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Preparing for Nationals (Atterbury)

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Post by SaraiEsq Wed Jan 04, 2023 12:08 pm

First topic message reminder :

I've barely gotten my feet wet in this sport and it is sometimes terribly frustrating.  But, I really rather like it.

So I have set a goal for myself: To compete at the NRA Nationals at Camp Atterbury this summer.  Just having the courage to sign up and show up will be a major accomplishment.  That first shot from the line will be sweet regardless of if where it hits the target.

My intention is to shoot .22 only with iron sights, using a Mark IV Target pistol (which I hope will be delivered soooooon!).  I've competed in three outdoor 2700 matches and one indoor 1800 match, plus a virtual league.  There are some more indoor matches that I will catch this winter before the outdoor season starts.

The second goal I have is to achieve an aggregate of 2000 points or more.  The best I've done so far is a 1889-12X? (first time out) followed by a pair in the mid 1600s.  I'm not sure if it is realistic to raise my scores around 300 points but it is a nice round number.

So, how do I go about achieving this?  How should I practice?  What should I focus on first?  Am I foolish/arrogant to think I am capable of this?


(For those who might suggest Camp Perry Nationals, well, Atterbury is 47 minutes away and Perry five hours.)
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Post by Wobbley Tue Feb 28, 2023 4:32 pm

SaraiEsq wrote:
Thanks!

Every time I read that workbook, three things happen.
1) My respect for Marines goes up a few notches.
2) I recognize the process is sound, and want to follow it.
3) I go to the range, try an exercise, and am so far from the baseline that I start laughing.  (Like, the goal is 10 shots in the 10-ring at 25 yards, and it takes me 20 shots to get 10 holes in the paper, never mind in the 10-ring.)

I think I am going to try the exercises at shorter distances this time around, like 10 yards, and see where that takes me. Smile
You’re having some technique issues.  Watch this forum for an announcement for a “Bullseye Bootcamp”.  At one of those, you’ll be able to hone your technique under instruction. It really helps.

I see you’re going to try the exercises at 10 yards.  That’s a decent step.  One stage I WOULD add is to put up a target backwards to start.  If you’re shooting a dot, put a 12 inch “X” in the middle with a magic marker.  Only as wide as the felt tip itself.  You’ll see it, at least subliminally, and that will cause you to find the center of the sheet easier.  Then concentrate on decent releases.  Your graduation here is to keep the hits on paper with 14 out of 20 in a box defined by the “X”.   Then your next step is 20/20  in the box.  Then turn it over and start the book.
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Post by SteveT Wed Mar 01, 2023 7:53 am

SaraiEsq wrote:Every time I read that workbook, three things happen.
1) My respect for Marines goes up a few notches.
2) I recognize the process is sound, and want to follow it.
3) I go to the range, try an exercise, and am so far from the baseline that I start laughing.  (Like, the goal is 10 shots in the 10-ring at 25 yards, and it takes me 20 shots to get 10 holes in the paper, never mind in the 10-ring.)

I think I am going to try the exercises at shorter distances this time around, like 10 yards, and see where that takes me. Smile
Keep in mind the Marines shooting team pulls members from shooting competitions around the corps so they are starting with people who are already shooting sharpshooter / expert scores with a service pistol. If you are starting at a lower level, choose a larger scoring ring. The chosen ring should be about the size or just slightly smaller than the groups you would shoot with 10 very good shots.

The Marine workbook is a good set of drills, but IMO it doesn't help a shooter know how to shoot better. In isolation it is just repetition. It was created for an environment with a team where there is constant feedback and discussion between shooters, including some very very good shooters and the workbook was just the exercises to ingrain the skills and demonstrate to the shooter and team those skills. It should be used in conjunction with learning what you need to do to deliver good shots through coaching (if possible), reading, discussion, classes etc.
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Post by shanneba Wed Mar 01, 2023 8:40 am

Thought about this thread while reading an article this morning.

