The MIT rifle team had its first match of the season this past weekend, taking on friendly area rival Wentworth Institute of Technology.
For those unfamiliar with the sport, there are actually two different rifle events at a rifle match: air rifle, which uses compressed air to propel the bullet, and smallbore, which fires a 22-caliber bullet in the same fashion as traditional firearms. The air rifle event is shot standing, while the smallbore event is shot in three positions: prone (lying down), kneeling, and offhand (standing). In the air rifle event, each individual fires 60 shots at six targets, each with ten separate bull’s eyes worth ten points apiece, for a total of 600 possible points in a round. The smallbore event is scored similarly, except that 20 shots are fired in each of the three positions.
At a rifle match, each team declares five shooters, and then the four best scores of those shooters are counted. Saturday’s match was known as a “shoulder to shoulder” match, meaning the two teams only competed against each other. MIT’s four high scores totaled 2161 in the air rifle competition, and 2149 in the smallbore competition, while Wentworth shot 2210 in the air rifle event and 2143 in the smallbore competition. This resulted in what is called a “split,” a match result where each team wins one event.
Nigel C. Kojimoto ’12 posted the highest score amongst all competitors in both events, shooting 563 in air rifle, and 550 in smallbore.
Like other sports were accuracy and concentration are demanded, many precautions were taken to ensure that the team members were not adversely affected by their environments. For example, the team members wear shoes designed to keep their feet perfectly flat, and they use canvas suits to prevent their heartbeat from affecting their shot. The range is also eerily quiet during the match, and it is considered disrespectful to talk loudly or slam the door of the range.
Despite what could be considered an atmosphere of antagonizing attention to detail, what was most impressive about the match was the amount of friendliness and sportsmanship displayed by both teams. The match was for the most part, self-arbitrated, as the rifle team members themselves scored the cards for their opponents. There were few disputes because everyone was being honest; no one was trying fighting for points here or there.
The MIT rifle team will have its next match at home on October 15 and 16 and will face four other schools: John Jay school of Criminal Justice, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Wentworth Institute of Technology, and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.