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Old 11-01-2014, 11:10 PM
Greg Ficklin Greg Ficklin is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 594
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Gear continued......

We have our rifle, and ammo...But what else do we need ?

Everything else comes under the categories of logistics, comfort and organization. While they aren't absolutely necessary to put a round down the middle, they are indispensable in the process of improving, and winning.

I can always tell new shooter. They have nothing, and don't know yet what they want. It takes time and the sense of need to realize what they need. Some with deep pockets will just ask an experienced competitor where to get it, and place a big order, but most have to prioritize and spread the cost over a season or two. The good thing about this stuff is that it is made to last, and for most of it you only have to "buy once, and cry once".
With this in mind the new competitor is best served by seeking quality first and foremost, with some exceptions.

1. Logistical - This includes how you get to the range, and a way to supply yourself with ammo.
For me it is my '99 Dodge 1500 with 218,000 miles on it. Yeah it's old, and burns oil but it's paid for. If I had to constantly pay for new vehicles, I probably wouldn't have succeeded at all in this discipline.
It has been estimated that the cost of acquiring the DR badge, when everything from fuel, equipment, re-loading, match fees and time off from work is considered, it can add up to $20,000 or more ! A friend of mine from England, flies across the pond at least three times a year, uses borrowed rifles, and some he is allowed to have shipped, to compete and earn leg points at major events. He could have went out with the DR this year, but came up just short in the NTI, and Western Games. I hate to think what it has cost him up to now, and it ain't over yet.
When you say dedication, and focus on a goal, no one comes close to Bill Ellis from England. When he finally gets that DR badge, believe me...you will read about it!

The other logistical issue is ammo. I know of no serious competitor that doesn't "roll their own" so to speak. All you need is a basic single stage start up set from RCBS, Hornady, or any other quality maker. Look for specials that offer everything you need in one go.

2. Comfort - Comfort is relative. For the competitive shooter comfort is defined by the ability to get through a string of fire without considerable pain that distracts his focus.

- Coat: Doing your best to remain in some basic level of fitness is important, but in the topic of gear this means a good coat. The coat provides non-slip protection for the elbows, and shoulder. It also insulates natural body rhythms form affecting the sight picture. It also provides a non-slip layer of comfort to the arm that the sling is attached to. These are the primary attributes of a coat that a new shooter needs to have.
It is great if you can spend $350 to $500 on a premium cordura, or leather coat, but for the beginner a high quality canvas duck will do the trick. The lighter canvas duck material with a sweat shirt underneath can come close to the straight jacket feel of a premium leather coat if it fits right. It should come down past the hips, and be cinched up tight in standing, and open up to the top buckle in sitting and prone.
The coat is one of the exceptions in the "buy once, cry once" paradigm if the expense of a premium coat seems too much at first. When you have your game to the point that you need to be at 95% in standing instead of 92%, you will know it's time to spend the money, and gladly do it.

My coat is a Creedmoor leather hardback. It is made to last a lifetime, and them some. I love my shooting coat. When learned to use correctly, it is essential to reaching for perfection in the standing slow fire.
__________________
Distinguished Rifleman #2198
NRA HP XTC High Master (service rifle)
NRA Patron Life member
PCGC Junior Team coach
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Last edited by Big_Red; 07-31-2015 at 11:10 PM. Reason: Readability
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