A nice two-night camp out finished up today. we took the troop to the Heard Scout Pueblo. There are two main attractions of this camp. First, it's close. 30 minutes and we arrive. Second, they have a rifle range, which we reserved from 9:00 to noon on saturday.
They had 4 NRA instructors on site. (The BSA and the NRA have always had a good relationship.) The boys got a substantial class in firearm safety before they were allowed to shoot.
The boys worked on rifle shooting merit badge, which in part requires the boys to get 3 shots grouped in an area the size of a quarter using a 22-caliber rim fire rifle from fifty feet, and do it five times.
Most of the boys worked on that. The three boys who already have the merit badge, as well as all the adults, worked on NRA marksmanship qualification.
My father used to compete with his 22-caliber rim fire and brought home trophies as proof that he knew a little bit about it. He took us to the range from time-to-time, so I had shot before. However, I never attempted any qualification until saturday. Considering the rifles were scout camp inventory, I didn't do too badly, and I managed to earn my pro-marksman rating.
That is the first level you can attain, and is relatively easy. 10 targets with a score of 20 or higher. My lowest score was 32, which is good enough to qualify for the sharpshooter level, but you have to earn the lower ratings first. The rifles were fairly heavy and fatigue certainly was a factor. The boys going for the merit badge get to rest the rifle on a block, but for NRA certification you have to support the gun yourself.
By noon, I had a nice certificate, the rifle qualification patch, and the pro-marksman patch. Russell made good progress, too. His first target had 3 holes scattered around the target. you could have put a grapefruit between the three holes. A few targets later, he was grouping them well enough to meet the "quarter" requirement for the merit badge or better.