Sunday, May 31, 2009

Alan Gura Coming to Gun Blogger Rendezvous!

Derek of The Packing Rat blog, Alan Gura,
and blogger Dirtcrashr from Anthroblogogy
(Picture stolen shamelessly from Derek)

STOP THE PRESSES!!
(I always wanted to say that....)

Just got this eMail from US Citizen at Traction Control:

Traction Control has just received confirmation - and permission to announce this Breaking News:

Alan Gura the Attorney who won the Heller case in the Supreme Court will be attending the Gunblogger Rendezvous in Reno!

Travel arrangements have been made and Traction Control is welcoming Alan to a weekend of good fun and guns at GBR IV.

WOWSERS!!!

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

e-Postal Match "Flying Aces" is Underway!

Sebastian, bloggermeister over at Snowflakes in Hell (along with some help from Bitter) is hosting this month's e-Postal match, and it looks like a tough one, so don't get discouraged if you don't run up a really high score. Most likely nobody else will either!

Download the targets, shoot 'em up, and email the target pic's in to get entered in the match. As usual there are no prizes, no entry fees, just bragging rights until next month's match!

Click HERE for all the information and how to download the targets.

Be safe, have fun, and maybe you too can become an ace fighter pilot!

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Amsterdam Streets

After our canal boat tour in Amsterdam, we spent the rest of the day wandering around the streets sight-seeing. When we returned to Amsterdam from Winterswijk after the Steel Challenge Championships we also had a full day for sight-seeing, and we spent most of that day also just walking around looking at canals, buildings, flower markets, the head shops, the red light district and the sex museum and other interesting and educational sights....



I put most of the Amsterdam street scene pictures into a slide show. If you click on any picture, it will display at a large size for you.

Hope you enjoy them!

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Babelfish Translator - Is it Working?

I just installed the latest version of the Babelfish Translator gizmo as the old one didn't seem to be working. I'm not sure if the new version is working, either. Would a few of you give it a try?

It's on the right sidebar ------>

Please leave a comment if it worked or not. Thanks!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Holland - Part 2 in Babelfish Dutch

(Babelfish translations are often hilarious, so for our Dutch friends, here's the post below after a babelfish translation)

Nadat wij binnen geregeld aan onze hotelruimte in Amsterdam werden en een beetje rustten, beslisten wij te gaan krijgen in een klein middag sightseeing. In Amsterdam van absoluut moeten-doe activiteiten is de kanaalrondvaart van de stad. Amsterdam heeft overal kanalen en zij allen worden als spokes van een wiel met de hub opgemaakt die het centrale station is. De boten van de kanaalreis zijn lang, smal, en laag, zodat zullen zij onder de bruggen passen en zullen de smallere kanalen verslaan. Het manoeuvreren van één van die lange smalle boten door de kanalen en het maken van negentig gradendraaien met slechts een paar voeten aan reserveonderdelen namen sommige eerder indrukwekkende boot behandelende vaardigheden, zelfs gebruikend de boog-stuwraketten.


De cruiseboten van het kanaal in de haven naast het station.


Uit het venster van de reisboot.


Indrukwekkende gebouwen, vele honderden oude jaren.


Wij zagen boten van alle grootte en beschrijvingen die de kanalen kruisen.


Af en toe was er heel wat kanaalverkeer.



Een garage van het drie verhaalparkeren voor fietsen.


Het weer was aardig, zodat was de bovenkant open.


De meeste kanalen zijn slechts drie tot zes voet diep, zodat moet alles zeer ondiep ontwerp zijn.


Het beeld doet geen rechtvaardigheid aan de schoonheid van deze boot.


Er waren veel overal de boten van de kanaalcruise.

Als u ooit aan Amsterdam wordt, zorg ervoor u één van de kanaalrondvaarten neemt. Het is één van de beste manieren om een gevoel voor de plaats te krijgen. Een andere moet enkel weggaan en te voet wandelen rond. Wij deden wat van dat. ook, en ik zal beelden van de straatscènes in de volgende post hebben.

-- eind van deel 2 --

Etiketten:

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European Steel Challenge - Part 2

After we got settled in to our hotel room in Amsterdam and rested a bit, we decided to go get in a little afternoon sight-seeing. In Amsterdam on of the absolute must-do activities is the canal boat tour of the city. Amsterdam has canals everywhere and they are all laid out like spokes of a wheel with the hub being the central train station. The canal tour boats are long, narrow, and low, so they will fit under the bridges and down the narrower canals. Maneuvering one of those long narrow boats through the canals and making ninety degree turns with only a few feet to spare took some rather impressive boat handling skills, even using the bow-thrusters.


Canal cruise boats in the harbor next to the train station.


Out the window of the tour boat.


Impressive buildings, many hundreds of years old.


We saw boats of all sizes and descriptions cruising the canals.


