Monday, March 23, 2009

Paul Bunyan Steel Match 03/22/2009

I can hardly describe just how great it is to get back out on the range and shoot some matches after being so far under the weather in November and December. I still don't have all my strength back and I seem to get tired really easily, but that, too ,will go away, particularly if I keep putting in the time on the treadmill and doing exercises. Unfortunately that sort of rehab, at least to me, is almost indistinguishable from work, and Maynard G. Krebs and I have similar views on that!

When I caught the ferry from Whidbey Island to Mukilteo, the weather was looking pretty promising, mostly cloudy, but a few small patches of blue sky peeking through. "Maybe I won't get quite as soaked as last week at Kitsap." I thought. However, the farther South I drove, the worse the weather looked. By Renton it was starting to rain, and when I got to Puyallup and the Paul Bunyan range, it was raining like it really meant it!. Bleh......

It was great to see some of the familiar faces from last year and get a chance to visit a bit before the shooter's meeting. The last time I had been to Paul Bunyan was last July. Shooter's were allowed to pick their own squads, and I got to shoot on a squad with some really excellent shooters, but more importantly, with some guys that genuinely enjoyed themselves at a match. Sometimes folks take these things way to seriously and forget that this is only a game!

The Paul Bunyan club has some interesting rules. First, you can enter the same class twice, even using the same gun, and get in twice as much shooting. Being as I need LOTS of practice, but in and out of matches, I entered Open class twice. That means I got to shoot each stage ten times! YAY!! Second, all optic sight guns go into the same class, "Open". Third, the overall match winner must be shooting iron sights, open class guns can't win the overall match. This is to encourage new shooters so they have a chance to be competitive without having an expensive race gun. If this brings more shooters out to the matches, and brings them back to the next match for more, I'm all for it!

A Double Tap plus three single hits.

On this stage the course of fire was double tap the rectangular plate, then a single hit on the other three round plates. The one plate on the extreme right was a LONG ways over from the other three! A good time was just over two seconds for the five shots.

There were some outstanding revolver shooters in our squad.

James can shoot anything, although revolvers are his specialty.

Another pic of James.

With the steady rain falling for the first half of the match I didn't take very many pictures. Instead I tried to stay under the tents and keep dry. Shooting on a squad with as good of shooters as these guys were, I was also really trying to shoot my very best. That's a great benefit of shooting with good shooters. It really makes you work to improve, and you end up a better shooter by the end of the day. I have to admit, with their encouragement, I shot some times better than I thought I could shoot. I also shot some truly ugly runs, but since out of five shot strings you throw out the worst one, they didn't hurt me too badly. When it comes to ugly runs though, I clearly outdid everyone else on the squad!

It seemed like no time at all and we were on the last stage. Time really does fly when you are having fun, and we were definitely having fun! After the last shots were fired, a few of us helped to pack up everything and break down the match. The tents were folded up, and the steel targets and their stands were carried back to the storage shed.

By the time that was finished, the results were announced. Our squad had done really well. Out of 52 entries, seven of the ten fastest times were from our squad! I had narrowly edged Will for first place in Open Class, by eight hundredths of a second! I was third in Open with my second entry. Scott was the overall match winner and also was the fastest in the Carry Gun class. James won the draw class and Mark won the Revolver class. Our squad also picked up some seconds and thirds overall. Normally I don't bother with the results in these posts, as I rate matches by how much fun we have, rather than where we finish in the final standings, but this match was special as we both had a grand time, but we all shot well enough to do well in the standings too. That's sort of like icing on the cake!

I can't wait to get back to Paul Bunyan for another one of their matches, hopefully next month. A ton of credit for these matches is due to Will, the spark plug that makes it all happen. Not only does Will do an excellent job running the match, but by the time I get home he's already emailed out the Excel spread sheet with all of the results and the individual stage times for each shooter.

If you would like to give steel shooting a try, come on out to the Paul Bunyan Rifle & Sportsman's Club in Puyallup, Washington and give it a try. Their matches are set up so even relatively new shooters will be able to hit all the targets, yet the layouts will be really challenging for experienced shooters trying to shoot them quickly.

Hope to see you there!

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