Loosing a 48-1X Musket Target

by Mike Kendra on September 21, 2009

musket_3_holesIt’s been more than a week and I’m still asking “How did that happen?”

It was my very first target of the day and I felt super steady. I didn’t even bother posting a practice target.

It was about 9am, and the first relay of the day. I did the normal routine, and after snapping a few caps I fired my first shot: bullseye!

I remember remarking to the safety behind me that I should just quit right there while I was ahead…. maybe I should have…

My second shot I pulled to the left, I knew it right when I did it and got the hit at 7 o’clock in the 8 ring. Not the end of the world, but disappointing to me at the time.

After the next shot, I checked my scope and saw the hit, a ten at 3 o’clock, and at that point I felt like I knew exactly what I had to do.

I took another shot, it felt good. I didn’t see anything in the white.

I didn’t check my scope. I was getting nervous. I hate seeing a great target come together, I get worried that I’m going to screw up the next shot.

I aimed my fifth and final shot, and I felt … well … shaky and nervous and weak … so I did the only thing I could do. I made sure that I had an extra round in my cartridge box, and then quickly sighted in on a clump of grass at 100 yards.

BANG. I put a round into the backstop.

It felt good, and I even saw the dirt kick up right where it should have.

My confidence restored I loaded a sixth round, sighted my target, and fired. It felt easy, I dare say, too easy. I think I actually said to myself “Easy as pie” or something like it.

Then I looked through my scope and my horror, did I need a line judge!

Where did the last two shots go? They should be there!

I walked up with the line judge, a sharpie marker in his hand…

“I only see three holes!” I said.

Then I asked the skirmishers changing targets on my left and right: “Do you guys have any extra holes in your targets?” and to my relief they both said no.

This was the very first relay and there were absolutely no holes anywhere in the cardboard around my target. “Those two shots must have doubled up into the other holes in the black” I thought…

“Take the whole cardboard back to the clubhouse…”

I hate when this happens…

I looked the target over with one of the staff in the clubhouse. I strained to find evidence of two more grease marks on the paper. “I still only see three holes”, I had to admit.

I swore I fired five shots into this target. “Sorry, I have to score it as a 28..” he said…

So, angry at the situation, I went back out on the very next relay with my musket and another 50 yard target, and I shot a 45-0X, a target with 5 actual holes in it!

To my surprise, I also managed to get a gold medal in the Expert class anyway!

… But, I’ll always remember that day as the day a 48-1X or better may have gotten away!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Don Dixon October 18, 2009 at 12:05 pm

The applicable N-SSA rule is 27.2.9, which states:

“As a rule, only visible hits shall be scored. An exception shall be made in the case where a grouping of three or more shot holes is so close that it is possible for a required shot or shots to have gone through the group of holes without leaving a mark. In this case, the competitor shall be given benefit of the doubt.”

You don’t have to be able to see all the shot holes. God forbid that the personnel in the stat shack would have a clue about the N-SSA’s scoring rules, and be competent enough to apply them.

Don Dixon

Mike Kendra October 18, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Hi Don, Thanks for visiting my site. I only just recently learned about this rule myself. At the time I when I shot this target I just couldn’t justify arguing with the scoring, and well, it sure made for a good story. I kept the target to remind myself of what can happen.

Mike Kendra

Tom M June 21, 2011 at 8:21 am

Don’t feel bad. Feel better knowing you shot well, even if the folks in the stat house didn’t see it that way. This happened to me this past weekend at the Mason-Dixon. I fired my musket 100 yard target without the benefit of a spotting scope, so didn’t take any practice rounds – just the 10 for score, and proceeded to fire. When I was done, and the relay over, I walked down and only found 8 holes. I KNEW I didn’t miss the entire backer. So, I turned it in anyway, and hoped they would find the doubles – in hindsight I should have called a line judge. I was scored a 76. On Sunday morning, I protested the target, and lo and behold, it came back a 96 – there were two doubles in the 10 ring! Never give up, and ALWAYS turn in your target, no matter where you think you will end up in the results.

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