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and a roof, four panels consisting of a wood frame on which is attached corrugated roofing iron, bolted together and anchored to the ground. The other end of the fenced-in range holds two large steel bullet traps with target frames.
Usually by May and thereafter through October, all my shooting is done outdoors. I generally try for serious practice here, running through the regular National Match course of fire with each gun: .22, center-fire, and .45. This is undoubtedly my best practice, since it includes familiarization with the course as well as with the guns and ammunition. My range is equipped with turning targets, so I can practice the timed and rapid fire stages. After such training, I can space my shots over the alloted time without hurry or strain. This seems to me very' important, and my match scores reflect my confidence in timed and rapid fire.
My biggest problem is keeping myself supplied with ammunition, and I spend many evenings at home over the loading bench. It takes a lot more time to load cartridges than to shoot them! But loading is fun, too, since you are always seeking a load that will add a point or two to your scores.
Dry firing is a form of practice that many shooters adopt for lack of a place to shoot or the time for actual shooting. I am a bit hesitant about snapping my guns dry, but sometimes dry firing is absolutely necessary, to check trigger squeeze and sight alignment that cannot be evaluated wholly during actual firing. Some shooters have special dry-fire guns—mates to the ones they shoot. Dry firing a revolver can provide practice in all the stages of firing, but dry firing an automatic is useless except in slow fire practice.
Of course, the highest form of practice, and the only way to get "match conditioned" is match shooting. Shooting in one match is the very best way to prepare for the next one. Practicing by yourself can give you a "grammer school education" in shooting, but to get that "college degree" you've got to shoot in competition. I try to enter all the pistol matches 1 possibly can, time and money allowing.
Proper equipment is a prime requisite for any shooter who wishes to reach the top, or even near the top. Buy the very best handguns you can afford, including the very best accessories and gunsmithing that are also needed. I cannot emphasize this too strongly: the target handgun must be the very best. Its accuracy must be beyond question, and it must be reliable and alibi-free.
Only recently. I purchased the new Smith & Wesson Model 41 .22 Match Automatic which I now use for match shooting. It took me some time to get used to it, perhaps because, knowing that Smith & Wesson had spent many years designing, testing, and manufacturing this new pistol to be a composite of all the best and most desirable features that a .22 caliber target pistol could have, I expected it to do the shooting for me —forgetting that I must first master the gun. Now, I believe this Model 41 S&W to be the finest .22 target pistol made today—for me. The Hi-Standard Supermatic which won many of the medals and prizes adorning my home is a better gun than I am a shooter,
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