Sunday, March 09, 2008
Perry Posts About the Perry Post
Came across a picture cleaning out my file drawer this morning, taken during a club match, back when I shot .22 silhouette. Late 1980's, '87 or'88. This was then under the auspices of IHMSA, the International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association, and I was, at my best, ranked AAA. (Rankings started at, I think, C, rose to B; A; AA; AAA, and finally, International Masters, which last meant you seldom, if ever, missed a target during a match.
The difference between a AAA shooter and an IM'er, was two points. I could manage a 37 or 38 in the open position on a good day. Serious shooters shot 39 or 40 every time, and did stuff like weigh each cartridge and measure the headspace so that each round was as much like the others as possible. I usually shot Winchester T-22, standard velocity ammo.
How the game worked, was, you had steel targets set up at four ranges: 25, 5o, 75, and 100 yards. (For centerfire handguns, these ranges were doubled and the targets made much larger.) Each range had ten targets, and you got one shot at each, for a total possible score of 40 points, one for each one you knocked over.
The first and closest set of targets were cut-out metal chickens, about the size of a teacup. The second range was pigs, about a saucer's size. At 75 yards, the targets were turkeys, tall and skinny, slightly larger. At 100 yards, we shot at steel rams, about the size of a dinner plate.
In the second picture above, the targets on the step ladder are .22 versions. The smaller ones are for airguns.
These all looked impossibly tiny the first time I saw them. I couldn't believe anybody could actually hit any of them with a handgun. They were set on big six-by-six boards and to get a score, the targets, which were freestanding, had to fall over. If you nicked one and it tottered or spun but stayed up right on the rail, you didn't get the point. The bigbore shooter had to have guns with some punch, because their steel rams weighed over fifty pounds, and anything less than a hotloaded .357 Magnum round didn't have the power to knock it over, even with a solid hit.
Those days, it was restricted to iron sights only. No scopes, red dots, lasers. You could shoot in different classes: pistol or revolver, and you could stand or you could lie down and prop the gun next to your leg. I had several handguns along the way, starting with a High Standard semi-auto, and ending with a Browning Buck Mark, the Silhouette Model, with a nine-inch bull barrel.
Standing was harder, the scores always lower. Knocking down ten of ten at any range standing was worth a special award hat pin. You competed against other people using the same kind of weapon -- pistol or revolver -- pistols being considered more accurate, and either standing or lying down. There was a time limit, and you shot your targets from left to right, sometimes with the ejected hot brass of the shooter next to you bouncing off your head. You didn't wear open-necked shirts for that reason.
You were allowed a spotter, who, using a scope, could tell you where your bullet hit and allow you to adjust your sights if you were too high or low. You learned how many clicks to go up or down for the various ranges pretty quickly. Even a flat-shooting .22 needed to be adjusted between 25 and 100 yards, to allow for bullet drop.
Generally, my misses were mostly on the turkeys, which were always the hardest to hit for me.
Most of the shooters lying down propped the gun next to their strong-side leg, on the outside, a position called Creedmore. I developed my own position, which was, far as I know, unique -- the Perry Post. Looks funny, but on a good day, I could hit 38 or 39 in practice, and once -- once -- I did a 40.
I did weigh my ammo for matches, but never got to the measuring stage, or match-grade ammuntion.
Not combat shooting by any means, this was a thing of precision, and excellent practice for developing sight picture and trigger control. My club phased the smallbore version out some years ago when they were rebuilding the range. Fun, back when I had the time to go and practice three or four times a week.