(SC) Barnes shooting for world title


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Drizzt
July 10, 2003, 10:28 PM
The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)

July 6, 2003 Sunday

SECTION: SPORTS; Pg. 11C

LENGTH: 786 words

HEADLINE: Barnes shooting for world title

BYLINE: TOMMY BRASWELL Of The Post and Courier Staff

BODY:
SUMMERVILLE--It is a hot, hot summer afternoon at the Palmetto Gun Club shooting range when 20-year-old Lindsay Barnes pulls a loose-fitting sweatshirt over her polo shirt, then slips into a heavy leather jacket. A heavy leather brace is strapped around her left forearm, and she's wearing a shooting cap with a flat bill with small flaps that flip over the side.

After making several adjustments to her custom .308 caliber rifle, she gets into a prone position, carefully loads the bolt action gun and begins sighting in on a target six football fields -- 600 yards -- away. No scope on this gun, strictly iron sights. Her father, Mark, of James Island, is downrange to help spot and some fellow shooters watch through spotting scopes. Finally, she carefully squeezes off the round, then looks to her spotters and listens to her father on the radio to determine the result. Then, she consults a specialized notebook that contains the plots of all her shots through the years.

Soon, she announces that she's squeezed off a five-shot volley, and when she's finished she pulls her ear protection back in time to hear her father say "Good shooting, girl." The five holes in the target can be covered with a closed fist.

Lindsay, a junior honor student at South Carolina, is one of the country's top shooters -- not just junior and not just female -- and is heading this month to Bisley, England to represent the United States Under 21 Young Eagles Team in the 2003 World Long Range Championships, a Palma competition that brings together teams and individuals from the NATO countries for three weeks of competition.

"Palma is Latin for victory," Lindsay explained. The shooting is very specific -- .308 caliber rifles shooting 155-grain bullets at distances ranging from 300 to 1,000 yards using iron sights. The gun must weight 13-1/2 pounds and the trigger pull must measure 3-1/2 pounds. If a shooter shoots a clean 200 out of 200 score, the gun and trigger will be weighed, and if it doesn't make the weight the shooter will be disqualified.

The $5,000 rifles have custom barrels that screw on and screw off and last about 3,000 rounds before they need to be replaced. The heavy coats and sweatshirts are to dampen the effect of the blood pulsing through a shooter's veins. The bullets are the same bullets used by police snipers.

Think about hitting a target at 100 yards with a rifle, then consider what Lindsay and other top shooters can do, put a tight pattern at a target that's more than half a mile away -- further away than three Tiger Woods drives.

"Lindsay's a heck of a shot," Mark said. "I was thinking earlier that if I was ever in a situation where somebody was holding me hostage and someone was going to have to shoot that guy from way off, I would hope it would be Lindsay. I don't know anybody who's a better shot I would trust my life to."

"I got started when I was 13 years old," Lindsay said. "My Dad had been a Marine and done a lot of hunting and shooting, but he stopped when I came along."

One rainy Saturday, Mark suggested that he and Lindsay might enjoy shooting a .22 pistol at an indoor shooting range. Lindsay enjoyed the shooting, then began joining him at the Palmetto Gun Club range, shooting a variety of firearms.

One of the father-daughter outings is to the national competition at Camp Perry in Port Clinton, Ohio. In 2000, Lindsay competed in the Crowell Cup against 958 shooters including her father and beat them all.

"That's when I knew she could do it, that she could get focused," Mark said. "She spent two hours studying the wind that morning, but she told me that when it came time to shoot the wind was switching back and forth. She said, 'I just centered up, put the rounds right down the middle and held and they went right down the middle like they were supposed to do.' "

Being named to the U.S. National Team was the result of competitions throughout the past year. Whenever a junior (under 21) shoots a score of 190 out of 200 at 600 yards, they receive an award and the Palma people learn of the shooter. At the national matches, the top juniors are invited to try out for the team.

"I knew that on a good day, if everything right, that I have the ability to do it," she said. "But it's just one day, three targets to qualify."

Lindsay said that because of school she doesn't get a lot of opportunities to practice, so competitions once or twice a month at Camp Butner, N.C., in Augusta, Ga., and at another range outside Atlanta are her practice.

"People joke around a lot, like 'Don't make her mad,' when they learn what I do," she said. "It's a very unusual sport. There are only three other girls on the team."

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Byron Quick
July 10, 2003, 10:34 PM
I wish her luck.

Wonder if Britain can field a team?

Double Maduro
July 11, 2003, 03:32 AM
Lindsay,

Good luck to you.

I have a granddaughter named Lindsay and have had to practice a lot more to stay ahead of her.

DM

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