Monday, March 20, 2017

Accuracy Matters

In our game, accuracy isn't built in.  We shoot single action revolvers with fixed sights and wax bullet ammo, not a good combination for nit-picking accuracy.  MOA isn't even in our thesaurus.  A hit is a hit, and that's all that matters.  Speed is important, because whoever hits the target first gets the winning shot.  But, that qualifier above "whoever hits the target" is the important thing.

It's a truism that as the speed increases, the hit ratio goes down.  In this game, we rate a shooter by speed.  If most of his hits are in the 3/10ths range, we call him a 3-shooter.  If most of his hits are in the half-second range, we call him a 5-shooter.  Almost every gunner, when they begin this game, quickly gets down to below a second.  That a big milestone, and normally happens after the first or second practice session.  I say "most", because some folks have trouble putting it together, but vast majority get down under a second fairly quickly.  After my introduction to the game, I was stuck in the 7s for a year or longer.  Now, during practice, I'm hitting in the 6s and flirting with the 5s.  This is my second year in this game.

In this game, only hits matter, and while everyone likes to go fast, it's not always the quickest who brings home the trophies.  Sometimes, the very expedient of hitting the target will take you to the winner's braket, and that was never more apparent than yesterday, at the Southern Territorials in Amarillo, TX.

I didn't get to attend, but some very good friends were there, and FaceBook lit up as they got to the finals.  I knew the manes of most of the shooters, but one name, J.B. Steele was a mystery.  I asked Belle if she had heard of J.B. Steele, and no, she had not.

Plain Jane, our current national champion, was live-streaming the finals, and I was surprised when I heard the announcer calling times.  "We've got no hit on lane five, but a .763 on lane 6"

I told Belle, "Come watch!  There's some guy in the finals shooting 7s."

I full-screened the computer, and we watched.  Against very fast shooters, there was J.B. Steele, We watched in awe as he put away some very good shooters.  He just stood there calmly, against the best in the sport, hitting the plate with monotonous regularity, and getting three winning shots before the other guys.

Our finals matches are double-elimination.  You've got to lose twive before you're out, and as the fast shooters faded away, there stood J.B. Steele, hitting the plate and sending the fast guns into the bleachers.  As the match progressed, we learned that J.B. Steele is a brand-new shooter and that this was his first sanctioned shoot.  Then it came down to the last two shooters.  J.B Steele was clean, and Parttime had one X.  Parttime is arguably the fastest gun in Texas.  He's also a staunch competitor, a heck of a nice guy, and a personal friend.  Of course, I was rooting for Parttime, but I had to gie J.B. Steele his due.  He had stood there against some very good guns, and put them away, one at a time.

And, it finally came down to the last shot.  Paartime had beaten Steele once, so they switched lanes to do it again.  Each competitor had one X, and this match would decide it.  The drama was high, and the sension was thick.  J.B.Steele was on fire, and Parttime was hitting quick.  The match came down to a 2-2 matchup, and on the final shot, both shooters hit the target.  Partime did it a little quicker, and got the blinking light.

Congratulations, Parttime on becoming the Southern Territorials Champion.  But, congrats to J.B. Steele as well.   It was a solid performance against very good shooters, and proves what Wyatt Earp said famously so long ago.  "Speed it fine, but accuracy is final."

1 comment:

Old NFO said...

Yep, slow accuracy always beats a fast miss...