Sunday, March 30, 2008

CWSA Bowling Pin Shoot - 03/29/08

All day Friday it was snowing wet sloppy snow, and the weather forecast didn't look really great for Saturday, but they said it should at least be not snowing. Saturday morning the wind was cold and damp, not the kind of weather you'd prefer for spending the day outdoors.

None the less, KeeWee and Mr. C., the fearless pin shooters, loaded up the van with enough guns and ammo to open a small gun shop and headed to the CWSA range in Coupeville, WA. CWSA shoots a lot of different classes, so if I want to get in a lot of shooting I need to enter several classes. Glutton for punishment that I am, I planned to enter every class, and enter two different guns in the rimfire optical class. Rimfire optical and big bore revolver are my favorites, but I enjoy them all.

John D. from the Kitsap Rifle & Revolver club and blogger Mad Rocket Scientist were both planning to give pin shooting a try too, so the more the merrier.

John showing that when a 10mm. Glock speaks, the pins pay attention!

We start out the day by everyone shooting four tables of pins against the clock, the three best times added together, and those totals used to determine your first round opponent. That way everyone shoots their first round against a similar skill level shooter. That makes for lots of close matches.

In qualifying I noticed that I was shooting fairly quickly, but I was missing a lot, too. In fact, by the end of the day I was almost out of .45ACP, I had about 15 rounds left! I also noticed that I seemed to be getting a lot of lucky rolls. Marginally placed shots that may or may not actually take the pin off the table were usually getting the pin off the table. Some days the pins will roll for you, and other days the pins won't leave the table no matter what you hit them with.

When we got into the matches themselves, there were lots of really close tables, and even several tables so close they were deemed as ties and were shot again to break the tie.

It was great to see Lou G. AKA "Mad Gun" back shooting again after a long recovery from breaking has left arm last December. By the end of the day Lou was stiff, sore, and tired, but the ear to ear grin let us all know that Lou was back, and couldn't have been happier. All of the usual suspects were there, including Dean, Rainy, "Evil Al", Chris, Tony, Larry, Larry, (sometimes we have four Larrys), KeeWee, myself, and the rest of the gang.

Pin shoots at CWSA are a social event as much as a shooting match, and we all enjoy getting together and swapping stories, rumors, jokes, and tall tales. It's not about winning and losing. It's about having fun spending a day with a bunch of friends and getting in a lot of shooting too! Having John and Mad Rocket Scientist shoot with us was great too, as they are both great shooters and a pleasure to be with!

After shooting all of the centerfire classes, including Optic Sight, Iron sight, Revolver, and Big Bore Revolver, we swapped out the full sized pins for 6" tall pin tops for the rimfire classes. When the full size pins get shot up too badly, we bandsaw off the top of the pin and use them for the rimfire classes.

Scott , Rainy, and Mad Rocket Scientist in a close match.

In the qualifying part for the rimfire classes lots of good times were being turned in. In qualifying my Volquartsen barreled High Standard, I had three good runs, and the gun seemed to be almost on auto-pilot. It was almost like whenever the red dot was on a pin the gun fired all by itself, and I was just watching it all happen through the sight! Since I had one run to throw away, I decided to push the speed a little bit and see what happened. Usually when I try this I would miss the first two are three pins and the run would pretty much be a disaster. One of the keys to pin shooting is to be sure to hit the first pin. If you miss the first one the rest of the run usually falls apart, and even if it doesn't, you still have to pick up the pin you missed. To be sure I get the first pin, I always hold on the first pin for just a fraction of a second to be sure of my sight picture. For the remaining pins the gun is actually moving as I shoot. This time I went for a snap shot at the first pin and nailed it, sending it flying. I swept across the remaining four pins, trying to accelerate as I moved across them. Four more shots, and the table was clear of pins! When Al announced the time I just about fell over! As long as I've been shooting pin tops at CWSA, I can't remember anyone ever getting below three seconds for a run, and I had just shot a lucky 2.85 seconds! Fastest time ever shot at CWSA was 2.43 seconds, and that was with a centerfire pistol shooting full size pins. I still can't believe the time. I may never see a time like that again, but what a rush to shoot it!

Anyhow, after the qualifying ,we went into the matches themselves. Just like in centerfire, there were a whole lot of really close matches. I had loaned my tricked up S&W 22A .22 to Mad Rocket Scientist for the match, and although it took him a little bit to get used to the light trigger, he figured it out and shot it very well. I already knew that John D. was an excellent .22 shooter, and particularly with iron sights, so it was no surprise when he ended up second in Rimfire iron sight class, almost winning the class.

It was a long day filled with a lot of fun match ups, and by the end of the day everyone was about worn out. The weather hadn't rained on us at all, and the sun even tried to peek through a couple of times.

After the match Jon, his wife Jeannette, KeeWee, and I headed up to Oak Harbor to our favorite Mexican restaurant for a good meal and a great end for a perfect day.

(Click here for match results)

For a hilarious write-up about the pin shoot, check out Mad Rocket Scientist's post HERE!

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