Tuesday 5th February

The first full day of the world individual long range championships certainly generated some good stories. The individual competitions are shot in 3 stages, each comprising 15 counting shots at 800, 900 & 1000 yards. All are shot on the same size targets so scoring becomes progressively harder (and the wind affects bullet flight more at the longer distances).  This morning we finished stage 1, having shot the first 800 yard shoot yesterday afternoon. Those hoping that an early position on their string would see a calm start to the day were disappointed.

The 900 yard shoot was challenging, the winds building further through the 2 hours that it took to complete the range. By the time that we ‘fell back’ to 1000 yards the wind was blowing straight down the range but angling in both directions.  Some chose to take on the changes, making sight corrections as needed. Others waited for the wind to change back to something that they felt they could read – not always correctly. We were reassured to see that the reigning world champion (Ben Ems from Australia) managed only 57 ex 75. His Commonwealth games partner (Jim Bailey) did rather better, having already won the New Zealand championships last week.

Amongst GB shooters, David Luckman finished stage 1 strongest – lying 4th overall and winning the 900 yard match with 75.9.  At least one of us managed to hit every scoring ring at 1000 yards and scores in the 40s and 50s were common – something that is not seen on most ranges around the world.  The final shoot of the day saw us return to 800 yards for the first range of stage 2 – to be completed tomorrow. Scoring was still challenging and didn’t get easier through the afternoon.

After 8 hours of competition and concentration, we retired to the clubhouse area to discuss our achievements whilst awaiting prize-giving for stage 1.   Jim Bailey leading overall, David being the highest placed British shooter (4th overall) and both he and Chris Fitzpatrick (GB Veterans team) picking up individual range medals.

The day finished for half the team with a lovely barbecue prepared by Tom Drysdale and Jack.

The forecast for tomorrow is for wind direction to rotate 180 degrees so it will be coming straight down the range from in front, no doubt switching to both sides.  It should be another interesting day!

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