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Devlin McBride

Stage Target Sequences

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This may seem like a simple maybe even stupid question but are there any tricks that people use to help with remembering the target sequence on a given stage? I'm wondering if there is a pneumonic memory aid that is commonly used like righty tighty lefty lucy.   Or it is more like the old joke, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" and receiving the answer, "practice practice practice".

 

While I'm on the topic, when dual wielding pistols how do the sequences work?

 

Devlin

 

 

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Well first let me say Welcome To The Game. There are quite a few different target arrays and sequences that you’ll run into the more you shoot CAS matches. The more often you shoot matches the quicker your brain will start making the connection to how our sport is tied at the hip, you might say to five shot patterns or sequences with the revolvers and most times lately the same with the rifle. 

 

I’m assuming your last question is in reference to Gunfighter, a revolver in each hand and at times the sequences can be a little harder to figure out. Buck D. Law puts out an excellent gunfighter tutorial that will aid you immensely should you choose the gunfighter persuasion. Whatever you do don’t get frustrated with a P (procedural) now and then, it happens to nearly all of us maybe all of us on occasion or in my case lately fairly often. 

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Howdy Devlin, na i don't think iv'e ever really heard of any certain tricks.  There's so many different sweeps or sequence's you just kinda have to pickup on them with practice and experience.  The one thing that helps me out and you'll see a lot of shooter's doing is what i call, shootin the air gun's.  Kinda like playin air guitar.  When i get in line at the loading table is when it start's.  I kinda go into my own zone watching the stage and thinking what i'm gonna do, once i'm loaded and in the what i call on deck position is when i take a deep breath, i don't hear or see anything but the targets.  Whatever gun order is i'll pretend to run through the stage just the way i'm gonna shoot it pointing at every target.  Then the beep goe's off and,,,,,,,,,,,,,, everything goes ta H#LL.  But seriously it doe's really help.

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Howdy and welcome!

 

In my way of looking at things, which may be kinda weird, there's two basic ways of looking at any sequence.

 

The first, we'll call the target number method, that is to say, look at it by the target number, so a double tap sweep on 3 targets could be spelled out as 1,1,2,2,3,3,2,2,1,1.

 

The other I'll call the number target method (the terms are reversed you'll notice)  In this method, you need to have the basic motion of the sweep down, which you kinda need to see the target array to do.  You would then say how many rounds on each target as you go, that same double tap sweep would be spelled out as 2/2/2/2/2.  Kinda helps to point at each target in turn as you think how many rounds go on that target.

 

Confused yet?  I go back and forth between the two depending on the stage, and yes, I've confused myself in doing so.

 

For shooting styles other than gunfighter, it is very helpful to think of a 10 shot pistol string as two 5 shot strings, that way you know where to start on that second pistol.

 

I did a video on a few of the different sweeps I've seen if you'd like to give it a look.

 

 

Hope that helps.

 

Grizz

 

Edited by Grizzly Dave
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Have a candle array with three candles at different heights and one with four.  I have a sheet of paper with many of the sweeps we shoot and add more when they come up.   I dry fire them with my pistols and even fingers when watching tv; usually during commercials.   Hope this helps.

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IMO it's how you count them that's key. I think a lot of folks count the shots 1 - 10 and/or even count the hits on the steel and not the bangs. You notice that a lot when you have a knock down stage and they miss some they lose count and keep trying to fire an empty gun. 

 

If you are a gunfighter you get to count the same as the rifle all the time but for a two handed shooter I often count the rifle like I do the pistols if its a tough one to remember because that way I only have to remember one. 

 

Sometimes it's a pattern more than a count.....if that makes any sense. Anyway talk to yer' veteran shooters at the match and find a system that works for you. We talk about how we are going to shoot it (or count it) all the time at monthlies. 

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Be a spotter for several shooters. When you can anticipate where the next shots go, hand off the duty and get in line. 

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There's a lot of useful information here. Aren't Cowboys great! In my area, most clubs email the stage descriptions in advance of the shoot. I print them out and review them several times before the shoot. The more matches you shoot, the easier it will become to memorize the sequences. If I am not familiar with one or more, I set up a large poster board with targets drawn on it, and with my guns, I shoot the sequences. When I get to the shoot, the Timing Officer or Match Director will go over each stage before we shoot. By the time I step up to the line to shoot, I know the sequences well which gives me the confidence to shoot it fast.

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Well first off sweeps ought not to be confusing or overly difficult. The use of standard sweeps on most stages allows the shooter to flow through the stage without standing there trying to remember what to do. That's a good thing, but if overused it can get pretty boring. Adding something new now and then is a good thing as long as it Flows and the match isn't overly filled with surprises. For the most part, simple, straight forward stages and instructions are welcome.

