Happy Birthday to me...

A section for the more target oriented shooters.
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Brimfire
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Re: Happy Birthday to me...

Post by Brimfire »

An update on trying to shoot an FWB 600 accurately.

I knew it would be different, just not this different...

On the face of it, there's not much difference between Sporting and Target air rifles. They both have barrels, sights, triggers and shoot pellets. The targets may be different but the objective is the same – hit what you're aiming at. And that's where the similarities end.

Where Hunting, Pest Control and HFT require, to my mind, skill, adaptability and artistry, successful 10m shooting relies more on mechanics, procedures and focus and is altogether more “inward” - it's all down to you and there's nowhere to hide poor technique on a 10m lane.

Challenging just don't cover it – outright masochistic would be a better description.

Still, it takes all sorts and some of us are just plain weirdoes.

Previously, I had used a modded HW30S for 10m and Bell Target. It worked well enough but the lack of front end weight promoted a bit of muzzle sway and I never really got to, er, grips with the sporter pistol grip. Surely a full-on Target rifle would take care of things and make me a better shot?

Well, yes and no. What I found is that Sporter and Target rifles are poles apart. One is general, the other is specialised. The best I can put it is to consider the difference between a hot hatch and a balls-out single seater. Did you ever see that episode of Top Gear where Richard Hammond was let loose in an old F1 car? No stranger to fast motors, he absolutely floundered and I feel like I'm in the same boat. We could all probably put in a better show on a track with a jack-of-all-trades GTI than an F1 car but, if you can handle it, the F1 would leave the conventional fast car so far behind it would be ridiculous.

That's how I feel. The FWB 600 is capable of so much more than I can get out of it and demands that you up your game and learn the technique to get decent results. And the technique is a multi-faceted, complicated beast. We're all familiar with sporting air rifles and shooting them is pretty instinctive – artillery hold with springers aside, you don't really think too much about how to use one – and I'm having to forget all that and start from scratch.

Holding up a 10m rifle is more about mechanics and geometry than muscle. It's done with the skeleton and there's far less tension involved than with supporting a sporter. The technique I'm going with is to get the balance point of the rifle supported with my left hand with the elbow locked onto my hip while I'm standing 90 deg. to the target with the weight going in a straight line down from the stock through wrist, elbow and foot. Everything is still at the coarse end of tuning and getting it all to work comfortably is taking a bit of time but I'm quietly confident.
10m stance.jpg
10m stance.jpg (6.16 KiB) Viewed 118 times
A bit like this pic I found online but without the Power Ranger suit.

Of course, Stance is just a single aspect of many to consider but one thing at a time although I have raised both the front and rear sights to make things more comfortable and eliminate the stretching and craning to line things up. The front muzzle weight also went to get the balance a bit more to the rear. It's all little steps but they should make a difference.
FWB 600 foresight riser.jpg
FWB 600 foresight riser.jpg (173.86 KiB) Viewed 118 times
At present, I've got the gear but little idea. I hope it'll all be worthwhile and that I start showing an improvement before I give up in frustration – watch this space to see how I get on.
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Re: Happy Birthday to me...

Post by Brimfire »

Time for another instalment of my ongoing 10m nonsense.

I'd like to report that my shooting has come on in leaps and bounds. Well, I'd like to but, sadly, that's not the case. I never seem to find the time for a trip to the club (Grampian ARC) and, when I do, it's always a rush to get as much shots in as possible in-between showing prospective new members around and running some competitions - not conducive for good results in a discipline that demands calm and focus.

Still, it's better than nothing and I always enjoy my time with the '600 and the Baikal "Izzy" I use in the Pistol comps.

Fine tuning of various aspects is still ongoing. Playing with the cheek riser height seems to be giving more consistent group sizes and I've had to replace my SportsMatch rear sight risers with a slightly lower Centra Block 8 to get an extra 2-3mm of elevation adjustment.
FWB risers.jpg
FWB risers.jpg (221.7 KiB) Viewed 37 times
Every little bit helps as the advert says.

What hasn't helped is clubmate and fellow 10m shooter Les turning up with a brand spanking new Anschutz 9015 One which means I no longer have the nicest 10m rifle in the club.
9015.jpg
9015.jpg (358.29 KiB) Viewed 37 times
What a lovely piece of kit it is. Completely Form Follows Function, it was interesting to compare the improvements that 40 years of development has brought about. Both high-end guns in their respective days, the biggest difference for me was how these rifles balance. A knife's edge best describes the balance point of my '600 but the modern Annie has a longer and more forgiving centre of gravity which is one less thing to worry about. The stock adjustability is on a different planet as well.

The trigger on the 9015 also took me by surprise. Les hasn't tweaked its settings yet so it's still as it left the factory but, jeez, it's light - incredibly light! Using a Lyman digital trigger pull gauge, we checked the FWB trigger and, best as we could measure, it was coming in at around 160-170 grams - seriously heavy by Olympic shooter standards but lighter than I can reliably hold on the second stage and that's on the heaviest end of adjustment. The Annie, however, didn't even register on the pull gauge, merely positioning my finger on the blade was enough to trip it. Easily in the low double digits range and far too hardcore for a couple of knockabout club shooters.

I like shooting a variety of airguns, from 100 year+ BSAs to PCPs and a lot of stuff in-between. They all have different trigger pull weights and I'm finding that shooting these less sophisticated guns really puts me off my stride when returning to the lightness of 10m match triggers. It takes a good few shots for my finger to relearn the gentle touch required for a reliable let off and I'm usually running out of available shooting time by then.

Just this one aspect gives me an insight to the dedication required to be successful at 10m. As much as I enjoy the challenge, I think I'd have to swear off using my other rifles to become any good at it and that's not going to happen so 10m will remain a less than serious activity for me.

None of that should put you off having a try if you get the opportunity though. Especially if you can blag a go with a 9015!
Ignoring is bliss.
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