Your first post question "What should I focus on first?"

sight alignment
sight picture
trigger control
breathing


 Master Sgt. Mike Hester, shooter and lead armorer for the All Guard teams, provided insight. 
“The equipment we use is really pretty standard stuff,” he said. 
“After having the luxury of experimenting and testing thousands of combinations of barrels, chambers, ammo, bullets, primers, rifle actions, triggers, etc., 

I’ve learned that one thing is true—it is all basically useless if you don’t understand the four fundamentals of marksmanship: sight alignment, sight picture, breathing and trigger control.”

Army 2022 National Matches Accomplishments: More Than A Title | An NRA Shooting Sports Journal (ssusa.org)

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Post by Wobbley Wed Mar 01, 2023 1:53 pm

I don’t disagree with your list, however I might re order it putting trigger control first.  Kinda like this

Trigger Control


Sight alignment
Sight picture 
Foundation (stance, grip, breathing….)

Note that trigger control tops all…
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Post by FimRire RongLifle Sat Mar 18, 2023 2:28 pm

chiz1180 wrote:I realize that distance is a factor but Camp Perry has the Small Arms Firing School which would give you a significant resource of an instructor.

Develop a shot process and work towards improving it. Don't worry about score, worry about safely having fun.

Thanks for posting this. Never knew and although Ohio is a haul instruction is always an inspiration for me.
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Post by SaraiEsq Sat Mar 18, 2023 9:12 pm

Progress report!

1) Another good day at the range.  

(Okay, so any day at the range is a good day...)

Today's 1800 was one of the Indiana State Indoor Championship matches; the others are in a few weeks.  The day started with driving to the match through blinding snow, albeit short-lived, and ended with really good chili soup for lunch.  

  • I had a 490-0X and 481-0X with an aggregate of 971-0X.  A new personal best.  Very Happy
  • I also had no mechanical issues with my pistol or ammunition.  Woohoo!
  • I think I had 173/180 hits on the paper with 135/180 in the scoring rings.  Gotta work on that latter number a bit ... although I did have two strings where every shot got me points.  Hmmm...that's another positive metric to track...

Also got some more coaching tips about natural point of aim and the like.


2) USMC workbook

I've been playing with this and have found shooting the black training target is really very relaxing and beneficial.  I don't have to worry about a score, per se, since it is just in or out.  I can think about trigger control more.  And, I can use whatever distance I want and still get benefit.


3) And It's Official

I signed up for Nationals at Camp Atterbury.  It's official.  I can't back out now. Wink Wink

I also signed up to volunteer at Nationals.  I am not entirely sure how that will work while competing but, having heard that they were short-staffed in the past, I decided to at least try to be part of the solution.  (Nope, my middle name is not Pollyanna; why do you ask?  Laughing  )
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Post by SaraiEsq Sat Jun 10, 2023 11:06 pm

A bit of a snag in my preparations for Nationals. 👀

I had to have emergency eye surgery about a week ago to repair a small retinal detachment.
It seems to be healing well and I have managed to lay on my side for a week without going crazy. (Been listening to 'US Marine Operations in Korea:1950-1953' by Lynn Montross and Nicholas Canzona; great stuff.)

For at least two more weeks, I am limited to dry fire -- and that sparingly so I don't strain anything. The doc -- who is NOT a shooter and doesn't understand the difference between a 22 and 45 caliber pistol -- is not sure if I will be cleared to shoot by Nationals. And, naturally, this is my dominant eye.

Just as disquieting is that I have only been to one 2700 this year -- so only 90 shots on the long line with the new pistol and no real sense of what adjustments I'll need to make to get sighted in.

I'm not giving up on this quest, but I am trying to scale my expectations back a bit.

Especially if I need to switch eyes and/or hands...
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Post by msmith44 Sun Jun 11, 2023 12:07 am

SaraiEsq wrote:

I'm not giving up on this quest, but I am trying to scale my expectations back a bit.  

