The continuum between Ranging and Shooting

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The continuum between Ranging and Shooting

Postby Bob Dye » Mon Apr 06, 2015 7:10 pm

There seems to be a lot of hair-splitting in interpreting the rules. Can I do this, or that, while I am ranging, not ranging, shooting, or not shooting, etc. Here is a story illustrating why your time at the shooting line counts, whether you are shooting, range-finding, or picking your nose...

At the Cajun's Spring Classic Grand Prix March 28-29 in Baton Rouge, the Match Director in the shooter's meeting emphasized the rule regarding sear breaks... Here's the rule...

Common Rules Section...
"C. When a gun is shouldered, any discharge of air down the barrel and/or disengagement of the sear shall be recorded as a miss if the target does not fall. A shooter may announce their intention to discharge the gun into the ground without penalty of a miss."

In effect, this rule applies during the entire time you are at the shooting line, ranging, shooting or not. You should not cock your rifle until you are ready to load and shoot.

Sure enough, I was squadded on the final match day with a several-times National Champion. At the kneeling lane, he held his rifle to his shoulder to range to the targets down range. His habit of cocking his FWB P70FT prior to ranging caught up with him, because as he pointed his shouldered rifle to the sky to load a pellet, his finger found the trigger and "Bang."

Looking back at me (scorer) and Ken Hughes and Tyler Patner -- both National Champions themselves -- this shooter said, "but I wasn't shooting." He further explained "I was just loading the rifle, not shooting."

Thankfully Messrs Hughes and Patner spoke almost in unison, "It doesn't matter. The sear broke, a target didn't fall, the shot is a miss."

Now a bit flustered, the shooter then recocked his rifle, loaded a pellet, and then leveled it on target... this time mistakenly forgetting to close the loading port. A second time, the sear broke, but because the loading port was not in firing position, it was recorded as a second misfire.

Two sear breaks, two zeros.

He had the nerve to turn facing me and sheepishly ask, "You're not scoring that first one a miss are you?" To which I replied, "It's already on the scorecard as a miss. You know the rule."


The point here... When you are in the shooting box, you should assume that you are there to shoot without interruption from start to finish, and that EVERYTHING you do is subject to the rules. This applies to being safe in handling your airgun, avoiding sear breaks that can occur at ANY time. It applies to being on the clock where timers are used, where you are on a continuum of activities, from setting up, organizing string, addressing the targets to range, load and then shoot. It all counts.

In short, there are no times within the firing line continuum when you can presume any exceptions to the rules, because the rules apply throughout your time at the line. The retort, "But I'm not shooting" bought the fellow above nothing at all.

I read a lot lately about "well I'm not shooting, just ranging, or I'm not shooting or ranging, I just want to................" Think about this when remembering the current debates concerning using equipment not permitted in your division for ranging or shooting, or resting, or at any other time between.
Last edited by Bob Dye on Wed Apr 08, 2015 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The "Rest" of the story...

Postby Charles Garvey » Mon Apr 06, 2015 8:59 pm

Accruing 2 "penalty points" and gaining no points in the free points give away due to supposed malfunctioning targets being given away to those who missed them. That same guy had "The nerve" to come from behind, missing only two shot`s taking the the Hunter division by a point. And that`s FT history...The close matches are always exciting. Thank`s for giving me some good competition Bob. Hope to see you in Heflin...c
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Re: The continuum between Ranging and Shooting

Postby JimW » Tue Apr 07, 2015 2:46 am

At the Oregon State Championships last year I was at the last lane of the second day, I had already ranged the second target, loaded a pellet, closed the transfer port (I have a USFT) and went to pull back the hammer. I was not touching the trigger. The hammer slipped and the pellet went halfway down the barrel... :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

I was having 'technical' difficulties all weekend. I was learning a new barrel, I had just cleaned it and watched the velocity drop 110fps the day before I left for the match weekend. It seasoned in on Friday but was still being temperamental. The velocity curve was from 780 to 830 and I couldn't get it to do anything right. At only 730fps (13.43 grain pellets in 22) the extra drop was out of click range when spot on at 810. I have to be at 818fps or lower to comply with the rules and the barrel was not cooperating one bit.

I did the unthinkable and switched over to a special twist 177 barrel late Friday and shot the first day of the match. I had been shooting 22 all year and had the clicks for the 177 but no wind experience. I switched back to the 22 the next day after I shot about 500 pellets through it Saturday afternoon.

Last lane of the day, doing better than the first but not well enough to be in contention. No sear release, no air out the end of the barrel, not even looking through the scope or 'shouldering' the rifle. Pop (the barrel usually made a bang), hissss...

"Give me a miss."


"Give me a miss..."

"What is the rule for that. Did you pull the trigger?"

"I don't know the rule by heart, but the pellet went halfway down the barrel, it's gotta be a miss."

Even if I was doing well it was going to be scored a miss.

I have shot a couple 300fps hammer slips over the chrony but never one halfway down the barrel. A friend has hit a silhouette target with a hammer slip discharge during a relay. Keep that bad boy pointed downrange and only load to fire. Every once and a while I find myself loading before ranging, but I have a transfer port to swing over the breech and a hammer to cock before it's hot.

I'm making myself a procedure list for being in the box, figure i'll use it for the first few matches and then it will simply be routine.

I like the story for it's rule/safety demonstration qualities and the writing, I have to say until this most recent determination the 'continuum' between ranging and shooting was not so much, thus the determination. And the splitting hairs is more seeking clarity for the sake of not needing to discuss the rules during a national level (grand prix) match. The continuum exists now, so does the clarity and I think it's a good thing!

Even if I can't use a ranging stand. :cry: :cry: :cry: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Hey Bob, did you happen to loan someone a drop of super glue at the Nats?
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Re: The continuum between Ranging and Shooting

Postby Bob Dye » Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:45 am

JimW wrote:Hey Bob, did you happen to loan someone a drop of super glue at the Nats?

Yes, I did. Was that you? :o

My bad I'm so horrible at remembering names. You meet so many new people at Nats, it's difficult to keep names straight, and concentrate on your game, too. (Obviously I didn't concentrate on my game very well.)

No worries on returning that drop of super glue, though ;)
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Re: The continuum between Ranging and Shooting

Postby Bill Day » Mon Jun 22, 2015 5:06 pm

Bob, I think the key to the rule is "Shouldered". Last year the second day of the Nationals I was trying to reset a target in a tree after knocking it down with the first shot. I was shooting my AirWolf MTC and if you don't put the safety on after you fire your first short the gun can be fired like a repeater until you run low on air. Since I only use a single shot tray there is never a danger of firing a second pellet. Anyway I was having problems reaching for the reset sting. I placed my rifle agaist my upper right leg with the barrel faced down range and attempted to pull the target up when my hand holding the gun accidently brushed the trigger and the gun discharged. Where the rifle was not shouldered it was not considered a shot by the match director. So the fact the rule clearly
states "Shouldered" is a major consideration when applying this rule.
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