go pick up our equipment when the upgrade has been thoroughly checked out.

Meanwhile, we have been developing the frame that will hold the target face and the electronics.  The frame has to be rigid for accuracy, it has to fit into our existing target carriers and it has to be of a size that we can store in the target shed.  Oh yes, it has to be as light as possible, make the best use of material and be easy to duplicate.  A typical engineering problem.

The first version didn’t make the cut for rigidity – it was taken apart and reused to make the second version.  Version Two looked pretty good, so I took it out to the range and did fit checks with the target carrier and the target shed.  It fits both places – no problems.

We have a set of sensor mounts coming to let us move forward with locating them on the frame, and we are ordering the Coroplast plastic sheeting for the actual target base and the target face material. (Of course it takes one thickness for the target base and another for the locating matrix and the actual target face.)  If all goes well, we will have everything come together about the same time and we can start checking out how to run the system.  I plan to have several evening sessions at the range to teach folks how to run the shooter and scorer interfaces on their SmartPhones, Tablets, IPads or whatever so we don’t have to learn the system at the same time we’re trying to shoot a match.

Update; 28 October

I’ve built the third version of a frame that solves a couple of issues with the second version. It is lighter, and it has more open space for target face indexing mounts. This one looks pretty good.

Target Frame with positioning brackets

And, with a target face holder in place

Then, to top things off, Mark Richard delivered the Silver Mountain Target hardware. Everything was in the boxes like we had ordered and now I’m trying to figure out how to run the software as a User, Admin and Ranger Officer.

Christmas in October!

I’m trying to get out to the range to check out how to mount the SOLO target unit, the antenna and how to run the cables around the frame to keep them as far from harm’s way as I can. Then, we calibrate the target face in the frame and we see how it works!

Mike King Wins State Championship!

Sue Mogle
Presents Mike King With State Champion Award

Topping off a summer in which he achieved Distinguished Rifleman status, Mike King closed out the competition season in Indiana by winning the Dan Ireland Trophy at the ISRPA State Championship 600-Yard Match at Camp Atterbury last Saturday with a 781-30X score.  Since he won the match, he was also recognized as 1st High Master.  A good friend of the club, Mark Richard, took 2nd High Master with a 767-24X and Mark Walters claimed 3rd Master with 773-14X.  Geoff Branson scored 745-21X in the Master class as well.

Mark Richard with State Champion Aggregate Trophy

For 2019, Mark Richard won the State Aggregate Championship with a 2323-70 (2400 possible) aggregate across the three matches.  Again, congratulations to Mark on perseverance and good shooting!  Two good friends of the club also made impressive showings in the three match aggregate; Dave Schnelle posted a close 2313-63X and Bob Working claimed 2290 -61X.

The ISRPA High Power championship series consists of three State Championship Matches; 100 yard reduced, 200/300/600 reduced and the 600 yard across the course match.  The competitor with the high aggregate across those three championship matches is declared the State Aggregate Champion.