Especially if I need to switch eyes and/or hands...
There is always another year but there is not another eye. There are no small retina tears. Every torn retina is serious and to rush the healing is a recipe for permanent damage. It's good that you made it through the "got to be still" seemingly endless days when all you want to do is to get up and be normal. Sounds like you finished with flying colors.

The good news is that most people recover with no permanent damage. The other good news is that there will be a Perry and Atterberry in 2024. In the meantime, you get to shoot more competitions, get more experience, train and improve a little bit every day.

You've found that ten days on your side is doable. So the remainder of your recovery should be a piece of cake with a bit patience. Think of it as the last semester of the 3L year when the boredom really set in. The result will be positive for your eye and you.

So hang in there and patience is a virtue.

Best wishes,


-m-


Marvin Smith

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Post by jimsteele Sun Jun 11, 2023 6:04 am

To SarahEsq ; thank you for your posts. Your positive attitude encourages this old marksman to improve....Jim

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Post by SingleActionAndrew Tue Jun 13, 2023 7:39 pm

First an aside: SaraiEsq I'm sorry to hear of your troubles, and wishing for your best long term outcome. For what it's worth I told my son while trying to set his expectations for a recent tournament he was in that my own objective for my first National match (Atterbury 2023) is to get there on time each day, familiarize myself with all the operations, and complete each match without breaking the rules. This will prepare me 2024 to focus on the competition without the distractions of the event. And hopefully meet some new friends while I'm at it. God willing, there is always next year for you, should this year not be in the cards.

Now for business: could anyone share the expected height from the Atterbury shooting slab to the center of the black on the targets? My last outdoor match I was struggling to get my NPA low enough to not have to pull the gun down to the black. This is with my feet almost next to each other, which isn't great for other reasons. I suspect that I've been dry firing and holding too high on the wall for a long time, and would like to find the right height for Atterbury to continue with for the next few weeks. During the winter league where we staple new full targets to a giant backer each portion of the NMC I just hang em high, but can't do that outdoors I suspect. And I appreciate at Perry it could be a toss up but am thinking Atterbury is a more consistent height. Thanks!!
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Post by shanneba Wed Jun 14, 2023 5:39 am

Here is a picture from 2021 showing several people and the 25 yard target line 
The 50 yard line is about the same height. (the 50 yard targets are in the down position behind the people)


Preparing for Nationals (Atterbury) - Page 2 2021-precision-pistol_1284


RoyDean mentioned last year the targets were a little lower.
Here is a video from 2022 with people at the target at about the 5:15 and  7:30 times



Last edited by shanneba on Wed Jun 14, 2023 6:40 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : added 2022 video)

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Post by SaraiEsq Thu Jun 15, 2023 12:29 pm

SingleActionAndrew wrote:Now for business: could anyone share the expected height from the Atterbury shooting slab to the center of the black on the targets? My last outdoor match I was struggling to get my NPA low enough to not have to pull the gun down to the black. This is with my feet almost next to each other, which isn't great for other reasons. I suspect that I've been dry firing and holding too high on the wall for a long time, and would like to find the right height for Atterbury to continue with for the next few weeks. During the winter league where we staple new full targets to a giant backer each portion of the NMC I just hang em high, but can't do that outdoors I suspect. And I appreciate at Perry it could be a toss up but am thinking Atterbury is a more consistent height. Thanks!!

I reached out to Stephen Lucas, the NRA's National Pistol Manager, to ask him about the target height at Atterbury.  (Actually, I told him to go across the road and measure it for me. Laughing )  He just let me know that the height will be about five-and-a-half feet.  Hopefully that helps.  Smile

If anyone has questions, send him an email at slucas@nrahq.org. (For those who don't know, NRA Pistol is headquartered here in Indiana at Atterbury.)

