Friday, April 29, 2011

My New GunUp Jersey Has Arrived

My new GunUp shooting jersey has arrived, and it got here just barely in time, since we leave for Oregon and the Man of Steel Championships in the morning. G2Gemini, the company that made the jersey did a really nice job. All of the logos and writing are actually dyed into the fabric, rather than being silk-screened, and it's made of a special rip-stop material, so it should stand up and also look good for years.

Now if I could only shoot as good as the jersey looks........

Thursday, April 28, 2011

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........

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Felice Pasqua a tutti! Happy Easter to all!

I got this from Tanfoglio, and I thought it was a nice touch on their part.

Hopefully in the next week or so I will have my new (to me) Tanfoglio Gold Team 9mm. so I can start shooting in Centerfire Open class. I'm looking forward to it!

Monday, April 18, 2011

One Ringie-Dingie!

Ring - ring........

Me: "Hello?"

Voice on telephone: "Hello, I'm calling on behalf of XYZ Electric Power Company and we'd like you to answer a survey about customer satisfaction. It will take about ten minutes of your time. Would this be a good time? 

Me: "No."

VOT:  "When would be a good time?"

Me: "How about never?"

VOT: "Why is that?"

Me: "When I use ten minutes of your electricity, you expect me to pay for it. When you want to use ten minutes of my time, why should I do that for free? You are getting paid for those ten minutes, why shouldn't I get paid for them too?"

Noise on Phone: " Click.............."

That sorta sums up their customer service, doesn't it!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pro Ears To Co-Sponsor Gun Blogger Rendezvous

I have always liked the Pro Ears hearing protectors, I've used their products for years, and the people that own and operate the company are really nice folks too. Pro Ears is an American owned company, and their products are built right here in the US of A, too!

I recently received an email from Charles Ricci, co-owner of the company, telling me that both he and his partner are planning to attend this year's Gun Blogger Rendezvous. Pro Ears will be donating a $329.00 set of electronic hearing protectors to the raffle, and they will be bringing other promotional items too, for door prizes. On top of that, they will be bringing a number of the top of the line Pro Ears Hearing protectors for us to try out at the range days, and if we like them, we can buy them at the end of the Rendezvous at a HUGE discount!

This year's Rendezvous is going to be amazing!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Alan Gura - 2011 Gun Blogger Rendezvous

Alan Gura and some of the "Usual suspects" at the
 2009 Gun Blogger rendezvous. That's Alan in the black shirt.

In 2009 at the Gun blogger Rendezvous we were fortunate to have Alan Gura as an attendee. Alan's schedule was tight, and he wasn't able to be there for the entire Rendezvous. Alan's insights on the Heller decision, the not-yet-decided McDonald decision, and the state of Second Amendment issues was well worth the trip all by itself!

This year, Alan is going to do his best to be there again at the Rendezvous, subject to scheduling, of course.

Here's a quote from Alan's email:
"Thanks so much again for your generous invitation. I'd be happy to attend as much of the get together as I can. I'll block off that time on my calendar and avoid setting things for those days. The final details will have to wait. As you may know this is an extraordinarily busy time in the 2A litigation business.."
I have also received information that another 2A attorney who has been doing some excellent high-profile work in California is also making plans to attend. We should be able to make an announcement on this very soon.

This September's Gun Blogger Rendezvous is going to blow the doors off of previous year's Rondy's, with new faces, new sponsors, higher involvement from our previous sponsors, and of course, the usual suspects there too! It looks like there will also be several well known folks from the shooting sports world, and more announcements will be coming soon on those folks, too!

We have already contacted the Silver Legacy about getting a bigger meeting room. Before we commit to that, though, we need to get some sort of idea as to how many are planning on attending. If we wait too long, the larger room will be taken by someone else, and then we will have to set a cut-off number for attendees to be able to use the room like we used last year.

If you are planning on attending, please send in your Rendezvous Registrations right away. If you are pretty sure you are going to be there but not sure enough to register yet, send me an email and let me at least get your name on the list of those hoping to be there.



Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gun Blogger Rendezvous Room Reservations

It's already time to think about getting your Silver Legacy room reservations in for this September's Gun Blogger Rendezvous. We have reserved a block of rooms, and in doing so, we have also get free room WiFi for you, and the use of the Hospitality Room at no charge for the entire Rendezvous.