At times there was a lot of canal traffic.



A three story parking garage for bicycles.


The weather was nice, so the top was open.


Most of the canals are only three to six feet deep, so everything must be very shallow draft.


The picture doesn't do justice to the beauty of this boat.


There were lots of canal cruise boats everywhere.

If you ever get to Amsterdam, make sure you take one of the canal boat tours. It's one of the best ways to get a feel for the place. Another is to just get out and wander around on foot. We did some of that. too, and I'll have pictures of the street scenes in the next post.

-- end of part 2 --

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KeeWee's First Amsterdam Post is Up

For lots more pictures from the first part of our trip, check out KeeWee's Corner.

KeeWee's First Day in Amsterdam

Keep checking back, as we both have lots of pictures yet to post.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

European Steel Challenge - Part 1

In trying to put some posts together on our European Steel Challenge trip, I have come to realize it's going to take a lot of posts and a lot of pictures to even attempt to cover it all. None the less, here we go:

On the train from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam


A canal seen from the train.


The Amsterdam main train station.


Our hotel in Amsterdam.


Looking out our hotel room.

Before leaving home I contacted Dutch Customs to find out what I needed to do to bring firearms into their country. I filled out the firearms transit permit forms and faxed them to the Dutch Customs office. When I did not hear back from them I telephoned to see if there was something else I needed to send to them. It turns out if you are registered to shoot in a match and have the match registration, you are good to go and don't need any other paperwork at all. I asked the customs guy if he would send me an email saying that, just in case someone along the line didn't understand the regulations and he sent me the email saying so. The rest of the regulations are just about the same everywhere when flying with firearms. They must be in a locked case, unloaded, and no ammunition in the case with the firearms. In the US you declare the firearms at the ticket counter and they send you to the TSA to verify that they are unloaded. Amazingly they have some exceptional powers of observation as they are able to verify a semi-auto is truly unloaded without even pulling the slide back and checking the chamber. To make it even easier for them I used chamber-flags anyway.

We caught the Whidbey-SeaTac shuttle bus here on Whidbey Island and roughly an hour and a half later we were at the Seattle-Tacoma airport. We checked in at the Northwest Airlines Ticket counter without any problems, and I took my suitcase with the gun case inside to the TSA counter where we unlocked the case and the TSA "Gun Guy" verified they were both unloaded.

From the TSA station we went through security and headed to the departure area for our departure gate. SeaTac airport has kind of a cool underground shuttle to get you to the outer gates. Our assigned seats on the Airbus A-330 were located to the rear and we were to be some of the last to board. Just as we were about to board they announced that I needed to go to the Northwest Airlines counter. Once again, a ticket agent ignorant of the rules and laws was going to be a pain. She almost made us miss the flight. You have to have a Dutch firearms transit permit before we can let you board, she said. Fortunately I was several steps ahead of her, and I handed her the transit permits. Then I handed her the printout of the email from Dutch Customs stating that the transit permits were not required if you were registered to compete in a match. Then I handed her a copy of my match registration, then a printout of the match schedule showing my scheduled start time at the match, and finally a copy of the European Steel Challenge match poster. I don't think she was too happy to have me that organized and documented as she rather grudgingly allowed us to board the plane.

The Airbus A-330 is accurately named, it's noisy as a bus and the seats are small and not very comfortable. Mercifully ten hours later we arrived at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. It was approximately 7:30 am. They stamped our passports, we picked up our suitcases, and walked to the customs area to exit to the main part of the airport. There were two doors, one marked nothing to declare, and the other marked something to declare. The customs guy I had talked to on the telephone didn't know if I needed to actually declare the firearms or not, so I figured better to do so and have them say you didn't need to, rather than get in trouble. At the "Something to Declare" side there was no one there. There was a door with a door bell button, and I pushed it several times over about fifteen minutes, but no one ever showed up. We walked through the nothing to declare door.

It took a little looking around to figure out where to buy the train tickets for the twenty minute ride to Amsterdam, but we bought our tickets, then found our way to the train platform. In a few minutes we were on the train and on our way. The train runs on welded rails so it was a very quiet and smooth ride. From the Amsterdam train station to our hotel was only a few blocks and it wasn't long before we were in our hotel room, weary, but at least we had arrived.

-- end of part 1 --

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Bloggers Need a Little Help....

Chris and Mel Byrne, proprietors of the Anarchangel blog, and some of the nicest folks you could ever hope to meet or go shooting with, are up to their eyebrows in debt due to huge expenses in a child custody situation. They need your help. To help raise some money they are putting together a cookbook of Chris's recipes.

If any of you out there can help them out by buying a cookbook or so, it would be greatly appreciated.

Here's their most recent post, in its entirety:

So we've so far received 60-some pre-orders, only 50 of them paid for so far.

