A Warm Welcome To The Garden County
Located 1.1 miles outside Roundwood Village in County Wicklow we snaked down a laneway to East Coast Shooting Club to be met with a warm and welcoming smile and handshake from Sean McElwain, President of ECSC who has been shooting silhouettes for over 3 decades.
East Coast Shooting Club has hosted National Shoots in years gone by, but due to changes, the range was redeveloped and this took time and euros to get right.
Now with two fine banks of Silhouettes in place, East Coast were back on our National calendar ‘and long may it continue’.
Past & Present In Attendance
East Coast had certainly pulled out all the stops for their inaugural event as their International Shooters were in attendance. All Classifications were represented from Master to B.
Tricky Light and Sharp Breezes
Being Irish we are always glad to see a bit of sunshine. However as a Silhouette shooter we quickly regretted our wishes. Immediately we noticed that as the sun peaked out from behind the morning cloud it shone directly down on those little metallic figures that were huddled together down range. One moment the animals were visible to the human eye and the next they had vanished into the ether. The Sun God had performed its first of many optical illusions of the day.
Fortunately we were shooting with scoped rifles and this gave us a visible target. Not sure I would have managed with any form of iron sights in this light. Cowboy action and silhouette pistol shooters have to be admired.
Nature was pitching alot of curve balls at us, not only was the Sun playing hide and seek but we had a face to face with the wrath of the Wicklow breeze. Yes the might of a mid morning summer breeze and a few loose nerves began to swing like a pendulum upon our muzzles making target acquisition, shot timing and execution a labour of love.
A Shaky Start
With the results beginning to filter in as each shooter not only competed with each other but with the strange conditions of an unfamiliar range the scores were not as what we would have expected, with the highest score of the morning creeping into the mid twenties.
The chatter among the shooters was ‘live’ and discussions of how we could improve were aired and nodded upon.
The Second Detail
I believe that the nerves of the first detail had become that little bit more subdued and a comforting lets get on with it attitude had spread throughout each shooter as the majority of shooters began to notch up much improved scores in their second match.
Due to the close proximity of each shooter standing shoulder to shoulder it was inevitable that someone would single out a lone Turkey or Ram on an opponents bank. A rookie mistake indeed especially with a high magnification scope where the field of view is reduced. Personally as I was located on Shooting Point 4 I used the side berm as my starting point and scanned across the line from right to left to my bank of targets.
Round Up The Animals
With the day growing old the conditions didn’t vary much as the shooting continued. With a somewhat more focused attempt in my second round I started on Turkeys. The rifle seemed to sit that little bit more easily for the majority of the shots as I began to notch up a more satisfying score. I finally signed off on Pigs and a score of 31/40. It felt good breaking into the 30’s as my first performance of the day resulted in 24/40 and I was happy to see that at the time.
Perhaps a few visits to East Coast in the future will allow me to build a more confident shooting performance for 2014 and beyond.