A brisk morning quickly warmed up as a field of twenty shooters went through the safety briefing prior to the Field Steel shoot.
Fifteen stages and a round count of eighty awaited them.
A bit of an international event this time – we had shooters from NZ, South African a couple of Swiss and four shooters from New Caledonia.
Variety in Field Steel Shooting
Christian had set up a variety of stages for us to shoot. Ranging from simple (made tricky by wind swirling down and around in the gullies below) prone shooting, through to barricade shooting in multiple positions and a couple of no-shoot ‘hostage’ style scenarios.
The tree stage being a great example – a crook in the tree, off of which you shoot at an IPSC plate, with two no-shoots on either side, at 468 meters. Not only was it a tree fork – not the flattest, easiest of rests, but the ground in front of it was eroded and uneven. It was a case of trying to find a position where you could get your legs up, supporting your elbows and lock into position.
I have just started using a sling in these positions, as well as the Wiebad Pump Pillow – and coordinating all the parts into some resembling a coherent position to shoot from was a bit of a challenge. It is something I will persist with, because once you got locked in, the sling and support did get everything stable.
At the other end of the spectrum – the 1070m plates.
Well – my goal was always to get the .308 out over 1 kilometer, and I can do it ‘comfortably’ now!
Spotting – as challenging as shooting?
Certainly as stressful at some points. Especially when you are spotting for some like Christian.
Certainly for me, where I am still learning to call my own shots, now being responsible for calling and potentially correcting for someone with a lot more experience – I felt a bit of (totally self-inflicted) pressure to get things right.
However. Field Steel is also a phenomenal way to learn. Watching other people’s shots lets you repeatedly see where their bullets are going, forces you to be constantly trying to evaluate the wind and also gets you thinking in terms of correcting from the last seen shot.
Christian and I have had several discussions about it since the Field Steel shoot and I can confidently say you will be seeing a lot more discussion and ‘instruction’ about spotting coming up on this site in the future.
The New Caledonians (our shooting tourists!), despite seeming to be rather cold (based on their heavy jackets) managed to take away the two top spots – some great shooting and the heavier .338s seeming to be the winning combination on the day. Congratulations to Sebastian and Rudi!
Photos by Sebastian
Things to improve on
A couple of stages involved a fairly simple setup, out to 550 metres. In this particular lane – the wind comes down from the right, hits another valley coming in from the left and swirls.
Also – I have no doubt that without Christian helping out with the spotting – I would likely have been even further down in the list – it’s hard to understate the help that someone who can accurate call your misses makes.
Getting comfortable on the barricades
The difference between getting into a comfortable, solid position, and ‘good enough’ also can’t be understated. I pretty much knew when I was going to be on and when I was rushing things. It’s amazing the difference a timer makes!
After shooting and knowing that I should have spent more time getting comfy, I would often find I also had piles of time left available to me – so shouldn’t have!
Photos by Simon Gillice of Gillice Practical Rifle Events
Overall, another great day out on the hill! I am keen to get some more time practising my wind calls and spotting and have a couple of things to sort gear wise before the next shoot. Learnt heaps, looking forward to the next Field Steel Shoot!