Today the lawyer called in dire straits and needing cash and we were unable to do anything to pay our bill.

Look, we know things are hard all around. I wish it were otherwise. However, we are pretty much screwed at this moment, to the point that I'm taking everything but my primary carry piece and selling it tomorrow.

We still need cash for 160 books JUST TO START THE PRINT RUN. If I can't do that within the week I need to refund all of the pre-orders already received.

Tell you family, tell you friends, tell your forum buddies. PLEASE help us get this off the ground.

Thank you,

Mel

The original cookbook post and ordering instructions are here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Back From Holland - sigh......

We're made it home OK from our great Holland Adventure to shoot in the European Steel Challenge Championships, and we're both home safe, if not particularly sound. On the long flight from Seattle to Amsterdam I must have picked up a bug, and by the return flight it was making me pretty sick with a bad cough and fever. I went to the Doc today and picked up some antibiotics to get rid of the lung infection. It looks like KeeWee also picked up the same bug.

Being as I am still feeling lousy the blog posts will be a bit sparse, but by tomorrow I hope to start getting the posts on our trip posted. We both had a fantastic time, the Dutch folks were amazing, the match was extremely well run and organized, and we both plan to be there next year one way or another.

For now, however, I've got a couple of phone calls to return, then I'm off to bed.

Later!

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Arrived in Amsterdam

Looking out the Amsterdam Hotel room window

Somewhat to my amazement, we have arrived in Amsterdam without any major problems. I never got lost more than 'kinda but not really lost' and we found our way through the airport in Amsterdam without too much confusion, either. The Airbus a-330 reminds me of a really long narrow movie theater except for no mooie screen. The seats brought back memories of church pews and long sermons when I was a mere yoot, as Kim would say. The TSA people were ok deal with, I suspect they all have their personalities surgically removed when they hire on. Ticket agents, however, are another story. when it comes to travelers with firearms, they don't seem to have any idea what their own regulations are. Totally clueless, in fact. Very frustrating to be in full compliance with their regulations yet still have problems with them since they don't know their own rules. GAH........

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Off To Holland

We're off to Holland. Hopefully I'll be able to post some from there.......


Monday, May 18, 2009

Paul Bunyan Championship Report

We couldn't have asked for a more pleasant day as far as the weather, partly cloudy and mid-seventies temperature. The drive from Whidbey Island to Puyallup and the Paul Bunyan Gun Club range was uneventful, and I even found all of the correct freeway exits and turns on the first try! There's one exit that's kinda tricky, but I think I've finally got that one dialed in.

The match format had been announced as man-on-man, and something along the lines of a falling plate match, but exactly what it would be wasn't going to be known by anyone by Will, the match director, until the morning of the match. It turned out to be four fairly small plates, on metal bases, set in a row on a horizontal 4x4. Between the two sets of targets perhaps six feet from the closest target, was a double small popper target. The popper was set up so the two poppers would fall over each other, and which ever one was on the bottom would determine the winner of the round.

Due to the seeding, I was matched up in the very first round against Scott. Yep, the same Scott who's been leaving me in amazement at some of the most recent steel matches. When the buzzer sounded Scott and I blazed away at the targets, but they wouldn't always go down when we hit them, so we both took a couple of extra shots to finally knock them over. I managed to get my popper down first, and it appeared I had won the round. The Match Director called for a re-shoot as the targets were too heavy for rimfire, and he changed the targets to some lighter metallic silhouette targets. Unfortunately for me, this time Scott got his popper on the ground ahead of me, and I moved to the loser's bracket. Although you always hate to lose, I was also happy to see Scott win, if that makes any sense!

Watching the other shooters, I could see there were a lot of really fast folks at the match, and I suspect most of the fast ones shoot falling plate matches regularly. I worked my way through the loser's bracket, winning a few rounds, and was finally starting to get the feel for the match. I was getting the first four in four fairly quick shots, but the popper was still taking a lot of time for me. If I could get on to the popper a little bit faster I might still stand a chance in the match. In the fourth or fifth round I got the first four targets quickly, and I could see I was perhaps a third of a second ahead. I decided to slow just a little bit and be sure of the popper. Bad decision! When you shoot as fast as you can go you often are pulling the trigger just a fraction of a second before you get the red dot onto the target. If you slow it down a bit, you have to wait for the dot to be ON the target or you will shoot just short of the target, and that's exactly what I did. By the time I got a second shot onto the popper the other guy had sneaked a shot in on his popper for the win. Both poppers were falling at the same time, but his was slightly ahead. Looking back, I can see that with over-laying poppers, since they often fall fairly slowly, you should shoot them all the way to the ground to get them down as quickly as possible. A quick third shot at the popper may have changed the result for me. Next time, I'll know better!!

