This method is something I’ve seen Andy use from the day I started shooting Field Target, I didn’t take much notice of it to start with, I just thought he had OCD and no friends!
I sat and watched what he was doing over a couple of months and then quizzed him as to why he was always the last in the shed at any competition and why he repeated the same thing over and over. His answer was succinct; “I need to know what the gun is doing.”
It made perfect sense and it’s something I’ve tried to do at every shoot but I’ll admit I don’t always do it 3 times.
So here’s the method:
Gun To Temp
Get your gun to competition temperature, out of the car and bag when you arrive at a shoot.
My gun takes about 1.5hrs to get to temp as it lives indoors so it takes a bit longer get to temperature than one kept in a garage for example.
Recently at Anston FTC it was a brass monkeys, -4 degrees, I was shooting the course with the gun straight out of the car as time was limited, about halfway around the course the gun dropped low on a 50yd target. There was no warning, it just went like someone had flicked a switch. I knew immediately what had caused it and just added another 5 clicks on anything over 45yds for the rest of the course.
I chrono’d the gun afterwards and I’d lost 18FPS from my usual 777FPS, this was to be expected as I was still on my summer settings. The reality is metal, glass and wood all move with differing temperatures and ideally, you want this to happen before you are on your first lane so you can make any changes you need to or adjust to them.
Check your zero, check at 50yds, drop down to 35yds – what’s it doing? Combro on, adjust if you need to.
Back out to 50yds for some groupings, pick one aim point and shoot your groupings from it. This will also tell you what the wind is doing not that it will be the same of the course but it will give you a starting point.
Now check what the scope is doing, is it over or under ranging? Don’t check on the faceplates, look for something with finer detail like the end of a string or a screw head. Is your scope under or over ranging?
By now you should know everything that your gun and scope are doing so take a quick break and come back twice more and check zero/50/55/35yds with some groupings, check with the Combro again if you need to, is your scope still right? Each session should be 15-20 minutes long.
This may seem like a lot of fuss but this method has saved my skin more than once.