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In radiant sunshine with a pleasant breeze from the North Sea, the first cars are arriving on the gravel path of the shooting center in the Danish town of Ulfborg. The customers’ faces reveal a mixture of curiosity and excitement. They’ve never experienced what awaits them here: thirty-five different shooting ranges in the dunes or in the forest, firing ranges of up to 600 meters, spectacular running target firing ranges and a field shooting competition during which every conceivable hunting situation is simulated. A large area, experienced trainers and numerous kindred spirits who all share the common goal of significantly improving their shooting skills.
It’s Friday, July 5th, and we are at the first ZEISS Field Shooting Weekend in Ulfborg, Denmark, hosted by the ZEISS Training Academy. A total of 14 participants (hunters, sports shooters, etc.) have registered for this unique training course and are now ready for action with their weapons and ammunition. After depositing their luggage in their four-bed rooms, the fun began. While checking the zeroing of the weapons, the participants quickly found out that they were dealing with genuine professionals. The weapons experts from Sauer provided valuable tips and the shooting trainers from ZEISS monitored the posture of the participants very precisely. “We want the seminar participants to take new insights home with them - sometimes only a small correction is necessary to make a shot much more precise,” explained Maruan Al-Hammoud of ZEISS, who was in charge of the event.
And that’s what it’s all about: optimizing your own shooting performance with a wide variety of practice sessions. At the end of the three-day seminar, the participants will have shot nearly 5000 rounds of ammunition, and roughly 100 per person at the atmospheric field shooting competition, which was largely based on actual hunting practice. But what exactly is field shooting? This discipline, which is very popular in Denmark, is a shooting competition that takes place on a wide variety of shooting ranges at distances between 35 and 540 meters. The shooters assume various positions used in hunting: standing, kneeling, prone or in a raised blind. It sounds easier than it is: the shooters cover a walking distance of nearly 10 kilometers during this process, so that their pulse is always slightly elevated, just like when they are hunting. However, the biggest challenge is maintaining concentration on the last long shooting ranges. Still, the large number of outstanding hits on the innumerable game target disks in the romantic dunes of Denmark demonstrated that the participants successfully mastered this challenge and implemented the knowledge gained in the first few days.
The winner of this year’s Field Shooting Cup was Raffael Bartsch, who achieved 581 points out of a possible 780. “I go shooting regularly on my own, but the tips I was given here have made a huge difference in my performance. I was able to eliminate errors I wasn’t even aware of and learn targeting methods I had never tried before. I can only say that I highly recommend such a training course to anyone who enjoys shooting and who wants to improve his skills significantly, particularly for shooting over longer distances. I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world,” emphasized Bartsch, a native of the Allgäu region in Germany.
After the participants had zeroed their own weapons, the action continued. Sauer, the weapon specialist and co-sponsor of the seminar, had a new Sauer 101 for each participant to use during training. The 3 kg repeating rifle with the ZEISS VICTORY® HT 3-12x56 riflescope and the ASV+ bullet drop compensation was to be used for the concluding field shooting on Sunday. After these rifles had also been properly zeroed, the theoretical part of the seminar followed in a convivial atmosphere, accompanied by Danish grilled specialties, and included the following topics: How do you calculate the ballistic trajectory? How do you zero the ASV+ and set it to ensure accurate hits? What do you need to remember when shooting long-range? Intensive discussions with the trainers followed in a relaxed session. The customers asked in-depth questions, and the experts provided the answers. “The discussions with the shooting trainers were extremely valuable to me. Of course, we are all experienced marksmen, but to take full advantage of the latest technology such as the ASV+, we still need tips here and there - and we got them in abundance,” explained one of the participants afterwards.
Saturday morning was reserved for practical training. A hearty breakfast was followed by a tour of the shooting range. The customers were amazed: nothing comparable is available anywhere in Germany or elsewhere in Europe.
The ZEISS team made full use of all the options at the shooting center. Groups of four participants each rotated among a multi-distance stage, a 600-meter shooting range and a running target stage. Each shooting range has its own special features. On the multi-distance stage, shooting distances range from 65 to 540 meters. Using paper and steel targets, poppers, gongs and game silhouette disks with hit indicators that trigger particular enthusiasm, participants can demonstrate and optimize their shooting skills.
At the 600 meter range, the maximum distance is approached step by step. During this process, long-distance errors become very clear and can be corrected.
On the running target stages, the participants practice shooting at moving targets. The system permits a continuous increase in the speed of the target. What was a genuine challenge for the participants in the beginning becomes routine over the course of the day. After roughly an hour and a quarter, the groups switched stages until everyone had completed all the different sessions.
But there was no collective shoulder massage. Everyone was thrilled with what they experienced and after the official shooting training had ended, the Western stage was still going strong and the .338 Lapua Magnum was being shot on the 600 meter firing range. When shooting had to stop at 6:00 p.m. and everyone almost missed the constant noise, the participants were still intoxicated with their heady success. None of them had ever done that much shooting in one day before. The day ended with a barbecue and Ulfborg was immersed in moonlight near midnight.
The next morning the participants were all in excellent spirits. The expectations for the pending field shooting were high. Everyone was more or less secretly hoping to take the trophy home. The competition started at 8 a.m. Equipped with a backpack, barrel rest, 100 rounds of ammunition, the Sauer 101 and the ZEISS VICTORY® HT, the small groups set off to demonstrate their skills. The group leaders specified at every range which target was to be shot at from which distance in which position. After all of the shooters had finished, the counting began. Together the target disks were reviewed and the points meticulously recorded.
Nach 19 Disziplinen auf 11 Bahnen und etwa 10 km Fußmarsch ist es dann geschafft. Die Teilnehmer sind erschöpft, aber glücklich. Der Sieg ist zweitrangig. Die Erfahrung war einmalig und jeder ist froh, dabei gewesen zu sein.
After 19 disciplines on 11 shooting ranges and a hike of roughly 10 kilometers, the competition was over. The participants were exhausted but happy. Winning was only a secondary concern. The experience was unique and everyone was happy to have been involved.
1. The shooting skills of the participants had improved significantly.
2. Next year the rooms will be more crowded.
3. The ZEISS Training Academy does more than merely convey theoretical
knowledge! those looking for training with a large practical component
have come to the right place!