Wind and Light While Target Shooting
Wind and Light While Target Shooting
A word on wind and light. An even wind blowing across the range and not too strong permits almost as fine shooting as a calm. However, when it has sufficient force to carry the ball quite out of the bull with wind gauge at zero very fine scores should not be expected, but the marksman should be satisfied with a bullet that lands in the 22. There is no such thing as a wind of perfectly uniform velocity, but twelve inches of wind probably means anything from six inches to fifteen; neither will the most careful watching of flags avail much; beware of tinkering eternally with the wind gauge, that is a fatal habit. Set it for about the average force and take what luck brings you.
Fishtail winds, that is those that vary from four o'clock around to eight are the most troublesome, and about all that can be done is to watch the flags and "hold for it" allowing the sight to remain at zero. Head winds, sweeping about from ten o'clock to two are also very vexatious, not only driving the bullet from side to side but down. Cuss the wind when it don't behave, but keep on holding close and it will get the other fellow's "goat" in place of yours.
Occasionally light will vary the elevation as much as six inches. An experienced marksman can usually give a pretty shrewd guess at the elevation before firing a shot, and a few "sightseers" will tell him all he needs to know. As the sun descends usually the bullets will "drop " with it. If toward the finish of a good score the sun should become obscured by a passing cloud better wait till it clears before firing again.
The crack marksman must be of temperate habits. The man who smokes in order to keep his nerves steady will soon find himself betrayed by nervous irritability and the drinking man can only shoot well when braced up exactly so in which condition he finds it difficult to keep himself.
We might as well admit that success in match rifle work is entirely dependent on concentration of mind. Some men can concentrate powerfully but only for a very short time—they will make startlingly high scores but only now and then. Another will be able to keep to his knitting hour after hour, under any and all circumstances, and he is the man his club banks on in a match.
If ambitious to win and to break records, stuff cotton into your ears, smile when spoken to but never reply and never hear what is said. If the other end of the shooting house falls down and kills a man, never know it as long as your end is standing. Say nothing and saw wood, say nothing and saw wood; it is man killing work, but it gets results. WORK tells the whole story, for there is no fun about it, and it is not to be denied that concentration is the bane of all American sports.
The other way of match shooting is to take things as they come. Shoot only when you feel like it. Talk, listen, laugh, and watch the play. Rejoice with the man who made three reds in succession, and sympathize with the peppery old fellow that the dog-gone blinkity blanked marker is forever cheating by showing a ten where he held right for the dead center. Yes, the farce comedy never was seen that could touch a German Schuetzenfest. But cheek by jowl with the fellowship and the humor comes the training that gives man dominion over the beasts of the field, makes his country impregnable, gives him a power of life and death only second to that of his Maker.
Askins, Charles. Rifles and Rifle Shooting. New York: Outing, 1912. Print.
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