Losing in the loser's bracket put me out of the match, but when the final results were figured out, I had managed to pull myself back up to sixth in the Open class. More importantly, I had a lot of fun shooting against a bunch of shooters that seem to be really good at this sort of a match.

After Open class they went into several other classes including Stock, Draw, Revolver, and carry gun. James, whom I've been shooting with the last few weeks , was on a mission today, and he was shooting some really fast runs with his revolvers. James ended up winning two of the classes. I don't remember how Scott did in the other classes, but he was having some ammunition problems and didn't always get the runs he was looking for. Mark, also an outstanding revolver shooter, had some great runs too, and was right on James heels. If James had bobbled even slightly, Mark would have got him. Between Scott, Mark, and James, you absolutely couldn't ask for a better bunch to shoot with, and as always, we had a great time at the match.

It seemed like the day went by to quickly, and it was time for the awards and prize table. I really like the way Will (kudos to Will, by the way, for a great job of setting up and running the match) distributed the prizes by drawing, rather than by finish position, so everyone got several trips to the prize table. I came away with a set of brass sorting pans, a tool head for my Dillon 550B reloading press, and a gun rug large enough for my 480 Ruger with the red dot sight on it. Everyone got lots of goodies, and a grand time was had by all.

I can hardly wait until next year's Championship match, and I WILL practice my double-taps!!



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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Paul Bunyan Falling Plate Championships Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the Paul Bunyan Falling Plate Club Championships, and I've done a little practice for it, although I don't have access to a regular falling plate target setup. I just hope I can shoot well enough to stay in the match for a while. The first and second round matchups are critical, as both opponents are really good falling plate shooters. If I can stay in the match for a couple of rounds I should start picking up the rhythm of the shooting and hopefully I will settle down and start getting consistent.

Like I've said in the past, when you are up against a shooter faster than you are, you can't beat them if they shoot their best, but they can beat themselves, and you should try to give them the chance to do so by not beating yourself trying to shoot faster than you are able.

I'll try to get a post up, and maybe a few pictures, late Monday. Have a good weekend!!!

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Holland - Not Long Now!


KeeWee has been researching flower bulbs and seeds for the garden to score while in Holland. If they are marked OK for export, you can bring them back into the US without problems. Holland in the Spring is really colorful with all the flowers and scenery, so we'll both be taking lots of pictures.

I have a new Acer Netbook on the way, and it should be here on Monday. With the netbook I should be able to get a post or two up while in Holland. The hotel in Amsterdam has free internet, but I don't know about the hotel in Winterswijk. Stay tuned!

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Do Not Buy ASUS Eee PC With Celeron Processor

Last November, just before I got sick, I bought an ASUS Eee netbook. There is a problem with the motherboard that causes a fully charged battery to go completely flat in about ten days even if you don't turn it on. It even sucks the CMOS flat and you lose all your settings!

DO NOT BUY ANY ASUS NETBOOKS
WITH THE CELERON PROCESSOR!!!

I have returned it under warranty three times, and they still have it. They won't (can't?) fix it, apparently, and their latest BS is to tell me that it's completely normal for a notebook battery to go dead in ten days without use. I suspect the only fix requires either a rework or replacement of the motherboard, and they don't want to spend that much on a warranty repair. I even offered to pay the difference in price to change to a model that does not have the battery drain problem. They seem to think if they run me around enough times I will finally go away. Bad assumption!

I have been in touch with the Washington State Attorney General's office in their Department of Consumer Protection, and they agree that batteries in notebooks should last a whole lot longer than ten days. It looks like the netbook will not be returned in time for the European trip, which is the main reason I bought it in the first place.

I have heard good things about the Acer netbooks, and my new Acer netbook should be here on Monday. What a shame, ASUS used to be such a good company.

Not any longer, I guess......

NRA Phoenix - Wanted to go......

It sounds like everyone is having a great time at the NRA meeting in Phoenix. I was tentatively planning to attend, but when the European Steel Challenge Championships came up, I had to choose one or the other, as they were only a few days apart. I figured there will be lots more NRA conferences in the future, but the European Steel Challenge will probably be a once in a lifetime trip for me, so I decided to go shoot with the Dutch, Germans, Italians, Danes, French, and whoever else shows up. I have to admit I regret missing the chance to meet up with the Gun Bloggers in Phoenix, but a lot of them will be at the Gun Blogger Rendezvous in September in Reno so I'll see many of them there. Hopefully YOU can be there, too..............

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ammo Shortage Doesn't Add Up

There's something strange going on with the nationwide ammunition shortage. It just doesn't add up. Sure, lots of folks are stockpiling ammunition, and there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's probably a pretty good idea.

I'm pretty sure that's NOT what's causing the shortage. Here's why. The manufacturers are making ammunition as fast as they can, producing more than they did last year. The consumers are buying everything that shows up on the retailers shelves. The fishy part, though, is that none of the retailers are able to get anywhere near the amount of inventory they were getting last year.