The Single/Double rate for Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday nights is $59.00 per night, and the weekend rate for Friday and Saturday nights is $119.00 per night. That's for single OR double occupancy, so there is no extra charge for a second person. Yes, they do tack on some extra taxes and fees, just like everywhere else.

A Room at the Silver Legacy in Reno.

To reserve your room, give them a call at the Silver Legacy at 1-800-687-8733 and give them the Gun Blogger rendezvous Group Code of GBLOG11. When you are making your reservation, you might ask them if you can get a room that faces McCarran Park, so you can watch the hot air balloons from your window. The earlier you book your room, the better chance of getting a room facing that way.

The Gun Blogger Rendezvous is September 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th. A number of us show up on Wednesday, though, and don't leave town until  Monday morning, the 12th.

If you've never made it to the Rendezvous, perhaps this is the year!

See you in Reno!!!


Friday, April 08, 2011

e-Postal Match - "The Mess" Results

Well, the scores are all in (I hope) and the scoring is finished. If your score isn't in here, let me know, and I'll go look to see if I missed it somewhere. This target was designed to be strange and different, and it turned out to be all of that and more. Aren't concentric circle targets boring? With this target only very small variations could make major changes in your score. Tactics definitely played a big part. Should I go for the high Value - High Risk shots, or the lower valued safer ones? On top of that, just plain luck had a lot to do with it, too!

Place Name Pistol Score

Rimfire Iron Sight

1 Billll Ruger Mk. I 105
2 Andy G. S&W Mod. 41 91
3 Brandt E. S&W Mod. 41 89
4 Eric Ruger Mk. I 50
5 Matthew W. S&W Mod. 41 35
6 Tommy H. S&W Mod. 41 34
7 Engineering Johnson Ruger 22/45 25
8 True Blue Sam Ruger Single Six 24
9/10 Russell Ruger 22/45 19
9/10 Engineering Johnson Ruger Mk. III 19
11 Danno Ruger 22/45 14
12 Danno Ruger Single Six 13

Rimfire Optic Sight

1 Mr. Completely High Standard/OKO 122
2 Tim S&W 22A/Burris 68

CF Iron Sight

1 Ol' Rich Winson Tactical .45 89
2 Danno Taurus PT-92 16
3 Engineering Johnson Springfield M1911 -14

CF. Rev. Iron Sight

1 Engineering Johnson Ruger Blackhawk 44 Mag 35

Air Pistol

1 Bea  Crossman .17 Cal. 0 (+21 -21)

Special commendation to Ol' Rich for shooting an excellent score of 89 with his .45. I hope everyone had fun with this month's e-Postal match! Thanks for entering.

One of you will be getting a spiffy new GunUp T-shirt, so watch for an announcement about that. The shirt will be awarded by random drawing, too, so every entry has an equal chance of winning.

JimmyB, The Conservative UAW Guy has the April e-Postal match underway right now, so go get the rules, print out some targets, and have at it!


Monday, April 04, 2011

Yakima & Back - Interesting Trip!

Friday mid-morning I fired up our Toyota pickup based "Mini-LandYacht" and headed towards Yakima, WA. for their five stage Steel Challenge match to be held on Saturday. KeeWee had to work, so she stayed home.

I haven't made the trip across the mountains to Eastern Washington the last few months as the mountain pass conditions were not very good, and I really don't want to get caught in a heavy snow situation with the RV. The pass reports and weather conditions called for low temperatures around 37 degrees at night, so I figured even if it snowed a little bit it wouldn't stick and it would mostly be just wet roads across the pass. It rained steadily all the way from home across Snoqualmie Pass, but as I neared Cle Elum it cleared up a bit and was partly sunny. When I got to the range in Yakima, or more precisely in Moxee, WA. four miles East of Yakima, the weather was quite pleasant, except for some gusting winds.

I met Josh and his wife, the new range masters, and we had a nice visit. Josh mentioned that they were having some problems with what they referred to as Sage Rats digging holes around the range areas. Then badgers would dig out the holes at night, looking for dinner. The result was some pretty good sized holes that then needed to be filled back in. Josh asked me what I was shooting in the match the next day, and when I said "A .22 Pistol" he asked if I'd like to go have a look for some sage rats.

