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Thread: Loading for a match.

  1. #81
    Boolit Man Distant Thunder's Avatar
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    I have had a hand in spotting several people to victory at Lodi matches, those are the good times. I have also come out of the scope knowing I should have done better for my shooter, those are the worst times. Spotting is hard work, much harder than shooting or pulling targets. I am not a great spotter, I am sometimes a good spotter. A great spotter has to have balls of titanium! If you don't have the balls to give the really hard to call sight corrections you aren't giving your shooter the service he needs to do his best.

    Spotting for Bob at 1000 yards Sunday morning we got centered up good and I had the windage dialed, but the verticals were kicking everybody and I knew that. Bob and I both felt we were ready for his record string so we went for it. Then the worst of all things happened on the first record shot and that dang tailwind caught us completely by surprise, miss low center! I felt like the worse spotter ever! We looked at each and talked it through, what had just happened. This was my first time shooting with Bob though we've know each other from 20 years. Bob is a pretty unflappable guy and can take a gut punch like that first shot and just keep moving forward. So we moved on, but it stuck in the back of my mind that I had cost him points.

    Toward the end of his 900 yard string something I could see for a while was coming finally reared it's ugly head, the conditions reversed. I could see hints that it wanted to switch in the previous shots and we were struggling trying to hold on to the black as a result of the flutter that came and went quickly in the mirage. Now with the reversal we waited. The reversal held, we waited. We waited as long as we could and Bob said we're going to have to make a correction and go. Well, I was spotting so the decision of how much was on me. I wanted to give him 3-4 minutes left, but that miss at 1000 weighed on me as did the shots we had already had at 900 out near the edges at 3 and 9 o'clock. I just couldn't find the courage to go that much, so I wimped out and gave him a measly 2 minutes left. Bang, it came up a 6 just out side the 7-ring at 3 o'clock. 2 minutes more correction and he would have had a 9 and maybe a 10. No balls no glory!


    Lesson relearned: To be a good spotter or shooter you have to be able to totally blow off the last shot, the only shot that matters is the next one!
    And I know that, but it's hard to live by that when it's going on a friends score.

    DT
    Jim Kluskens
    aka Distant Thunder

  2. #82
    Boolit Master Don McDowell's Avatar
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    Job well done Jim!
    GUSA #6
    People will forget what you said...
    People will forget what you did...
    But People will NEVER forget how you made them feel

    Want to join in adult conversation about shooting the old ways without the hysterics associated with other places?http://historicshooting.com/mybb/index.php

  3. #83
    Great story! It really gives this noobie a feel for a spotter responsibility’s and the pressures of calling for adjustments or lack of. One has to, it seems, develop a sixth sense for this kind of work. Well done DT.
    Regards, Richard

  4. #84
    Boolit Man Distant Thunder's Avatar
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    Richard, spotting is more fun than even shooting...…….., when it goes well. When you make a mistake, and we all do, it is the worst feeling you can have. When I'm shooting and my spotter makes a mistake I don't hold it against them, I know they will make many good calls and without the mistakes being forgiven there can not be the freedom to make the hard calls that will be needed down the line. I do have a hard time getting past the mistakes I make as a spotter, but you just can't let those mistakes keep you from having the guts to make the hard calls. The guy that taught me told me that you just have to say," F**K it, it ain't going on my score!". That can be hard to do, but it is the only way you can learn and have the guts to risk it all on that next shot. The system works best when your shooter is very good and knows his rifle, his sights and his ammo and can make the sight adjustments without having to think about it. It takes time to build a good shooter/spotter team and a lot of trust.

    When it all clicks it is the greatest feeling I've had shooting in matches. A good spotter/shooter team is something to watch and even better to be part of.

    DT
    Jim Kluskens
    aka Distant Thunder

  5. #85
    Boolit Man Distant Thunder's Avatar
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    There are a few other things that came out of the Lodi match.

    One is the sticky case problem in my paper patch chamber. Out of the 121 rounds I fired, only 60 for record so you can see how many sighters shots were needed, 2 cases stuck and had to be knocked out of the chamber. They don't come out real hard, just harder than my Hepburns extractor can push. A Hepburn extractor doesn't have much force.