And, thank you all for the well wishes and encouragement with respect to my eye!!  The doctor says it is healing well.  I'll know in about a week when I can start shooting again.  This soon-to-be three weeks is about the longest I have gone without shooting in over a year... which makes me sound like a real addict, doesn't it?  Ah, well, the truth is what it is.
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Post by SaraiEsq Fri Jun 23, 2023 11:58 am

I had my last appointment with the eye doc yesterday and I am cleared to do everything -- except shoot.  He's got me on the sidelines for three more weeks.  

For those doing the math, that means I will be able to shoot July 14.  Nationals begin the next week.

Unsquadded practice 7/18
Preliminary match 7/19
.22 match 7/20
CF match 7/21
.45 match 7/22

Near as I can tell, I cannot lose by shooting Nationals -- despite a six week layoff.  I achieve my goal when I take the first shot.  Laughing

In the interim, there will be much dry firing.  I'm going to start walking the dog more in the heat to get toughened up.  (Okay, my dog turns 16 tomorrow, so she may get a pass on the walking in the heat.)  The rulebook and I are going to get to know each other well.

Any other tips?
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Post by RodJ Fri Jun 23, 2023 8:13 pm

Take photos and post them. Your journey is inspiring to me!

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Post by SaraiEsq Mon Jul 17, 2023 4:24 pm

It's Atterbury Eve and I'm somewhere between excited and terrified.  :-D

I have everything packed that I think I need (with the exception of snacks).

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I was cleared to shoot on Friday and have been to the range twice.  After those first few targets, it was clear that a little rust needed to be knocked off my shooting skills despite being able to perforate paper with projectiles adequately for most (non-BE) purposes.  The second time, it was much much better and I felt a glimmer of hope that I might be good at this after all.  

I was amazed at all the little things I had forgotten that I do when shooting, and how the shot process calms me down.  

I have, however, discovered to my dismay that I had not done enough mental preparation.  One minute I am confident that I can shoot to my level and the next I wonder why I would dare to show my face at any range given my lack of skill.  

Fortunately, my Til Valhalla Project (Keep Moving Forward) t-shirt keeps admonishing me.

CRAWLING is acceptable
FALLING is acceptable
PUKING is acceptable
CRYING is acceptable
PAIN is acceptable
QUITTING IS NOT

Hope to see you there!
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Post by Wobbley Mon Jul 17, 2023 5:19 pm

Just go and enjoy your time.  Your skills will improve.  But enjoyment and fun is required!
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Post by SingleActionAndrew Mon Jul 17, 2023 5:40 pm

Looking forward to arriving tomorrow and meeting everyone this week!
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Post by r_zerr Mon Jul 17, 2023 6:02 pm

Regard mental preparation: use your shot process. If you are working it and following it, the rest will be taken care of. One shot at a time, over and over.

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Post by SaraiEsq Wed Jul 26, 2023 10:43 pm

I am still processing the National Matches but my basic reaction is that I had a great time and I can't wait to do it again.

The weather was perfect; the ranges reminded me of home which let me be completely content to just be there when I wasn't shooting.  I enjoyed myself thoroughly -- despite being so nervous the first day that I was consciously trying not to throw up.  The subsequent days were easier, thanks in no small part to the encouragement and reassurance from the other shooters on the line.

