Two false starts

19th December 2013   •  By James Bailey

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Friday 13th December 2013 – Part two

As soon as breakfast was over it was back to the range. The set up of the ‘lion charge’ took an age which built the pressure in the baking heat. It was much more realistic now that we were out of the riverbed, it meant that the ‘lion’ would be coming out of the bushes along a dirt track.

Marnis went first and nailed it in a great display of shooting. He hit the ‘lion’ on the first attempt right between the eyes. It was great that he went first but his performance added to the pressure.

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Warning, another cricket analogy – Then I was up, it was like being 99 not out overnight knowing that if you didn’t make any mistakes the ton would be there for the taking. To pass you need to score a minimum of 80 out of 110 and the bullet must hit the brain. There are points for following procedure which includes shouting at the lion and giving commands to your clients to stop as well as keeping them informed and reassuring them. That is why on the video I’m shouting like a mad man.

I approached the ‘lion’ and as expected it came at me. There was a lot of shouting, I dropped to my knee and then the frame with the picture on tumbled over. My shouting had obviously stopped the charge! I then had to slow everything down as there was a live round in the chamber which meant I needed to make the rifle safe. The pressure built as the charge was set up again.

We tried again, this time the charge was complete and I got my shot off, I went through the drill with no faults other than shooting the lion in the mouth. However, despite the fact that the lion would have been killed in real life, today it counted as a fail.

You only get two attempts, so one remaining with the pressure building. I went again, this time when the ‘lion’ came at me the target came off the stand, another false start, the pressure continuing to build.

Finally the charge was complete, I got my shot off but didn’t know whether it had hit the ‘brain cavity’ or not. I fired my second shot (dummy rounds after the first shot for safety) and then moved my guests away. As I was delivering the ‘coup de grace’ I saw that I’d hit the target. Now all I had to do was not screw up with the final steps. I made it through despite getting the remaining rounds in a jam as I made my rifle safe to bring the exercise to a close. This jam cost me ten points so the final result was 100/110.

Almost all over. We headed back to camp, where it was a waiting game until the final test, this time it was very basic rifle handling. We had a time limit to load the rifle, aim and then make safe whilst wearing a blindfold. This was the easiest test of the day and I almost messed up.

After an hour of rifle cleaning Marnis and I finally had the all important Advanced Rifle Handling certificate, the rest of the team will get a second chance at the range tomorrow. But now it was time for a cold beer once the rifles were back in the safe.

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