One shot at the range.

Looking through the spotting scope the mirage boiled straight up. “No wind” he thought as he got into position, noting the wind flags twenty feet up showed a slight breeze. Patchy clouds drifted lazily thousands of feet above, changing the light conditions ever slow slightly. The rifle tucked in tight to the rubberized shoulder fabric of the shooting jacket, the diamond hatch pattern of the AR-15 butt plate gripping it in place, held tight by the sling running from his upper left bicep around the back of the shooting clove to the sling swivel attached to the front of the free float tube.

“Natural Point Of Aim” he thought, as he let the cross hairs of the four power rifle scope settle on aiming black 600 yards distant. A breath, and the cross hairs moved off. He shifted his hips so the rifle went back onto target, and breathed again. At the end of his breath, the small dot in the center of the cross hairs was still in the black.

“Take a breath, let it out.” he thought, as his right thumb switched the selector lever from safe to fire, the only settings available on his rifle. The pad of his right index finger pulled back on the trigger taking up the first stage. At the bottom of his exhale the sight picture seemed to crystallize into perfect stillness, and he pulled back and the second stage broke, the rifle pushed back into his shoulder, and his body rode with the recoil to fall back onto target. He watched the target go down, pulled by unseen hands in the pits. Unconsciously he flicked the selector lever to safe.

A ten. It always feels good to keep all the points from the shot.

He broke the rifle from his right shoulder pocket, inserted another hand loaded cartridge. The red plastic resin tip of the long match bullet reminded him of the nights spent preparing the brass, seating the primers, measuring each charge for the 600 yard line. A push of the bolt release slammed the cartridge home into the chamber. Using his firing hand he pushed the rifle forward from the butt into the right shoulder pocket, and rebuilt his position. Breath in. Breath out. Natural point of aim.

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