Friday, 2 April 2010

Scotland 2010

Travelled up to Tulliallan Castle, Kincardine, in Scotland for the Scottish Open Air Pistol Championships.

The journey North started with rain but the weather cleared and was generally a trouble-free drive, except for the average-speed sections where maintenance was said to be under way (miles of cones and no work going on).

The weekend was a tale of 2nd places for me. 2nd with 570x600 in the Blue Label competition (Simon Preston also scored 570, but had a higher last string), 2nd in the Red/Blue aggregate, 2nd in the 5 Target Falling Plate competition with 22 and 2nd (by 1 point) in the half-course Sport Pistol competition with a score of 275.

A score of 344 in the Standard Pistol had me finish in 4th.

As usual there was no extra lighting for the targets on the 10m rapid range and for this year the one minute loading time was always less than one minute. An experiment with red lights in the Falling Plate was tried, but needs more development.

I shot a concurrent Red label/Championship and finished with a score of 558 which put me in 5th place in the Championship Final.

For the Championship, Alan Ritchie was in 1st place with 568 with Robert Doak in 2nd with 566. Six of us were spread between 3rd and 8th place with scores of 558 down to 556, so it was always going to be close. I started well and was in 3rd place after the 6th shot, but then lost it with the 7th shot. Hugh Stewart took the 3rd place podium spot after a solid performance.

There had to be a shoot-off in the Final between Alan Ritchie and Robert Doak after they both ended on 666.2. Alan shot 10.2 against Rob's 9.2, so Alan took the title. Alan shot well with a 580 in his Red label competition after Harry Preston breathed his magic over Alan's LP50E.

Seems as though next year's competition may be moving to another location as there was a rumour that the sports hall was to be torn down and replaced with offices.

Eventually arrived home just before midnight and unloaded the car.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

2009 Nordic P&TI

The 2009 Nordic P&TI competition took place in Copenhagen at the Kalvebod ranges for the 50m and 25m events and at the basement range of the DGI byen sports complex for the 10m events.

No teams from Finland were able to join us this year.

The weather forecast was windy and showers, but in the event it was hot and sunny all week.

The much-reduced team of four assembled on the Monday morning at Manchester airport for the 2 hour flight to Copenhagen. Baggage weight limits were always going to be a problem, as we were way over the limits, but in the end we didn't have to pay anything extra. I'd taken the precaution of letting the airline know we were travelling with firearms, and that part of the check-in also happened without too much bother.

We were met at Copenhagen airport and managed to squeeze everything and everybody into the Skoda plus roofbox and were taken to the Danhostel Amager hostel (after a couple of small detours), which would be our accommodation for the next week.

The hostel accommodation was fairly basic, some rooms were en-suite (ours wasn't) and the space in each room was tight for two beds. No air conditioning meant that the window needed to stay open at night, which gave the Danish airforce free reign to buzz in and bite.

The technical meeting on the Monday evening decided that teams would be three nominated people in all events, with more than one team allowed. 50m rifle events were shot on fairly old Sius electronic targets. 25m was on paper targets, as was the 10m air rifle (strips of 5) and air pistol (2 shots per target).

The Danes loaned us .22 pistols and two types of RWS pistol ammunition was available to purchase.

Tuesday was a training day for all disciplines, however the only training offered with the .22 pistols was a full Standard Pistol match in the morning and a full Sport Pistol match in the afternoon - no range time outside these matches even to adjust the trigger or sights. Adjusting the sights was done during the match, which meant that we were struggling to begin with.

I only did the Standard Pistol match training as I wanted to train on the DGI byen range with air pistol. The airgun range (also used for .22 at 15m) is a two-level range with 20 firing points on each level. I trained on the upper level, which was a mistake as I was scheduled to shoot the match on the lower level, where the level of light on the targets was much lower.

We had dinner at the Danhostel Amager on the Monday and Tuesday evenings and the food was good, as was the breakfast each morning (from 7am).

Wednesday saw the matches start, with Dave and Bryan squeezing the 50m prone over lunchtime between shooting the Standard Pistol and the Sport Pistol. None of us shone on the cartridge pistol, but we did end up taking 3rd place and Bronze in both events.

Dave had his first misfortune of the week when a spring broke in the trigger of his borrowed Walther GSP half-way through his Standard Pistol match. The Range Officer went home and got his own Walther GSP, which allowed Dave to shoot the rest of the match (20secs and 10 secs) after his prone match and before the Sport Pistol (not getting a chance to adjust the sights).