In short, the manufacturers are building lots of ammo, but the retailers aren't getting it. It appears to be disappearing BEFORE it gets to the stores. It's getting pushed into the pipeline at one end, but it's not coming out the other. It appears there is a "leak" in the pipeline. In most cases, between the manufacturer and the retailer is a distributor, a warehouse that buys from the manufacturers and sells to the retailers, often called the "Middle Man". Some of the big outfits, like Walmart, do their own distribution. I've talked to the guys in my local Walmart and they tell me they can't get anything. Ace hardware, the same story. Sportsman's Warehouse? Cabela's? Pretty much the same story. No ammo, no powder, no primers. Just about everything is unavailable.

It looks like somebody, somewhere, is sitting in the middle and soaking up most of the production. The military? Why would they be stocking up on calibers that they don't use? Law enforcement? Not likely.

I have no idea what's going on, but it just isn't adding up. I do know that if you want to disarm a country and you haven't been able to ban their guns, if you can dry up the ammunition and reloading supplies, you have essentially disarmed them, even if they DO still have their guns...........

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Last Minute Preparations, Etc......

I haven't had a lot of time for blogging lately with so many things either upcoming, or underway. KeeWee and I are scrambling around trying to get everything sorted out for our expedition to Holland next week for the European Steel Challenge Championships. I've got both race guns working well, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that nothing breaks this weekend at the Paul Bunyan Club's Falling Plate Championships. I am SO over my head in that match as most of the top shooters shoot falling plate matches every Tuesday at Gig Harbor, and I haven't shot a Falling Plate match for well over a year. It's a double elimination man-on-man match and I sure hope I can beat SOMEBODY in the first couple of rounds so I can stay in the match for a while and get in some shooting. I'd hate to drive down there and get knocked out of the match in two rounds! I'll try to get in a bit of practice over the next three days, weather permitting, and hopefully I can get somewhat up to speed for the match. Win or lose, though, it's going to be a lot of fun, and if I get knocked out early it still means that Scott and James, whom I had the fun of shooting with several times in the last few weeks, will be moving on towards the match final. Both of them are good enough to win it all, so lots of luck, guys, except, of course, when you are shooting against me!!

After we get back Sunday night from Paul Bunyan, I hope for a good night's sleep, and two good days of steel challenge practice, Monday and Tuesday. Then on Wednesday we're off to Holland. We'll spend Thursday and Thursday night in Amsterdam, them travel to Winterswijk on Friday, the first day of the match. Hopefully we will get there early enough that I can watch some of Friday's shooting so I can get sort of a feel for the indoor facility and the match commands. It looks like a lot of the fastest rimfire shooters will be shooting on Friday. I shoot on Saturday. Sunday is also a shooting day, but we may be able to sneak in a little sight-seeing early on Sunday. Monday we travel back to Amsterdam, and Tuesday we fly home. This will probably be a "Once-in-a-lifetime" sort of trip, so I hope I can have a good day shooting. It will be fun regardless, but it's always more fun when you do your best...........

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Glock To Co-Sponsor Gun Blogger Rendezvous

I've got all sorts of good news regarding the Gun Blogger Rendezvous coming up, but I'm waiting for full confirmation before announcing anything new. Today, however, I'm extremely pleased to announce that Glock has agreed to help sponsor the Gun Blogger Rendezvous, coming up September 10, 11, 12, & 13th. in Reno at the Silver Legacy hotel and Casino. As a Glock owner, (a 17, a 22, and a 34, if you must know!) I am pleased to see Glock join the Gun Blogger Rendezvous.

If you've considered attending the Rendezvous in the past but didn't quite manage to make it, this is the year to be sure to attend. There will be lots of range time, including some Steel Challenge action pistol shooting, long range rifle and pistol shooting, and some Cowboy Fast Draw fun for everyone. There will be a social session with folks from the NRA, a fund raising raffle for Project Valour-IT, an "All you can eat" pizza feed, and "Social Gatherings" (read: BS Sessions) until the wee small hours every night in our own Hospitality room at the Silver Legacy Hotel.

If you are a gun blogger, mil blogger, shooting enthusiast, competitive shooter, or a reader of the blogs that cover shooting and 2nd. amendment stuff from time to time, you are all welcome. You do not have to be a blogger to attend. The cost of the registration for the Rendezvous is low, and the cost of Silver Legacy accommodations is very reasonable.

Hi-Cap Gun Works, a local Reno gun shop and FFL holder, will handle shipping of firearms if you would like to bring your stuff to shoot but don't want to carry it in your luggage on the airplane.

Fellow bloggers, please give me a hand in getting the word out on the Rendezvous any way you can. It all helps. If you have attended in the past and are planning to be there this year, why not encourage some of the other bloggers in your area to attend this year? We could stand to have a few more folks show up as one of the first questions the possible sponsors ask is how many will be attending. The more folks attending, the easier it is to get more sponsors.

