The 2018 season is quickly coming to a close and the weather in Northeast Ohio is certainly turning towards winter. The forecast for our last match of the year called for cold, lots of cold. It also called for rain during our set up time on Saturday, but thankfully, that was not to be. As Sunday rolled around, we knew we would be lucky to see temps above 40F. None the less, 27 shooters made it out to finish out the year at Twin Oaks Air Rifle Range.
We set two courses, shooting one shot per target. Both courses had 15 lanes, two targets per lane, for a total of 60 shots. We figured, it was the last match of the year, might as well go big. While it is a blessing having 60+ targets to do this with, it does make setting courses of a normal difficulty somewhat challenging. Most of our targets are between .75” and 1.25” so there were bound to be a few illegal targets by AAFTA GP standards, but that’s okay, because you need to challenge yourself to improve.
We started the day in our woods course, which was pretty calm for most of the morning with just a light touch of wind here and there. The course featured 14 targets over 40 yards with an average target distance of about 36 yards. One illegal target pushed the troyer to a 32.8T without wind, lighting or any other factors taken into account. Challenging would be a good word to describe it. Especially with the format change and only shooting one shot per target, which many of our shooters have never done before. One of our more experienced shooters said to me after the match that he didn’t think it would be as big of a challenge as it was. He was happy he shot it, as it made him think a lot harder before pulling the trigger.
As we transitioned into the field, one thing became abundantly clear...if the woods was challenging, the field would be brutal. One word, and one word only….WIND! While many of the lanes on our woods course are protected from a lot of the wind because they are in between rows of grape vines and other vegetation, there are two open sections of the course where the wind really moves your pellets. Add a few tree stands that sat above the protection of the vineyard and 15+ MPH winds and maybe the word brutal is a kind way of describing the course. 13 targets over 40 yards with an average distance of 38 yards and three illegal targets bumped the Troyer to 35.5T before wind. And I can say without a doubt that about 75% of the targets required you to hold for wind if you were shooting 12 FPE. How much to hold really became the question. This was one of the first matches where I could hear multiple shooters remarking about how much their pellets were moving, even those shooting near 20 FPE. If nothing else, the courses were eye opening to some, and thought provoking to others.
Bill Rabbitt had a fire waiting for us in the clubhouse and hot chilli ready to go when shooters came off the lanes. Jeff Paddock made up some tasty apple cider, Roger Barker provided the corn bread and Kristen Coss made up some delicious apple dumplings for dessert. It was a great meal, to end a great season. We had some raffle items to award, including pellets, a pellet pouch and some Crosman/Benjamin swag. Then it was time for awards. Thankfully, Bill is a meticulous record keeper, and actually broke the scores down for each course so shooters could see how they measured up on each and then overall.
Keith Walters came out with his blue and grey stocked RAW HW1000 in .20 cal to take the top spot in Hunter PCP with a 49/60. He dropped 5 shots in the woods and just 6 in the field. Ray Halt was close behind with a 47, dropping only two shots in the woods but having a really tough time in the winds on the field course. In Hunter Piston, Ed Loaskie took top honors in just his second match, shooting his Diana 34 to a 36/60. We’re looking forward to seeing how he does next year as his FT future looks very bright. Bruce Scott was our lone WFTF Piston shooter, putting up a very solid 40/60 with his HW97. In Open PCP, Gary Palinkas returned yet again while visiting family to take the top spot with a great 51/60 using his RAW HM1000. And in WFTF PCP, Tyler Patner posted the top score for the day with his Anschutz 9015. He cleaned the woods course and dropped 5 in the tricky field winds for a 55/60.
On behalf of everyone at NOA, I have to say thank you to all of you that have come out to our matches this season. With the new location, we were not sure what the future held for us, but with the support and turnouts we have had this year, there is nothing but excitement for 2019 and beyond. Thank you to all of our great club members that pitch in with set up, food, tear down and all of the behind the scenes work that keep the club running. On that note, we hope everyone has a safe winter, and we look forward to seeing everyone in 2019 for another great season of Field Target!