|Marking the target - butts duty|
Butts duty is the name given to the indicating and marking of the targets when competitive rifle shooting. The target forms the upper part of a wooden frame constructed from 2x4 timber, the target itself being approx. 5ft square and covered with a strong hessian backing. There are two of these target frames, one either side of the target machinery which consists of an angle-iron frame with two wheels at the top, one on either side. The two target frames are mounted on runners and are connected by a wire rope so that as one target is lifted, the other one counter-balances it.
The marker stands beneath the target and is protected by a re-inforced concrete mantle. Bullets that go through the target are harmlessly stopped when they hit the sand dune in front of the shooter. This arrangement has led to some fairly amusing 'suicide pheasant' incidents although it should be noted that no pheasants have been harmed to my knowledge. It is also worth noting that being caught shooting said 'suicide pheasant' will lead to a life time ban from most shooting grounds.
|When the shooter has fired his shot, the target is pulled down and a fluorescent 3" orange disc is plugged into the hole to indicate fall of shot. The target is then raised back up for the next shot. After this shot, the target is pulled down again, the orange marker is placed in the new hole, a black or white sticker is stuck over the old hole, and the target is raised again.|
If the marker is having trouble spotting the holes or is getting a sore neck from looking up at the target, it can be easier to just look straight at the sand behind the target. The area struck by the most bullets is clearly visible as a damp, disturbed patch in the sand and it becomes easy to work out whereabouts on the target the round has hit by watching for the strike in the sand.
|Results are generally scored from 1 to 5 points. 1 point is awarded if the round hits the outside area of the target but not the scoring rings. 2 to 5 points are awarded for the decreasing ring size with 5 being awarded for a 'bull'. The bull itself has a dotted smaller ring inside it which is known as the v-bull.|
Underneath the target, there are 4 holes in the frame for the marking indicator. This is a piece of plywood about 9" square with a length of dowel glued in through the middle. One side is painted black, the other fluorescent orange. This scorer is placed in one of the four holes with either the black or the orange side exposed after each shot. This is done so that the shooter, who may be hundreds of yards away, can see his own score. The system works as follows:
|The animation shows how the scoring paddles position and colour relate to the score the shooter achieves. It is generally accepted in the target shooting fraternity that if a bullet touches one of the scoring rings, the score is given 'up' ie if the bullet touches the line between the 3 and 4 rings, the score of 4 will be given. The fluorescent side of the paddle is used to indicate both the lowest and the highest possible score for a single shot. The v-bull is still only counted as 5 but the number of v-bulls achieved is used as a tiebreaker if two shooters achieve the same score.