Last year's Gun Blogger Rendezvous was the best ever, and this year we are adding several new things to make it even better.

Hope to see YOU there!




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Monday, May 11, 2009

Some Videos from Man of Steel

I promised to post a few videos from the Man of Steel match, but I got kinda busy building a replacement race gun for the one that cracked the frame and had to be retired, at least retired until I find if it can be welded.

The first video is an unusual stage for steel shooting as it has both movement and a mandatory reload. Steel Challenge matches often have one stage with movement from one box to another, but not with a reload. Most rimfire guns aren't the easiest to do a fast reload anyway, and if you drop your rimfire magazine in the dirt it may well not feed for the rest of the day. I mounted a small ring on the bottom of the magazines so I could clip it to a lanyard around my neck. That way I could yank it out of the gun and it would not hit the ground. This particular stage was one where if you mess up you can lose three or four seconds or more on a single bad run, so I tried to keep it conservative and just not make any major mistakes.

video

Considering I don't practice this, I think it came out fairly well. It wasn't the fastest time of the day, but it was good enough, and I didn't dig myself a big hole time-wise.

I'm including videos of the more unusual stages, the ones that depart significantly from the more standardized Steel Challenge layouts. This next one is called Drag Race, and it does kinda remind you of a 'Christmas Tree' at a drag race. It's also a lot like a drag race as it's a maximum speed sort of stage. It's a little misleading due to the camera lens, but it's roughly nine yards to the plates, and they can EASILY be missed when you are shooting as fast as you can. It's definitely harder than it looks when you turn up the rate of fire.

video

I don't know what makes this stage so much fun, but it really is a stage I look forward to shooting. This run was the fastest run of the day on this stage.

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KRRC Fun Steel 05/09/2009

We all had a great time Saturday at the Kitsap Rifle & Revolver Club's monthly Fun Steel match. John D. was off on vacation, but John M. Jr. ably took up the reins and did a fine job of coming up with challenging stages for us.

Scott and James showed up, and we had a grand time shooting in the same squad. We've been in the same squad the last few matches, and NOBODY has any more fun than we do! Scott also brought some of his antelope/venison polish sausage to munch on, and it was delicious. Last month it was Scott who was 'on a mission' and shot amazingly well.

Not to be outdone, James and his revolver were red hot, and he turned in the fastest total time for the match. I was right behind James, and Scott was right on my heels with his iron sight 22. When you shoot in a squad with really good shooters it raises everyone's performance, and this was no exception. The final results showed that Scott had won the Iron Sight 22, Stock, and Carry classes. James had won the revolver and draw classes, and I had won Optic sight 22 class. James was declared the overall match winner. The weather was pleasant, the shooting fun, and a grand day was had by all. (I'd have some really great pictures, except I forgot the camera.......)

Next Sunday will be really interesting, as we will all be at the Paul Bunyan club in Puyallup for the Annual Paul Bunyan Club Championship. It will be a falling plate double elimination match, and your first round opponent will be determined by your times over the past year on one steel stage that was the same at every match. The top seed will shoot against the number two seed, the number three against the number four, and so on down the list. In rimfire Scott is the top seed, I'm number two, the number three seed is the top seed in both Open and Revolver class, and James is number four. All of these guys shoot falling plate matches every Tuesday night at Gig Harbor. I haven't shot a Falling Plate match in a year or so. Since it's a double elimination format, I get a second chance, but even if you lose i n the first round, coming up against the loser between the third and fourth seed isn't much of an improvement. It could be a very short day for me. I hope I can get past at least one or two shooters so I can stay in the match for awhile!

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Broke My Race Gun.........

Frame crack.
(Click to make biggerific)

Day before yesterday while practicing for the upcoming European Championships I had just emptied a magazine and was about to reload when I noticed that the slide on my High Standard race gun wouldn't go fully forward into battery. I racked the slide a couple of times and it was definitely binding just before closing fully. I locked the slide back and pushed the barrel button to remove the barrel, then I slid the slide off of the frame. It was really stiff and didn't want to come off the frame. Usually you have to be careful as if you hit the slide release with the barrel removed it will throw the slide across the room!

A close inspection showed just the top of a small crack in the right side of the frame, extending up through the right side rail. So much for that frame!

That evening I fully stripped all the "Tuned and polished" parts out of the ruined frame and put then in a box. I then completely stripped a used but still stock gun I had picked up at Cabela's in Reno at last year's Gun Blogger Rendezvous. Checking everything over carefully, I discovered that the new frame had been slightly mis-machined and the barrel retention pin hole was about .018 too low in the frame, so the barrel wasn't locking in properly. Several hours later that was resolved. By midnight I had all the frame modifications completed and all the parts from the broken gun installed. I put a few rounds through it in the barn to make sure it was functional.

