Truth is that I learned a lot in the Crosman shoot, but perhaps it would be best if we make a little bit of history:
The CAAFTC (for short) is the successor to an event that was started many years ago by Broome County Sportsmen Association, it started as a Regional event hosted near Binghamton and then, under the sponsorship of Crosman Corporation, moved the Corporation's facilities, to then move once more to a proper range in Rochester Brooks Gun Club.
From a one day Marathon event (60 shots in the morning and 60 shots in the afternoon), it changed to a two day and now a three day event, a veritable SchützenFest of airguns.
If you are really curious, read the two prior entries about this Match:
With the current entry of Crosman into the Big Bore and Air propelled Arrows (ApA) market, it is not a long stretch of the imagination if in the future there is included an event for each of those.
This year, the overall festivities included the Pyramyd Air run "Gunslynger", the Crosman run "Quigley Bucket Challenge" and an excellently run Grand Prix Field Target Match run by Rochester Brooks Gun Club FT section.
In a way, at least to me, what is best about this event is that it showcases what the industry, major retailers and shooters can do when they team up and work together.
Of course, kudos go to Sean McDaniel, Eric Brewer and Doug Rogers, who put lots of hours and great efforts into creating the two completely different courses that challenged FT'ers of all ages, powerplants, and origins. Also to Mark DeBoard, Chip Hunicutt, and the Crosman Girls, of course, who handled all the registration/scorecards/bags of goodies duties with aplomb and a beaming smile; AND, of course, thanks should also go to Tyler Patner and Kirsten Coss from Pyramyd Air for their awesome support of the sport.
I had to concentrate on the FT section of the event, the Lisbon World's are approaching fast and with a baby at home, it is not easy to get anything done, so any opportunity to shoot and learn new things is highly welcomed.
We travelled on Thursday to sleep over in Rochester/Henrietta and get to the range early Friday.
At some reasonable hour we arrived to the range only to find winds in the 10-12 mph with gusts of 17-25 mph range.
In the past, I have often found that windy sight-in ranges (like the one in Long Island's ESCAA) tell shooters little about how their guns are doing, but I tend to forget those experiences and that is what happened.
I fired up the app, started shooting spinners just to get all components settled and to working temperature, and when I started shooting for range/app info, things did not make ANY sense.
As my wife says: "When everything else fails, go back to basics". And so, after a frustrating and disinforming range session, I mused the problem overnight.
Next morning, at the range, with much less wind, (but still quite a lot by USA's FT standards), things began to shape up and make sense. Not a lot, but SOME sense. The difference between making some sense and a LOT of sense would prove my undoing later in the day.
I was paired up with expert spring gunner Manuel Morales. And we were expecting a Canadian guy (Brian Milne who is a good friend), but he never arrived, so we decided to start as a two man squad.
But lane 11 proved tough for me (as for many others) and lanes 19, 23 and 27 which were not that hard proved atrocious.
Definitely something was amiss (apart from the arithmetic! LOL!)
Still, the line was fun, full of friends, banter, conversation and photo-ops
Next day early in the morning, I took advantage of a lull in the winds (which would last all day, anyway) and recalibrated my trajectory and re-zeroed my gun.
The "Woods" course is a GREAT addition to the RBGC's FT program.
For the second day, the top shooters: Ray Apelles, Manuel Morales and Jerry LaRocca would be squadded together, then Nathan Thomas, John Wolkiewicz, and Matt Brackett would shoot together and Leo Gonzales and myself would shoot in the third squad.
Ah, well, next year we'll try again!
As Matt Brackett pointed out, it is the first time that a cadre of spring-piston shooters comes together and scores at the 80% level.
It was an honor and privilege to be part of this event.
If you have not tried the "Crosman Shoot" as it is affectionately known, you really need to set the time aside and go. You will never forget the experience.
Thanks again to Crosman for the great coolers they gave away, for their unstinting support of FT, and to Pyramyd Air for the great event.
Keep well and shoot straight!