New job for Veronika, the love of my life; relocation from Connecticut to Maryland, a new baby girl (Sofía), Daniel growing up and challenging his old man, LOL!
Yup! quite an "interesting" year.
So, now that we are more settled, I can start attending my new "Home Range".
DIFTA is, without a doubt, one of the oldest and best established FT Clubs in the USA.
Paintings at the Club house dating back almost 25 years show typical FT shooters of the day with all breakbarrell airguns and small scopes.
DIFTA hosted the USA National Matches in 2010 and some of the few truly international Matches in recent US FT history (the Mason-Dixon Shootout); much is owed to Joe McDaniel who in his days pushed as hard as he could to get things done; as usual with movers and shakers, not everyone loved him, but he got things done.
There are times that I am of the idea that done is better than perfect and that it is better to ask forgiveness than permission.
One of my best memories is taking 3rd place at the 2010 Nationals it was a shootoff of epic proportions, LOL!
Anyway, as life often takes us in a full circle, this time the same rifle went back to DIFTA, but it is now using a Sightron SIII at 29X instead of the old Vortex Diamondback (now discontinued) at 12X of way back then. A concession to age and ageing eyes.
The gun also uses now a custom made piston and a Titan XS spring in a custom guide.
Much has changed over these past 7 years, but DIFTA will always be DIFTA and the wooded course with the long shots just at the side of an open field always poses great challenges.
Another challenge that is usual at DIFTA are the thermals. Early morning, the cold air of the woods starts to warm up and slowly (therefore imperceptibly), flows upwards. The slow mass of air can move your pellet a good milrad at 50 yards, so it is something to keep in mind. When the sun is high, and the air of the open fields on both sides reaches the same temperature as the that in the woods, the reverse happens, the air in the shade starts cooling and the thermals flow down. It is something that can catch you unawares.
But it was time then to start getting back into the FT groove, and what better opportunity than a local match at my own "home range"?
So, I conferred with Veronika and she gave me the go ahead and I prepared everything to go.
The weather forecast called for overcast skies and medium winds, definitely something to look forward to:
Day started very "Welsh" rainy and drizzling, with little wind.
But, a few brave souls decided to go out and play, so after a reasonable sight-in time, the shooters' meeting was called:
The group was small in numbers but rich in variety.
The line to the left:
Dean is one of those persons I admire, NOTHING will stop him from shooting.
Back surgeries, loss of balance, eyesight troubles; nothing will stop him. AND, he has the mind of an engineer. So we get along well.
His rig reminded me of Hathcock's "Ma Deuce":
IMHO, Dean's rig truly embraces and represents the spirit of the "Unlimited Class".
Now, before the witch hunters starts hollering "Heresy! that is not FT!", and piling up the green firewood to burn me (alive or not) at the stake, let me try to make those detractors of progress THINK a little:
1.- Even if the system allows incredible stability for the shot, the shooter still has to range, read the wind and execute the shot, in the proper order, and within the time frame allowed.
2.- As much as it is interesting, it is almost impossible to take the standing or the kneeling shots with the same degree of stability; what adds stability in the free position, detracts stability in the forced positions. So, using a system like this does NOT guarantee cleaning the course; ANY, well laid course.
3.- Highly inclined or declined shots clearly make the system inoperable.
So, a shooter that opts for something like this is giving away quite a lot of points just to start.
As adults, we should understand the concept of risk/reward and the responsibility of choosing our own setup.
Any rule that is written to forestall progress or goes against the grain of the community will soon fall by the wayside. It is just a matter of time.
So, anyway, let's get back to the shoot.
This is Dean's rig in use:
I like this gun, LOL!
Hope to see you all some day at DIFTA!