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Using a Data Book in Highpower Rifle Competition

Using a Data Book in Highpower Rifle Competition

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Published by: Hawkeye-10X on Jan 11, 2011
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Using a Data Book in Highpower Rifle Competition
By Kunz - 15 June 04 --
From the ³Alabama Service Rifle´ web site
 Some highpower rifle competitors keep a data book, but many do not. There aresignificant advantages to using a data book as an aid to improving performance, but like everything else, there is an optimum approach to utilizing the tool.Many suppliers and competitors refer to the data book as a score book whichimplies just a book for recording scores, but it really is much more and is morecorrectly called a data book. One year I enrolled juniors in the Marine CorpsHighpower Rifle Clinic at the National Matches at Camp Perry. The clinicconsisted of classroom instruction as well as live fire instruction. It was excellenttraining and one subject covered was the use of the data book. The instructor,SgtRoxsborough, stressed that it was a ³data book´, not a score book. I willdescribe the use of and the advantages of the data book as it applies tohighpower rifle competition. There are probably ways to adapt this informationto other shooting disciplines.Be sure to record and plot every round fired and enter all the data indicated inthe data book; temperature, light conditions, light direction, wind direction, windspeed, etc. If you record all the data, you will have the opportunity to analyze thedata after the match or practice firing and convert the data into usefulinformation. For example, does you data indicate a change in you elevation zerofor different light conditions or light direction? We have all heard ³light up,sights up: light down, sights down.´ But, light does not affect all shooters thesame. Let the data provide the information as to how light changes affect you, iat all. You can learn a lot by the analysis of your group size, location, shape,outliers, etc. You can detect breathing errors, improper focus, poor trigger control, sight misalignment, dragging wood, anticipating recoil and more. Evenif you are not experienced enough to analyze the data, if you record it, you canget help from a coach or experienced shooter who can. Record the informationfrom analysis of the data from the data book in the shooting diary. Then you can plan a course of action to deal with any problems you detect. The data book andthe shooting diary work together. I have described the shooting diary and how touse it in another write-up. The data book and the shooting diary are companiontools; they work together and support each other.A significant benefit to keeping a data book is the establishment of no windzeros for each stage of fire. Having a good estimate of your no wind zero is
critical to keeping your groups centered on the target. Plotting your shots andrecording sight settings in the data book allows you to obtain an estimate of your no wind zero. The more data you have, the better that estimate will be.Estimating your no wind zero is a three step process; first, record the zero youwill use to shoot your slow fire stage or rapid fire string, second, after you havefired your stage or string, look at the actual location of the center of the groupand write down the sight setting that would have centered your group, and third,subtract your estimate of the value of the wind while you were shooting from thezero that would have centered your group. This gives you an estimate of your nowind zero for that stage. Put these three zeroes in a specific location, each time,on each page of your data book. This procedure will provide you with anestimate of your no wind zero each time you shoot a slow fire stage or rapid firestring. Then it is easy to look back and see what you have judged your no windzero for that stage to be for some historical period of time. Do not expect your estimates of you no wind zero to be exactly the same each time, but you will bedeveloping historical data and will be able to average this data and after a fewdata points, you will be very close. This is a tremendous advantage, and in factis a must for matches that do not allow sighters. For matches without sighters(i.e. leg matches) you must do two things right to get a well centered group; havea good no wind zero, and accurately estimate the value of the wind.Plotting your shots during slow fire will alert you if your shots are forming agroup that is not centered. This will allow you to recognize that your shots are building up in an area that is not centered and will give you an opportunity tomake a sight correction during the stage and save points. Many shooters will nottake the time to plot their shots during slow fire; they think that if they use thetime to plot their shots, they will be rushed to fire all their record shots withinthe allotted time. This will not be a concern if you learn to use the ³shot behind´method for plotting shots in your data book. The ³shot behind´ procedure is asfollows: when your target comes up with your shot value and location spotted,do not enter it in your data book at that time. Put that shot value and location ³inyour head´, and then shoot your next shot. While your target is in the pits, plotthe previous shot that is ³in your head´. Also, enter any sigh changes you madefor the previous shot. Then get ready for your next shot. Look thru the scope,check the wind for any changes and watch for your target to come up. When thetarget comes up, put the new shot ³in your head´ replacing the previous one,make any necessary sight changes, then proceed to shoot the next shot. This wayyou are making entries in the data book while your target is in the pits and youare prepared to shoot your next shot as soon as your target comes up. An aid to
 putting the shot ³in your head´ is to actually ³call out´ the shot value andlocation to yourself. This is one of those things that sound more difficult than itis; try it a couple of times and you will be surprised at how easy it is to learn.For rapid fire, write the sight setting down in the data book that you used for  both sighters before you shoot the string. Many people do not shoot their sighters in the same location as their rapid fire string, so recording the history othe sight settings for your sighters will allow you to understand how to makeadjustments for rapid fire from your sighters. For many competitors, this meansusing sighters for wind adjustment but not elevation. Again, as in slow fire, youshould record three zeros for each rapid fire string; the zero you actually shot thestring with, the zero that would have centered your group and your estimate oyour no wind zero based on that string. While firing the string, make a mentalnote of any shots that are called outside of the group and immediately after firingthe string, plot these erratic calls while the targets are in the pits. When the targetcomes up with scores and groups plotted, plot all visible hits and enter the score.Analyze the results, considering any erratic calls, and make any necessarychanges for the second string.Fill out the data book as much as possible before going to the range. Look over the historical data and determine your best estimate of your no wind zero for each stage of fire and write it on the page you will be using in the match. Thiswill allow you to determine the no wind sight setting you will use when you arenot rushed, and there are no distractions, rather than making a hasty decision atthe match. With this critical step accomplished ahead of time, the only decisionyou have to make at the match, relative to your sight setting, is to decide whatthe wind is worth. Then add your estimate of the value of the wind to the nowind zero you have recorded in the book and put it on the gun. Also, enter anyother specific information you will want to refer to such as sling position, hand position, the sight picture you plan to use, etc. Enter the date, location of match,ammo, and any other information that you know prior to the match. Time is at a premium during competition, so any thing you can do before you go to the rangewill help with time management. You will also be making critical decisionswhen you are not rushed and distracted. Many people wait until their preparationtime and rush these critical decisions. Do all of this before the preparation time begins so you can use the preparation time for getting your natural point of aimand dry firing; proper use of the data book can help you make the best use oyour preparation time.

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