Monday, July 04, 2011

Not A Bad Weekend, Considering......

Last Friday mid-day  I was still scrambling back and forth between the range and the loading bench, trying to figure out a good load and bullet combination for the Tanfoglio for Saturday's steel match in Yakima. The powders I had been experimenting with were too fast to burn, and I couldn't get a recipe that would reliabily cycle the gun without getting close to exceeding allowable pressures.

One powder I had experimented with seemed to be pretty close to what I needed, but I was just about out of it. My friend Lou, of the "Mad Gun" blog, also a Tanfoglio Gold Team 9mm. owner, suggested I try Power Pistol, a powder which had been working well for him. Fortunately on Thursday I had made a quick trip (two hours each way) and bought a couple of pounds of power pistol to try it out.

I didn't have time to work up to an ideal load, so I decided to go with one a bit on the hot end of the range, but that worked well for Lou. I loaded up ten or twelve rounds and scurried over to the range. Although they were loud and had some recoil, the accuracy was good, and the gun ran without problem. I I rushed home and loaded up forty more, and went back to the range to run them through the gun. Ten rounds was no where near enough testing to have any confidence in the load. The forty rounds ran fine, so back to the bench to load a couple of hundred rounds for the match. After getting the ammo ready, it was a rush back into the house to get packed, a shower, and put on some clean clothes.

Our plans had been to try for the 2:30pm ferry over to America, but even with all the delays and last minute stuff, we still managed to get out the door in time to catch the 3:00pm boat. We wanted to get at least past Bellevue before traffic got really ugly, being a holiday weekend, and Highway 405 through Bellevue can be one of the worst in the US when it gets ugly. It was starting to get heavy, but was still passable when we went through Bellevue, and just past Bellevue we pick up I-90 which takes us across Snoqualmie Pass and into Eastern Washington. I-90 was also starting to get loaded too, but we were just early enough that the giant Friday afternoon Seattle Exodus to Eastern Washington for the weekend was still building. Once across Snoqualmie, we passed Cle Elum, and continued East to Ellensburg, where we pick up a different freeway headed South towards Yakima. Once we hit Yakima we turn East again for a few miles, past Moxee, and then a couple of more miles to the range. For a bunch of good pictures of the scenery and stuff along the way, check out KeeWee's post at KeeWee's Corner. We arrived a couple of hours before sunset, and parked our mini-land-yacht for the night. We were treated to a really nice sunset.

The next morning we were up bright and early, and I helped to get the plates hung on the target stands in the range bays in preparation for the match. After signup and a short shooter's meeting, we broke into squads and got to the shooting part! We had a little over fifty guns entered, so not a bad turnout, considering a number of shooters were taking the weekend off as they had been to the USPSA Area 1 championships the previous weekend.

This was going to be an interesting match for me, as it was the debut of my Tanfoglio 9mm. race gun, and the Rescomp CR Speed holster. I hadn't had a lot of time to practice the draw, and I was expecting to be slow out of the holster. I had never shot the Tanfoglio at steel, and it was only approximately sighted in, so I figured I may be doing some point of aim compensating in the match. For the Tanfoglio this was going to be more of a "Shakedown Cruise" rather than a match, as I was mostly interested in just having some fun shooting it, and finding out what was working, and what wasn't. Next weekend at Kitsap Rifle & Revolver Club is the Kitsap Classic, and I really want to have things running smoothly for that.

The weather, although a bit warm for us Western Washington types, was nice, with temperatures in the mid to upper eighties. KeeWee had an umbrella to keep her out of too much sun, and I had bottled water and Gatorade powder to mix into the water to keep from getting dehydrated.

It seemed like the match was over in no time, but KeeWee and I both felt seeking a cooler place would be nice! The Tanfoglio had run well all day, in spite of the recoil and noise. My draws were nothing spectacular, but not excessively slow for just getting into it, either. My split times between plates with the Tanfoglio were better than I was expecting to do. All things considered, it had gone very well. In the Open class, we only had one other entry, so I either won Open, or came in next to last, depending on how you look at it! As a reference though, my time was about the same as the winning time in Centerfire Limited, so it's a good starting point, and hopefully with enough practice I can get some reasonable scores. I am seriously considering taking the Tanfoglio to Piru, California for the Steel Challenge World Championships in August and entering Open as well as rimfire. It will all depend on how it goes this weekend in Kitsap. That will be the first real test to see if I can shoot it well enough that I don't embarrass myself in Piru!

After the match was over, several of the guys wanted to try out the Tanfoglio and I hadn't used up all the hastily loaded ammunition, so we emptied a bit more brass just for the fun of it.

We wanted to get on the road home before it got  too late in the day, so we loaded up and headed out. We made a stop at the Dairy Queen for ice cream, a gas station for some fuel and a big diet Pepsi for me, and headed home. A little over five hours later we pulled into the driveway at Castle Completely. It had been a fun weekend, and Murphy only showed up a couple of times!

Next weekend, on to Kitsap for the Kitsap Classic! It's gonna be fun!!

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