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GSAC 1000yd Benchrest 20 August 2017


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Gelston 1000yd Benchrest Shoot 20th August 2017

Well, after the annual open shoot run by GSAC we normally see a drop off in numbers as parents take the last opportunity to spend time with their families before the munchkins head back to school here in Dumfries & Galloway, however, this year saw none of that. maybe the dads were wanting to escape after 6 weeks of school holidays! Darrel had informed me during the week that we were looking at 20 competitors attending this month so it looks as if this 1000yd benchrest lark in the south-west of Scotland is becoming popular. If there is anyone interested please dont be afraid to contact Onslow52 or myself on here, and please dont think you need anything fancy to try it. If you have a rifle capable of reaching 1000yds there are plenty of folk that will let you borrow front rests and rear bags to allow you to have a go. As long as you know your velocity, zero distance and the rifle is capable, well get you on.

Anyway, to the competition, and as it happens there were 3 no shows with 1 club member even forgetting about it. Campbell!!!!!!! Factory and Heavies are up first this month after the lights starting last month, and on bench 1 of detail 1 is Ed Walker, the FS open and club champion. How will he go in the very light winds were encountering? Well, hes up and running with a high 9. A 1st timer, John Marshall on bench 2 using a borrowed (shot out?) .308 is on the target but with a 38. Regular Davie Sharp is on bench 3 and hes up and running with a 14 and Geoff McCluskey is mid-13. Relay 2 and Ed improves by a tenth, John is getting better and down in the 35s, Davie slips out slightly and Geoff improves by a couple of inches. Relay 3 and Ed is back down to his Open shoot figures with a mid-7, John improves again but Geoff slips out by an inch. Final relay for this detail and Ed just keeps it below a 12, John improves yet again and hes down to the low 20s now. Well done John good improvement. I hope youll be back next month. Bench 4 and Geoff sticks in high 6 with his 6BR. Conclusions? It looks like Ed has made the most of the light winds with a 9.724 agg. How will the next relay do?

Peter Cousar, Euan Shaw (new guy number 2, again on the borrowed 308), myself and Martin Bell. Peter kicks off in the 16s, Euan has a low 28 for his first go at 1000yds, I start with a mid-8 and Martin has a 29. Relay 2 and Peter, shooting slowly, gets bitten by an increase in the fish-tailing wind, Euan continues with the newbies run of improving with his 2nd relay. Me, as I was about to take my 3rd shot I feel the wind pick up against my face. A quick decision is needed.the accepted way is to shoot through but Im fairly certain its just a gust so I delay pulling the trigger for a couple of seconds before carrying on. Did I do the right thing? Well it didnt matter as I got caught by another gust as I let off the final shot and Im out in the 12s. Martin improves to a mid-18 though. Relay 3 and the wind has settled down again. Peter gets his best of the day with a high-16, Euan continues to improve, this time getting the rifles best of the day with a high-18, I just miss out on another 8 by 16 thou and Martin records a 14. Final relay for FS and theres a bit of friendly barracking from behind the shooting line as Ed begins to think his agg is in danger. Id hoped it was, however, Mother Nature was having her say. Yes, the wind had picked up and was fishtailing again.no, thats not an excuse as will be evidenced by the scores for this relay. Peter is out to a 26, Euan a 29 and Martin a mid-18. Im sitting at the bench keeping a close eye on the wind flags, hoping to catch a lull. I can hear someone in the background explaining to one of the new guys what I was doing but it wasnt really registering. I was concentrating on the flags..3 minutes of the 5 minute detail down and Ive still not fired my sighterwait, its settled a bit. Off I go. Can I beat the wind? No I cant. It picks up as I fire round 4. Oh well, too late to worry now. Lets get round 5 down. Yup, just as I thought. Im out in the mid-14. Ed wins again. To add insult to injury, as I was tallying up the results I realise that not only have I been beaten by Ed but Geoff, with his 6.811 final relay has only gone and beaten me by 0.25mm (we measure in millimetres and convert to old currency for the results), thats 10 thou of an inch at 1000yds!

Detail 3 and its a mix of light & heavy due to rifle sharing. Tony Lenton has brought his heavy 300wsm out to play as we had been hoping Alan Maughan was going to bring the Big Dog across to Gelston for a bit of a play, however family commitments meant he didnt make it. Maybe just as well for Tony who, despite being the most experience benchrest shooter in attendance took 13 rounds to get zeroed in. a salutary tale in keeping records of your scope setting for the new lads by Tony. Anyway, off we go and its a battle of the 300wsms with Tony using his and Paul sharing Mallys rifle on the next detail. In amongst the 2 heavies is Davie Rankin and his light gun. Taking 13 to get on obviously helped Tony get used to the prevailing weather conditions, recording 2 mid-9s, a mid-10 and a low-8 giving an agg of 9.498 for the day. Paul, with the borrowed rifle, aggs a 14.488. Davie has a decent run and kicks off the light gun with a 12.027 agg using what he believes is a shot out riflenot a bad agg for Gelston Mr Rankin.

