It seems like I've been going continuously for the last few days, or asleep, one or the other! The traveling to get here in Winterswijk was long and tiring, including a couple of hours on the shuttle bus to get to the airport, hanging around the airport for four hours, explaining to the airport ticket counter lady what her airline's firearms policies were since she didn't know them, ten hours on a Boeing 767 (way more comfortable than the Airbus) meeting friends at the Amsterdam airport, another couple of hours drive, and we were finally in Winterswijk. WHEW! As we had planned, I met up with Robin Taylor at the Amsterdam airport, and we traveled together, and are now sharing a hotel room to keep costs down. Robin puts together the Front Sight MAgazine, and is also a very good competitive pistol shooter.
The first night we had dinner with all of the range officers and families that are running the match. It was really great to again see all the wonderful folks that I have met here in Winterswijk the last two years.
Friday morning we had an outstanding breakfast at the hotel, then walked to the range, only a few minutes away. Since I hadthings fall into place at the alst minute so I could also shoot the Centerfire Open class, I had to get the paperwork sorted out for my start time and such. I had originally been scheduled to shoot Rimfire Open ay 8:45am on Saturday, but it worked out best to schedule Centerfire Open in that time slot and move rimfire to that afternoon at 3pm.I hung around te range visiting with everyone for a while, then walked back to the hotel to get my gun and equipment for shooting rimfire.
Although I struggled a bit on the first two stages, I managed to keep a handle on it and not let it get out of control and ruin my score for the day. As I moved through the stages I continued to get stronger and stronger, and the last few stages went extremely well. I tried to stick to the game plan, which was to shoot a little bit conservatively and be sure of my scores, rather than to go for broke and have the match possibly come apart completely.
After finishing shooting, I took a break in the lounge above the indoor range and waited for the days provisional results. When the day's scores were posted I was happy to see that I was in third place, significantly faster than last year. Granted, there are a whole lot of really fast shooters who have not yet shot the match, so I will most certainly move well down the list. Even so, since one of my rimfire team mates also shot well, he was right behind me in 4th., also much better score than last year. Hans, the best shooter in our team, would shoot on Saturday afternoon. Our team is called "Fast & Furious fifties" since we are all also in the Senior Division.
For me to shoot the Centerfire Open class, I needed to borrow a pistol, and Hans had offered me the loan of his, once he had finished using it on Friday afternoon. Just before leaving the range for dinner, Hans loaned me the gun to give me a chance to adjust My CR Speed holster to fit it. The pistol was a beautiful Tanfoglio 9mm. Gold Custom Team model, and it had be fully tuned and set up by Willie Van Mulekom, a Tanfoglio wizard who does all of the warranty work for Tanfoglio. Even with adjustment to the holster, the gun was almost impossible to get it fully into the holster. We fiddled with it as best we could, and I decided that after dinner I would have to do some modifications to thepart of the holster to get it to work properly. I also discovered that the safety on the right side of the gun was almost unreachable as my left thumb was too short! I decided that I would have to reach for the safety with both thumbs and hope one or the other would be able to hit the safety. This was going to be interesting!
We all had dinner at the Chinese Buffet Restaurant across the street from the hotel, and enjoyed a pleasant evening of conversation. After dinner Robin and I headed back to the hotel so I could tinker more with the holster.I scraped and carved on the holster to the way I hoped would do the job, and then we turned in for the night.
After another hearty breakfast at the hotel, we walked out to the range. Robin was also shooting with the same start time, but starting on a different stage. My plan was to shoot the match as smoothly and safely as possible, and not to worry about times at all.With an un-familiar gun, holster, and class, that was the only plan I even considered! Considering all of that, the match went fairly well, although I lost a lot of time on a couple of stages. It turns out that the gun was sighted in to shoot high at the farther plates, and to hit them you have to aim very low. I shot over the top of a number of plates until I figured that out. It also turned out that the magazine release was under recoil, trying to be at the same place as my trigger finger. The end result was that some times after a couple of shots the magazine would fall out! On my own Tanfoglio I will make sure the magazine release is short and that it has a fairly heavy spring, so that won't happen again. Even with those problems, when the day's scores were posted, I wasn't dead last, only next to last! In fact, if you take out the time lost shooting over the top of the far plates and the time lost putting the magazines back in, I was not far from the middle of the pack, and as far as I'm concerned, it was a very successful match, and I learned a lot about the gun and how it needs to be when I am setting up my own. In spite of all of the problems, I also had a whole lot of fun shooting it, and I can hardly wait ujnti lthe next time!
That's the end of my report for now, but I'll try to get more posted later.
Labels: European Steel Challenge