Aug
25

Thoughts about Good Shooting and Fall Prep

It is that time. To be ready for upcoming fall hunting seasons, we now get serious about checking ammo supplies, status of reloading gear, condition of firearms and availability of time and location of places to sight-in our hunting firearms – or to just go squeeze off a few rounds. (Some of us get really serious about squeezing off “a few rounds” – more on that, later.)

We spend a lot of time practicing with our firearms and ammo (as do our bowhunting buddies with their bows and various arrows and broadheads). We do this to ensure that, when we are given an opportunity to make meat, we are able to do so quickly and humanely.

At the range – when we are testing those combinations of bullets and powder – we may debate such things as the best way to ensure accuracy at various ranges. I will hear about rangefinders and modern rifle scopes which will take the guess work out of any shot at any range under any condition. And I will simply follow the guidance and wisdom of the late Jack O’Connor. He assured me that the rifles and ammo I shoot ought to be sighted in to hit three inches above dead center at 100 yards, so that the bullet will strike within three inches above or below the point of aim anywhere out to 300 yards. No doubt, this will be cussed and discussed, but it has not failed me for 65 years, so… Ultimately, each of us wants to know that the tools we use afield will perform exactly as we expect them to perform. Thus, we practice, and practice.

The “where’ of our practice can be challenging at times. The Cascade Field and Stream Club range on Hayward Hill is a fine range for club members (and most anyone may join, of course). A good many of us will go out onto Durr Road, in the Washington State Wenas Wildlife Area and shoot during the sunrise to 10 a.m. time now allowed. Others may have other safe places to shoot. Outdoor range options for us all will likely expand once the Wenas Shooting Advisory Group completes its recommendations to DFW.

A good many of us developed our shooting interest and skills at indoor ranges as youngsters. You are aware of the Kittitas Valley Rifle and Pistol Club (KVRPC) and its annual indoor Light Rifle Class League here in Paradise. This 16-week winter league gives families an opportunity to bring their favorite .22 caliber rimfire rifle (or .17 or larger serious air rifle), and ammo, and have an evening of safe fun putting little holes in paper. The club provides regulation 10-bull NRA targets, a modern heated range facility, the direction of a qualified range master and coaching as needed/desired. Friends speak of the league as a terrific chance to discover (and rediscover) the joy of safe recreational shooting and of watching a kid or grandkid develop skill and confidence. Those lifelong skills, honed at a local range, can take people places.

Meet Erich Mietenkorte, local shooter and Vice President of the KVRPC. Erich recently returned from a trip to Fort Steele, British Columbia. What took him to Canada was the 2017 Canadian National Rifle Silhouette Championships, hosted by the Bull River Shooters Association, between July 30 and August 5. The headline on the story forwarded to me by Hal Mason (another stalwart of the KVRPC) read, “Talented Yank Shines at Canadian Silhouette Championship.”

Erich has been active in silhouette competitions around the West for several years. He has some skills: at that Canadian Championship shoot, he took First Place in Master Standard Rifle, Second Place in Master Hunter Rifle, and Third Place in Master Smallbore Hunter. The first two events were shot at longer range with his .260 Bobcat (a 6.5×250 wildcat), and the third set of silhouettes was handled with his .22 rimfire rifle (known for its “wicked cool paint job and fighter plane graphics”).

(Find a variety of Erich’s photos and an interesting write-up at, bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2017/08/talented-yank-shines-at-canadian-silhouette-championship/comment-page-1/#comment-53247.)

So, Erich is one of those guys who get really serious about sending a few rounds down range. He annually puts between 5,000 and 7,000 rounds through his competition .22 rifle, and some 1,500 through his high power 6.5mm centerfire. Add in the other shooting he does, and he figures he squeezes off 15,000 to 20,000 rounds a year. That is serious shooting. It obviously pays off; last weekend, Erich won the Washington State High Power Championship over in Pe Ell.

You will have to excuse me, now. I have some preparations to wrap up, and some reloading to complete. Then, I think I will go find a safe place to squeeze off a few rounds.

(Personal photo, on Erich Mietenkorte’s cell phone…)

Written by Jim Huckabay. Posted in Uncategorized

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