We attended the monthly UNSC Rifle Match this weekend. It was an interesting change of pace for me. Craig bought me a really fancy new scope for Christmas, and in zeroing the new scope, we also experimented with loading less gunpowder into my rounds. It reduces velocities, which makes the bullets more susceptible to wind, but the UNSC doesn’t get much wind, and reducing the amount of powder used saves a bit of money and reduces recoil (and we’re theorizing, reduces the rifle’s dependency on preload). Anyway, my rifle became a whole new beast over the course of the last couple months, so Saturday was a big test to see how well the new configuration worked for me.
First, let’s talk about the scope. It is nice. Really nice. It is also a really interesting look at just how important good glass is. My old scope, a Bushnell Elite Tactical 3-12 scope was essentially the same configuration. A small scope, same magnification as the new one. The impetus behind finding something new was the reticle on the Bushnell. The markings on the reticle were dots, which work OK, but it’s difficult to be precise when the target is totally covered by a dot. Many of the newer reticles have opted for hash marks over dots, which is much better configuration. When I was initially looking into getting a higher end scope, I was wanting something with more magnification than 12x. The 12x worked out OK on the Bushnell, but there have been a few situations where I’d have liked to have more. Craig talked me out of it (the same scope as I got, but with more magnification range would have been several hundred dollars more), telling me that quality optics would make a difference. They really do. I never quite believed it, but the difference in clarity is astounding. The Bushnell was a reliable and good scope, but this Kahles is so shockingly clear, I am bothered that I didn’t feel compelled to get something nicer before now.
For the first time, another woman was shooting the match. And strangely enough, I knew her. When I was between full-time jobs, I helped out a local gun shop/indoor range with auditing their paperwork, and met Anette, who runs her own shooting blog and is sponsored and everything. It had been a while since I had seen her, but it was such a great surprise to have another female competitor around! The match format has changed a little, and the new format allows for people to have their rifles uncased and in the rack while they’re not shooting, which was not the case beforehand. Looking at all of the guns lined up allowed us to notice the main difference between a woman’s competitive rifle, and a man’s. All of the guy’s guns were tan, black, grey, and green. Mine is purple. The only other “flashy” gun in the rack was a shiny unfinished aluminum chassis, which I later found out belonged to Anette.
After the pleasant news that there was another woman-shooter, we began the competition, and things just got better and better. I don’t know if it was the slightly downloaded ammo, or the scope, or I was just “on,” but I didn’t struggle with making hits. I was stable, patient, efficient, and I didn’t struggle to make out targets. Everything just…meshed. It felt GREAT. There were even a few stages that I beat Craig! There are few things more satisfying than outshooting your husband.
All said and done, I ended up taking 7th place out of 25 shooters. Unofficially, I think that I probably got 6th due to a scoring discrepancy, but I’m perfectly happy with 7th. Here’s to a repeat performance next time!