Shooting "Three-fer" - Part 3
After leaving the CWSA Hanging Plate match in Coupeville, Wa. KeeWee and I swung by the house, picked up some extra ammo, and headed for the Clinton - Mukilteo ferry. A short wait for the ferry, then a fifteen minute ferry ride and we were on the mainland and on our way to Gig Harbor for their handgun clay pigeon match scheduled to start at 4pm.
The traffic through Seattle and Tacoma in I-5 was miserable, but not nearly as bad as it can get when it gets really ugly. At the South end of Tacoma we took the Tacoma Narrows exit and crossed the old Tacoma Narrows bridge, a spectacular suspension bridge with the newly constructed new Narrows bridge on our left as we crossed. It was a short drive from the bridge to the Gig Harbor range. I met Bryce there at the range and got his recommendations for a nearby place to grab some early dinner before the match. He suggested a place called the Harvester, and the food was good.
From the Harvester it was a short drive back to the range, just in time for the match. I made a quick detour through the range safe area and did some quick gun cleaning and lubricating. While I was at it, I also checked the magazines that had been acting up earlier. They seemed to be just fine.
With everything ready to go, we signed up for the match. Chuck went over the range rules with us, and explained how the match was run. Nine clay pigeons were clothes-pinned to a chicken wire target frame in a horizontal zig-zag pattern. The center pigeon was only 3" in size and was completely black. Yes, it WAS hard to see at 25 feet! Each shooter was allowed only five rounds in the magazine, and when the start signal was given, you were to shoot the four clays on your side of the center clay, then shoot the center one, before your opponent shot it. Your score was the number of clays you managed to hit including the black one if you got it. You shot two runs against each of five randomly drawn opponents, for a total of fifty possible points, or hits. Six lanes were used, so a lot of shooting was done in a short time. You barely had time to catch your breath and you were back up on the line for your next match up. I could see a lot of strategy was involved, as if you shot too quickly you would miss hitting the clay pigeons, but if you shot too slowly your opponent would shoot the "Stop Clay" first, thus stopping you from scoring any more hits. I tried a little too hard on my very first run and missed one clay. I managed to hit all the rest of them until the final match up, a very fine shooter, indeed! Unfortunately, I can't remember his name, so if one of you who was there will leave his name in the comments, he deserves the credit! On our first run ,we both pushed a little bit to fast, and we both missed one. On the second run, we matched shot for shot, and both shot the stop clay at virtually the same time. The referee and other observers decided that I had been beaten to the stop clay by the smallest fraction of a second. With my eyesight, I just couldn't tell, but they are used to calling these things, so I'm sure they got it right, but it couldn't have been any closer.
I ended up with a total score of 47 out of 50. My final opponent of the day had missed a total of 4 through the match, giving him 46 points, which was good enough for a second place finish. Dan, shooting his brand new Colt Gold Cup shot the best center fire score with an outstanding 43.
I suspect luck played a big part in my final standing. It's not unusual for the winning shooter to shoot a perfect 50 out of 50, but no one did that this time, fortunately for me! When they announced the score I was really surprised, as I figured only getting a 47 would have put me well down the list! When they announced that I had won, they gave me a very cool little plastic gold medal on a ribbon. Sure, it's only plastic, but that's not the point. Some day, when I'm long past my shooting days, I can look at this little plastic gold medal and remember the Sunday afternoon I spent with a really great bunch of folks in Gig Harbor at the Gig Harbor Sportsman's club shooting clay pigeons with a pistol.
That's worth WAY more than money.........