The 10 Meter Game
by "histed"

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[Hammerli AR 20 Precision Air Rifle, caliber .177]

If someone had told me a year ago that they shot a 94 10X in a rifle competition, I might have asked what rifle, what caliber, what distance… If the answer was 33 ½ with a .177 pellet rifle, I probably would have laughed. Really? A PELLET GUN!? Call me when you graduate to a real rifle at adult distances. Then I was asked to form and coach a brand new precision air rifle team at the high school where I teach. Gents, my perspective has seriously changed!

These are not the "pump 20 times" pellet guns of my misspent youth. Those could barely hit an 8 X 11 target at "black bird" yards. This Hammerli AR 20 (that's right! ARs in school, Nancy!) works on 2-300 lbs of compressed air, with a muzzle velocity of 600 and 900 fps, depending on the settings. They are powered by a precharged cylinder that, inturn, is filled from a 3000 psi SCUBA tank. My rifles are st at 600 fps and average 60 shots per cylinder charge. That's enough for a 30 round match, plus sighters.

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[DIN 200 adapter valve for SCUBA tanks]

Another revelation, to me at least, are the adjustments on these rifles. Butt plates can be lengthened with the use of spacers provided, as well as adjusted up or down to provide the perfect cheek weld. Weights can be added or removed from the rear stock to change the balance, The cheek piece is adjustable for height - up to 4" - and can be reversed for those of us who shoot "backward". Then things get really weird/cool/interesting. The trigger can be reversed! That's right (or left), the trigger is canted toward the firing finger and can be switched from right to left, adjusted to about a 3 oz (no, that isn't a typo) pull with your own preference in take up and over travel. Oh, and did I mention that the trigger can also be moved forward or backward to accommodate different finger lengths? The forend is adjustable in two directions also. With time and patience, this sweetheart can fit anyone like a well worn glove.

Last, but not least, this is is equipped with diopter sights (which I'm still struggling with) for the greatest accuracy possible.

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[One click = .5 mm]

With something like this, shooting consistent 10X should be a breeze at 33.5 feet, right? Don't I wish! The 10 ring is precisely .177" in diameter! The entire black center, comprising the 6, 7, 8, 9 and X rings can be covered with a quarter. Every time my heart beats, I can see the sight move. The slightest shift can easily make the difference between an X and a 7. Even shooting prone I struggle to get out of the low 70s many times! Olympians are in no danger, though the errant field mouse best beware. Like many things in life, this 10 meter game is tougher than it looks, even with the finest equipment. I LOVE IT!