The English XX Meeting marked our first – and, for many Old Suttonians, only – meeting of 2020. Indeed, it was the first such open meeting that the NRA hosted in the post-lockdown period. Rather than the usual shooting in threes, competitive shooting for the foreseeable future is characterised by two shooters per lane, shooting over the assigned cones, laid at a social distance from one another, and with a register keeping card that is not shared with fellow competitors.
The English XX Meeting is a Queen’s-style shoot, which means it follows the same structure as the Queen’s prize, held annually at the Imperial: 2&7 at 300x, 500x, and 600x; 2&10 at 300x, 500x, and 600x; 2&15 at 900x and 1000x. In the official Queen’s Prize, the latter two stages require ranking in the top 300 and top 100 respectively in the preceding stages. It is, therefore, invaluable experience for Old Suttonians to get this experience.
Saturday (1) – The Association
The Saturday began in a misty gloom. Not only was it difficult to physically see the targets – even as close as 300x – but a variety of complications meant that Chris Dale first arrived to the point without a bolt. Fortunately, he was able to get everything he needed for the second detail. Harriet Aburn, taking our new club rifle out for its first competition, similarly had a tricky start as she accidentally set her sights incorrectly for 300x. Both Chris and Harriet nevertheless performed with excellent scores at 500x and 600x. Freddie Pawlik, shooting in his first competition, similarly came out of lockdown fighting fit by shooting his first HPS at 500x with a 35.2 (ex. 35.7).
Saturday (2) – The Second Stage
After a steady start in the Association (the first 300, 500, and 600 shoot), the team prepared for an afternoon of limited wind and good visibility. This meant that the team would have to perform well individually in order to meet the standard of the other competitors. Sure enough, Chris Dale and Anthony Bromley both knocked in 50s at 300x and 500x; Freddie Pawlik would similarly go on to achieve his second HPS at 600x with a 50.6.
This meant that after the Saturday, Anthony was positioned 25th out of 114 and Dale 55th, an excellent standing given that many of the top competitors were some of the best marksmen in the country.
Sunday (1) – The Long (900x)
Long range is always an entirely different beast. While modern target rifle equipment is sophisticated, long range begins to reach the limits of what it can do – especially 1000x. At 900x, first thing on Sunday morning, the flags were still. The slightly brighter conditions, however, permitted shooters to read the mirage. This enables a shooter to see in what direction air is moving across the range and roughly at what speed.
Anthony was able to knock in a 74.9 (ex. 75.15), while Chris Dale put in an admirable 72.6. Regaining some of his characteristic magic, Chris Pawlik shot a 69.8, while Freddie Pawlik had some issues with marking, which left him with a 62.2 that poorly represented his performance.
Sunday (2) – The Final (1000x)
Marksmen often approach 1000x with trepidation. While it is only 100 yards further than 900x, it is the same target as 900x, and as such grouping needs to be tighter and wind calls that much more accurate. While there was wind in the flags, it was a challenge to read the changes effectively – even the mirage had vanished.
Chris Pawlik, seemingly more comfortable with long range than short, put in a 70.5 to match Anthony with the same score. Chris Dale and Freddie found the wind a little more challenging, but the experience, they affirm, was valuable.
Grand Aggregate (ex. 114 competitors)
Anthony Bromley – 27th
Chris Dale – 63rd
Chris Pawlik – 95th
Freddie Pawlik – 96th
Above all, an exceptional performance for OSRA. Competing against some of the best marksmen in the country, all OS competitors at the English XX Meeting should be proud of their performance. This bodes well for the NRA Imperial Meeting this September: competitive fullbore shooting, socially distanced and outdoors, is the perfect sport for these strange times.
Table of Scores (ex. 35.7; 50.10; 75.15)