Monday, November 3, 2014

Redneck Shooters Challenge

This is an essay where I want EVERYBODY to comment.

Redneck Shooters Challenge

It is not my intention to reinvent anything, merely to tweak it a little bit to make it more audience specific.

Artoftherifle has a post about The Redneck Shooters Challenge.

In a nutshell,
  • "The" four field positions: Prone, Kneeling, Sitting, Off-hand
  • Five shots from each position
  • 4 MOA target (about four inches at 100 yards)
  • Ten minute time limit

Changes I am contemplating...and reasons

8 MOA Target
The only common big game in the Eastern United States is the White-tailed Deer.  Most deer are shot at ranges of less than 100 yards.  "Targets of opportunity", where the game and the hunter are mutually surprised are likely to be less than that.  Shots from stands are likely to have aids like shooting sticks or a rail to steady the rifle.

The heart/lungs of a mature White-tailed deer is easily 8" across in any dimension.  8" at 100 yards is 8MOA.

Reactive targets are most interesting to nearly all shooters.

Charcoal briquets are inexpensive and approximately 2" across
A charcoal briquets at 25 yards presents an 8 MOA target.  Charcoal briquets have good color contrast against many backgrounds, are less likely to create ricochet risks than a golf ball and don't smell as bad as eggs.

Most guns used for field work have a "first zero" near 25 yards.  That eliminates a bunch of tweaking on the firearm that might not get un-wound.  A firearm that is all tweaked up for specialty shooting might not be optimal for grab-and-go.

Number and positions
One shot from each position plus one shot from any position for a total of five shots.

  • Kids are competitive.  They are in a rush to see how the other guy does.  Five shots allows more "rounds" of competitition
  • One shot from each position places a premium on getting into position quickly, smoothly and with a minimum of fiddle-frothing.
  • Most often, the shooter is presented with one, non-running shot in the field.  Successful hunters make that one shot count.
  • Conserves ammo.
Simulate stress
Hunting is thrilling.  You should stay home and watch TV if your pulse does not rise when hunting.  Also, many of these "targets of opportunity" occur on the way out to the stand or on the way back.  Walking raises your pulse rate.

Twenty jumping-jacks next to the bench sounds about right.  Ten pushups or situps might be OK substitutes.  Clock starts immediately upon completion of the calisthenics.

The Clock
This is where I need the most guidance.

Literature suggests that players are most motivated when they perceive that there is a fifty percent chance of success.  When kids at a basketball practice are warming up, undirected, and shooting baskets...most of them choose to practice at a distance where approximately 50% of their shots will go in.

The only way I can see to make this work is to have a minimum of four levels, Pre-apprentice, Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master.  My gut tells me that Pre-apprentice should have no clock.  Apprentice might have two minutes for their five shots.  Journeyman might have to shoot over obstructions (and choose the appropriate field position) and have 30 seconds (three seconds to settle into position and three seconds to squeeze off the shot).  Master ???

My readers have a great wealth of shooting and hunting experience.  I want your thoughts.  Is there already a shooting protocol that looks like this?  Assuming that the target is alert to something not-quite-right but has not located the threat, how much time is "reasonable" for a hunter to get into a shooting position?


  1. Us old folks might take 3 MINUTES to get up or down... sigh...

    1. Old NFO, Somehow I have my doubts that it would talk YOU three minutes to get down.

      Reminds me of the story of the young bull and the old bull up on the hill.

      The young bull said, "Let's run down there and get acquainted with some of those cows."

      The old bull said, "I have a better Idea. Let's WALK down there and get to know them all."

      Or something like that.

  2. Pretty cool project, Joe. I would say keep the time limit at ten minutes total. You work the stations at your own pace. The holes that you have punched are your score when the gong sounds. This would be fun!

    1. I think I can learn much about motivation from video games. Video games produce many failures. That is balanced with no-penalty restarts. So I think keeping each round short (five shots) mimics that payoff structure.

      I also see that video games have multiple levels of difficulty. Upon rethinking, I suppose pre-apprentice could be more than 8 MOA target. A patient deer hunter can still harvest many, many deer at 70 or 50 yards. Look at bow hunters. They shoot many deer and most of them are less than 35 yards.

      I am still playing around with the idea in my head. It will be a big thing to get kids to shoot "field" positions.

      Just for the record, I am guessing that I would just barely crack the Journeyman category.

  3. Sounds like a version of training my husband is required to do as a police officer, where they have to complete physical exercise/obstacles in between target shooting. He says it works great for making you able to think on your feet, and aids in ability to get into position quickly and still be able to shoot accurately. He, however, does not hunt (at least not with any regularity and not in many many years, and never anything larger than a rabbit) so he cannot personally speak to the effectiveness of this sort of training as a general hunting tool. Sounds to me like it would be great fun, though, and is something I might like to try with my boys (ages 13 and 11).

    1. Hello Alissa:

      I like the photos on your blog. The ones with the kids playing on the bales of hay are awesome.

      Much is written about the perishable nature of world-class shooting skills. They are right, of course.

      But I believe there is a foundational level of skills that is not-perishable. Safety habits like muzzle control for instance. I also think that proper form for prone, sitting and off-hand, sling use, breath control and 8 MOA accuracy are non-perishable skills.

      Thanks for reading. And doubly thanks for talking up the topic with your husband and commenting back.

      Best regards,