 

Example:

Start with shotgun in hands at Pos 1, rifle staged on table at Pos 2.

ATB: Use shotgun to knock down all shotgun targets in a counter clockwise direction starting on the most northerly target.

Jabberwockey to Pos 2 and use rifle in the following order: R1=1,  R2=√4,  R3=√16-1, R4=number of sides in a Quadrature

Then use pistols and do a reverse rifle sweep on Pistol targets 

:P

Breaking down sweeps into 5 sound bites or melodies sometimes helps me remember them. The old familiar dat---da,da,da--dat, dat type thing sometimes helps me to remember the sweep. I don't know if that makes any sense, but it helps me. (being a old Ballroom Dancer and Morris Code guy from Ham Radio helps)

Edited by Snakebite
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I agree with Junky, it becomes a personal preference for an individual how they count them.  I find myself after hearing the stage instructions repeating it in my head and think how I'm going to tackle this particular stage.  Once I'm at the loading table and loaded up I start counting in my head sometime mimicking the movement I'm going to do.  Some people call it gaming I call it trying not to get a "P" :lol:.  But as a Gunfighter, In most stages, I count 1 to 10 as I usually do with my rifle.  Sometimes a stage is presented in a way I have to change the way I count. like a 3, 4, 3 sweep or something of that nature.  At that point I don't count 1 to 10, instead I count 3, 4 and 3.  So is there any trick to it? I don't really think so, I'm sure some will disagree with me and that's okay.  I think it boils down to simply breaking it down to a way that makes sense to you and allows you keep proper count and proper sequence.

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as mentioned above watching will usually do it for me, guess that makes me a visual learner.

 

some of the posse will sometimes figure out a way to count the sweep that makes more sense than the way it was written--and sometimes not.  But when this works it's great

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What works best for me is listen to the read through - ask questions if needed, dry shoot rehearse it, walk away when I think I have it to avoid the babbling about how others are going to shoot it.  I like to spot as much as possible and shoot near the end of the posse..  Might be just superstition but I try to use the same routine at the loading table each time and when loaded leave the pistols on the table and dry shoot a few more times. 

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Devlin-

 

Counting is not the biggest issue for me, it's which gun to start with. Any one can count to ten. Once you have that down it's easy to count groups 4-2-4. As someone posted, be a spotter (or just pay attention to the shooters in front of you). Over time you will know, even without counting when someone made it to 10 or not, just by listening in the background.

 

The issue is time to complete the sequence, which is about which target and which gun to shoot first. I'm talking gunfighter here... Any other style, you just need to know when you hit five and change guns. You still need to know which gun to start with. Most stages go from left to right (but not always and it dosen't matter). If your splitting the pistols between locations, I start with the pistol that coincides with the starting position of the stage. If starting on left, use the left gun. If starting right, use the right. After you shoot the first five, change to other gun sequences and find your self at the left or right position on the stage, you will remember which pistol to pull next.

 

Now with gunfighter; Your counting to 10 now.  If you air shoot the stage progression with your fingers, starting with the left or right gun, at the left or right target in the sequence, you will notice that there is one way better than the other because you want to avoid crossing one pistol over the other to get to the next target. You will also notice that one way of doing it reduces  how much you must move your pistols. ie. If you have 3 targets and shooting a single tap sweep (1-2-3-2-1-2-3-2-1-2), how many time do you have to cross over? Then how many times can you shoot three targets w/o moving your pistols? You'll notice that starting with weak hand is easier to remember than if you start strong hand. But fewer shooters want to start off things with the weak hand. So if you want to start strong hand, start with the #3 target first and all will be better (3-2-1-2-3-2-1-2-3-2). This is the worst sequence for gunfighter and is most often employed in writing stages. Here I switch to double cocking (1,2-3,2-1,2-3,2-1,2) and I count 2,4,6,8,10. Counting 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 slows you down.

 

How many targets are there?: If the sweep is single tap to start between 1 & 2, and there are three targets, I start with left pistol. If there are four targets, I start right pistol. Or I start from the other direction (if allowed). This gives me a place to start, but the goal is to not look like an octopus engaging the next target. If your double tapping the first target, this will be reversed.

 

My goal is to know where I'm going to start when I walk up to the line. Then when the buzzer goes off and your mind goes blank, the only thing you have to think about is which gun to draw and which target I'm going to shoot first and then just start the counting game (just like the rifle). When they start you off with the rifle, you can remember the sequence but you need to remember which gun to start with. 

 

This is the complexity of gunfighter. All other styles it's about which target is next after I change guns. Here your transition between guns is the time killer, not how fast you can unload on a target.

