Last weekend I attended the Prairie Dog Shoot in western Wisconsin and first off it was a blast! this is a small shoot that is for fun and camaraderie (And bragging rights) than it is for prizes and trophies. Being a fun shoot I don't take it too serious but I do use it as a training exercise and shoot my best. My reason for righting this post is go over some of the things that I learned and noticed while there. I'm going to go over the shoot in order of how I shot this event and how each stage went down.
A 5 target single load speed shoot was the first event that I did that day. It consisted of five steel targets from somewhere around 250 yards out to just shy of 500 yards and the goal was to get the best score in the fastest time possible. The fastest time was 30 seconds even. When it was my turn go shoot I set my rifle down with a round sitting ready to get fed bolt open as the rules stated. This stage should have been fairly simple making holds with little to no wind on targets that were large enough to allow for some error at those distances. When start signal went off I got down to start shooting and couldn't close my bolt. There goes an easy what felt like 5 minuets on the clock but I'm guessing it was closer to one minuet. I'm currently shooting a model 10 Savage and the rear baffle on the bolt had rotated between 90* and 180* and wouldn't let the bolt close past the rear of the receiver. After figuring that out I had a pretty decent run but missed a first round hit somewhere around the 350 yard mark trying to make up some extra time. Moral of this stage is make sure all your gear is ready to roll before it's your turn to shoot the stage!
Next was the dueling varmint challenge! Two plate racks with 5 steel prairie dog cutouts each set up at 100 yards where two people go head to head in a single elimination race to knock them all down to move on! I did pretty well at last years making it all the way up to second place but this year didn't go as well for me and I got my butt kicked in my second round by a .308 even! (gasp a .308 in a competition!) but it was all about speed at 100 yards and he beat me fair and square. What was different this year is that there was a plate rack with steel targets on it instead of 5 thin concrete "prairie dogs" hanging by nails and every once in a while two dogs would fall with one shot. it was explained in the rules earlier in the day that that was just luck and would count as hits. My first round I got lucky and had 2 targets fall with one shot or I don't think i'd have made it. that was a close one. round two I went up against my partner for the team challenge and his trusty .308. Now usually people would argue that the .308 would put shooters at a disadvantage but not here! I'm guessing it was his big heavy bullets knocking down several targets at once and he made it all the way to the end for a solid 2nd or 3rd place finish I don't remember exactly where he finished. The first place winner had a full on bench rest rig set up on and was very effective at being quick here. The moral of this stage is don't think your gear is holding you back. Ken had his stock Remington .308 figured out and ran it all the way to the end for a solid finish.
The third stage was a group shoot at 200 yards and there isn't much to explain about this stage other than don't suck and wait for the wind to be in your favor!
Stage four and the final stage of the day was a team shoot shooting 12 oz water bottles from 100-500 yards with a random teammate. My teammate Ken had everything pretty figured out for his .308 and we ended up doing pretty well for us. This shoot was prone and each competitor has 40 rounds and targets were placed every 5 yards starting at 100 yards out to 500 yards. We had a solid start and were making good hits until if I remember right around the 250 yard mark where Ken dialed on a little too much wind and was missing off the right side of the targets. There wasn't much wind and it took us a little bit to fugure out what had happened but after we figured it out we were back to making solid hits! Ken had dialed on .2 mil of wind and was taking my advice on a wind hold on top of that thinking that I knew he had two tenths dialed on. I probably didn't hear him tell me that he dialed wind and I assumed he held wind like I do. we ended up being pretty solid out to about the 300 yard mark before starting to shoot the 500 yard bottles just for fun. We both had good hits on the furthest bottles out there and I had a lot of fun shooting with Ken! The takeaway from this stage is if you're shooting with a teammate especially one that you have never shot with before make sure there is a steady stream of communication between the two of you. With the targets being water bottles and and leak in the bottle counting as a hit its very easy to have a hit that counts and not be able to see it after you recover from the shot where your spotter will maybe see the water drain from the bottle if it isn't a solid hit. You can't share enough info between teammates on the firing line!