From Humble Beginnings
October 6, 2012 by Clayton Bridges
Rifle Team shoots its first match and wins!
On September 13th, 2012, the JROTC Rifle Team underwent its first match of the season, with an incredible start.
The Rifle Team with JROTC, also known as the Citizen Marksmanship Program, consists of three teams: Varsity A-Team, Varsity B-team, and Junior Varsity, which is also known as novice. Varsity A-team and B-team have no difference in skill; however, most schools like to put their veteran shooters on A-team. Contrary to last year’s formalities, this year’s matches will be shot postal, meaning that schools will no longer travel and shoot shoulder to shoulder, but get regulated papers in which they send in to be scored by a machine. This shouldn’t affect the performance of any shooters; however, it does take away some of the competitive feel.
“I think it takes away from the fun of facing off with a team. Plus I think when the opposing team is right next to you, you get more competitive,” said Taras Vdovich, a new member of the varsity A-team.
There are five members per team. Major Campbell instructs one team, and the other is instructed by Sergeant Johns. Competitive shooting with JROTC is judged on a scale of 300. There are three positions that the shooter will participate in during one match, those being prone first, standing second, and kneeling last. For each position, a member will shoot a target that will be assessed out of 100. There are 12 targets on the paper itself, two of those being warm-up targets or “sighters.”
The shooter will use the first and second sighter to sight in his rifle and make sure that their shot group, or “zero” is on the bulls-eye. Once they are “sighted in” then they will move onto the ten targets that count for actual score. These ten targets are located above, below and around the sighters. The targets themselves consist of two areas, the black and the white. The black area is where competitors want to be hitting. The targets are scaled by intervals from one to ten, with ten being the highest score one can receive from one target, the bulls-eye. A one is the lowest a competitor can get, and that’s the last ring of the target. The black area is from four to ten, and the black area is about the size of a quarter.
The shooters are positioned ten meters away from the targets, which is approximately 32 feet. The shooters use equipment such as slings, mats, kneeling pads and scopes to assist them in their shooting, all to make it more comfortable and steady their shots. The rifles’ A-team uses t200 air rifles. They fire .177 Caliber lead pellets at approximately 550 feet per second.
The Rifle Team, whether it may be A, B or the Novice team, are all required to take a safety course, as well as a proceeding safety test before they are even allowed to work with the rifles. There is zero tolerance for horseplay or misuse of the rifles. The rifles are kept in a safe in the armory of the JROTC room, the code is only known by the three instructors. The students may never access the safe without the instructor opening it first.
There are two lines: the firing line, which is the line that may not be crossed if rifles are online, and the other line, which is about six feet back from the firing line, that may only be crossed by instructors and shooters. The shooters are required to use a clear barrel indicator, whenever they set the rifle down. The clear barrel indicator is essentially a small piece of plastic wire that goes through the barrel from the action of the gun, to indicate there is not a loaded pellet, and also to ensure there is no way the rifle will fire. Safety is of the utmost importance.
This year’s A-team consists of: Adrian Molinar, Clayton Bridges, Taras Vdovich, Dylan Heavilin, and Keone Gonzales; all five are eager and ready to prove themselves this season. Adrian Molinar and Clayton Bridges are the veteran members who were participants on the rifle team last year; Adrian being on the A-team and Clayton on the B-team.
The first match of the season took place in separate schools, since shooters must shoot postal. Thomas Jefferson’s first opponent was North High School, and the match took place September 13th at Thomas Jefferson and North High School. Thomas Jefferson shot a 908 and North shot a 906. Despite the outcome, it’s all about improvement. Thomas Jefferson’s rifle team had a very impressive and strong beginning. Four out of five of the best scores on the team are taken, and added up, creating a team score. Last year at the end of A-team’s season, their team scores barely scraped the 900’s. This year, A-team begins the season with just a few points above 900, a sure sign that Thomas Jefferson’s rifle team will have a great year.