 

All of this will come to you with your time on the range. It may take a year if you only shoot once a month. Dry firing practice does not burn this into your brain as much as the standoff with the timer at a monthly match... When your at a match, you'll be listening to about 2,160 rounds going off in bursts of 10-10-4. Count them all. Best yet, help out and be a spotter and you'll have to count...

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4 hours ago, Michigan Slim said:

Be a spotter for several shooters. When you can anticipate where the next shots go, hand off the duty and get in line. 

Slim is right on the money.  I learn alot about the game by spotting.  If your not real sure about a stage spot for awhile til ya have it figured out, and at the same time you'll be earning the respect of your pard's for doing your part.

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Two handed shooters usually think of pistol as two 5 shot sequences. Gunfighters usually think of pistol sequences as one 10 shot . A 10 shot rifle sequence is usually thought of as a 10 shot but sometimes it is better to think of a 10 shot rifle as two 5 shot sequences in some cases.

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Great advice given above.  I like Kirk's dry fire practice method...fingers work well to learn sequences and there are so, so many.  My examples below deal in sweeps but a sweep is only a start in the many sequences that writers pen to paper.

 

Some things that have helped me thru the years....and as double duelist only, I do not shoot CAS 2-handed nor GF so  offer no advice there.

 

I do not get lost in names other than knowing what a Nevada sweep is. I feel instructions  to shooter should always be without emphasis on a name.....even if it is a Nevada sweep. Always note if instructions say  sweep (a sweep flows "in a row" like a broom) and does it say from either end (which means 1, or first target shot,  is left or right, your decision).  If not designated as continuous sweep then that is usually interpreted as  5 shots strings with revolvers (and 10 with rifle) so as double duelist right gun might want 1, or first target shot, as far right target and left gun far left target (or if you prefer, 3,2,1,2,3 then 1,2,3,2,1).  If double tap N sweep then 1,1,2,2,3,3,2,2,1,1 (the number here representing target shot..again if start is from either end then 1 is your choice, left side or right)    If continuous Nevada sweep is ordered then think of ten shots 1,2,3,2,1,2,3,2,1,2 with both pistols and rifle, (note five shots will end with same target started on and so does second five thus 1,2,3,2,1,--2,3,2,1,2.  Five targets in a continuous N sweep with 10 shots will end on second target from start 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1,2.  

I like to train myself to start on right going left with right gun and left to right with left gun.  this works well in most cases but I learned the hard way that this is not always perfect if you want to make rifle and pistols seem more the same.  Example in point..5 targets, instructions are 2 on 1, 1 on 2, 4 on 3, 1 on 4, 2 on 5  round count not sweep (if sweep then 1,1,2,3,3,3,3,4,5,5 must be followed).  If round count and not sweep I used to think of this as five shots from right then five from left or 55,4,33--1,1,2,3,3.  I lost my train of thought at a major match one time and my friend, and TO at time, Non Stop, helped me through stage by telling me where to shoot (certainly a senior moment).  Afterwards he suggested I should, on this sequence, think of it as a sweep (although is was not) and shoot it as I would my rifle.  Thus, I would  now shoot 1,1,2,3,3 with right pistol starting on left,--3,3,4,5,5 with left pistol all  sweeping to right).  This makes rifle fall right into memory of stage instructions. from  left to right.  Bottom line----keep it simple in head.

 

Another thing I like to do is load guns with targets in mind.  As above... loading rifle and counting two rounds, one round, four rounds, one round, two rounds.  Just like I am going to shoot it, same with pistols.  (Don't chit chat at loading table---focus on what you about to do/attempt:D)

 

Hope all this is not to confusing and helpful.  Follow Kirk's advice...his family is of awesome shooters.  Most of all, enjoy the CAS experience, the shooting and the friends you make.

 

(Note---left handed shooters usually prefer to start on right where right handed shooters prefer left side thus in major matches "mirror" stages are often presented to give fairness to those that want to move left or move right, and either end start on targets is the norm..)

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Thanks for all of the responses, advice, and the time it took to write all of that down.  This is a lot to digest.  If it's worth doing it's worth doing right.  I'm sure I'll pick up on it as I go along.

 

Devlin

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41 minutes ago, Devlin McBride said:

Thanks for all of the responses, advice, and the time it took to write all of that down.  This is a lot to digest.  If it's worth doing it's worth doing right.  I'm sure I'll pick up on it as I go along.

 

Devlin

Whatever you do just don’t give up. Sometimes it takes a match or ten to get the gist of it.

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Like many others I try to think of it as 5 shots at a time.  One thing I do is to not watch the shooter immediately before me.  If they mess up I may follow suit.  Oh yeah, I do my best to get myself right up there on the firing line when they are reading the description.  Many stay back away not even trying to see the targets but I need to feel a "kindred" spirit with them. LOL on that.  Being right there, starting at the targets, helps me to recognize if I have a question as to what was said.

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