The next morning I took it out to the range to give it a try. Any time you do gun mods you should shoot it first with only one round. Then shoot it with two rounds. That way if it decides to go full auto on you you can keep it under control. It passed all the initial tests. I loaded up some magazines and decided to get in some practice as it breaks in. On about the fifth magazine it decided to do a double-tap on it's own. Oops! It sounds like the sear is hanging up just a bit, or the sear spring is a little light. I cranked in a little more sear spring tension and it started working like it should. The sear spring pressure is adjustable on a High Standard, so you can adjust your trigger pull with a small screwdriver. I modify the shape of the sear spring slightly, and apparently I had moved the trigger pull range just a bit low! I removed the sear and polished it a bit more and re-contoured the sear spring a small amount. I could see the frame rails needed a bit more polishing, so I did that as well.

After reassembly, I took it back to the range, and now it was starting to run like a race gun should run. It still needed a little more break-in, but it's just about there.

We'll see how it works tomorrow at the Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club's Fun Steel match tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed, I haven't got time for anything else to break!

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Man of Steel - Part One

Driving South to just South of Portland Oregon was uneventful, just as I like it. The weather was a little showery, but only in spots, so it was mostly not too bad of conditions for driving. We arrived at the Tri-Counties Gun club range mid-afternoon on Saturday and parked the land yacht in our favorite spot, barely a hundred feet from the match location.

The weather looked a bit threatening, but not too bad, so I grabbed my ears, mags, and gun case and walked to the far end of the pistol bays for a little practice. They open the stages for practice the afternoon before the match. That way you can get a feel for the range and make sure your gun is still sighted in and ready to go. There was some standing water in some of the bays, so I could see they'd got some pretty good rain earlier.

I shot a few magazines at each stage, then moved to the next stage, and so on. I was at the stage just across the driveway from our land yacht when it started to rain. Then it started to REALLY rain, and the wind started blowing. In minutes it changed from almost completely calm and shirt sleeve weather to 65 mph gusting wind, sheets of heavy torrential rain and hail. I was standing under the tent/shelter and hail filled walls of water were coming in horizontally. There was no place to get out of the rain since it was traveling horizontally!

In barely two minutes I went from being dry to being thoroughly soaked to the skin and both shoes were full of water. It was like standing under a waterfall. One tree blew down over the road. I decided to run to the RV and get some shelter. By now tree branches and leaves were swirling around in the air and falling to the ground around the area. The RV was parked right along side of a 40 foot shipping container, so we had a bit of shelter from the wind. Once in the RV I put on some dry clothes and had a cup of coffee with KeeWee, who had been watching the whole thing through the RV's picture window.

Shortly thereafter, the rain stopped, the wind stopped, and the clouds opened to a partly cloudy blue sky and pleasant shirt sleeve weather! The whole thing, from start to finish probably didn't last a full hour! WHEW!

After the weather settled down I walked back to the pistol bays and shot the last two stages a couple of times so I would have them sort of familiar, come match time. By now it was starting to get dark, so we turned in for the night, since the next day was going to be a long one, eight stages of steel, then a long drive home.

The next morning we were up early, got some breakfast, got signed in, squadded up, and headed out to the first stage of the day. It was REALLY foggy!


This old guy kept wandering into the pictures.


Pistol Caliber Carbine class.


"Steel Presidente" Double tap all three plates as fast as you can. It's harder than it looks!


This one, "4 T 5" was what you might call a "Survival" stage. Just get through it without any major time loss. You shoot the four rectangular plates from the first box, re-load and move to the second box, re-shoot the rectangles, then shoot the round stop plate. Nine shots, if you don't miss, plus a moving re-load.


Pistol Caliber Carbine class again, plus our primary Zombie Shooter, if any Zombies show up.....


This old guy kept showing up in the pictures. Probably some local vagrant or something. Is that a paint ball gun? Very cool sight mount, though!


This young lady was a relatively new shooter, and she did just fine!


A little Steel Shootin' action!


Another unusual stage, "Triple Your Pleasure". One shot on the left plate, three on the middle plate, and one on the right stop plate.


"Speed Option", although slightly modified to change it up a bit. It's 35 yards to the rectangular stop plate. You MUST aim on this one!


"Drag Strip" The stop plate is the top plate. Only 8 yards, but still easy to miss when you hurry!



We finally found a job for the old guy. We figured he probably couldn't hurt himself with the spray cans, so we let him repaint the plates after each shooter.