That sounded like a lot of fun, so I grabbed my race gun and a couple of magazines of hollow point practice ammo and off we went. Josh had been through the area shortly before, and had shot a few already, so when we walked into the area they were somewhat few and far between. "There's one over there!" he exclaimed, but with my eyesight I'll be darned if I could see it. I looked and looked, but no luck. Finally he directed me from bush to rock to branch to dirt pile, until I could finally just barely make out the outline of the critter. I allowed about an inch and a quarter hold over for that particular distance, and waited for a time between wind gusts to take the shot. The wind slacked for a moment, and I squeezed off the shot. A perfect head shot! (Yes, luck was involved, but I'll take it!) It never knew what hit it. Perfect! We walked around a bit more, but that was the only one we saw, so we headed back. Next trip I am going to plan to go look for some more of them.

By now dusk was approaching, so I got everything settled down and organized  in the RV and then conked out for the night. It's amazing just how quiet a gun range is, once everyone goes home for the night.

The next morning I helped set up the target stands and hang the targets. After helping with setup, I headed over to the clubhouse and paid my entry fee and got signed in. KeeWee had telephoned one of the club members and asked that he relay a message to me about mountain pass conditions. Apparently the conditions had deteriorated a lot, and chains were required. Not much I could do about it until after the match, and one of the other club members had a phone with a pretty good screen on it so we could check the pass condition by looking at the pass cameras. Gotta shoot the match first, then worry about it later.

After a quick shooters meeting we broke up into squads and headed out to the individual shooting bays to get started. The wind was still gusting pretty good, and it made it a bit chilly, but as the day progressed it got quite pleasant.We all had a great time, and since it was only five stages, they allow me to enter twice so I can shoot every stage twice. It's a pretty long drive round trip for only five stages, but ten stages in a day is plenty for me!

Around 2pm. we had finished the match, and I helped to put some of the steel and stands away. We did a quick check of the pass cameras, and we discussed the options. It was now only "Traction Tires Recommended", and although they pass didn't look to good, it looked like I should be able to get through it OK. White knuckles maybe, but it should be drivable. The pass report radio was reporting that it was snowing, and temperature was in the low thirties. Clearly it was deteriorating.

The weather was still windy and gusty until near Cle Elum, and then it started snowing. By Easton it was starting to come down pretty good, and the road was turning white. Not far past that it started to turn into a white-out condition with huge snow flakes and almost no visibility. I tucked in behind a semi, figuring his tires would squeegee off the road a bit for me, and if I stayed in his tracks I should be OK. Past lake Keechulus the visibility was so bad you couldn't even see the lake, and the road is right on the shore of the lake. The long grade up to the East Summit was slippery, but the cars were still climbing it without sliding, so we got up over the summit without much problem. Traffic was moving about fifteen to twenty miles per hour, and I really didn't want to go any faster than that!

About an hour and a half later they closed the pass completely Eastbound due to all of the spun out cars, and required chains if you were going West. There was a little window of time to get through, and I had just barely got over the pass before it got really nasty! WHEW!

The rest of the drive home was uneventful, except for a Washington State Ferries Ticket taker who was a jerk, but  where in years past they were all really nice, they are now about half and half. The nice ones are still nice, but since they are all union, no matter how much of a jerk they might be, we're stuck with them.

When you don't have any competition, you don't have to be nice to your customers, and you don't have to provide very good service. They aren't, and they don't.

It sure did feel good to get home and hit the sack. It had been a long day!

If anyone's interested, match results are here.

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Friday, April 01, 2011

Shooting Your First Steel Match

So you’ve been out shooting a bit, you’re keeping them mostly in the black, and you’re confident you can shoot safely and responsibly. Then your friend says “Hey, there’s a steel match this Saturday at the club. Why not give it a try?” Why not, indeed?

Club match shooters are some of the friendliest and most helpful folks you could ever hope to meet, and they’re always glad to help out a new competition shooter. Sure, every so often you run into a grouch, but believe me, they are few and far between! Over the last many years I’ve only met a couple of them, and that’s shooting matches all over the place, and just about every weekend! I’ve heard stories about some snobbishness in some of the shooting disciplines, but it’s just about unheard of in steel shooting. Everyone is helpful, and everyone wants you to do your best and have a good time. It’s not at all uncommon to see USPSA and IDPA Masters and Grand Masters helping brand new shooters and sharing in the fun as the new shooters improve visibly through the day.

For your first steel match, it’s not a bad idea to check with the club in advance and see if a draw from a holster is required. In true Steel Challenge it is required for centerfire guns, but at many club matches it is not, or they may have a centerfire draw class and a separate centerfire “Low Ready Start” class. Most, if not all steel matches do not require a holster for rimfire guns. Typically, the start position for rimfire will be with the muzzle pointed at a marker on the ground in front of you, or with the muzzle resting on a up-ended barrel.