The prone team of Bryan, Dave and Geof took 1st place and Gold, with Bryan taking 3rd place for a Bronze. Geof was our only entry in the 3P half-match (3 x 20) and also bagged 3rd place and Bronze. Medals were presented at an evening dinner at a restaurant at a fun-fair, after a meal of all-you-could-eat wild boar (and very tasty it was too).

Thursday saw all the action at the DGI byen range for air rifle and pistol. The range, despite being in the basement, was quite warm. I struggled with the low light level, eventually finding a lens for my glasses which allowed me to focus on the foresight instead of the target, and ended up with a score of 368x400, giving me 2nd place and the Silver, two points behind my long-term rival from Sweden, Kent, who took 1st place and the Gold.

Dave, shooting air rifle, had the misfortune to knock his rifle off the bench onto its butt hook, snapping the aluminium stock, after only firing 6 shots in the match.

Dave and Bryan also shot the air pistol and we bagged more Bronze medals with 3rd place in the team event.

The evening programme took place at a restaurant where the day’s medals and some cups were handed out.

The Norwegians could still be heard partying at 6am on the Friday morning as we were driven away from the Danhostel Amager to Copenhagen airport, where we joined a very long queue in Terminal 3 at check-in.

As on the outward flight, we somehow managed to avoid paying for our excess baggage, but did get caught for a DKK 150.00 each for a firearms handling fee. The security office was a long walk over to Terminal 2 and then a long return walk to the gate in Terminal 3 where I found two security people waiting for me as the rifle bolt that Bryan had put in his normal luggage (and not declared) had been spotted on the x-ray picture and they wanted to talk to me (as all the luggage was in my name).

All was eventually sorted out when Bryan opened his suitcase and they were satisfied that it had been a mistake on Bryan’s part in not declaring the bolt ... and the .22 ammunition ... and the air pistol … after apologising for wasting their time we escaped up the steps onto the aircraft for our return flight to a chilly and damp Manchester.

Kristianstad in Sweden is the venue for the next Nordic P&TI competition in 2011.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

"A chance to begin again ..."

The headline quote is taken from the film Blade Runner.

After 34 years working for the same company, British Telecom, I've decided to take early retirement. More training and more competition await me in my "new life" - not quite "off-world" as in Blade Runner, but in the normal outside world of life.

In the normal world of life, one of my Morini cylinders has developed a leak so I need to get that fixed.

Two new bits of kit will see use, Corami shoes to help sort out my stance and a Scatt trainer.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Nordic Post & Telcomms Industries

The 2007 Nordic Post & Telecomms Industries (P&TI) competition took place in Norway, at Elverum, just North of Oslo. The Championships are run every two years and rotate between Denmark, Sweden, Great Britain, Finland and Norway.

Travelled to Heathrow, joining the other eleven members of our party. Spent the night at the Holiday Inn - room was OK, but no time for breakfast as we needed to get the shuttle bus at 4.30am.

Heathrow check-in and customs was its usual chaos, despite having been informed in advance that we had firearms, as usual no-one had told the check-in staff. Then they decided that we needed to pay an extra £20 per firearm, after some discussion this was only applied to the eight smallbore rifles, not the air rifles or pistols. Of course, the "checked-in baggage" counter was all the way down at the other end of the terminal. We missed breakfast and managed to get to the gate at 7.10am just as the flight was boarding.

From Oslo airport we caught the train into Oslo to stay two nights. Sunday was a free day and most decided on a boat trip down the coast to a number of museums - the Kon-Tiki museum, Maritime museum and the Viking Ship museum, among others.

On the Monday we caught the local train to Hamar (about 1 hour 25 mins) where we needed to move across the platform to get the next train to Elverum (about 20 mins). The train attendants were jumping up and down a bit as we took a bit of time getting all the luggage off the train at Elverum.

Accommodation and competition was to be at the Terningmoen army camp, not far from the train station. The accommodation was a single-storey block with four large rooms with four bunk beds and a single shower room, for which a male/female rota was drawn up and posted on the door.

Beer on the army camp was less than half the cost of the hotel in Oslo, a half-litre can costing 35 NOK whereas the hotel in Oslo was charging 53 NOK for a 300ml bottle.

The ranges were about a half mile away from the accommodation, so it helped that the weather was mostly dry, only on the Tuesday did it rain all day.

All shooting was done on Megalink electronic targets, the 10m targets being moved to an outside range for the 3P and prone rifle.

