Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bunny Wrangler?

As if I didn't already have enough stuff to do, one more item has been added to my workload, but I'm not really complaining. Yesterday afternoon KeeWee hollered that I should come out by the garden and have a look at a baby bunny. I went out, and there was a little tiny cottontail rabbit, and he didn't look too well. It took a bit but I was finally able to pick him up, and I could see that the left side of his head was all swollen and you couldn't see his left eye at all. It was all covered with matted hair and dried matter of some sort. he was very tiny, barely filling the palm of my hand.

Using Q-Tips and hydrogen peroxide I managed to loosen up some of the matted fur and get a look. There was a thick white ooze coming from the poor little fella's eye socket. I kept swabbing and I was able to apply slight pressure to the area and work more of the white stuff out. Finally, after some time, I was able to actually get his eye lids separated and flush it out so I could see what the condition was of his eye. Sadly, the eye itself was pretty much gone. Not too much I could do except to clean out all the goo and disinfect it as much as I could. Once I had it cleaned out I applied some Neosporin to try and get some antibiotics in there to knock out any infection. Through all of this the little bunny was amazingly tough, putting up with what at times must have been incredibly painful.

We put him in a large plastic tub with some grass and lettuce and let him do a little post-op recovery. An hour or so later he looked a bit better, but was obviously totally exhausted. I gave him a little water from an eye dropper to keep him from getting dehydrated. He even nibbled a bit at some of the grass. Our biggest concern was that a lot of wild animals when injured will just shut down and die. The first hurdle to his recovery would be if he could survive the night. We'd have a better idea in the morning.

This morning he looked much better, and he'd eaten a couple of lettuce leaves. He's getting very comfortable around me, and he likes to stretch out and sleep in my hand. He's still a long ways from being out of the woods, but we're keeping our fingers crossed.

UPDATE: The bunny made it through another night and day, and his appetite and energy level are much improved. It also looks like he may actually still have his left eye after all. It may have just been hidden behind swollen tissue around the eyeball. I can't tell if he has any eyesight in the eye yet as it's mostly still hidden, but his eyelids are starting to work and I can see a little of the eyeball. As the rest of the swelling goes away I'll have a better idea. I don't want to get too optimistic as there's still a long way to go before he's out of the woods, but it does look promising. He seems to recognize me now and when I reach into his box he wants to crawl up my arm so I'll hold him in my hand so he can go to sleep. So far, better than expected......


Monday, June 29, 2009

M4 Carbine Accessories


Friday, June 26, 2009

GBR-IV Registration & Reservations Needed ASAP

It's only a bit over two months away, so get your Gun Blogger Rendezvous registration and hotel room reservations in ASAP. To get the best flights and prices, you should get on that right away, too.

The Silver Legacy in Reno is giving us a special group rate, and by booking our rooms at the Silver Legacy, they provide our hospitality room for us for five days at no charge. There's a small catch, though, that if we don't have enough rooms, then it costs us money for the hospitality room.

We have blocked out rooms for Wednesday the 9th, through Sunday the 13th. Most folks plan on arriving on Thursday, and then leaving Reno either Late on Sunday, or on Monday. KeeWee and I are planning on arriving around Noon on Wednesday. Since we will be having GBR activities on Sunday, you may want to consider leaving for home on Monday if you can arrange it.

The room rates are a bit higher than last year as the Silver Legacy is a bit more expensive that where we were last year, but it's supposed to be rated a bit higher as hotels go, too. The rates for a room for up to two people is $69 per night on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Friday and Saturday rate is $119 per night. There is also a $3.00 "Resort Charge" on to of that ,and a 17% (!) Reno room tax. Wireless internet, usually an extra $10.00 per night, is included in the room rate.

To book your room, call the Silver Legacy direct at 1-800-687-8733 and be sure to mention the group code of GBLOG09 to get the reduced rates.

Everything is all set for you to register for this September's Gun Blogger Rendezvous at the Silver Legacy in Reno on September 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th. (Note that we've moved it a month earlier to take advantage of the much warmer weather) The registration is $30 per person, the same as last year. The majority of the registration money will go to Project Valour-IT, and a small amount of it will go to GBR expenses.

To register, download the registration form, fill it out, and mail it in along with your check to the address on the registration form. Your money will be deposited into an escrow account, so every penny is accounted for.

To download the registration form, click on The Registration Form. We need your registrations in as soon as possible, as advance registrations give me an idea of how many attendees to plan for.

You don't have to be a gun blogger, or even a blogger to attend the Rendezvous. Since you are reading this blog, you are welcome to attend! Don't put it off any longer, get your transportation, room reservations, and Rendezvous Registration in TODAY!

See You in RENO!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mark Knapp - Shooter - Lawyer - Blogger - Attending GBR-IV

Last Sunday I was at the Paul Bunyan Gun Club in Puyallup, Washington shooting in one of their monthly "Fun Steel" matches. On our squad was a fellow named Mark Knapp. I'd never met Mark before, and as the day progressed we got a chance to talk a bit. Mark is an attorney (yeah, I know, but Mark isn't one of those slimy types at all!) Mark not only specializes in firearms law in Washington State, but he's a good solid shooter and a gun blogger too! How 'bout that!

Mark Knapp, Firearms Lawyer & Blogger

I wish I would have remembered to take my camera so I could put up a picture of Mark shooting rather than in his "Lawyer Suit", but you use what you've got! At Puyallup made what I would consider the shot of the day, at least in our squad. Mark hit a 12" plate one handed while in full gallop to the second shooting position! A bit of luck was involved, for sure, but he hit it, none the less. Quite a shot.....

Mark is also making plans to attend this year's Gun Blogger Rendezvous. On top of everything else, Mark is running for judge in Federal Way, just South of Seattle. Too bad we can't just send him straight to the Supreme Court. How cool would it be to have one of the Supremes be a regular competitive shooter!

Check out Mark's blog Washington State Gun Lawyer, and his Firearms Lawyer website. There's lots of good reading on both. If you'd like to meet Mark in person, why not come to the Gun Blogger Rendezvous?

See you next month at Puyallup, Mark, and maybe over at Kitsap if you can make it!

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NSSF To Co-Sponsor Gun Blogger Rendezvous

This one's been in the works for a while, but it's now official, The National Shooting Sports Federation will be co-sponsoring this year's Gun Blogger Rendezvous. NSSF has agreed to pick up the tab for the "All you can eat" Pizza feed on Saturday night in our Hospitality room. Since the cost of the pizza will now not come out of the Rendezvous Registration money, it, in effect, is a donation to Project Valour-IT, as all money after expenses raised by the Rendezvous goes to Project Valour-IT.

If you are not too familiar with NSSF, you should definitely check out their website. They do a bunch of good things to promote hunting and shooting sports. Most recently they donated $50,000 as startup funding to establish the Scholastic Steel Challenge program to introduce Steel Challenge shooting into the schools.

If a representative from NSSF will be able to attend the Rendezvous has yet to be determined, but good lines of communication established between the Gun Bloggers and NSSF could certainly be a positive benefit towards the hunting and shooting sports. Let's hope they can be there!

Be sure to check out their website, as there is a lot of good information there!


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"Rimfire Race Guns" - An Excerpt (Draft)

I've been thinking for some time about writing a book to document all the stuff I've come across and figured out to make the rimfire pistols run reliably for competition. Between keeping my own stuff working, my friend's stuff working, and developing various improvements for an assortment of .22 pistols, I've got a fair amount of stuff to put into a book. Some of the things I've already shared in previous blog posts, but a lot of things haven't found their way to the blog at all. A little research shows that there isn't too much out there as to books along these lines.

Here's a draft from the first part of the book, sort of setting up the premise for the rest of it:

"Sure, I enjoy doing a little plinking with my .22 pistol, but I'm not really interested in competing with it. I just shoot for the fun of it. Why do I need to know about making it into a race gun, whatever that is?"

Actually, the requirements of a good rimfire race gun and a good plinker are just about the same. What exactly is a rimfire race gun? A rimfire race gun can be just about any .22 caliber pistol that has been modified, or "tuned" for use in shooting competition where accuracy is important, but the amount of time it takes for you to make the required number of shots determines winning or losing.

Head-to-head matches, such as falling plates or bowling pin matches would be an example, as whoever shoots his plates or bowling pins first wins. Other good examples are Steel Challenge, and a number of other similar steel matches, generically referred to as "Fun Steel" matches, where typically five steel targets are shot against the clock. Usually each shooter will shoot the five steel targets, often referred to as plates, five times, and the slowest time is thrown out. Steel matches will usually have from five to ten sets of targets set up, called "Stages", and each shooter will shoot every one of the stages five times. The shooter's final score is the total of the four best times from each of the stages for the day.

So what makes a good rimfire race gun? First, it has to shoot reliably, as the saying goes, "The gun has to run!" The time lost clearing a jam, misfire, stovepipe, or misfeed can ruin your scores for the day. For the casual shooter, clearing and resolving gun problems are just a pain in the neck, but it's no fun at all tinkering with the gun all day instead of spending your time shooting. The first requirement, and possibly the most important, is that the gun has to feed, cycle, and shoot all day long without having to tinker with it.

The next most important requirement for a rimfire race gun is that it has to be accurate. How accurate is accurate? There's no simple answer to this, but all the accuracy you can get without diminishing your pistol's reliability or totally demolishing your wallet is a practical goal to achieve. Most production rimfire pistols are more accurate than most shooters anyway, so accuracy isn't usually much of a problem.

Part of the fun of shooting comes from actually hitting what you are shooting at. Assuming you have decent fundamental shooting skills, one area which can make a huge difference is the type of sights you fit to the pistol. The traditional "Notch and Post" type of sights work well if your eyesight is reasonably good, but as we age our eyesight degrades, and eventually it becomes very difficult to use these types of sights. Fortunately for those of us in the latter category, some clever folks came up with a type of sight called a "Red Dot" sight. The red dot sights not only allow us older shooters to shoot with accuracy, they also have proved to be so much faster at target acquisition that in matches they are usually put into a class by themselves.

Finally, a good rimfire race gun should be comfortable in your hand and easy for you to shoot. Properly set up it should become, at least with practice, almost an extension of your hand. The angle of the grip, they size and shape of the grip, the slide release, and the other controls should be easy for you to work. The trigger should be smooth and predictable. The right pistol for a shooter with large hands may be completely different from what would be comfortable for a small-handed shooter. A person with small hands may have trouble pulling the slide back to cock the hammer. Sometimes something a little easier to grab, like a "Slide Racker" may be the solution.

So a good rimfire plinking pistol should be really reliable, reasonably accurate, and fun and easy to shoot. If you can achieve all of this without breaking the bank, even better.

Sounds just like a rimfire race gun to me!

What do you think? Is this something that there would be a market for? I'm not in the least concerned about being a "Published Author" at all and "Vanity Press" is out of the question, but a publisher who works with subjects and topics like this has expressed serious interest and encouragement. If the feedback is positive from the initial chapters, I may put some serious time into getting it written this Fall and Winter.

Para USA to Donate a New Pistol To The Gun Blogger Rendezvous

Last Year's Raffle Para PXT LDA Limited Single Stack Pistol

I now have confirmation from Kerby Smith of Para USA regarding the pistol that Para USA is donating to the Project Valour-IT fund raising raffle to be held at the Gun Blogger Rendezvous. Para is having a hard time meeting the demand for their products, but they will definitely be donating a brand new Para pistol to the Gun Blogger Rendezvous to help raise money for Project Valour-IT through the GBR raffle. They don't know for sure which model it will be, but I can't think of any of them that I wouldn't like to win in the raffle!

We all owe a big thanks to Kerby Smith and Para USA for their generous donation.



Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Smallest Minority Donates a New Para To GBR-IV

Kevin Baker, prolific gun blogger at The Smallest Minority and Rendezvous regular, has stepped up to the plate big time in support of the Gun Blogger Rendezvous, and more importantly, in support of Project Valour-IT.

As you may recall, Project Valour-IT buys voice actuated laptop computers and gives them to injured service men and women who otherwise are unable to use a computer due to their injuries. Anyhow, Kevin busted open his piggy bank and bought a Para USA GI Expert and is donating it to the Gun Blogger Rendezvous Valour-IT fund raising raffle.

ParaUSA's new GI Expert entry-level 1911. The specs are:
Caliber: .45 ACP
Barrel: 5 inches, stainless steel
Twist: 1 in 16 inches, left-hand
Action: Single-action, Semi-automatic
Sights: Dovetail Fixed, 3-White Dot
Receiver: Carbon Steel
Trigger: Medium length
Hammer: Skeletonized Spur
Magazine: 8-round with removable base pad (two provided with pistol)
Overall Length: 8.5 inches
Height: 5.75 inches
Weight: 39 ounces
Finish: Covert Black Para Kote™
Stocks: Checkered Polymer
Safeties: Slide Lock, Internal Firing Block, Grip
Additional Features: Lowered and flared ejection port, beveled magazine well, flat mainspring housing, grip safety contoured for spur hammer
MSRP: $599
Tickets will be available at the Rendezvous, and if all goes according to plan, we will also have tickets available on-line soon.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Practicing Your Draw For Defense

I recently received a long comment from "Daves_Daily" on an old post that was about Cowboy Fast Draw. I have edited it a bit to fit a smaller space, and printed it below:

"I have always wondered, and I am not guy, but I do practice drawing fast in case I need to, and I've always wondered, what would be the danger in a fast draw if you didn't employ unsafe techniques, such as cocking the revolver in the holster? As I practice, I make it a point to pull the weapon's business end clear before I cock. And that has become a habit. I have yet to let a revolver fly out of my hand or to fire before I was on target, if I drew with live ammunition; the target being poisonous snakes, so far. "

"But you never know, someday I may have to draw fast, with live ammunition, in grave situation. It could happen. Almost did once in my life and I'm 55. That was in Fl, hence the Fl permit I got afterward when I realized that my VA and UT permits don't work in Fl. So, it really could happen, and if you do not practice with live ammunition, you may just let go of the pistol or shoot yourself in the foot or worse, because you have no habit at all, or just bad ones, like cocking the gun in the holster."

"I'm not saying CFD is a bad thing, I'd love to do it, but there's no club anywhere near where I live. And I don't think I'd develop a bad habit, because I am capable of learning more than one way to deploy a weapon. So, I've always wondered, why is it considered unsafe to practice for the gravest extreme, and for the occasional snake, cat, or bear? "

"I’m pretty sure the bad guys actually don’t practice much, I count on it. I also assume they still have a good deal of practical experience and confidence in their skill, or they wouldn’t go about bracing full grown top predators, such as myself."

Here's my two cents worth: First, Cowboy Fast Draw should never be confused with defensive pistol usage, although there are some things in common. We use shotgun primers for propellant and we use wax bullets for safety reasons. The holsters have a metal bullet deflector at the bottom so if a shot is fired with the gun not clear of the holster the bullet will shatter and be deflected away from the shooter's leg. In Cowboy Fast Draw the pistol is drawn from the holster, cocked, and fired from the hip with one hand. The fastest shooters do the entire draw and fire in close to three tenths of a second. Cowboy Fast Draw is a great deal of fun, but it is only a game, not real life.

In real life, being the fastest out of the holster is of much lower importance, relatively speaking. At least in my opinion, situational awareness is by far the most important factor. If you remain aware of your surrounding situation at all times, you may well be able to avoid the situation where you need to un-holster completely. At the very least, you may decide that you may possibly need your handgun for defensive purposes and already have it drawn and ready well before you need it. If you are in cold weather, your handgun will probably be covered by clothing anyway, so that in itself will slow down your draw.

Should you practice your draw with an unloaded weapon? Certainly. Practicing your draw, sight picture, and dry fire over and over until it's smooth and consistent is a good idea. At least from my limited experience shooting single action revolvers in competition, it always seemed like in the process of raising the gun to eye level I always had lots of time to cock the hammer, and doing it smoothly was far more important than cocking it quickly. Most folks prefer double action revolvers since the trigger pull does the cocking. Others prefer a light double action semi-auto, or a cocked and locked semi. It's not so important exactly what you carry, as long as you are proficient with it.

The one thing you cannot duplicate in practice is the effect of adrenalin on you, and that effect can be major. Competitive shooting is just about the only way you can hone your shooting skills while dealing with adrenalin. IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) competition is the closest to actual defensive pistol situations, and there are a couple of IDPA clubs in your area. Bowling pin shoots, falling plate matches, Steel Challenge, USPSA, all are good training, and getting proficient at any of those disciplines will only make you an all around better shooter, and on top of that you get to meet lots of great folks and have a lot of fun, too!

As for Cowboy Fast Draw, if you decide that sounds like fun, go to the CFDA Website and get yourself some wax bullets and a box of the specially modified .45 Colt brass. Give it a try. Give some thought to starting it up in your area. CFDA has a lot of information on getting Cowboy Fast Draw started up. It's a lot of fun, and very inexpensive to get started.

Does anyone else want to add anything advice-wise for "Daves_Daily"? If so, feel free to leave a comment.

I am so far behind.....

Sometimes you can't find anything to post about, and other times I've got so much stuff I can't seem to find the time to get it all posted. Right now, that's the case. I've still got lots of cool stuff from the European Steel Challenge Championships, lots of pictures and the full story from the Washington State Steel Challenge Championships, some cool pictures and a story or so from the Bank's Lake fishing weekend, and more. On top of that I've got some excerpts to post taken from the book I'm putting together about speed tuning and modifying all manner of rimfire race pistols for speed and reliability. Tomorrow I'm off to set up a computer system and train the employees in a new liquor store. On Sunday KeeWee and I are off to Puyallup to shoot in the Paul Bunyan club's steel match.

BTW, James, Scott, and Mark, the three guys I usually squad with at the Kitsap and Paul Bunyan steel matches have just returned from the ICORE International Revolver Championships, and from the results it looks like they did us all proud! In Open Jerry Miculek won, as usual, for the seventeenth year in a row. James was third in Master Limited, Scott was 3rd. in B Limited, and Mark was 11th? in C limited. Good shooting, guys! (See you all on Sunday at Paul Bunyan!)

More blogging later, I hope........

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Time to Kick Back at Banks Lake

Things have been pretty hectic for the last month or so between working, practicing, and traveling hither and yon for matches. Now it's time for a short breather! We'll be leaving tomorrow (Thursday) morning with our land yacht and with boat in tow, heading East for Banks lake. Looking forward to a weekend of food, fishing, fellowship, and relaxing with the other members of our Fishin' Club.

I'll take the netbook along, but I don't know if there's any wireless Internet available or not. If there is I might put up a post or so, but no wifi, no posts.......

Back on Monday!


European Steel Challenge Championships - Part 4

On Sunday, the last day of the match, I had nothing to do except hang around the range, visit with other shooters, and, follow KeeWee around as she shot the six stages of the match. I also had a bit more time to take a few pictures since my shooting for the match was completed.

Each of the stages was well lit, although some of the pictures don't show it too well. The tires and other framework surrounding the targets was to catch any bullet fragments so they couldn't find their way to any of the lights. It worked well. Close to 30,000 rounds were fired, and only two lights failed.

Five to go.


Hanneke shooting her Ruger in rimfire.

"Smoke and Hope"

Not sure who this guy is, he kept walking in front of the camera......

Some of the plates looked a LONG ways away!

KeeWee going after the plates.

Check out the rimfire flame thrower! (Click for bigger) That's KeeWee again.


After Sunday's shooting was completed, it was time for the trophy ceremony. Hans Wigger, the match director, and Jolanda, Hans' wife, handled giving out the medals and prizes. At the start of the ceremony Hans summoned KeeWee and I to come up to the stand for recognition. We were the only two shooters to come to the match from America, and the match officials and RO's had taken up a collection and had two specially embroidered polo shirts made for us with the European Steel Challenge and a windmill on the back and our names and some tulips on the front. Absolutely beautiful shirts, we were sort of dumb-founded and probably just stood there like a coupe of country yokels with our mouths hanging open! (I've got an entire post on the shirts of the European Steel Challenge, so I'll have pictures of the shirts there.)

Hans and Jolanda.

Hans runnin' the mike.

Overall winner, Jorge Ballesteros.

More winners. If I'd take notes I'd be able to tell you who everyone is, but I didn't, so I can't! (Just can't get good help anymore.....)

Outstanding sportsmanship was apparent throughout the match.

The three top ladies, Karin, Hanneke, and Jolanda. Those look a lot like Brownell's range bags!

More winners, with Saul Kirsch on the right.

After the awards ceremony was complete, it was time to say our good-byes to all the wonderful folks we had met in Winterswijk. Then we joined Wim for the car ride back to our hotel in Amsterdam for our last day and night in Holland. After checking in to the hotel ,we went for a long walk around Amsterdam visiting squares, walking along canals, walked through the flower market, and visited the red light district, the Amsterdam Sex Museum, tried a marijuana lollypop, other places of educational value and interest.

The next morning we caught the train from the Central Train Station out to the airport for our flight back to Seattle. Ten hours on an Airbus - Oh Joy..........

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Monday, June 08, 2009

European Steel Challenge - Part 3

After Saturday's shooting was over, it was a good time to walk up the stairs to the bar and have a cool beverage or two.

KeeWee at the bar.

I leave the adult beverages mostly to KeeWee as I'm a total lightweight drinker and I prefer to remain conscious for the remainder of the evening.

Jolanda, wife of Hans, the match director.

After initial refreshments it was time for a BBQ, and boy, do they know how to do it right in Holland. The weather was nice, so we gathered outside the back clubhouse door for socializing as the cookers were set up and the food cooked.

Two very cool German shooters, KeeWee, and I.

First thing they did was to set up the biggest frying pan I've ever seen, complete with a gas cooker to match.

Paul Bunyan sized frying pan.

That's Cris in the white shirt. I forget the other fellow's name, but when you get old you tend to forget stuff........

Pork, chicken, beef, road kill, a little of everything, and it was ALL good!
(Just kidding about the road kill!)

Those round spiral things are pork sausages. Absolutely delicious!

We hung around the BBQ eating, drinking, and socializing until the light began to fail. Some of the RO's decided that KeeWee and had come all the way from America, and since she was a shooter, it was just not acceptable that she didn't shoot in the match too. After a sufficient quantity of wine had been consumed, she decided to shoot the match. She didn't have her race gun, though, so Cris, bless his heart, offered to let her shoot his very nice S&W Model 41 with a red dot sight on it. I asked Hans ,the match director, if it was possible to get one late entry in. "No problems, I'll take care of it!" he replied. The next morning when we arrived at the match the papers were not only ready, "Go get 'em, KeeWee, beat them all!" was printed on the top of her score sheet! I suspect Wim had something to do with that!

-- end of part 3 --

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Washington State Steel Challenge Results

Just a short post with some of the results from the just completed Washington State Steel Challenge Championships. Ryan Leonard, our current Steel Challenge Junior World Champion, won Centerfire Optic Sight class overall, with Ryan's Dad Nick in third. I did not write down the Centerfire Iron sight results.

In rimfire I managed the win with a personal best of 89 seconds total for eight regulation Steel Challenge stages. John Davidson from Kitsap was second, and KeeWee was third, which also netted her the Top Lady prize. We were also the first, second, and third place seniors.

When I get more results I'll update this post. I've also got lots of pictures from the match that I'll get posted as soon as I can.


Friday, June 05, 2009

At the RV Park in Ephrata

Just a short post from the RV park in Ephrata, Washington.

Keewee relaxing at the RV Park.

It's starting to rain, so I'm wrapping this post up now. More later.....

UPDATE: Thunder, lightning, and it rained pretty good, too. Fortunately in this part of the world and at this time of the year, these blow over quickly. It's been an hour and a half, and it's partly cloudy and everthing has dried out. KeeWee and I just finished cooking some hotdogs and marshmellows over the campfire. YUMMM...

It's about time to get some sleep as tomorrow will start early and be a long and probably hot and dusty day. We may well spend tomorrow night here too, and drive home on Sunday, depending on how we feel.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Getting Ready for Washington Steel Championships

As usual, I seem to be running out of time! Here it is Thursday afternoon and we're off tomorrow morning to Ephrata, Washington (the other side of the state) for the Washington State Steel Challenge Championships on Saturday. I still haven't managed to get all of the posts finished on the European Steel Challenge Championships. By Monday I'll have a bunch of stuff from the State Championships to get posted, too. WHEW!

I did manage to come up with a language translator from Google that seems to work. The Babelfish one wouldn't do anything but give error messages when you tried to translate the blog to a different language. The gizmo is over on the right sidebar, so give it a try and see if it works for you. I suspect their translations are still pretty funny, but it does allow you to sort of get the drift of the post.

James and Scott, both outstanding revolver shooters, won't be over at Ephrata as they are heading down to California for the big ICORE (International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiasts?) match. Smith & Wesson is heavily involved in the match, and Jerry Miculek usually shoots it, so they will definitely have a good time! Good luck, we are expecting big things, and we'd better not get any phone calls asking for help raising bail for the both of you! Don't forget to give Jerry some of your home-made smoked sausage, I'm sure he'll appreciate it. YUMMM....

I better get off line and check over the race runs and make sure everything is running as it should, then give them, and the magazines, a cleaning and a little lubrication. Probably a new battery in the sight, while I'm at it. Since KeeWee is shooting in this match too, I better be sure her High Standard is running right, too.....

Our campground in Ephrata advertises free wireless internet, so I'll drag along my netbook and possibly get a post up if we don't drive back Saturday night after the match.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A Blog to Follow

Jeff's Tanfoglio Gold Team 38 Super race gun.

A bit over a year ago at the Man of Steel match just outside of Portland, Oregon I had the fun of being on the same squad with Jeff Bures. We were both shooting rimfire open, and we had a grand time pushing each other on each stage and joking back and forth the whole day. Bystanders must have thought we were both nuts! Although Jeff was a really decent shooter at the time, his skills have steadily improved, and he's now a rapidly improving USPSA B shooter. Jeff has started a blog to follow his preparations leading up to the 2009 USPSA Nationals.

Jeff's blog is called "Jeff's USPSA 2009 Nationals Blog". Stop by and wish him luck!!

European Steel Challenge Video

Just to prove that I really WAS at the European Steel Challenge Championships and that I didn't spend the week hanging out in "Coffee Houses" in Amsterdam, here's a video from the very first stage of the match I shot:

This was a fun stage, and it even went according to plan. I deliberately slowed down a little and shot a safe run on the fourth run so I could shoot a risky run on the final string. It worked out, and the fifth run was my fastest run. I wish they'd ALL go according to plan......

Almost forgot to thank Cris R. for the video!

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

European Steel Challenge - Part 1

Friday morning bright and early KeeWee and I grabbed an excellent, although horribly expensive breakfast at the Golden Tulip Centre Hotel in Amsterdam. Shortly after breakfast we checked out of our room and headed downstairs to wait outside the hotel for Wim, our designated driver, chaperone, tour guide, and just all around "Cool Dude" to ride out to Winterswijk, where the Steel Challenge Championships will be held. Winterswijk is pronounced approximately vinters - vike, but the Dutch W although pronounced mostly as a V, it has a little of the W still there. It's kind of hard to explain, you have to hear it. Regardless, no matter how hard I tried, I still couldn't get it to sound quite right. Too many years speaking "Americun" I guess.

Wim and KeeWee at a gas station on the way to Winterswijk.

Looks like most any other gas station, although they have LPG at the pump, and you don't need a key for the restrooms.

A working windmill we saw along the way. Built in 1851, and probably re-built and updated a few times, but still a working windmill.

Mr. C and KeeWee outside the clubhouse.

The clubhouse where the match was held.

It's an interesting facility where the match was held. The upper floor houses a very nice bar, meeting rooms, and a small bore range. The basement is all pistol bays, where the match itself was shot. A huge fan and duct system sucks all the dust, smoke, and lead vapors out of the building.

The Club's bar. Is that Rob at the right end? I have a hard time reconnecting the names and faces, but a great guy, even if I'm not sure of the correct name!

Looking the other way from the bar.

The small bore range was converted to a large meeting room for the trophy ceremony. An embroidery machine was set up and running almost all day every day embroidering custom match shirts with your name over the pocket. Beautiful shirts. More about the shirts later.

The Golden Tulip Hotel in Winterswijk and the range and clubhouse were only a few minutes walk apart, so we didn't need a car at all. After checking in to our hotel in Winterswijk and checking out the range and clubhouse it was time to get something for dinner. A bunch of the range officers and officials were planning to have dinner together at a Chinese buffet restaurant across the street from the hotel, and they asked us if we'd like to join them. We forgot to take a camera, but the food was good, the conversations excellent, and a grand time was had by all!

After dinner we headed back to the hotel to get some sleep, as 8:45am the next morning was my start time. We had breakfast in the morning with some of the folks we had met last night at dinner, then headed out to the range. Between jet lag and the time zone differences, my body was fully convinced that I should be sound asleep.

*** Must *** Wake *** Up ****

Fortunately for groggy people the stages were well marked.

A typical stage setup. The distances were the sameas, or even a little longer than the standard Steel Challenge dimensions, but the width was narrowed a bit to fit the range width. The plates were easy to see, but with the noise level, it was hard to hear hits. The tires around the plates keep lead splatter from knocking out the lights.

The night before at dinner we had a lot of fun kidding around, and I suggested that old slow shooters needed a little extra help, particularly on "Outer Limits" where you shoot two plates from one box, then move to a second box to shoot the next two and the stop plate. They suggested they could record my times with a calendar, rather than with the shot timer. Sometimes it feels like that!

When I got to the Outer Limits stage, on of the range officers came over with a hand truck to wheel me around from box to box!

Hand truck for the old slow shooters!

This just might work!

By the time we stopped fooling around we were all laughing so hard it was difficult to focus on the shooting!

OK, down to business. "Shooter, load and make ready."

Focus-Focus-Focus - respond to the start of the beep.

Closed stance, feet close together, weight on forward foot for a good push off towards the second box. Right foot pointed in the direction I want to go without looking down. Don't miss!

Keep the gun up, look through the sight for the third plate as you are moving. Three strong steps, weight on rear foot, right foot just inside the box. Shooting off of rear foot, don't shoot over the top of the targets. Push to the stop plate, it's the easiest to hit.

In spite of all the fooling around, Outer Limits turned out to be one of my better stages for the day. My fastest run was 4.03 seconds, which, I think, was the fastest single run on that stage for the match.

-- end of Part 1 --

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