A "Magpie" is a shot that misses the bullseye by not one, but two scoring rings. The equivalent of a double bogey in golf, it is a sight that all target shooters fear.
In the time-honoured apotropaic tradition we have therefore decided to adopt the "Magpie" as both our mascot and team name - so look out for the magpies on our team kit, photos and perhaps even on the shoulder of one of our coaches!
Most shooters in this team started with smallbore target rifle, which is shot mainly in the prone position at a distance of 25 yards. A shooter would fire a course of 10 .22 rounds at a card with 10 aiming marks, using a rifle with ‘iron sights’. In order to hit the maximum number of points, a shot must land within the 10-ring, which in practice means hitting the inside of a 5 pence coin.
Fullbore Target Rifle competitions are normally shot at some combination of 300, 500, 600, 900 and 1000 yards in the prone position at a static round-bull target, using a much larger caliber (.308), however, with most principles of shooting remaining the same. For individual competitions, each shot is fired in a 45-second time bracket and each shot is scored separately. A fullbore target increases proportionally with the increase in the range distance, with the aiming mark remaining roughly the same to the naked eye, although the shooter must deal with wind, other weather conditions as well as on-the-fly analysis of their shots and filling out the plot in order to fire the perfect V-bull shot.
Competitors shoot 2 or 3 to a target and keep score for each other whilst being responsible for their own wind judgement and sight corrections to centre their group at the same time. A single competition or stage normally consists of 2 sighting shots and 7, 10 or 15 scoring shots, though there are exceptions. For team matches, each target generally has a dedicated wind coach, responsible for adjusting the shooter’s sights depending on the perceived strength of wind, so that the shooter merely has to aim at the centre of the target and fire good shots, with a plotter designated to mark where the shots have gone on the plot diagram.
This tour will see the team firing 7, 10 and 15 shot scoring competitions at distances from 200 to 1000 yards, with team matches following a Kolapore style of 1 sighting shots and 10 to count. The diagram below shows a typical short range target with all possible scoring rings. Noting that at longer ranges the Magpie and Outer rings typically get cut off at the top and the bottom of the target frame.
A score is composed of both the total number of points and the number of V-bulls hit during the shoot, the maximum therefore being 35.7 , 50.10 and 75.15 , depending on the course of fire.
For reference, the diameter of the Outer ring at 300 yards is just 12 inches, which doubles to 24 inches at 600 yards and 44 inches on both the 900 and 1000 aiming marks. A journeyman’s comparison to everyday objects is shown below: