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by Chick Blood
Back in the best of my competitive shooting days, now in the rapidly fading past, I stood shoulder to shoulder at least twice with a chap who ended up on the US Olympic team. Don’t ask me which year he made it as my memory isn’t that good any more. All I remember is he had a sight wobble. So did I. So does everyone who lines up a pistol on a bullseye target 25 or 50 yards downrange. A sight wobble? The loss of alignment between the front and rear sight resulting in missing the point of aim. Some wobbles are so bad the bullet misses the paper completely. There are 7-ring wobbles, 8-ring wobbles, 9-ring wobbles and my one time wobble, a 10-ringer. The future Olympian had an X-ring wobble. Every round he sent downrange never missed hitting that black circle! No, I can’t remember his name either and if I could I wouldn’t be overly motivated to enter into a complete historic search of Olympic shooting records to find out how he placed.
All I recall for sure is the .22LR pistol in his hand was built for him by the late Jim Clark, Sr., the only civilian to ever win the National Pistol Championship at Camp Perry (1953). The .45 he used in every NRA match I lost shooting against him was custom built by one of my fellow club members. He was a Master Sergeant who prepared and maintained M1911s for the US Army Marksmanship Team and my first mentor in gunsmithing. That Master Sergeant has now joined Jim Clark. One of these days, I hope to be there when the two of them get into a good ready-room gabfest about accuracy. Without exaggeration, it was the conviction of all who knew MSG Jack Wallentine that he could accurize anything from a slingshot to a 16-inch Naval Gun. In the future, I may have to seize the opportunity presented by these pages of telling you more of him. For the present, I’ll merely mention he was one of the few Double Distinguished shooters in the entire United States with a military pistol and rifle during the all too brief time I knew him.
Returning now to the future Olympian, I asked how I could tighten my 10-ring wobble to the X-ring. After all, my grip was correct, firm but no so tight as to cause trembling. I did not allow my front sight to droop. My breathing technique, fully in, 1/3rd out and hold was perfect. Wrist and arm were firm but not tense. There was no jerking of the trigger left or right, only a straight pull to the rear. My finger contact with the trigger is limited to the tip pad and light enough to predict the sear release point. “So how come I’m stuck in the 10-ring?”
Read more in our October 2012 issue. Back issues are available.