The Match of Malfunctions, Colorado Multi Gun, September 2012

 

Saturday the 22nd of September was the monthly Colorado Multi Gun shoot at Weld Country Fish and Wildlife Range.  Coming off of a #5 class finish and some good progress on my ankle rehab I was excited to get back out and compete in this match.  I headed out bright and early with my regular match buddies Bill L. and Ben W. along with a new shooter, Nate.

SHOTGUN/PISTOL

We started the match on the shotgun pistol stage again and I had a dang good run.  Of course I have no proof as I forgot to give Ben W. my camera before the run.  Dang!  The course was pretty similar to last time with some key changes.  Again, we started in a box and engaged a full size IPSC target with two slugs (I had one Miss, need to get a rear sight for my JM Pro 930).  From there we were free to engage eight poppers on the right and eight poppers on the left as they became available with the caveat that we needed to fire one shot from each of four ports, two on right, two on left.  I did pretty decent on the poppers, but had two misses there too.  And I forgot my reloading scheme and actually went to slidelock once.  But I ended with an empty shotgun and did not have to burn any rounds before abandoning in the mandated condition.

I quickly drew my pistol and began engaging a whole mess of steel targets, 32 ish rounds for record if I remember correctly.  I had some stupid misses but shot the course fairly well.  One problem I had that is becoming more bothersome is that I ran two mags dry and the slide on my Glock 17 did not lock back.  This caused two dry-fires under the timer which are killer!

RIFLE

The rifle stage was very similar to last time, engage four steel targets ranging from a 12″ steel square to a 6″ x 8″ plate from five different positions at 100 yards.  The first position was a shooter’s box (had to have any part of shooter or rifle inside), second was a rickety wooden table frame (had to touch any part with shooter or rifle), third was through a cinder block (flash hider must be through one port), fourth was through a barrel (must shoot through) and fifth was another shooter’s box (had to have any part of shooter or rifle inside).

I chose to engage in the first box offhand and did fairly well.  Second I braced on the table which I should have either gone prone or taken a knee as it was just too unstable.  Third position I went prone and shoved my muzzle, sight and forend through, taking rested prone shots.  Fourth I backed up so my muzzle was behind the barrel but I was still shooting through it to avoid the blast.  Fifth and final position I began shooting offhand but had so many misses that I ended up taking a knee.  I need to know myself better and realize that the fifth position should have been either from a knee or prone from the start as my heart rate and breathing would have been up super high after shooting and moving.

RIFLE HOSER

The third stage for us (4th in the match) was a rifle hoser stage similar to the pistol stage we shot last time; first shot must be taken in uprange box, last shot must be taken in downrange box..  I thought I had a pretty decent strategy and had plenty of time to run through it many times dry.  I was going to engage all the targets I could see from the uprange box save for the two on the left which I was going to hit while shooting on the move.  I’d move up to the corner, engage the two targets obscured by no-shoots and then engage the one turned target on the move and finish in the downrange box.  Then I had malfs…

My rifle had a failure to extract on my first round.  I had to go to the next bay and clear it out with a cleaning rod.  I fired 4 test rounds and went back to wait for a do-over (local match).  I got up and the damn rifle extracted the first round but would not eject it.  Instead it shoved it up between the upper receiver and the gas tube.  Luckily Bill L. grabbed his rifle for me to use.  Bill as a sweet rifle no doubt but it has a few things on it that I was unfamiliar with, specifically the Magpul BAD lever, and I ended up screwing up my reload by not completely seating the magazine, wasting a ton of time trying to figure out the BAD lever and lock the bolt back.  I totally hosed that hoser stage up bad.

RIFLE/PISTOL

Continuing on to our last stage, Stage 1, Bill L. again let me use his rifle and I did alright on the close-range head shots but when I transitioned to pistol I cleaned up pretty darn well.  It is hard saying that you did well on a stage when you are shooting with guys like Drew Boldt (#2 overall in match) and they make your clean and fast run look like you’re out for your first match.  🙂

VIDEO

RESULTS

Tactical Class Results

Overall Results

TAKEAWAYS

If it doesn’t go bang every time it does not deserve to be in competition.  And if I am going to run in Tactical Optics, I need some magnification.  Getting placed in with the guys that have 1-4x scopes to my 1x Aimpoint kills me on the long range stuff.  The carbine gas system and mil-spec trigger kills me on the short stuff.  Basically what I’m saying is that my skill level has reached the point where my rifle setup is holding me back.  Unfortunately I don’t have the cash right now to go out and pick up a new Larue, JP, Noveske or even a Stag so I am going to have to do some lower-cost tweaks to get the most out of my current setup.  In the mean time I have a new bolt coming from Brownell’s and my old bolt is being sent back to the manufacturer for inspection.