A few notables
  • My regular glasses and safety glasses kept fogging up, so I shot with only the safety glasses -- and it went surprisingly well.
  • Wes suggested I try an occluder and loaned me one.  It was a little strange at first but I started to get the hang of it.
  • Because my safety glasses were not designed to accept an occluder (or to provide enough air circulation not to fog up when I was nervous beyond reason), Jon worked them over with his Dremel critter and left them much improved.
  • I was going to use the spotting scope I was given but my tripod decided to break so I didn't use it much.  Since I hadn't had a chance to really get used to it, I opted for the low-stress option of leaving it aside for the week.
  • Seeing the women's team from Illinois was great and very encouraging.  Women shoot differently and compete differently, I noticed, than menfolk.  I'm not gonna get too used to that atmosphere since most of the time I'm the only femme at matches around here.  But it was refreshing.  (Guys, I really do love shooting with you too; it's just a different vibe.)
  • The Competitor's Meeting was interesting.  Probably more on that later.
  • I met a lot of very cool people, both competitors and support crew.  Plans are being made for the future.
  • Scrubs make excellent shooting pants, in my opinion.  Comfy with lots of pockets.
  • I ate at a Mess Hall for the first time ever.  I liked the food.  I saved the receipt as a momento.  I am weird beyond belief at times, I know.
  • On Saturday, I had my own personal cheering squad and camera crew -- three of my friends surprised me by showing up.  I now have video of me shooting.  I did have to provide them with hearing protection (thanks, Scott, for helping with that) and explain when one could cheer, but I ended up feeling wonderfully loved by it all.  I did pass along Steve's recommendation of pom-poms for next year's match.


From my journal
  • "I did, after the slow fire, have to take a minute to reset my brain and stop worrying -- or even thinking about the numbers. My scores are fine.  My scores will be what they are, whether I worry about them after the fact or not."
  • "I am sitting here, watching the team matches.  My shoes are off.  I'm slouching in my chair, the snap of shots in slow fire relaxing and familiar.  In the distance, the military's various and sundry artillery and rifle practice are counterpoint.  The breeze touches my hair softly.  I am going to miss this next week."
  • "I held that last shot just a little longer, savoring the sweetness of accomplishment."
  • "I do believe I am proud of myself."



Here are the numbers -- 
  • .22 only
  • Iron sights
  • Ruger Mark IV Target pistol
  • CCi Standard ammo


Preliminary match
   594-2x
  • The only malfunctioni of the week came during this match.  One 13-shot alibi due to a stovepipe.  Otherwise, my baby functioned flawlessly.


.22 match
SF        122-0x
NMC     215-0x
TF         161-0x
RF        153-0x
   Total    651-0x

CF match
SF        87-0x
NMC     213-3x
TF        142-1x
RF        155-1x
   Total    597-5x

.45 match
SF        122-0x
NMC     206-1x
TF         162-0x
RF        162-1x
   Total    652-2x

Aggregate: 1900-7x

  • My aggregate was my best ever.  
  • Besting 200 in the NMC was also new -- and I did it repeatedly.  
  • The 651-0x on .22 day was a personal best -- until I got the 652-2x on .45 day.
  • The only bad line item was SF on CF day.  For whatever reason, one string was about six inches to the left.  I did not make an adjustment to the sights (am a chicken there) but as it wasn't evident at the short line, I think I was not positioned properly.


More context: My only other match so far this year was a 1571-8x.  Over a 300 point bump.

To sum up,  I won. :-D
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Post by John Dervis Thu Jul 27, 2023 4:18 pm

Congratulations on a great first nationals.  If you always shoot your best there, you'll have it made.  It can be nerve racking not knowing what to expect but it looks like you pulled through just fine.  Keep at it.

John

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Post by SteveT Fri Jul 28, 2023 8:53 am

It was great meeting you at Camp Atterbury. Congrats on getting through your first big match and doing well!
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Post by DA/SA Fri Jul 28, 2023 9:14 am

Congrats Sara!

This is a great post, and hopefully inspiring to other new shooters wanting to enter the sport.

Proof that all you need to do is show up! You don't need to spend a small fortune on equipment and ammo to enjoy Bullseye shooting!

I enjoyed following along with your adventure.

Thank You!!
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Post by mbmshooter Mon Jul 31, 2023 10:59 am

SaraiEsq wrote:I am still processing the National Matches but my basic reaction is that I had a great time and I can't wait to do it again.

The weather was perfect; the ranges reminded me of home which let me be completely content to just be there when I wasn't shooting.  I enjoyed myself thoroughly -- despite being so nervous the first day that I was consciously trying not to throw up.  The subsequent days were easier, thanks in no small part to the encouragement and reassurance from the other shooters on the line.