If you have never shot in a steel match before, rimfire is a good place to start, even if you’d like to move to a centerfire class later on. It’s also a lot cheaper in terms of ammo, and you will definitely use some ammo, so bring plenty. If you figure a six stage match with five shot strings per stage, and five targets per stage, the absolute minimum amount of ammo would be 150 rounds. I would recommend an absolute minimum of 200 rounds, and you can easily run out when you cut it that close. Personally, I take at least 300 rounds per class, and even more if there are more than 6 stages. You can never have too much ammo! Too much to carry, maybe, but too much? Never happen!

Show up at the match a bit on the early side. This will give you some time to meet some of the other shooters, and perhaps have a look at the stages to see what’s in store for you for the day. Sign up early, don’t wait until the last minute. You can also make things easier for the signup folks by bringing the exact amount so they don’t have to make change. When you sign up, tell then that this is your first steel match, and you’d like to be squaded with some experienced shooters. Ask the signup person to point out the Match Director, and go introduce yourself to him. Tell him too that it’s your first steel match, and  that you would appreciate his help to get you squaded with some experienced shooters for your first match. 

After signup is completed there is usually a shooters meeting where the Match Director will explain the rules and details for the day. After the meeting everyone will break out into squads and head out to the stages to start shooting the match.

Remember, in just about every case, the matches are “Cold Range”. That means ALL guns (yes, even your concealed carry gun) MUST be unloaded unless you are in the shooters box, under the direct control of a range officer, and you have been given the instruction “Load and Make Ready”. All guns must be either holstered, in a closed and latched gun case, or in a zippered gun run with the zipper zipped closed. The only exception is if you need to work on your gun, you make take it to a designated “Safe Area” and work on it. It must be re-holstered or cased before you leave the Safe Area. You cannot carry ANY ammunition into the safe area with you, not in your pocket, not in the case, not on your belt – NO AMMO!

Make sure that you understand the 180 rule, and if you are unsure, ask one of the range officers to explain it to you. Basically, imagine standing in the shooters box looking down range. Hold your arms straight out to each side. That’s approximately the 180 degree line. You must keep the muzzle of the gun pointed down range in the direction of the targets and backstop berm at all times. If the muzzle should get pointed to where it breaks that 180 degree line you will be disqualified from the match. No refunds, either!

Where a new shooter can get into trouble with this rule is if they hold the gun to the side to rack the slide. That will get you a match DQ (disqualification) sometimes referred to as a trip to the Dairy Queen. If you have to have the gun to the side to rack the slide, turn your body 90 degrees so the muzzle remains pointed straight down range, then rack the slide.

Another way to get a DQ is from an accidental discharge, or firing a round over the top of the berm. If you keep your finger off of the trigger until the sights are on target, you should never have a problem with this.

When you get to the first stage, get your magazines loaded, if you haven’t already loaded them earlier. Hopefully you have five magazines. If you forgot and left your magazines in the case with the gun, ask the range officer if you can go to the line, under his supervision, and get the magazines out of the case. Next time remember to not put your magazines inside the gun case!

When others are shooting, be quiet. They don’t need any distractions. After each shooter has finished, the Range Officer will announce “The range is Clear”. Grab a spray can and head down range to re-paint the plates. Usually the plates get repainted after every shooter, and the shooters take turns doing the painting. DO NOT go down-range until you hear “The Range is Clear!”

When you are called to the line to shoot, bring your cased or holstered gun and your magazines up to the line. Step into the box, and wait for instructions from the Range Officer. At your first steel match it’s not a bad idea to let him know that this is your first steel match. That way he won’t assume you know what you are doing, and will usually be extra helpful. If you are unsure of the course of fire, or aren’t sure which plate is the stop plate, ask. Most of all, listen carefully to the range officer, do what he says (and ONLY) what he says. Don’t assume anything. If you are not sure, ask.

Most of all, shoot safely and have a good time! Always try to shoot only as fast as you can consistently hit the targets, regardless of how fast anyone else may be shooting.

When the match is over, ask the Match Director if they need any help putting the targets and target stands back into storage. It can be a lot of work to pack all of the steel and stands back into the storage shed.  If a number of shooters all help, it only takes a few minutes. If more shooters would help after the match, it’s usually very much appreciated. It’s also a great way to say “Thank You” to the Match Director and the other volunteers that put on the match. 

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