Here We Go!
|"Drag Strip" at Last year's Man of Steel.|
Well, the first big steel match of the year, the Man of Steel Championships, is this Sunday, just south of Portland, Oregon. We plan to drive our Land Yacht to Portland on Saturday and spend the night before the match at the range. The match is put on by Nick Leonard and his son Ryan. If the name Ryan Leonard kind of rings a bell, Ryan is the current Rimfire Overall World Champion in Steel Challenge. Ryan beat out none other than Dave Sevigny for the title.
The Man of Steel Championship is basically an eight stage Steel Challenge match, although most of the stages will be similar but different from the official stage layouts. Several of the stages are very very fast, with plates close together, large, close in, or all three. Some of the stages require double or even triple-taps!
One of the stages, named "4T5" , is REALLY different. You shoot four plates, then run run to another shooter's box, reloading as you go, then shoot the same four plates again, then shoot a stop plate. It's not so bad for the "Run & Gun" USPSA/IPSC shooters shooting center fire guns, but for rimfire it's a whole lot more difficult.
Most of the magazine releases on rimfire pistols is awkward, at best, and practically impossible, if you are in a hurry. Furthermore, if you drop a rimfire magazine in the dirt, you can forget about it running reliably for the rest of the day. I set up a ring on the bottom of my magazines and put a lanyard around my neck so when I drop the magazine it doesn't end up full of dirt at least. At least it keeps it out of the dirt, but I still have to shoot the plates, reload while moving as quickly as I can to the second shooting position, then shoot five more plates. I have to do this three times, with the two best runs being counted towards my score for the day. That's going to be an interesting stage, for sure!
I wish I was a bit more confident in my shooting, though. This is the first year I haven't taken a break from practice through the Winter. Since January I've gone through somewhere between ten and fifteen thousand rounds of rimfire ammunition, and I think I'm shooting a little better than I was last Fall. I made some subtle changes in my grip last Fall that allow more speed, but make accuracy more difficult, so I have been trying to work on the accuracy while still carrying the higher speed. Some of the matches so far this season have been encouraging, but it's way to early to see if it's going to work better or not.
This Sunday will be a good test........