Does your Slow Fire ranking predict your overall ranking on that same gun?

I decided to find out.

But there’s an important disclaimer we need to acknowledge. Samuel Clemens said it best with,

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.

With that in mind, it has been said that more points are lost in Slow Fire than anywhere else. Yesterday’s 22 results certainly bear that out when you look at the Timed and Rapid Fire matches where most of the top competitors cleaned (scored 100 points) on one or both targets in each of those matches.

Restated, Timed and Rapid Fire add more or less constant numbers to each shooter’s total. And for the top shooters, they all get about the same constant, 199 or 200.

This means that the 22 competition is pretty much won or lost in Slow Fire. That is, if you win the Slow Fire competition, you have a very good chance of winning the entire competition on that same gun. And if you do poorly in Slow Fire, you will place about the same in the overall competition with that gun.

In other words, it would appear that one could look at the rankings in Slow Fire and, from that, predict the overall rankings.

Using yesterday’s scores from Camp Perry, I did a little spreadsheet hacking and found this to be generally true, but only as a general guideline.

Specifically, the top six ranked shooters in yesterday’s 22 Slow Fire competition all placed within the top eight for that overall competition.

But when I take in a larger span, say the top twenty (20) Slow Fire shooters, things splay out a bit more or, in other words, the larger the sample, the less this predictability seems to work.

To an individual shooter, it means if you shoot well in Slow Fire, you will probably finish in about that same ranking overall. But if you shoot poorly, you can still “come from behind” as it were and move yourself well up in the finishing.

For example, Philip Hemphill (scores below) fired a 190-4 in 22 Slow Fire yesterday, a full six points behind the leader. But he ended up #2 in the overall competition on that pistol by equaling the scores of the top shooters who, amongst themselves, varied their standings in each of the other contributing matches. Philip’s consistent performance bettered the sometimes superior but variable performance of his peers.


22 Competition, Top Competitors
Competitor Slow
NMC Timed
Henderson, James 194.010 298.020 199.015 199.013 890.058
Hemphill, Philip 190.004 298.017 200.016 200.010 888.047
Park, Robert 194.008 296.011 198.011 200.013 888.043
Zins, Brian 193.004 294.021 200.017 200.015 887.057
Zurek, John 195.005 295.013 200.016 197.008 887.042
Steinbrecher, Ron 194.007 296.016 199.013 197.012 886.048
Jones, Christopher 196.008 290.008 200.012 200.009 886.037
Ennis, John 195.003 293.014 199.011 197.012 884.040

In other words, if you have a bad Slow Fire, don’t despair. As Philip Hemphill demonstrated yesterday, in Bullseye you can snatch a damn good showing, #2 overall, from the jaws of defeat!

So, forget that last shot and focus on the dot!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *