Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Missoula MSSA Celebrity Pin Shoot 7/24/05

When we first saw the gate and sign we knew this was no ordinary gun club!
NOTE: All pictures are "click for larger view"

One of the covered shooting stations

There was a special class for 9mm. where they used nine pins instead of five.

How about shooting pins with a shotgun? This shooter lacked the balance and mobility of his younger days, so, great sportsmen that they are, another shooter helped him stay balanced while shooting. A class bunch!

KeeWee working on a personal best time!

When these folks decide to shoot pins, they SHOOT PINS! A full auto M-60. Amazing to watch.....

Overall winner in the full-auto sub-gun class. Fast, and accurate.

As soon as KeeWee and I finished the pin match in Coupeville, we jumped into our luxurious land-yacht and headed East. A quick stop at Walmart before we left town for some stuff to munch on, a couple of new batteries for the red dot sights, and some more ammo. Then we hit the road for Missoula, Montana, for the Montana Shooting Sports Association Annual Celebrity Pin shoot. MSSA puts this event on as a fund raiser for supporting pro shooting legistation in Montana.

First observation: Missoula is a long ways from here. Heck, it's a long ways from anywhere, except maybe East Missoula! It was a little over eleven hours of steady driving. We stopped at a rest area in the wee small hours of the morning, about fifty miles short of missoula to get a few hours sleep, and so we would be looking for the range in daylight.

After a few quick hours of shut-eye, we were back on the road, with enough time to actually stop for a sit-down breakfast, or so we thought. As we went by a sign with time and temeperature on it, I realized it was an hour later that we thought. We had travelled far enough East that we were in a different time zone and it was one hour later than we thought. Oh, Well, so much for breakfast!

We followed the well-written instructions emailed to me by Gary Marbut, MSSA "Head guy", and soon were at the front gate into the Western Montana Fish & Game Association range. What a beautiful facility! Individual bermed bays all over the place, set up against the side of a mountain. Even the restrooms were excellent!

You could sign up as many times as you want, in tons of different classes. You could shoot in Single Action Revolver, Double Action Revolver, Auto Pistol, 9mm. pistol (9 pin), Pump shotgun, Autoloading shotgun, Lever-action rifle, .22 rifle, .22 pistol, and Full Auto Sub-machine gun! All at bowling pins.

Each entry allowed you three timed tries at five pins on a table twenty-one feet away. Start position was with the gun resting on a horizontal bar in front of the shooter. When the buzzer sounds, shoot the pins as fast as you can. The .22's only had to knock the pins over, while larger calibers had to get them off the table. The two fastest times of the three are added together for your score.

I signed up for three rim fire pistol, and KeeWee signed up for two. I grabbed my trusty High Standard with a Volquartsen barrel and a red dot sight.

My first three tables were nothing much to talk about, as lack of sleep was probably a factor. Wonderful thing, however, is adrenalin!

For my second round of three tables, I was really getting pumped up! First table was about three and a half seconds. Not too bad! Second table,3.17 seconds, a personal best!! Third table, 2.99 seconds! WOOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!! I finally broke into the two's! That gave me a score of 6.16 seconds total.

When I walked back to the staging area carrying my gun case, I was walking at least a foot above the ground!!

KeeWee was a little rusty in her first three tables, but a little adrenalin kicked in, and she ran three more tables with a personal best of 4.04. That gave her fifth place overall, and top lady! Her feet weren't touching the ground either!

I still had one entry left to shoot, so I decided to dig out my Smith & Wesson 422. Shooting the 422 with a Taco grip out of a crouch is really fast to the first pin, but not as accurate as the High Standard. I had to get the first shot of quickly, but be sure to hit something with all five.

"Shooter ready?" -- "Ready." -- "Stand by" -- "beep" -- "Bang-bang-bang-bang-bang". Five pins go down! "Time: 2.97 seconds". Another personal best! Wowzers!!

Second table: 2.94 seconds. A fourth personal best! Total score 5.91 seconds for ten pins!!!

On the third table I didn't hit one of the pins solidly enough and it didn't go down, so I needed a sixth shot to finish it off, so the time was a little slower, but it didn't matter.

I was visiting with one of the club members and remarked that I was amazed at the times I had shot, considering how little sleep I had the night before. He figured I was just to tired to shake! Probably some truth in that!!

Since KeeWee and I were now through shooting , we stowed our gear back in our land-yacht, and spent the rest of the afternoon watching the other classes being shot. There was even a M-60 machine gun for rent for anyone who wanted to try it out. Very impressive! The sub-gunners were fun to watch, as they were having a hard time hitting anything, but were clearly enjoying themselves immensely!

The semi-auto shotguns were also spectacular. The fast guys were getting five pins in something like three seconds! Sort of shoulder-fired "Shock and Awe". Some of the bolt action rifle shooters were really getting the rounds down-range efficiently too.

It was a long weekend, with lots of driving, little sleep, and a wonderful time meeting and shooting with one of the friendliest bunch of folks you could ever want to meet. KeeWee ended up fifth or sixth overall, (I think), but that was good enough to be the "Top Lady" for the day, and fastest lady in rim fire pistol. Have a look here for her post on the trip.

I ended up winning the rim fire pistol, and had some of the fastest times of the day, over all.

KeeWee also got an award for being the "Best Supporting Spouse". They already know me way too well, I guess.........

The MSSA Celebrity Pin shoot is usually on the fourth Sunday in July. If there is any way you can manage to get there next year, you should make every effort to do so.

You'll have a ball! We sure did...........


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