Detail 4 and its a mix again, with Mally taking control of his own rifle. How will he fair against Paul? Will the different load he is using compared to Paul make a difference? Well, as time will tell, yes it does. 3 light guns in the hands of John Gilpin, Lewis McIlreavy and Glyn Cartwright. Perhaps it should be noted at this point that the wind has gradually increased as the day has progressed, coming into the range from the right of the firing point so youd expect a bit of horizontal to be showing on the targets. How will these guys get on? Johns 6br has been blown about a bit from the look of it with a 17, Lewis on a 14, Glyn recording a very respectable mid-9. Mally? Not a good start compared to Paul. He has a 22 (just!) versus Pauls 15.oops. Relay 2 and John improves with a mid-14 called but looking through the spotting scope theyre on the edge of the target and unfortunately for him theres 1 that cant be found on the target so a mid-14 + 1 penalty. Lewis down into the 13s but Glyn has gone out to a mid-20. Mally records a mid-17, only 5 larger than Pauls 2nd relay this time. John gets all on for the 3rd relay with a low-19, Lewis improves and is in the 12s, Glyn recovering and in the 14s but Mally goes the other way and records a group 9 larger than Paul.. this is not looking good for Paul. The unwritten rule is when using a borrowed rifle, never, ever beat the rifles owner if you want to borrow it again (I do of course jest, but the situation lends itself to some banter on the firing point). Last relay of this detail and John has a massive 39, requiring the ruler and callipers to measure it (sorry John. It had to be said. Lol). Lewis has gone the other way and records the smallest group of the day with a 6.574. Well done Lewis in difficult conditions. Glyn finishes on a 16. Mally gets a 19 this time, only a half inch bigger than Paul this time, but with an agg 6.5 bigger so Tony takes the HG class followed by Paul and Mally.

Final detail of the day and there are only 2 competitors on the benches, Bruce Bell with his trusty 6.5 x 55 and Darrel McIlreavy. Off we go, Bruce gets an 11, Darrel a rather unusual mid-16. Relay 2 and Bruce is still in the 11s but improving slightly, Darrel, down in the very low-9s. Thats more like we expect to see from him. Next we have another 11 from Bruce, nice consistency Bruce and Darrel with a 10. We reach the last relay of the day and whats happened? Bruce has a 23? Darrel is a mid-7, well into the target area but the scoring crew can only find 4 holes. Has he put 2 through 1 hole? Nope, the scorers are certain there are only 4 on target. Did the wind catch them out? Possibly since Bruce had a bigger group than his previous 3, but as stated Darrels group was well into the centre of the target. It wouldve taken a 30 increase in wind strength to push it off. In the end it would appear that, as sometimes happens, the bullet broke up in flight.
You may recall me mentioning the wind coming in from the right of the firing point. On most ranges you would expect that to equate to horizontal showing on the target, but no, not at Gelston. Theres a small knowe in the hillside maybe 120 yards in front of the targets. The topography funnels the wind into a valley as it travels right to left in front of the firers and when it hits the knowe it obviously gives the bullets a bit of a kick. Practically every target through the day showed vertical when horizontal would be expected. Thats not to say horizontal doesnt happen, its just that in lighter winds it appears on our targets as vertical.

Ive not mentioned the nearest the bull competition that runs concurrently. Normally there are a couple of contenders during the day, but not this day! It all started off in detail1. Davie Sharp kicking it off on relay 1 with a nearest of 44mm. This was trumped by Ed Walker on relay 2 on bench 1 with a 34mm.it didnt last long, newbie John Marshall on bench 2 taking it by 1mm with a 33mm, but wait, Davie Sharp on bench 3 takes it now with a 31mm. This is getting to be fun! We werent finished with detail 1 though on relay 3 Geoff McCluskey gets a 29mm. Im sure Ill get called out for this, however, I think it was indicative of the relatively benign conditions that allowed a run like this that has never been known at Gelston before. All the while the chirrup from the back was saying, just wait, the Irishman hasnt shot yet in deference to Darrel who traditionally comes along later in the afternoon and nicks the award from everyone. Would it happen again today? Well nothing happened again until detail 4 when Glyn reduced the figure significantly to 17mm. would it last? No..the Irishman has done it again on his 2nd relay, yes Darrel has taken it with a 15mm but its not his to keep this time, Bruce Bell, shooting beside Darrel takes it on relay 3 with an impressive 9mm, 0.354 in old money. Well done Bruce, commiserations Darrel. Many thanks to the various butts crew members of the day, efficient as always, and also to the ROs.

The certificate and small group patch presentation ended yet another enjoyable day at Gelston with the next date to look forward to being the 3rd September when some of the Gelston Massive will be heading off on our annual pilgrimage to Diggle to participate in their final 1000yd competition of the season. Our next shoot at Gelston will be the 20th of September. I look forward to seeing everyone then.


League Standing

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