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The Great Dutch/Doc
I take some time here to write up an
interesting event. It's the type of thing that the airgun magazines
used to record. Now, however; the magazines are few and far between
and their personnel don't travel to actual events anymore. Well,
I was there and here's the story.
It took place at Standing Stone 3 in
the mountains of Pennsylvania at the Juniata County Sportsman's
Club. 'Twas the weekend of the hurricane Isobel and everyone was
too spooked to show up. Weather was fine for the Festival - but
the previous two week 24/7 harping of the TV had convinced everyone
we were all gonna die if we came out from under the bed - no matter
where we were. Thus, the crowds were thin.
On Friday, during the Invitational
events, we'd set out a field of 1/4" plate steel ground hogs,
bunnies, and crows. 20 of the beasts occupied the field from approx.
20-100 yards, at unknown ranges.
Mike (Doc) Marino had prepared and
brought his 32 Prairie Classic. He verified his zero and shot
the field course. Great shooting - he knocked over 17 of the possible
20 targets and hit another one or two that wouldn't go over.
Due to the smaller crowd, I decided
I'd join in the fun. I'd just completed the Delta 45 and planned
to hunt with it this Fall. I'd made a quick run to the range and
set up the scope for my 237 grain Shrike slugs. No follow-up trip
was possible with the SS preparations, etc. But I felt it was
close. Well, zero confirmation up at the Festival told me it was
very close. I shot the course and took down 19/20 targets (SOMEONE
named Doc was talking to me during the 20th .... returning a pen
or some such nonsense .... hmmmmm).
Well, as the day progressed, we had
fewer shooters than anticipated. Many folks were happily plinking
away and just never got around to shooting the tournaments. "Dutch"
was at the end of the range and Jim Leister asked him if he'd
like to shoot the tournament with Jim's Bison or maybe with my
Delta? Since Jim's Bison is muzzle loaded with peep sights and
mine was breech with scope ... it took Dutch all of two or three
seconds to decide to shoot mine - he he ;?)
I got him settled in, sorted and sized
some Shrike slugs for him. Explained the scope which was charted
for distance like a FT scope set up, and filled the rifle for
him when it needed it. He began laying waste to the field. When
the dust settled, he'd also shot 17/20 targets. A tie with Doc
for second. We'd need a shoot-off!
Jim trotted out to 100 yards, grabbed
three groundhogs, and kept walking. At an unknown distance (shown
later to be around 113 yards by laser ), he set up two hogs side
by side ... dropped back another 5 yards or so, and set up the
third. The tie breaker was set. However; Doc had shot his 32.
It was getting a bit light out past 100 yards on those heavy targets.
Since the Delta 45 Dutch was shooting wasn't his anyway ... we
opted to offer both shooters to use the same rifle.
Now ... look at the situation we have
here. We have a brand new rifle - set up quickly in one couple
hour range session. We have two shooters who have never seen the
rifle before - much less become familiar with it. We have one
shooter who's just shot a tournament and now has maybe 20 couple
shots under his belt. We give Doc two sighter shots to become
just marginally familiar with the rifle.
We're gonna shoot about 113 yards ...
with an air rifle ... at probably 5 pound plate steel knock over
hogs. No reason for either shooter to do it - the rifle was only
charted to 100 yards too ... did I mention that? We were in new
territory completely - for everyone - including the builder of
We set Doc down ... he lines up on
the hog. BANG-DINGGG!!!! And the hog falls!! Well I'll be! Amazing.
Dutch slides in after the rifle is re-set. Lines up ... BANG-DINGGG!!!
Well, there's the third hog - farther
back. Doc comes back in. The rifle is prepared - slug sorted and
sized. Doc lines up on the distant hog - probably 122 yards, etc.
BANG-DING! Hog falls. We all look at each other. We have to shoot
Jim trots out to the targets (nice
to be younger), resets the one Doc's just nailed at 122 yards
and places two more farther out. (I zapped them at 137 yards with
the laser rangefinder but didn't tell anyone). Dutch is now expected
to duplicate Doc's last shot or forfeit. He lines up after all
is prepared. BANG-DING! It falls!!! We all say - "We should
be getting this on tape!"
So we move on the the next level (the
shooters don't know it's 137 yards). Doc shoots ... ding. Ooooohhhhh
... a hit but no fall! Dutch gets ready and shoots .... a very
close miss. We could call it, but the rest of the match had required
the target to fall in order to count. We discuss it and decide
we must shoot again as both shots were technically considered
to be a miss.
I sort and size and lube slugs and
top off the rifle. Doc lines up and shoots ... BANG-DING! A fall!
Nice shooting. But Dutch must match it. Dutch shoots ... BANG-DING!!
A fall. This is getting ridiculous!! Don't forget ... rifle is
a week old - neither have experience shooting it. We're off the
scope chart and it's going strong. AND ...did anybody notice ...
Dutch is a lefty? Every time we switched shooters, it required
setting up for Dutch differently then for right handed Doc. Same
rifle - same ambidextrous stock. Must work ... you agree?
At this point, Doc's hit without a
fall could factor in ... or we could continue. We toss a coin
... heads we shoot again ... tails we give Doc's strike the nod.
It's heads. We shoot again. Jim goes out to reset targets while
I sort lead. The targets are set at what I zap as 155 yards.
Doc lines up and shoots. Ohhhhh ...
so close! But a miss. Dutch can take it with a fall. But ... Dutch
shoots .... Oooooooohhhh ... so close again!!! But ... Doc's was
just a hair closer and he had that previous hit to his credit.
The match was called ... Doc Silver ... Dutch Bronze. We can't
shoot all night! What a match!!
It's actually getting more gloomy toward
evening again now. We stand in the rain for pics of the medals.
We look around ... Dutch, Doc, Jim, Gary, Paul the range officer.
Maybe one or two others. Everyone else had wandered off. This
is what you miss if you aren't there. This is what you miss even
if you ARE there and just don't watch the matches.
It was classic. Could never be duplicated.
I'm glad I saw it.