SHFC Practical Pistol Match, USPSA Practice – 2012.09.14

One of the coolest things about being a member of my local range is that I get the opportunity to shoot in three Practical Pistol Matches each week.  Each match is run by a different Match Director and each Director has his own distinct match style.

The Friday Practical Pistol Match Director is Ben G.  Ben G. is a USPSA shooter and is definitely serious about it.  Each Friday Ben has a USPSA qualifier and two USPSA approved stages for us to run.  Ben has been preparing to compete in the 2012 Mile High Showdown and last Friday we switched it up and set three stages from the MHS packet.

STAGES

THE GAME FILM

TAKEAWAYS

My ankle was tweaky today and still slowing me down quite a bit.  I have more than a few weeks of physical therapy in front of me and then all winter to get my speed and direction transitions back up and running.

Penalties are killers!  Striving for speed and accuracy are very important and picking up a penalty for hitting a no-shoot is an absolute killer.  In my rush to finish the 3rd stage strong I didn’t lean out far enough and blasted the very edge of a no-shoot from just a few inches away while attempting to shoot the target that it was obscuring.  This was a dumb mistake.

This was the best I’ve ever shot at a Friday Practical Pistol Match.  I am sure the shooting on the move practice that we did earlier in the day helped out with that quite a bit.  I wasn’t going into each stage “cold”, I had plenty of warmup earlier in the day.  That makes me think that I need to so some dry-fire practice the night before or the morning of a match to get myself warmed up and primed for success.  Or I could go all-out like Ben G. and actually set up the stages from the match and shoot them the day before…  Brilliant!

Summer 3-Gun On an Injured Ankle, 2012.08.17

THE SETTING

An absolutely gorgeous day to take an afternoon off of work and head to my local range for a little Summer 3-Gun.  Unfortunately I severely sprained my ankle (while shooting) six days ago and am still in a walking boot-type cast.  Lucky for me the stages were not very movement intensive as far as Three-Gun matches go and there were no weapon transitions.  However having to cover about 30 yards of ground on surface that is akin to decorative rock each stage made for some slow times, low rankings and a lot of ankle soreness.  The upside is that I was able to get a bunch of trigger time in and enjoy the camaraderie of some great people.

THE STAGES

The three stages were pretty simple this time with a common obstacle setup for all three and common targets among the rifle and pistol stages.  The Match Director, Walter T., did this to keep things moving during the match and be done in our 2.5 hour window so the Friday night Practical Pistol Match could start on time.  We did fairly well and were able to get all three stages in before the PPM.

Practice to Practical (Shotgun)

I love shotgun stages.  I never was that into the shotgun as a platform until I started shooting Three Gun.  This stage had seven steel pepper poppers, two birds and three plates on the Texas Star.  The course description:

-Start behind rear fault line outside of shooting area with shotgun loaded with safety on in low ready
At signal engage targets as they become visible from within shooting areas. 4 targets on the left must be engaged through the tire.
Time plus scoring. Minimum of 12 birdshot (10 steel and 2 frangible).

Start with eight in the tube and one in the chamber (9).  The smart play here was to whack all four targets on the left through the tire (5) load four as you’re moving to the right (9).  Engage all three poppers (6) and the two flipper birds (4).  Then run hard up to the 16 yard line and engage the three plates on the Texas Star (1).

What I did was start with eight in the tube and one in the chamber (9), nailed all 4 targets on the left (5), limped over to the right side while loading four (9), engaged all three poppers (6) and went up for the birds.  I got one bird (5) but the second one never came and that’s when I realized that I missed the popper on the right.  I reengaged it and got the bird as well (3).  As I was limping up to the Texas Star I went to load another four but was only able to stuff two until I felt some severe binding that stopped me (5).  I got my mount back with the two spare shells in my support hand and engaged the Star, knocking down all three plates in three shots (2).  Why did I load another four when I had enough to neutralize the star?  Well I had to limp instead of run anyway due to my walking boot so I figured that I would give my self a bit of insurance while getting one more practice repetition in for the weak hand reload during competition.