The 25m pistol was also shot on Megalink targets and the Norwegians loaned us three Walther GSPs and gave us 600 rounds of Ely Standard ammunition. One of the GSPs developed a habit of firing two shots instead of one, so the four of us shared the other two that worked without any misfires or misfeeds.

Practice was limited to the Tuesday, which didn't leave a lot of time to get used to the 10m indoor or the GSPs on the 25m range.

Wednesday saw the air rifle and pistol competitions, I came 2nd in the air pistol and Geoff 2nd in the air rifle. The air pistol team took 2nd place (to Sweden) and the air rifle 4th.

Sport Pistol was down for Thursday, as was the half-match 3P. At the end of the Sport Pistol I had taken third place out of the 19 entries, which I didn't think was bad with a borrowed gun and a half-day's practice. Janet took 3rd place in the half-match 3P and the 3P team were 2nd.

Friday was taken up with Standard Pistol and the 50m prone rifle. I finished in 2nd place and Roger took 3rd, which, along with Steve's score gave us 2nd place in the team, beaten by Sweden. The prone team took 1st place, with Brian in 2nd and Angus 3rd. - GB also took 5th, 6th and 7th place out of the 28 entries.

Return to the UK was on Saturday, with a taxi from Elverum to Oslo airport - the luggage moving courtesy of a Norwegian Postal van. For some reason the aircraft took off a half-hour late, which, with another half-hour in a holding pattern over Heathrow, made us an hour late landing.

Yet more chaos collecting our guns at Heathrow, this time they insisted on moving all the guns into the Red lane at Customs before releasing them to our custody. The customs people were only interested in making a note of the smallbore rifle serial numbers, a total waste of time as I'm sure they do nothing with the information.

A shuttle bus took us back to the Holiday Inn so we could collect our cars and then we were all off home.

Planning for the whole trip was by Janet, who once again did a marvellous job. The 2009 Championships are planned for Denmark.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

BPC Championships 2007

The weekend started on the Saturday with the 10m match, fairly warm and stuffy in the far left-hand range. Having to cope with loud music from the various groups of dancers that seemed to be everywhere didn't help, but it was the same for everyone and I ended with a score of 556. At least the roller-hockey people weren't there with making the floor bounce and with very loud music.

25m Sport score was nothing to write home about, especially as I had a disallowed skid shot towards the end, 10 points away. The heavens opened just as we started the rapid, so there was a slight delay as the monsoon-rain fell.

Kept awake until 2am at the hotel by a wedding reception.

Shot reasonably well in Free on the Sunday moning and ended with a 530, which gave me 3rd place for the 2nd year in a row.

Falling plates were next, and made the mistake of moving the sights the wrong way so ended up trying to find point of aim throughout the match and never actually found it, finishing with a massive 2 points. Going to laminate the instructions for the sight movement.

10m Standard up next - by this time the sights are where they should be, but final score was only 349, however, that was enough for 1st place and the John Chandler trophy along with a bottle of champagne. An "old" member had donated enough money to buy all the 1st place winners a bottle of champagne, as 2007 is the BPC's 50th Anniversery year.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

GB v Combined Services Pistol

GB lost out again in the annual pistol competition vs. Combined Services (CS).

The competition is in two parts with teams of 6 with 2 shooting reserves per side. The first part (shot in the morning) has two events, 10m Precision and 25m Standard Pistol (Air), combined under the auspices of the NSRA and the GB side was Captained by Trevor Haynes.

The afternoon's second part has one event, 25m Centre Fire (Air), which is shot under the NRA and the GB Captain for this competition was Dave Levene.

The team for both GB and CS stays the same for the morning's events and can change in the afternoon.

The scores from both parts are then aggregated for the Combined Services Cup (Rose Bowl).

This year GB won the 10m Precision by 42 points, but lost the 25m Standard Pistol (Air) by 69 points, meaning we lost the NSRA part of the day by 27 points.

Both GB and CS's Captains decided to change the teams for the afternoon's match, although this turned out not to be a good decision for both sides scores.

CS won the 25m Centre Fire (Air) match by 9 points and so retained the Rose Bowl by 36 points (10,014 points to 9,978 points).

In the 10m Precision I had the highest score overall with 563. Standard Pistol score was 547 (could do better) and my Centre Fire score was 573, which was fairly good but didn't count as Dave Levene decided to put me down as a reserve.

Full results:- Combined Services v Great Britain Pistol 2007