    Both the stuck cases had stuck before, twice before, and were marked showing that. They have been separated from the rest of the brass and I'll attempt to "fix" the problem. It is clearly not a chamber problem, but a brass problem.

    DT
    Jim Kluskens
    aka Distant Thunder

  6. #86
    “When it all clicks it is the greatest feeling I've had shooting in matches. A good spotter/shooter team is something to watch and even better to be part of.”
    I bet it is!
    Thanks for the insights.
    Regards, Richard

  7. #87
    Boolit Man Distant Thunder's Avatar
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    One of the guys shooting paper patch bullets, Jeff Heeler, was using a 2-diameter bullet I designed for his .45-90 Sharps. I say designed but it is really just a .45 caliber version of the bullet I am using in my .40-65.

    He was beginning to think his days of long-range shooting was done and told me so. We are loosing enough good people from our sport so I offered to work with his rifle and see if I could get a paper patch load to work in it. He had tried unsuccessfully to shoot paper patch a few times using bullets I gave him.

    He didn't see anything to lose in the offer and said ok, so I took his rifle and tried various paper patch bullets that I had. The rifle showed some promise with a round nose bullet that I had a few of. So I decided to try a .45 caliber bullet like my .40-65 bullet. It shot very well for me at 200 yards in his rifle. When I gave him his rifle back I also gave him the mold and some of the cartridges I had loaded so he would have some examples to follow and a detail description of how I had loaded them.


    After shooting the new bullet some and having some good results he decided it would work better for him if it was converted from a bore diameter ppb to a 2-diameter bullet. Easy enough to do. He sent the mold to me and I opened it up at the base and sent it back. Since the conversion he has been doing pretty well with it.

    He decided to come to Lodi this past Saturday and shoot just the one day and test his new bullet. He loaded that 2-diameter ppb for his in his .45-70 C. Sharps high wall and his .45-90 C. Sharps 1874. He shot the .45-90 at 1000 and 900 and then the .45-70 at 800 yards.

    Jeff can shoot but for some reason he hasn't done that well in the past several years in the long-range matches. For whatever reason Jeff was squaded in a 2-man relay instead of a 3-man which meant he would have to do his own spotting and wind calling. It was a tough weekend for that kind of shooting. Still he placed 6th after the first day and was very happy with how both rifles shot with the new 2-diameter paper patch bullet. That is higher than Jeff has placed in the past several years. It was only the one day but it does show that there is potential in the 2-diameter ppb design for using in grease groove chambers. The 2-diameter ppb does eliminate the need to size the brass down for a .450" bullet and still gives the added powder capacity in a .45-70. The .45-90 probably doesn't need more powder capacity normally, but Jeff's .45-90 is really short throated for some reason and a bit more powder doesn't hurt at 1000 yards.

    I would have liked to see where he would have finished if he had shot both days and had someone spotting for him. I'm pretty sure he'll be back and that was what I wanted to see when I offered to help. Paper patch is good!

    DT
    Jim Kluskens
    aka Distant Thunder

  8. #88
    Boolit Master
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    Jim, I got a wood spotting chair with a brass plaque after we won the Texas state silhouette shoot a couple years ago that says top spotter. Sometimes that chair feels warm and fuzzy and sometimes you want to crawl under it and hide but call them like you read em.

  9. #89
    Boolit Man Distant Thunder's Avatar
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    kid,

    That's is no small accomplishment, winning the Texas State Silhouette Championship. My congratulations to you! I like the fact that in silhouette they often recognize the spotter of the shooter with the highest score. I know the value of a good and trusted spotter. That relationship has magnified my enjoyment in the BPCR sports many times over.

    The beautiful piece of walnut in the stock of my long-range Hepburn was awarded to me when I spotted my long-range partner to a win in the NRA Great Lakes Regional Silhouette Championship in Alma, Michigan several years back. I have fond memories of that match every time I look at that wood. That rifle actually has several wins that became part of it. The barrel is from my first Long-Range Grand Aggregate win at Lodi in 2009. The stock was carved by Treebone with the help of a certificate I won at Lodi. There maybe one or two more that escape my memory at this moment. I put those prizes to good use in building my Hepburn and it has served me well over the past 5 years.

    DT
    Jim Kluskens
    aka Distant Thunder

  10. #90
    Boolit Man
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    Jim, I can't imagine how you shot a 97 3x in that mess at 800 on Sunday. I shot with the right to left and got centered up fairly well and then it flipped over to the left and started running pretty fast so I shot more practice sightings and it was about a four minute switch. Just about the time I went for score, it switched back to the right. I took those settings and shot fairly well and tried to wait it out but it switched back and forth many times. I finally had to go with the left to right towards the end. It was at least four minutes if not five as it was running really hard. For you to hang in there and shoot a 97 was fantastic. You put quite a bit of distance between the rest of us and yourself with that score .That 4-5 o'clock tailwind was something else. It was hard to believe that with that little switch, it could be that many minutes. It would have been fun to shoot that during a practice session and keep track of exactly what what was going on. The sad part of the whole weekend is now I have everything cleaned up and ready to put away till next year. It's just too **** long between shooting seasons. I hope I can keep it up a few more years but my neck and shoulder were really bothering me last night when I got home. I wish I could go back to shooting prone but that's never going to happen. Shooting the scope with a new rifle worked out fairly well. I got more familiar with it as the weekend went on so I'm pretty happy with the way I ended. Thanks again for the decapper that I won last year as a door prize. I hope I will use it for many years. To those of you thinking about shooting long range, it needs to be sooner than later. Our numbers are dwindling and if we don't get more shooters out there, like Jim said it's not going to last for long because it's hard to put on a match with only 20 or fewer shooters. Harris is having
    It even worse as our numbers are down to a dozen or less. Bob

  11. #91
    Old Win,
    I just turned eighty and know about the aches and pains. I have a very bad back but I managed to shoot two Silouette matches a month apart. For me getting on ibuprofen about week before and staying on it till the match is over helps me. Most folks use ibuprofen when they start to hurt but according to my ortho doctor that is not its proper use, as the inflammation has already started and that’s what’s causing the pain. Starting the ibuprofen early helps prevent the inflammation. I’m not a doctor but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn...Maybe that’s why my back hurts, ha!
    Good luck, Richard

  12. #92
    Boolit Man Distant Thunder's Avatar
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    OldWin,

    There are some really good people and friends still shooting the matches at Lodi, you guys from Minnesota are among them. It will be a sad day when you and Mike and Tom aren't able to come and shoot with us. Let's hope we all have some more years left in us.


    Sunday at 800 was all Brent. It probably helped that I was breaking good shots and was able to shoot uncharacteristically quick when Brent gave me the green light. A few times when we had to wait out some of the more nasty stuff I could really feel the wear and tear of the weekend in my shoulders and neck. Laying there in the hot sun wasn't easy. It's important at those time to stay focused and not shoot so you can get off the line.


    I really can't say why I have been shooting as well as I have been the last year or so, that's just the way it is. I have no idea how long it will continue either. I have worked at fine tuning everything the past two years and late last year it all just started to come together. I'm not messing with the things that are working, just refining the system and setup. The bore pigs are an important part, they speed up the wiping for us paper patchers.

    This past Saturday I found myself struggling to get in a natural point of aim from the prone and I was fighting to hold on the target. Sunday I started setting up my sticks and matt a bit different and by 800 yards I had the system retooled to something that works way better for me. I found that I could lay down, get in the rifle, put the sights on the target, then close my eyes for several seconds and when I'd open them again I was still on the target. Not perfectly centered but still on target 3. It made centering up and breaking the shot quickly so much easier when it was time to shoot. I think it really made a difference at 800.

    That 97-3X is not my personal best at 800, I shot a 98-?X at Raton, but it was doing it in those hard conditions Sunday that made it something special. Like I said a good spotter/shooter team is something to watch. Brent and I have put together some pretty good relays and scores over the past year in both silhouette and long-range. It is just too bad we can't seem to work it out to do it more often. I need someone like Brent to bring out the best in me whether I'm in the rifle or the scope. Glenn and I had it good for a time and I miss those days for sure.

    Make sure I get the Harris dates for next year and I'll do my best to come and shoot with you guys. That would be fun!

    DT
    Jim Kluskens
    aka Distant Thunder

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check