Chip Off the Shoulder (Rifle)

Course description:

-Start behind rear fault line outside of shooting area with rifle loaded with safety on in low ready.
At signal engage targets as they become visible from within shooting areas. 4 targets on the left must be engaged through the tire.
Time plus scoring. Minimum of 12 rifle (10 paper and 2 knock down/ frangible). The 2 little black targets are plastic primer trays. Knock down or any part of bullet hole to score.

The rifle stage was less eventful for me.  I basically cleaned out the targets on the left fairly quickly, limped over to the right, cleaned those out and then engaged the far targets from the barrel on the zero yard line.  I nailed the target stand that was holding the frangible target (primer tray) because I forgot about my height over bore offset.  I have a zero at 50 yards and verified at 200 yards so I should have placed my 4 MOA Aimpoint dot directly over the top of the frangible target.  That little mistake cost me 20 points.  Another little lesson learned there is to pay attention to the scoring as I would have tried a bit harder if I knew they were scored targets instead of “bonus” points.  Oops.

Chip Off the Shoulder (Pistol)

As I said earlier the pistol stage was the same setup as the rifle which was awesome because you could compare your rifle and pistol times to see which you were more proficient at.  The stage description:

-Start behind rear fault line outside of shooting area with pistol loaded in holster hands relaxes at sides.
At signal engage targets as they become visible from within shooting areas. 4 targets on the left must be engaged through the tire.
Time plus scoring. Minimum of 12 pistol (10 paper and 2 knock down/ frangible). The 2 little black targets are plastic primer trays.

The smart play on this one was to run down to the 16 yard line to engage the far targets.  I had to limp down but I was able to knock the right frangible off in one shot.  Unfortunately the left frangible took me three shots.

SHOOTING FOOTAGE

RESULTS

Stage 1:

Stage 2:

Stage 3:

Overall:

LESSONS LEARNED

All the basics were in action during this shoot.  Sight alignment, trigger control and all that jazz.  It seemed it was even more important for me because I took a lot longer to cover any ground that need be covered.  Each shot counted because I couldn’t just run faster to make up for the extra time at an array or a missed target.  That said, there was no way in hell that I could have shot fast enough to make up for how slow I was to get to each array.  One of the things that I like most about Action Shooting and specifically Three-Gun is that they are very athletic sports and require just as much fine motor skill precision as they do brute strength and agility.  Even though I wasn’t competitive this time around the facts remains that any trigger time is good trigger time and competition will always teach you things about your skills and abilities.

Combat Shotgun Competition at Knob Creek Range (2012.10.14)

Knob Creek Range Shotgun Competition Registration

Knob Creek Range Shotgun Competition Registration

Some shooting buddies and I are heading down to the Knob Creek Range near Louisville, Kentucky in October for their annual fall Machine Gun Shoot. This trip just happens to coincide with our annual “Combat Clays” shoot so we decided that we’d all sign up for the shotgun competition to keep the tradition alive. You see Combat Clays is where our group of friends from three states (sometimes more) converges on the mountains in Colorado to shoot clay pigeons with our combat shotguns during the day and then cook big dinners, drink bourbon and tell tales in the cabin afterward. You can see how a Machine Gun Shoot and combat shotgun match will suit this tradition perfectly.

Knob Creek Range’s web site is pretty tough to navigate and it usually takes me a while to figure out how I got to the Shotgun Match description. Once I’m there I am underwhelmed by information.  One interesting thing is that you have to mail in your application with a check and then they mail you back a confirmation.   This is basically the only information available:

A bonus of five seconds will be deducted from the score of contestants whose equipment meets all of the following conditions. The competition director shall make the decision as to awarding bonuses.

  1. The weapon must conform to the general configuration of production weapons (as opposed to factory custom shops) with only slight modification to sights, barrel length and trigger weight.
  2. Maximum barrel length is 30” on any firearm.
  3. Recoil compensators & porting, such as Magna Port, Keeper or Pro Portis allowed.
  4. Optical sights or dot sights are optional.
  5. No flimsy device of any kind unsuitable for the rigors of duty use shall be allowed.
  6. (Magazine extensions or metallic sights which approximate optional factory equipment will qualify).
  7. No slugs.  Buckshot or Birdshot of any size is allowed.

It looks like they have relaxed their requirements from previous years that mandated a 22″ barrel, no compensator or porting, no optics and minimum #4 Buckshot.

I’ll be shooting my usual 3-Gun load-out that includes a box stock Mossberg JM Pro Series 930 with 22″ barrel and two AP Customs Shotshell Carriers.  With no mention of a round count I better bring too much just in case.  200 rounds should be enough.

Looking forward to this trip!