A few notables
  • My regular glasses and safety glasses kept fogging up, so I shot with only the safety glasses -- and it went surprisingly well.
  • Wes suggested I try an occluder and loaned me one.  It was a little strange at first but I started to get the hang of it.
  • Because my safety glasses were not designed to accept an occluder (or to provide enough air circulation not to fog up when I was nervous beyond reason), Jon worked them over with his Dremel critter and left them much improved.
  • I was going to use the spotting scope I was given but my tripod decided to break so I didn't use it much.  Since I hadn't had a chance to really get used to it, I opted for the low-stress option of leaving it aside for the week.
  • Seeing the women's team from Illinois was great and very encouraging.  Women shoot differently and compete differently, I noticed, than menfolk.  I'm not gonna get too used to that atmosphere since most of the time I'm the only femme at matches around here.  But it was refreshing.  (Guys, I really do love shooting with you too; it's just a different vibe.)
  • The Competitor's Meeting was interesting.  Probably more on that later.
  • I met a lot of very cool people, both competitors and support crew.  Plans are being made for the future.
  • Scrubs make excellent shooting pants, in my opinion.  Comfy with lots of pockets.
  • I ate at a Mess Hall for the first time ever.  I liked the food.  I saved the receipt as a momento.  I am weird beyond belief at times, I know.
  • On Saturday, I had my own personal cheering squad and camera crew -- three of my friends surprised me by showing up.  I now have video of me shooting.  I did have to provide them with hearing protection (thanks, Scott, for helping with that) and explain when one could cheer, but I ended up feeling wonderfully loved by it all.  I did pass along Steve's recommendation of pom-poms for next year's match.


From my journal
  • "I did, after the slow fire, have to take a minute to reset my brain and stop worrying -- or even thinking about the numbers. My scores are fine.  My scores will be what they are, whether I worry about them after the fact or not."
  • "I am sitting here, watching the team matches.  My shoes are off.  I'm slouching in my chair, the snap of shots in slow fire relaxing and familiar.  In the distance, the military's various and sundry artillery and rifle practice are counterpoint.  The breeze touches my hair softly.  I am going to miss this next week."
  • "I held that last shot just a little longer, savoring the sweetness of accomplishment."
  • "I do believe I am proud of myself."



Here are the numbers -- 
  • .22 only
  • Iron sights
  • Ruger Mark IV Target pistol
  • CCi Standard ammo


Preliminary match
   594-2x
  • The only malfunctioni of the week came during this match.  One 13-shot alibi due to a stovepipe.  Otherwise, my baby functioned flawlessly.


.22 match
SF        122-0x
NMC     215-0x
TF         161-0x
RF        153-0x
   Total    651-0x

CF match
SF        87-0x
NMC     213-3x
TF        142-1x
RF        155-1x
   Total    597-5x

.45 match
SF        122-0x
NMC     206-1x
TF         162-0x
RF        162-1x
   Total    652-2x

Aggregate: 1900-7x

  • My aggregate was my best ever.  
  • Besting 200 in the NMC was also new -- and I did it repeatedly.  
  • The 651-0x on .22 day was a personal best -- until I got the 652-2x on .45 day.
  • The only bad line item was SF on CF day.  For whatever reason, one string was about six inches to the left.  I did not make an adjustment to the sights (am a chicken there) but as it wasn't evident at the short line, I think I was not positioned properly.


More context: My only other match so far this year was a 1571-8x.  Over a 300 point bump.

To sum up,  I won. :-D

Congratulations on your WINNING the Marksman class.  I enjoyed watching you shoot and getting a chance to chat on occasion.  Your positive attitude, especially at the Nationals, will be a big asset to you at future matches.
See you next year!

Mike

mbmshooter

Posts : 192
Join date : 2011-06-11
Location : Prescott, Arizona

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My first shadowbox for my first National Match.
SaraiEsq
SaraiEsq

Posts : 146
Join date : 2022-09-25

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