In order to improve and do better the next time you compete in a Long Range BPCR
match, or any match for that matter, you need to take a close look at how you
performed. By reviewing notes taken during and immediately after the match, you
can identify areas needing improvement or alteration.
Keeping a small (3” x 5” or 4” x 6”) spiral-bound note pad close at hand during
a match is a great way to remember those impressions, ideas, feelings, and
intentions that tend to fade from memory once the match has ended. Use your
notebook to make note of the following information as the match progresses:
1) Weather Conditions
Take note of the wind, temperature, and light conditions that are present during
your match, along with any problems that they may have presented for you both
before and after your relay.
By noting these conditions and the way they affected you and your shooting, you
can develop ways of dealing with them more effectively at your next match.
Pay particular attention to any remarks made by other shooters when you are
spotting or working in the pits. Find out, if you can, how they dealt with a
changing or difficult condition.
2) Sight Settings
Record the elevation and windage sight settings that you use for your relay.
Take note of both your beginning and ending sight settings and how they may have
changed during your relay. Also, try to determine why they changed (i.e. wind
increased / decreased in velocity or direction, light conditions were brighter /
darker than when you started, etc…).
Comparing the differences in your sight settings and understanding why they
changed will teach you valuable lessons in adjusting to changing conditions. It
will also insure that you have the correct sight settings for your next match
and you won’t have to “re-invent the wheel” trying to get on target next time.
3) Unusual Factors
Make note of any other factors that may have contributed to you doing well or
not so well in your match. These factors could include things like arriving late
at the match and being in a hurry to get everything set-up; being teamed with
someone who was difficult to understand; being in a relay that had the worst
weather conditions of the entire match; or being assigned to the last relay of
the day and having poor visibility because the match was delayed by bad weather and
you had to shoot in failing light conditions.
Note your physical condition as well — were you well rested or did you stay up
too late the night before; were you well hydrated or did you suffer from
dehydration and poor vision; did you have an upset stomach that distracted you
from the job at hand; or were you confused or unsure about any aspect of what
you were doing (scoring, pulling targets, relay assignment and rotation, etc…).
All of these things could affect your ability to perform well.
4) Things You Would Do Differently Next Time
It’s always a good idea to write yourself a note about those things that you
would like to do differently next time. Perhaps you forgot to bring along enough
clothes, ammunition, cleaning patches, etc… Whatever it happens to be, this is a
good way to make sure you don’t forget next time.
Keep Your Own Score During The Match
Get into the habit of keeping your own score during the match and recording
where each shot impacts on the target. Although your spotter is responsible for
recording and submitting your score on the official scorecards provided by the
match organizers, take a moment between each shot to record your score for your
There are several benefits to doing this:
1) You will have a better idea of exactly how well or how poorly you are
doing as the match progresses. Writing down the value of each shot as you take
it will help make you more cognizant of when you do well, and when you don’t. It
will alert you to the need to make a sight setting change faster than if you had
not written down your score.
2) It serves as a way of double-checking the official score recorded by your
spotter. For example, it’s not uncommon for a person pulling targets in the pits
to hang the round orange “Value Spotter” in the wrong position around the
perimeter of the target that doesn’t match the value of the “Shot Hole” spotter on
the face of the target.
Although it might only represent one or two points, that could be the difference
between winning or losing a match. Writing down your score just may help you to
spot such an error and have it corrected before your next shot.
3) Knowing the value of each shot you took during your match will help you see
trends in your shooting or possible problems with your load.
For example, if you start a particular relay with a series of high scores,
and then see them drop off as the relay progresses, you have to ask yourself,
“Why?”. Were you tiring as you took each successive shot? Did you start to
flinch or pull your shots due to recoil? Were you running out of time and hurry
your shots to get them all in before time expired?
4) Watching the pattern of your shots and scores can alert you to a problem with
your load. For example, if your scores start-off high and deteriorate as you
take more and more shots, it may be a sign that the lube you are using is not
doing the job.
As the barrel of the rifle heats-up during your relay, your lube has to work
extra hard to keep the fouling in the barrel soft and moist. If you do your part
by using the appropriate number of breaths through your blow tube after each shot,
then the problem may be that your lube is not doing its job, and as a result, the
fouling is hardening and adversely affecting the accuracy of your rifle.
Study Your Notes and Learn
Get into the habit of reviewing your notes at the end of the day. Write down
your impressions and feeling about the events of the day. Review your other notes and
particularly your scores and the placement of each shot on the target. If something is not working, try to correct it on the second day of a two-day event or at your next match.
By Darryl Hedges
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