It was an early saturday morning, my father and I went to Güstrow with only one mission: to be the best. We had very strong enemies but we were set on winning. It were the annual regional championships “Fallscheibe Langwaffe”, falling steelplates rifles only.
My father started at 9 a.m. . His first discipline was to fight the steelplates with a small caliber rifle with a mounted scope (actually it´s a system that changes a pistol into a rifle by changing the barrel and the grip) from a distance of 25m, but the steelplates weren´t the only enemies, the other one was time: at the end of 6 series with 5 plates (8 shots for each series), your overall time needed decides your rank. This discipline is all about time and precision. They only have a size of 10 cm, because of the scope (all other plates have a size of 15 cm). Sounds quite big, but when your are 25 m away, they become very small and you would be surprised how many manage it to miss them. My father had a quite fast run, but unfortunately missed 1 plate and for that 10 seconds were added to his final time. If he had hit it, he would have been champion in this discipline, but this 10 seconds more pushed him down to rank 4.
His next discipline was steelplates vs. pump gun. We moved to a distance of 15m meters and only had 6 shots for 5 plates, every miss costing time and pulls you down in the rankings. So he started loading his Mossberg mod. 500 for the first of four series.
My father was really fast, he managed to achieve an overall time of 26.98s, really fast but the winner only needed 18.23s, so my father only made rank 6.
Slowly, I started warming up because at 11 a.m. I had to start. I started unpacking my ammo and my gun, a great one manufactured by Heckler & Koch, the civil form of the UMP the so called USC (Universal Selfloading Carbine) a semi-automatic Rifle in the powerful caliber .45 ACP. We moved back to 25m, the referee started preparing the timer, finally the starting signal sounded and I started. First series of 5 plates done, five series still left. I started reloading the magazine. It was a nice and fast run, although i had some difficulties with the self-made ammo. In the end I managed to hit all plates at an overall time of 25.37s -> rank 1 of 24! Victory!
After I finished, my father prepared. He had to do the same discipline. We often make a family championship out of it, to see who is the faster and better one, and of course to push us and our results. He tried hard but didn´t manage to beat me, one point for the young! He achieved 45.87s; in his age-class it was fast enough to be the winner.
We went to eat something because from 12 a.m. to 1 p.m. there is a lunchbreak . While eating, we talked to our friends to see how they they managed fighting the steelplates and what problems they might have had. It´s always funny how being together helps you calm down from the stress.
Finally, we went to our last two disciplines. My father´s discipline is again about hitting 5 steelplates per series with just 8 shots at a distance of 25m. But this time he used a lever-action rifle, a model manufactured by Rossi in Brazil, with the look and system of an old gun that you might have seen in many cowboy-films. The hard thing about this discipline is that you have to pull the lever down after each shot, so that the empty shell is ejected and the new bullet is transported into the chamber ( the new bullets are stored in a magazine in tube-form under the barrel), that of course takes time. Luckily the disciplines are separated so that only those lever-action-shooters were put together in one group so that no one has a disadvantage compared to the ones shooting with semi-automatic rifles, because they have a big advantage in time. Imagine it like these: a motorcycle will always win a race between a motorcycle and a bicycle.
Again I started preparing for my last discipline pump gun vs. plates. We moved again to the 15 m; I put on my safety-glasses, because there is high danger of reflecting pieces of broken wood or small metal parts and as always the main idea is safety first!
It started quite well, but in the 2nd series I managed to miss plate +10s to my overall time (click here to watch a video that was taken during a trainings-session in 2008) . Even though I was lucky in the other series where two plates had been falling with one shot, the 10s seconds pulled me down from 3rd to 5th place. So instead of 20.25s, I now had 30.25s, that made me feel really frustrated.
After I had finished, we brought everything back to the car and went to have a little talk until the final results and the crowning of the winners in the different disciplines and age classes started. Every winner from the first to third place got a shiny medal and a certificate for participation, what rank you achieved and your score. But the other ranks also got the certificate of participation with your score, etc. By reaching a special score you also qualify for the German Championships that take place in Phillipsburg near the Hockenheimring. After the crowning there is always a big campfire with grilling and very familiar atmosphere.