Today was the first day of competition in the AAFTA US National Field Target Championships in Mount Airy, Maryland, and what an eventful day it was!
I’d actually arrived at my hotel in Gaithersburg, which is circa 10 miles from the venue in the early hours of Friday morning. As usual I didn’t get anywhere near enough sleep, but still went to register and check my rifle at around 10 am that morning.
As it is with the Field Target community the world over, I was welcomed with open arms, and had a fantastic afternoon chatting to the shooters, and sharing stories. I felt like somewhat of a celebrity! I didn’t really want to leave, but desperately needed a rest. As it happens it didn’t work out that way, but I got to the ground in good time to make my final checks this morning.
The shoot started at 10.00am after a fairly informal briefing. The course was different from anything I’d experienced before. there are 2 courses, one to be shot each day. Each course had 2 lanes, with 2 targets per lane. Each target is shot twice, meaning a total of 4 targets per lane. The targets were actially quite close in, but made difficult by the use of extremely small kill zones.
This surprised me a little, particularly as US rules allow for up to 20ft/lbs of muzzle energy. I shot in the international class, which limits rifles to 12 ft/lbs, as in the UK. The most challenging feature of the day was the howling winds whistling through the course. I was having to hold outside the edge of the kill zone even on very close targets, and missed some fairly straight forward ones. This was very frustrating!
I ended up finishing the day in second place on 47 ex 60, some 4 shots behind the leader. This will certainly be a difficult lead to overturn, but I can take a little solace form the fact that at least 3 of my misses were simply down to concentration. Provided I get a good night sleep tonight, I’m confident of a good performance tomorrow. It’s all about focus!