We all had a grand time shooting the match. The weather cleared off and it was just right for shooting, not too hot, not too cold, and not raining. PERFECT! Even with eight stages it seemed like it was over far too soon. I packed everything back into the RV, and KeeWee and I had a cold soda for refreshment as we awaited the results to come out. As we were sitting there in the sun having our soda, one of the shooters from our squad walked by and said "There's a side match going on, and you need to go get your gun!?" More shooting? OK, if you insist! I walked back and picked up the gun case, some ammo, and some magazines. The match was very simple. There were three rectangular plates and perhaps ten yards. One on the extreme left, one in the center, and one on the extreme right. The course of fire was to double-tap all three plates, shooting the center one last. That meant swing hard to one side, double -tap, swing hard to the other side, double-tap, then back to the center for the third double-tap. There would be a prize for the single fastest time in each class, so you could throw out two bad runs trying for a fast time. When I was called to the line I was really starting to get tired after a full day of shooting, but adrenaline can be amazing. The buzzer went off, and I took my six shots. 2.27 seconds, the timer announced. Not too bad, I thought. Now to try and crank it up a bit! Second run was terrible ugly! Third run, better, but slower than the first run. For the time being that put me in first place in rimfire class. Second was a 2.29. Fortunately those times held up, and I ended up winning a very nice BenchMade pocket knife.

After the side match we walked over to the tent where the results were going to be announced. After a few minutes visiting with folks, exchanging email addresses and so forth, the results sheets were handed out. I knew I had shot some fast runs, but I had also had some that were best forgotten. I was surprised to see my times had been just good enough to squeak out the win in rimfire open class! WOO HOO!! I not only won a really nice plaque, I also won another beautiful BenchMade pocket knife of a different design.

I can't say enough about what a fantastic job Nick and Ryan Leonard did putting on the Man of
Steel Championships. Everything was smooth and organized, and we couldn't have had a better day. Great job, and a big "Thanks!" to Nick, Ryan, and all the folks who helped to make this match happen.

It had been a really fun day, but we still faced a long drive home, so shortly after the trophy presentations we climbed back into our land-yacht for the drive home. Again, it was a fairly uneventful drive back, although that's just how I like it.

-- End of Part One --

All photo credits to KeeWee.

I've got some video from the match, and I'll try to get some of them posted shortly.

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May e postal match, "Tribute to Alain."

Manfred, our favorite French Gun Blogger and Armes et tir Passion proprietor, is hosting this month's e-Postal match, and for those of you that like to shoot at a little longer distances, part of this month's match is at 25 Feet or 10 yards, and part of it is at 25 yards. There are six classes, do there's a class for absolutely anything you might want to shoot, including "airsoft, air guns, panzerfausts, machineguns..." I imagine you can also shoot the match with a rifle if you are so inclined, too, so there's no excuses!

Here's the link to the full rules, how to download the targets, and everything you need yo know for the match.

Get out there and be safe, have fun, and lets bury Manfred with entries!

BTW, Manfred's blog posts are often in English, and if not, there's a button there to allow Babelfish to translate it into English, or several other language choices. The translations are often hilarious, but you can usually get the drift.............

Note to self: Must get some more ammo for the panzerfaust.


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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Off To Man of Steel

We're just about ready to hit the road! From Whidbey Island we take a car ferry to the mainland, a 20 minute trip, then head South towards Portland. I-5, the main North-South freeway is scheduled for lane closures through Seattle this weekend, so I think we'll take I-405 down the East side of Lake Washington and re-joins I-5 South of Seattle near Renton.

Yahoo maps says it's about three and a half hours, but I suspect, particularly if it's raining as forecast, closer to four or four and a half. Yep, the forecast is for rain on both Saturday for our drive to the match, and on Sunday, match day. I hope not, but weather forecasting in this part of the world is difficult, but when they say it's going to rain, they are usually right.

I should have a match report up on Monday.......................

Friday, May 01, 2009

Man of Steel This Sunday

"Can't Miss" stage from last year's Man of Steel.

I'm working away trying to get all the last minute stuff taken care of prior to leaving Saturday morning for Portland for the annual Man of Steel eight stage steel match. The race guns are cleaned and oiled, the batteries in both the hearing protectors and the red dot sights are either almost new or new. I always check battery voltage in the sights with a good digital voltmeter before each match, since a battery can be getting a bit low and you might not notice the dot's a little dimmer than usual due to varying light conditions.

This match will be a good reference to see how fully I've recovered from last Winter's episode. Not shooting for almost six months did take a toll. Eight stages will be plenty, although last year Man of Steel was ten stages long.

Man of Steel draws a lot of very good shooters from around the Northwest, so it's always a lot of fun, even if you are only watching the match. Ryan Leonard and his Dad Nick put on the match every year, and do an excellent job. Ryan, by the way, is the Steel Challenge Junior World Champion. The match is held at the Tri-Counties gun club just a few minutes South of Portland. If you are in the area, come on out and check it out, even if you aren't shooting.

Maybe I'll see you there..........................

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