Boomershoot Precision Rifle Clinic
As I have already gotten requests for slots to the 2K9 Clinic, I think that an AAR for 2K8 is in order as I am seeing new names and they may want to review this AAR to focus themselves on this great series of shooting events.
We shot in some pretty interesting conditions on Friday. High winds with ice pellet storms. For me, that was uncommon for the Boomershoot but not the worse I have experienced at the Clinic so take it as it was. The winds we had offered an excellent opportunity to practice our wind doping and we learned our lessons and gained some confidence that we could stay on top of such winds well enough to hold IPSC size steel targets as long as we could see them. Such conditions were extreme but I doubt anyone will forget the experience or more importantly, how the Clinic shooters dominated these conditions. I am sure firing in 25 – 30 MPH winds and ice pellet storms will be something the shooters won’t soon forget. Saturday was a great day with sun and mild temperatures. And of course it was a fantastic day for the Boomershoot itself. Lesson learned? Bring clothing that will take you from snow through 80 degree temperatures and from dark overcast through brilliant sunshine. Also, ensure you bring the right material for your firing position that keeps you and your gear comfortable.
Rifle, Optic, Ammunition
The technical issues this year are a repeat from pervious Clinics. The bottom line is this. If you want to hit targets that are right around one minute of angle to 700 yards, you need a rifle, optic, and ammunition combination that will hold 1 MOA and better yet, less than 1 MOA. I mention all three mechanical components; rifle, ammunition, and optic because any one of these components affects the other two. You can have the best rifle made and the best optic but if you decided to go cheap on the ammunition and blast Wolf 7.62 Ball, you can expect hits most of the time on the IPSC size steel at 400 yards but past that and any hit will be one of statistical probability more than skill. I believe that if someone wants to blow up targets to 700 yards, he or she really needs a very well made optic of at least 20X. Fine target cross hairs and a focus / parallax knob to avoid having to reach forward to take out parallax from the objective lens. The boomer targets are small and most people have difficulty in using holds so give your-self the best chance of a good shot. So, understand up front that what you get from the Clinic and shoot really needs to be reduced to one factor – YOU. Please – if anything else – bring a rifle / ammunition / optic combination that will allow you the best opportunity of holding 1 MOA given some human error. Of course bring your blasters too! The Clinic is a great opportunity to see how much performance you can get from your favorite hunting or military rifle so bring them and shoot them if you desire.
The Other Half
The ‘Other Half’ is your observer / spotter. Your spotter gives you wind holds, spots trace, and gives you immediate verbal feedback in terms of your performance. Technically, the spotter really does need a quality spotting scope and this will cost money. You won’t get over with a cheap Tasco or Bushnell that is vari-X from 10 to 90 X and costs $150.00 – even if it is huge in size. Kowa’s are about the best for the price and the price will be around $1,200.00 with eyepiece. Read up on these more expensive spotting scopes and carefully consider your decision before buying one. I prefer fixed magnification and angled eye pieces with ‘long eye relief’ as they are more comfortable to use and generally your eye is far enough away from them that your body heat won’t fog the lens in cold wet weather. One other lesson -learned for the observer. Reading trace while laying in the prone next to the shooter or having your spotting scope on the same bench as the shooter isn’t what you want to do. The best position for reading trace is behind and above the shooter’s barrel by about three feet. Compromises must be made for guys shooting from the bench but please invest another hundred or so dollars in a solid, big, camera tripod. The heavier the better as it won’t blow around as much in the wind. One final comment on ‘The Other Half’, your job is to be decisive and to communicate with the shooter. So be decisive and communicate! If you didn’t see trace or splash – say so and then figure out if your shooter has a decent elevation on his rifle or if he is shooting at the same target you are seeing! If you did see trace but wasn’t sure and didn’t see splash – trust your eyes! In any event – talk with the shooter! As for the shooter -- talk with the observer! Call your shots so the observer can evaluate his wind call and assist you if your zero is off. This feedback from the shooter is absolutely critical to ensure consistent hits. Also, shooter, take your shot relatively quickly following the observer’s wind call. The longer you wait, the more the wind will shift and your observer soon loses his focus waiting for the shot.
Setting challenging but achievable goals is how shooters progress. Part of my Clinic Registration form requests those attending the Clinic write down their goals so I can focus the Clinic on each person’s goals. Following the Clinic each day, I have the Clinic shooters write down their goals for the following day. Having outcome goals is fine but remember that in order to attain an outcome goal, you must have perfected your process. Thus, we articulate one outcome goal for the following day and itemize the process we take to attain that goal. Going through this goals process lets the shooter focus on specific aspects of his performance which maximizes the use of expensive resources (ammunition) and focuses attention on the one or two things that the shooter believes he must perfect.
We are about six months out from the Clinic and Boomershoot so now is the time to establish an outcome goal that prepares you for the Clinic and or Boomershoot. Accomplishing this outcome goal means that you not only have your equipment but also trust your equipment; that it will give perfect performance at the Clinic and Boomershoot. Joe has gone to great lengths to photograph his firing line and impact areas. Look closely at these photographs and, for those who haven’t been to the Clinic or Boomershoot, think about what you see and brainstorm your equipment to ensure you bring the right gear for the purpose and conditions! Think ‘solid’ and ‘comfortable’ while looking at the firing line and you will bring the right stuff to make a comfortable and solid firing position. For shooters who believe that they need to attend the Clinic. Set your outcome goal and some intermediate goals right now and put them on some sort of calendar to hold you to your schedule. If you want assistance in establishing your goals to prepare for the Clinic or Boomershoot – I will assist you if you so request my assistance.
Just get me at firstname.lastname@example.org and make your subject line “Boomershoot 2009”.
See you all in a few short months!