Posts Tagged ‘profile’

At the Northeast Regional Field Target Championship ( NERFTC), Greg Sauve won the WFTF Division after a shoot-off with Ray Apelles. Sauve also won the 2011 WFTF PCP National Championship. I interviewed Greg by phone to try to get an idea what makes him so successful at field target.

JE: How did you get started in field target?

GS: Well, to really understand, you have to go way back. When I was 11, my Dad gave me a break barrel air rifle. I had been on him to get me a BB gun, and he said, “I got you a gun you can hit something with.” So I’ve been target shooting for over 50 years! Around 2000 I inherited a Crosman air pistol from my Uncle, that lead me to an Izzy pistol. I started looking for matches, and I got involved with the Badgerland Airgun Association (BAGA). I shot my first field target match there with a TX, and I hit seven targets. That was the beginning. My first serious FT rifle was a 20 foot-pound Steyr prepared by Allan Zasadny.

JE: What’s your competition rig now?

GS: A Steyr FT modified and setup for 12 foot-pounds by Alan Zasadny. It’s fully tricked out by him with a knee rest, thigh rest, butt hook, adjustable weight, trigger job, and changed porting. On top is a March 8-80 scope, and I’m shooting JSB 7.9 grain pellets. I shoot in a Creedmore shooting jacket – I actually have three of them – and a David Tubb highpower hat that I can fold the sides down to keep the light out. I also have one of those rubberized eye cups on the eyepiece of my scope.

JE: What’s your practice routine?

GS: I can shoot 20 yards in my basement. Once a day, I practice for standing shots. I have a target with 25 bulls, and I start at the lower left and slowly track the crosshairs along the line of targets, trying to hold as steady as I can. I understand the 10 meter guys to do that, and I try to make sure I do it once a day.

JE: What about sitting?

GS: Mostly I just shoot. All winter I shoot International Field Position at BAGA. You’re shooting at half-inch kill zones at 30 yards, and it’s worst-edge scoring. IFP really keeps the juices sharp. It was ten years at BAGA before anyone cleaned the course. I shoot a reduced IFP target in my basement at 20 yards, and I try to shoot two of those targets a day – that’s 50 shots. Sometimes I’ll shoot three of those targets in a day. In all, I shoot 15,000 to 20,000 pellets a year in practice.

JE: Do you do anything to keep yourself fit for shooting?

GS: I do some jogging, biking, and elliptical machine for cardio. I have a multi-position weight machine for strength, and I do yoga about three times a week for flexibility.

JE: Are you doing anything special to get ready for the World’s Championship?

GS: I notice they have a lot of uphill and downhill shots, so I am practicing those. I made arrangement with an archery club to shoot from a treestand. The outdoor range that I practice is wide open and very windy. I kind of like it now. You have to go out there and shoot when it is windy. Start by shooting everything dead center to see where the shots are going and then try to make them hit on target by compensating for the wind. I have a windicator I made from fly fishing feathers from Gandor Mountain. If you see that feather moving at all, you have to honor it, particularly if you are shooting in the 12 foot-pound World Field Target Federation (WFTF) division.

JE: Do you have any advice for newbies?

GS: Sure. Get some decent equipment to start with . . . probably a PCP because it’s easier. You have to practice to learn a consistent and balanced hold. You need to work on your natural point of aim. Sit down, point your scope at the target, close your eyes, open them, and see if you are still pointed at the center of the target. If not, wiggle around until you are. Then repeat the process – close your eyes, relax, open your eyes, and check to see if you are pointed where you need to be. If not, adjust accordingly. If you shoot with tension in your body, you will tend to yank the shot off line when you pull the trigger.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

JE: How should you prepare if you are a serious sport shooter of field target?

HM: If you are a serious sport shooter – really dedicated to the sport – you have to differentiate between the mind and body, and you have to get them both fit. You can be physically fit and not mentally fit. Shooting is 70-80% brain, and 20-30% physical.

JE: How do you get physically fit for shooting?

HM: If you are going to cock a spring gun 180 times over three days, you need to build up stamina. Of course, you have to cock and shoot your gun, but one of the best ways to build stamina is to take long, brisk walks. No running, jumping, just long brisk walks. They are excellent to build stamina for long days of shooting.

JE: What’s next?

HM: Once you start your physical fitness program, you need to attend to your brain. That means keeping it busy, nimble, and fast; making sure your brain and your eyes are geared toward detecting things in the outside world. Excellent exercises for the brain are those puzzles where you have two pictures and you have to detect the differences between them. That helps to train the mind to see the sight picture, the wind, the difference in light, and will help get your brain geared towards not only looking but actually seeing things.

JE: What else?

HM: Once you get your body and brain fit, you have to feed them properly, so a good diet is very important: one-third protein, one-third vegetables, and one-third grains, all as unprocessed as possible. You also have to take care of your eyes. They are the main data-gathering instruments. Make sure your glasses have the right prescription; wear sunglasses in bright sunlight, and protect your eyes with goggles in a shop.

JE: What about actual shooting practice?

HM: Practice 30-50 shots dry fire every day. Practice 10-20 one-handed pistol shots two or three times a week, that builds your trigger control. Finally, at least 20 times a week, practice a complete shot cycle. By that, I mean: plump the bum bag, sit down on it, mount your rifle, close your eyes, wiggle around a little, then, open your eyes and see if you are naturally aligned to the target. If not, correct your position, close your eyes, wiggle, and open your eyes to check your position again, repeat if necessary. Range the target, take the shot, and get up again. Repeat that over and over until getting into the proper position, perfectly aligned to the target, is a matter of muscle memory. A lot of shooters have no clue whether they are naturally aligned to the target or not.

JE: Do you do anything to prepare your pellets?

HM: Yes, I wash and lube them. I use Krytech often for PCP pellets and Pledge for springers . . . I bake the pellets for three minutes in a toaster oven dedicated for the purpose. You have to experiment with lubes to see what works best for a particular barrel.

JE: Anything else?

HM: Yes, you have to go to a lot of matches. That’s because if you are serious about being competitive, you can’t train for the mind game aspect of what goes on in the background of matches, and the psychological aspect of matches plays a heavy role in the outcome; if you are a hobby shooter you will have a very good time, experience some fine sportsmanship, very high levels of camaraderie and, I am sure, lifelong friendships will be established.

Till next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott