On Friday, May 21st at the 121st National Skirmish, I participated with the Union Guards in my first Smoothbore team match. It was a beautiful day, a bit hot with just a few clouds in the sky, and was made even better by one of the most awesome matches I’ve participated in.
My Smoothbore Experience
First, my smoothbore is an Armisport 1842 Springfield and I’ve had it for about three years now, but I’ve never shot it in a team match before. My dad bought it for me, he thought I’d have a “blast” with it.
So, I worked up a load and became a very good individual smoothbore shooter. You can read about that story in my prior post.
A bunch of regional matches back I can remember one of the guys in the New England Regional smoothie matches yelling “Bullseye!” every time he hit a clay or tile, which was nearly every shot he took. His superior marksmanship skills and machismo took me off guard, but maybe it was more than just that.
All the Encouragement I Need
After answering his request on Facebook, I accepted Phil Spaugy’s invitation to shoot with the Union Guards “C” team. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I did panic a bit because it meant I’d have to rework my load to make it team friendly.
So my wife Ami and I spent an hour in the basement trying to figure out a better reloading system, and it was better, but I knew it still needed a bunch of refinement… or perhaps a total rework.
The big day arrived, and I’m still not sure how this is all going to work. I’m glad I was on second relay and got to watch the other teams work before I shot.
When it was my turn, I was able to get relaxed and go, and on my first shot I hit my assigned clay. Too bad my 11 o’clock sight picture completely obscures the target, cause I didn’t know I hit till I put my musket down.
Then I fumbled a bit reloading, it wasn’t a procedure I was used to, and missed my second shot, but hey, I could see how close my shot was, I tried not to get concerned.
Then someone else hit my top clay, I was loading so slowly that the others on my team were actually starting to cleanup my row.
My third shot hit, clearing my row, and the event was over seconds after that. I was 2 for 3.
Then in the second event, the tiles, did I mention that I love the tiles? I hit 3 for 3. Those tile sure do explode nice, I could see that better than the clays…
Oh, and I forgot to mention the weird part of the second event, I had a …. ummmm…. I’d call it a soft shot, my musket kinda coughed the ball out, but somehow I still managed to hit the tile with that shot.
Third relay, 2 for 3 on the hanging clays.
Then there were the 50 yard tiles, I don’t have a lot of practice at 50 yards. I went 0 for 3, but the other guys more than made up for me.
In the end…
It was odd to me that I had all that fun and only shot 14 rounds total in the entire match (that includes hot rounds fired after the horn). That’s a new one to me.
I think we finished 5th in the “B” team rankings, and I had a great time. Thanks for letting me on the team guys!
P.S. — Come back Thursday for a special 2nd weekly posting for continuing Nationals coverage!