I think the Garand is the best rifle for offhand. You can load it so it has relatively light recoil and you can place the heel of your hand right on the balance point and extend your fingers toward the muzzle, which provides a good amount of stability.
Sounds like you're progressing nicely in your illness. In case you haven't noticed, new CMP rules for 2016 now allow LH configurations and optics to 4x on AR style rifles for EIC. Haven't checked to see if NRA service rifle has followed suit.
Keep plugging away, you'll get there. Congrats on the M1 match. I love shooting Garands, and hope to bring mine out to a SR match or 2 this year. Can only stand the LEGO gun so much. Nice to feel wood and steel once in awhile. I know what you mean about offhand. My M1 or K-31 feel so much more solid in this position than the AR.
On your rapid prone, are you having zero issues or stringing out of the black? Sounds like rushing shots or not establishing solid position and NPOA. Moving in your sling or on your elbows will raise hell with your rapids.
It's definitely my position. I did some practicing a few weeks ago and determined that my left elbow (firing hand) slides as I shoot. I do not use a mat when I shoot so I will give it a shot next time I get a chance. I'll be working during the next few matches and then it looks like I might be having another knee surgery. Who knows how long I'll be out of commission from that one.
I still don't use a purpose-built shooting pad (I'm cheap and all the ones I find have sun-gathering black rubber on them). I use a roll-up high density foam camping pad from Walmart. It's light blue and works great. Elbows really dig into it and it provides significant insulation from hot or cold ground.... and it was cheap. It does help the comfort and repeatability of my prone shooting, especially at ranges that have a horrible concrete pad, pea gravel or sandburs on the firing points.
In your practices, work on rapidly re-establishing NPOA after every shot. This is one disadvantage of 30 cal rifles vs. ARs for XTC shooting. Easier with sitting, but in prone you have to consciously re-establish to recover from recoil. Your offhand and sitting are coming along, get that prone rapid up there and gain some wind experience and you'll be dangerous. You're flirting with that 90% mark that separates the top guys from the noisemakers. Hope your surgery goes well and you are back on the firing line soon.
I took the M1A out for a match yesterday. That thing is awesome! It shoots much better I can but I haven't been to the range in 3 months. It was a pretty windy match. The match started off ok. I shot a 170-2X standing. I was getting pushed around an awful lot. I shot a 176-1X sitting. My sling was too tight and I think if I loosen it up a little bit I'd be a little more comfortable and stable. I improved a lot on my prone rapids. I brought out my issued sleeping mat to keep my elbows out of the mud. I focused on keeping my elbows in place and end up shooting a 93-1X on the first string. The wind kicked up a bit more as the second string started and shifted my group about 3-4 inches. The second string I shot an 83, bringing my total to a 176-1x. At 600, I completely fell apart. I set my elevation way too high and missed the first two sighting shots. Not knowing whether or not I needed to go up or down, my first three shots for record were misses. I got too frustrated and ended up shooting 106.
I was hoping to get into the 700s this match but I haven't been able to practice. The range on base is open again and I have identified more things I need to practice. For standing, I need to work on consistent lung pressure and getting the shot off as soon as I get the sight picture. For sitting, I need to stretch out my hips and find the best sling adjustment. For rapid prone, focusing on the front sight. For slow prone, elevation knowledge and front sight focus.
I have found that I prefer the hooded rear sight as opposed to the standard flat aperture. I am going to order one and get out shooting.
Got a crash course in wind today. Trying out the new service rifle rules with a 4x Leupold.
80 round full course XTC.
Offhand was shaky...rusty, never a strong position for me anyway. I need to work on that.
Sitting rapid was mixed. Ran a 97 my first string. Bobbled the mag change second string. "Sent" 2 perfect dry fires, then slammed the mag properly into place, finally chambered round 3 and fired a rushed string to just get them on paper. Score was predictably lousy, but at least no zeros.
Prone rapid, fired 2 beautiful sighters, 10 and a pinwheel, then the flags lied. Same call, same flags, 87 first string, x ring sized group straddling the 8/9 ring into the apparently imaginary wind. Entire left half of the line did the same thing. Cut the windage in half and fired a 98 the second string. Should have been cleaned but pulled 2 low.
600 was all over the place. Wind 10-20 blowing across the woods and shifting from fishtail rear quarter to front. Even the High masters with 6 or 6.5 somthingorothers were struggling. I kept all 8 or better and managed to tag 4 xs and was quite happy with that. Final relay got a break in the wind and predictably shot much higher scores than the other 2.
I like the optics. My off calls were almost perfect in offhand. At least I know where I'm missing. Adjustments were accurate and repeatable on the scope, converting my old zeros from MOA to mils and simply dialing them in. At 600, it was very easy to use Kentucky instead of futzing with the dials. It was a chase the spotter kind of day.
Man its been a long time since I updated this thread.
I went out to test some new 600 yard loads for the M14. I shot 25 rounds, five shots in each group. The first two were close to the lands and they shot horribly. Four inches at 100 yards. The third group shrank to 3 inches and the fourth was about two and a half. I began to grow concerned that my rifle didn't like the 175 grain bullets, but the final group was just under two inches.
I shoot a full match on Saturday, and this was my first chance to load up and test some new things.
I shot a 663 yesterday, a mere eight points away from shooting my first sharpshooter score. I shot a 167 standing, 170 sitting, 156 prone rapid (66 first string, 90 second string), and a 170 prone slow fire. I had two misses in the last stage and learned a very valuable lesson about my rifle and ammo.
I learned that if the lube on the action looks "good enough" to shoot, it isn't. I should have hit the receiver rails with a little bit of grease before I left the house, or should carry some in my bag along with some q-tips to use in between stages. I also learned that cleaning the barrel is inadequate. I didn't clean the gas cylinder or the gas cylinder valve. That resulted in failures to cycle the action in my 300 and 600 yard stages. The unreliable cycling caused a bunch of weird shots including two misses.
Had 2 EIC "Leg" matches over the weekend. Was a bit dangerous on Saturday, gleaning a 465/500 and a bronze pin. Some very tough competition at this one, and squirrely wind at 600. Missed Leg points by about 5. Top 3 non-distinguished were all 470 plus. Today was a bit tougher. Dropped a few points in offhand and prone vs yesterday, and had an unexplained miss at 600. Was dinging away 9s, 10s and Xs, and got a flat miss from a center black call. Target was carefully examined by some experienced eyes, and definitely no hole or crossfire. Think I'll ask about it in the reloading section.
Ran a 99/100 in rapid prone both days, my best ever. For some reason sitting rapid, usually a strong position for me was shakey. 92 Saturday, 90 today. Probably cost me my first leg points.
I'm shooting a box-stock RRA national match with Leopold Mark AR optic. 23.5 Varget and 75 Hornady, LC brass 200 and 300. Nos 80CMBT 24 R15 and HSM brass long line.